Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I think the word is silly because fascism is the political ideology of Hitler, Mussolini, and arguably Stalin. Fascism contains these facets: nationalism, authoritarianism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, collectivism, corporatism, populism. Now, Islamic terrorists could be described as having some of these attributes, but couldn't someone have come up with a better term.(corporatism!?!)
Its like a teenager took the word Islam and hooked the word fascist to it because a fascist is "like" a mean cop or a strict teacher, and those people "like suck." I imagine what really happened is someone in PR knew that most of the working-class simply equates fascist with "bad guy" and attached Islamo as a prefix.
I think a word like Islamofanatic would be better. Not that much better, because that word is a simple label that would be abused by the same agitation-propagandists, but at least Islamofanatic makes more sense in a strictly dictionary sense.
On another note, we have a War on Terror and a site called www.assualtonterror.net, so it sort of came to me that, in context, Terror is simply the Terror of the Property Owner.
Think about it...
Also, I fully advocated the invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was actually a nest of terrorist groups, including the formerly CIA-funded Taliban, and needed to be cleaned up. I think we should have gone in to that country and "stayed the course." But we didn't.
Well, not exactly. The US military may have a great deal of manpower and firepower, but the US military does not have the kind of personnel needed for every sort of mission in Iraq; some of these missions are very important to the backer of this war.
To put this in perspective, let's look at the partially successful invasion of South Vietnam by the United States of America. It was a success in that it destroyed most of the Vietnamese infrastructure and economic base; it was a failure for public relations reasons. To the American public, the war just couldn't be portrayed as victorious in the conventional sense because suspension of disbelief has it limits. Vietnam was on TV every night and the conscript soldiers drafted to fight it came home and told the people what the war was really about.
Drafted conscripts are not good for colonial actions. The best troops for colonial actions are cutthroats that are both professional and apolitical. Units like the old-school French Foreign Legion or the Merc Units that fought in Africa.
This is where Blackwater comes in. We have professional soldiers answering directly to the Profit Speculator. I am downright surprised that Blackwater got its card pulled. I expected them to operate under the public radar indefinately.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
War can satiates this need as well, not in the sense of actually participating in war, but in the sense of being a war spectator and rooting for your chosen side.
Rooting for the military in war, your team, make the human animal feel complete on some level. This, in itself, is neither a bad or a good thing. Throughout history, people have rooted for many militaristic just causes; the Second World War come to mind.
The dangerous thing about this facet of human behavior, is it can be used, like any other facet of behavior, to further the goals of "social exploiters." By social exploiter I basically mean the advertiser (and not just the advertiser of products; what are the people that promote presidential candidates and wars if they are not advertisers? I propose this is all they really are.)
So now that war has been initiated by whomever for whatever purpose. Since its our team against their team, how can the American not want to support our side. Its a perfectly natural response, because on the surface war is a giant, deadly-serious, high school football game.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The writings of Charles Bukowski have traditionally been viewed as Anti-American. (Harrison P.15) This is the view than many, if not most, new readers of Bukowski think. A large percentage of people do not really understand Bukowski’s writing, be it his prose or poetry. Some regard it as foul-mouthed and mean-spirited, or just plain pessimistic. Some dismiss his work as unabashed whining. Others enjoy it on some level, as a sort of id-centric male fantasy, but they fail to understand the overall importance that Bukowski’s body of work commands; they see it as simple skid-row spectacle. For example, critic Michael Greenburg has described Bukowski's fiction as a "detailed depiction of a certain taboo male fantasy: the uninhibited bachelor, slobby, anti-social, and utterly free."(Wikipedia. “Charles Bukowski.” P.1-2) Bukowski’s work is much more important than this. In the context of the 20th Century, Bukowski’s voice is the voice of disenfranchised America. To begin to understand this, we have to look at the critical difference between Bukowski and his 20th Century peers.
Many other great American poets and writers have addressed the same issues as Bukowski, but these other writers are what I would define as “special-interest writers.” These other writers, Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou come to mind, have work that encompasses the plight of the marginalized, but, in the case of Hughes and Angelou, with a uniquely African-American perspective. Also, Hughes and Angelou address the entire plight of their race, from the beginning of history, not just the conditions of their respective generations.
