Michael Gould-Wartofsky is the author of the book THE OCCUPIERS: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement, which was recently released by Oxford Press. Gould-Wartofsky is a PhD candidate in Sociology at New York University, holds a BA in Government from Harvard University–and was one of the first social scientists on the ground at Occupy Wall Street on Sept 17, 2011. He has written for The Nation, Monthly Review, Salon, and Mother Jones.
This morning, Gould-Wartofsky published an article at Salon title This is not a democracy: How the 1 percent rigged the game. The subtitle of his piece is Money is speech, dollars have more influence than people — it’s time to be honest about the plutocracy we live in. I think many people who frequent Flowers for Socrates will be interested in reading the article.
Gould-Wartofsky said there are no easy fixes within the framework of our present political system, “in which the market is king, money is speech and dollars speak louder than words.”
NOTE: I’ve posted a couple of excerpts from and a link to the article below the fold.
A little over 30 years ago, before most of us millennials were born, President Ronald Reagan prophesied that what alternatives there were would be consigned to the “ash-heap of history” by the “march of freedom and democracy.” With the fall of the Berlin Wall, global capitalism would emerge triumphant, presaging, in the immortal words of Francis Fukuyama, “the end of history as such: that is…the universalization of Western liberal democracy.”
Four years ago this month, the partisans of freedom and democracy were on the march once more, from the streets of Cairo to the Wisconsin state capitol. Within months, youthful protesters would occupy the squares of a thousand cities, demanding “real democracy now” and declaring an end to the end of history. The occupations would become focal points for an emerging opposition to the politics of austerity and restricted democracy.
As it happened, it was not the Communist Party, but the Tea Party and the party of Wall Street that would stand in their way. Reagan’s logic, it seemed, had been turned on its head. Capitalism no longer stood for democracy. On the contrary, capital could not stand democracy.
From the financial crisis of 2008 to the present era of political paralysis, the path to democratic reform has been blocked at every turn. Between Wall Street and Washington, Congress and the courts, statehouses and city halls, the will of the many has been subordinated to the will of the few (as it has been, sadly, for much of our history as a nation).
The class bias of American politics has not only cost us our democracy. It has also cost us our jobs, our health and our security. For years, the recovery was crippled by the politics of austerity, as a bipartisan coalition took a butcher’s knife to the public sector, and as balanced budgets took precedence over basic needs. The public option was taken off the table before the public even had a chance to debate it. Financial reform was gutted, then gutted again by unreformed bankers, together with their armies of lobbyists and their allies in the legislature.
Click here to read This is not a democracy: How the 1 percent rigged the game.
The 1 percent’s sickest scheme: Wall Street slicksters market themselves as cool — and the media lets them
Wall Street moneymen loot companies and destroy jobs, but need to see themselves as liberators. The press lets them by Steve Fraser (Salon)
The 1 percent’s immigration con: How big business adds to income inequality, pits workers against each other
Doctors, lawyers and Wall Street are doing great. Blue-collar America, less so. That must guide immigration reform by Philip Cafaro (Salon)
Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% by Joseph Stiglitz (Vanity Fair, May 2011)
It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America by Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot (Mother Jones, April/May 2011)