Bukowski differs from these writers in two distinct ways. First of all, Bukowski does not claim to be the member of any specific race or social group. His work voices his personal plight, and it can be inferred that his plight is relevant to, or similar, to the hardship of the disenfranchised as a whole, but he never declares himself a member of some sort of unified “lower-class.” He does make some connotations in his works that he is not a member of the “upper-class”, but he never identifies himself as some sort of proletariat or Walt Whitman style “American Everyman.” He actually takes steps to distance himself from both groups. In the poem My Father he declares that “I thought maybe the bums knew something, but I found out that most of the bums want to be rich too, they had just failed at that.”(25-27) This shows he holds no “class allegiance” to the poor, simply because he was poor as well. This is very important: he gives voice to a people that do not even realize they are a class.
Secondly, in contrast to Whitman and Hughes, he never makes his plight larger than his own life. Yes, sometimes he does make critiques of the “world” or the “system” but his body of work is not some sort of “class manifesto” like much of Whitman’s work. Whitman, in contrast, declared himself the spokesman for every “non-Blueblood” in North America.
Bukowski is much more myopic. In ways, he is a nation of one, a perpetual outsider. His poems and prose are focused on his experience and his life. He does not go back to previous generations and try to create a unifying theme. Again, Bukowski is writing about his experience, not the experience of a people. Bukowski claims no people as his own. His poetry does mention a kindred spirit type of relationship with people he meets throughout his life, but again, he does not proclaim himself a German-American or a Blue-Collar American. Since he does not claim membership in any group, how can he have any history but his own personal history?
His history can only be the time span of his life. This, in itself, makes him the voice of the marginalized. Many people, the jobless and the working poor, black or white, feel alone in the world. Even minorities, who may be part of a unified group on paper, have to struggle to make ends meet if they have no system of support. They live in virtual isolation, like Bukowski himself. Which brings us to our next reason that Bukowski is the voice of the marginalized.
Two movies have been made about the life of Charles Bukowski, Barfly and the upcoming Factotum starring Matt Dillion. These films are conceived and created because the image of Bukowski is identifiable to the American, and international, public. (Hedegaard P.1) In this we see the proof as Bukowski as an icon. People can relate to him as a character, his experience, and his plight is recognizable. It’s a plight that the American can identify with, or, at the very least, recognize. Matt Dillion, who will be playing Bukowski’s alter ego, Henry Chinanski, grew up reading Bukowski novels. Dillion stated he can see himself in the character, like most men could, and sought to bring dignity to the character. (Hedegaard P. 5-7) Whitman, Dickinson and Ginsberg are great poets, but do any of them have a movie about there lives, or two movies? Besides two major motion pictures, Bukowski is the subject of many short films, plays, and songs. This shows that Bukowski is accessible to the population at large; actor Matt Dillion was instantly able to relate to the Henry Chinanski character. (Hedegaard P.1) And yet another way to gauge Bukowski’s relevance is to look at the modest success he enjoyed at the end of his life. In the 1990s Bukowski drove a BMW, paid for by his writing, and this is a man who rejected success and fame at every possible turn.
To further reinforce the idea of Bukowski’s work being universal, we must note that he is often mentioned as an influence by many contemporary authors and poets. In literary circles it is accepted that his style is widely imitated. Some goes as far as saying Bukowski is the most imitated writer of the entire 20th Century. (Wikipedia. “Charles Bukowski.” P.1) Frank Wilson of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in regard to New Poems, the sixth volume published since Bukowski’s death 11 years ago, said: “ For a guy who routinely described himself as a bum, Charles Bukowski sure has made up posthumously for any lost productivity during his lifetime.” (P.1) This begs the question, if Bukowski’s voice is not universal, then who is buying his books?
For so many people, critics, authors, and reader alike, there are many tangible things in his work to relate too. Bukowski’s problems are universal problems, except that Bukowski has many problems, and each of these problems is of a severe degree. Bukowski wrote the way he drank, steadily, every day. This is why so many people like to read him. Whatever else he may have been, he was no phony. In Bukowski’s work we can see the clear interests he had in life: booze, women, the ponies(horse racing), classical music, and writing. (Wilson. P.1-2) Bukowski’s observations on life, even though it is a down-and-out life, are genuine and uncluttered.
The hardships Bukowski encountered in life informed his writing, because, experience shaped his persona. According to Bukowski, his father was verbally and physically abusive, and this is detailed in Bukowski’s novel Ham on Rye. (Wikipedia. P.1) In the novel Ham on Rye, the reader can see how Bukowski’s dysfunctional childhood is the root of his dysfunctional adulthood and pessimistic attitude. As far as Bukowski’s father attempted to achieve the American dream by escaping his lower middle class position and failed. This failure exacerbated the tyrannical attitude that Bukowski’s father had toward his wife and child. Much of Bukowski’s work reflects a deep-seated resentment toward his parent. It’s something he was never able to overcome. His father’s violence and intimidation, coupled with his mother’s refusal to intervene formed the psychological basis of the rejection of close personal interaction. These feeling defined his entire like and work.(Blohm. P.1-2) . Literary critic Gary Blohm also notes: “Between the violence of his father, the perceived abandonment by his mother and alienation from his peers, Bukowski came to personify the outsiders who populate his poetry and fiction.”(P.1) A number of issues are reveled here, and although few readers have had a childhood this dysfunctional, there is basically enough problems here that the reader can find at least one to relate to, even if Bukowski’s experience in much more pronounced.
The very concept of childhood problems is universal. I propose that this is more proof of Bukowski’s “voice of the marginalized.” The effect of childhood problems casting a shadow on adulthood if the theme of many stories, book and movies, from many different eras. Again, Bukowski does not declare himself an everyman, he just tells his story, and people see themselves in him, or at the very least, they see something the can recognize.
The other issues in his body of work are the same. He has problems with women and relationships. His are worse than most, but again, who has not had relationship problems? Other things in his body of work can be best described as bad jobs and bad luck. And then there is a sort of vague critique of the system. In my opinion, Bukowski does not seek to create an overreaching critique of the human condition, he creates one as a byproduct of his work. His was no socialist or political agenda. Often his poetry acknowledges the power of capitalism and the helplessness of the working poor, as in his poem, “the workers.” (Bloom P.1)
His writing is a an artful description of what he has seen. His eleven years spent working in poorly paid, often physically demanding work, for the United States Post Office is the basis of his novel Post Office. Much of the novel describes the isolating effects of this type of labor, as well as describing the conditions of the workers in their constant struggle against the management classes and, ultimately, each other. (Blohm. P2.) The most prominent themes in his body of work is the physical and psychological effect of hard, low-status work on the laborer: “They either melted or they got fat, huge, especially around the ass and belly. It was the stool and the same motion and the same talk. And there I was, dizzy spells and pains in the arms, neck, chest, everywhere. I slept all day resting up for the job.”(Bloom P2-3.)
In conclusion, we see Bukowski for what he is, the downtrodden, a victim of most of the injustices that 20th Century America has to offer. But the downtrodden he represents in not a unified group of people. It is a group that exists in the mind of the observer. For instance, the working poor have no class unity and don’t even think of themselves as a class. As a testament to effectiveness of American propaganda, they don’t even know that they are a class, or what a class even is. So their “group” is the creation of the observer, just as animals and plants can be organized into categories like genus and species. This is the prime reason that Bukowski, the perpetual outsider, is their voice, because they are manifest, everywhere, yet alone in isolation.
The Presidential Election of 2004: Democracy Defeated
"Unfortunately, you can't vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place." – Noam Chomsky
"The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations." –Noam Chomsky
Superficially, the Presidential Election of 2004 seems to be a struggle between two political parties with very different core political ideas. The Democratic and Republican planned to America in a radically different directions with each of their respective candidates. Both parties campaigned hard, rallying like minded supporters to their cause. The Election of 2004 seemed to be a unique election. The American people were equally divided, the number of votes so close that controversy rocked the final days of the elections as votes were counted and recounted. The election was also the closest reelection campaign in American history. The election took place on the 2nd of November. It was not until the next day that the winner was determined. The Election of 2004 seems like a very unusual event, but I propose that it is not. The Election of 2004 is quite usual. It is a great example, perhaps the best example, of American politics as usual, where the democratic process is impotent, the election itself is simply a spectacle, and true political power operates invisibly, unmolested by public will or opinion, behind the scenes. This is a bold statement, a statement that most American citizens will incorrectly assume relates to the controversy surrounding the vote recount situation that developed in Florida. The vote count confusion on November 2nd is simply minutia. To understand the true nature of the 2004 Election, and perhaps all American Presidential Elections in recent history, we first have to look at the position and political stance of the two opposing candidates, John Kerry and George W. Bush.
We have to start with them in their own words, describing their plans for America.
Kerry: “I’m running for President to make the country we love stronger, safer, and more secure. I am asking every American to become a Citizen Soldier committed to leaving no American Behind.”(MSNBC.com “Bush and Kerry at a Glance” P.1)
Bush: “My campaign is going to take a hopeful and optimistic message to the American people. I hope you will show your support by taking action in your community. Vice president Dick Cheney and I are focused on the nations top priorities – strengthening the economy, protecting the homeland, and winning the war on terror. We will continue to earn the confidence of the American people by working to keep this nation prosperous, strong and secure.”(MSNBC.com “Bush and Kerry at a Glance” P.1)
It is obvious that neither of these statements actually mean anything. The only way to even identify that Bush is a member of the current Republican Party is to take not of the term “homeland” and the vague euphemism “War on Terror.” It is also interesting to note that Kerry uses terms like Citizen Soldier, to try to compete with Bush’s militaristic image. Both candidates seem to be speaking without really saying anything, and this is no accident.
According to Noam Chomsky, both political parties, purposely, do not present issues, policies, agendas and so on. Instead they project an image, thus, people either vote for the image or, do to apathy, do not vote at all. The image is a creation of PR firms and usually has little or nothing to do with the actual policy of the candidate’s party.
Sometimes, the man holding the position of President knows very little about the policies being implemented by his handlers, as is the case with the Reagan Administration of the nineteen-eighties.(“The Toothpaste Election.” P.1-2)
The elections are planned and executed by a vast public relations apparatus, and this apparatus is designed to make the voter pick the man, not his stand on the issues, or the politics of his party. The voter chooses based on the candidate’s projected personality, whether he is the type of man that seems friendly, the type of man that the voter would have a drink with.
The parties do this for many reasons, but the main reason is simple: the managers of both political parties know where their funders stand, the money people behind the parties, and the interest of these funders is usually diametrically opposed to the interests of the voting public.(Chomsky. “The Toothpaste Election P.2-3) To add insult to injury, the personality presented by the media is a fabrication. How can the voter even know the real personality or character of the candidate?
To illustrate this, let’s look at the stance of John Kerry, the Democratic, supposedly “progressive” candidate. During the Presidential Debates, Kerry, after talking about health care reforms during his whole campaign, failed to bring up, or even hint at any government involvement in health care.
Again, there is a concrete reason for this.
According to polls, eighty percent of Americans want national health care, so one would think that the “populist” candidate would address this directly during the debates. There is an obvious reason that he skirted this issue. This issue has no interest or support from the people that paid for Kerry’s campaign, the insurance industry, the medical industry, the pharmacutical industry, and financial institutions have absolutely no interest in affordable health care. It would cut into their profits. (“The Toothpaste Election.” P.2)
Kerry had one image and Bush had another. Bush’s main campaign platform is homeland security and the war on terror, but it’s easy to see that, for Bush planners, the threat of terrorism is a pretty low priority.(Chomsky. “2004 Election” P.1-2)
The invasion of Iraq is the best example of this. Government intelligence agencies and independent think tanks both presented the same opinion, invading Iraq would drive the threat of terror up. This threat is understood by Bush’s handlers, but terror is not their primary concern. They don’t want terror per-se, they just don’t care.
The highest priority to the people behind the Bush administration was the chance to “establish the first secure military bases in a dependant client state that is situated at the heart of the worlds energy reserves.” (Chomsky “2004 Election” P.3) It is also important to note the terror/Jihadist infrastructure in place in the middle east, and the regime of Sadam Hussien were both implemented by the CIA as a means of popular warfare against the peoples of the middle east.
Many naysayers will state that: no oil has left Iraq and been shipped to the US, so this is proof we did not invade the country for oil, which is true, or they will state that the US gets most of its oil from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela so we don’t “need” the oil from the middle east, which is true. What the control of the middle east area does do is provide “critical leverage” over the world oil supply and “veto power” over the economies that rival the US, Europe and China. The middle east contains two-thirds of the world hydrocarbon fuel supply, and it is very important to the Bush backers that this profit flow the in the proper direction, to US petrochemical companies. (Chomsky. “2004 Elections.” P.2)
The threat that the economies of China and Europe could free themselves from the control of US based companies is a grave one, it has been a threat to the people in power since the end of World War Two and having the hand on the spigot of most of the world’s oil will help keep rival economies in line. (Chomsky. “2004 Elections.” P.2) “You can be sure that they (Bush handlers) want the profits from the middle east to go primarily to US-based multi-nationals and back to the US Treasury, not to rivals. Not to peoples outside of the US monopolies. As you can see, there are many real reasons to invade Iraq.”(Chomsky. “On the Election, Interview with Bill Maher.” P.1)
Chomsky has been quoted as saying this: "I mean, what's the elections? You know, two guys, same background, wealth, political influence, went to the same elite university, joined the same secret society (the Skull and Bones) where you're trained to be a ruler - they both can run because they're financed by the same corporate institutions. At the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama said, 'only in this country, only in America, could someone like me appear here.' Well, in some other countries, people much poorer than him would not only talk at the convention - they'd be elected president. Take Lula. The president of Brazil is a guy with a peasant background, a union organizer, never went to school, he's the president of the second-biggest country in the hemisphere. Only in America? I mean, there they actually have elections where you can choose somebody from your own ranks. With different policies. That's inconceivable in the United States." (Chomsky. “Interview with Wallace Shawn.” P.2) This quote shows the control and repression at work in the Presidential Elections. Only a select few, the well connected and controllable, can be allowed anywhere near the Presidential position.
These fact invalidate a popular American myth, that in America, if you work hard enough, you can be President. That statement may hold some truth in Latin America, Hugo Chavez comes to mind, but it is definitely not true in regard to the United States of America. It is an outright lie. There is an important concept at work here, the concept of repeating an untruth ad nausem.
“In the 2004 Elections, the electoral campaigns were run by the PR industry, which in it usual vocation, sells toothpaste, life-style drugs, automobiles and other commodities. Its guiding principle is deceit.”(Chomsky. “2004 Elections.” P.2)
When a company sells an automobile, it doesn’t present the merits of the actual product, it creates an image using bikini models and images of success. The image has absolutely nothing to do with the product. In a true free market, informed consumers make choices about what to purchase. Prices are kept at reasonable levels by competition. The real world is not a true free market, although they call it that. Large monopolistic corporations control the means of production. These companies sell nearly identical products to the consumer and use their vast economic influence to elevate prices. The advertising campaign convinces the consumer to buy the car using an image that has nothing to do with the actual product. This economic model is not the free market, it is what destroys the free market.(Chomsky “Rogue States.” P.207-209)
This same effect which negates the free market is also at work, negating democracy. For all practical purposes, modern politics are the “shadow cast over society by big business.” (Chomsky “Rogue States” P.100) It is impossible to make informed decisions about candidates and politics when the true intentions of the ruling class are kept hidden from the people. “As in the fake markets created by the PR industry, so also in the fake democracy they run, the public is no more than an irrelevant onlooker, apart from the appeal of carefully constructed images that only have the vaguest resemblance to reality.” (Chomsky. “2004 Election.” P.4, underline mine.)
The current state of American politics, that it is nothing more than a creation of the PR industry, and that the fact that a good portion of American voter seem to know this on some instinctual level, is a primary cause of demobilization. People do not vote because they think it does not matter. Like everything about modern politics, this is no accident.
One of the biggest priorities for the richest 1% of the American population is to control the “crisis of democracy” which first reared its head in the sixties with the anti-war movement. Vietnam was initiated to control the economies in Southeast Asia. The war of aggression against the people of South Vietnam was launched in 1962 by JFK, after years of US-state backed terror against the indigenous population. (Chomsky. “Election of 2004.” P.2)
With the anti-war movement, the “peasants” of America refused to obey their plutocratic masters. After this crisis of the sixties, many measures were taken to control this. The “crisis of democracy” threatened to democratize society, and despite enormous efforts to crush this threat to order and discipline, has had far reaching effects on consciousness and social practices. (Chomsky. “2004 Elections.” P.1) The PR and “perception management” apparatus in place in America has worked long and hard to deal with this “crisis.”
One of the biggest tactics is to promote demobilization. A large portion of Americans do not vote, or even pay attention to politics. Again, this is no accident. On the eve of the 2000 election, about 75% of the electorate regarded the elections as a game played by rich contributors, party managers, and the PR industry, which trains candidates to project images and produce meaningless phrases that might win votes. The population knows this, but this is why the public paid little attention to the “stolen campaign” that greatly exercised “educated sectors.” (Chomsky. “2004 Elections.” P.3-4) The stolen election was a huge news story, but according to polls, the public expressed the idea it was just “business as usual.” If one is picking the candidate at random, like flipping a coin to pick a king, the population really does not care in the coin is biased.
These conditions promote political apathy. This apathy keeps the people from meddling in the affairs of the bourgeoisie and their state planners. And in most election, the people who do vote are slit down the middle. Presidential elections, for the most part, are about a 50-50 split, with the winner coming ahead in single digit percentages. In 2004, each candidate got 30% of the electorate, Bush with 31% and Kerry with 29%. (Chomsky. “The Toothpaste Election.” P.1) Again, this is a coin flip. State planners keep the politically active in two distinct camps that compete against each other. Note that no party ever wins a modern election in a landslide victory, only but by single-digit percentages.
The politically active members in American society have to be “atomized” into small groups that will compete with each other, not against the people who “own the country.” These two primary groups are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The bourgeoisie has always used this tactic, the tactic of atomizing the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie. (Marx. P.20)
To understand this atomization, we need to understand that there is little difference between the two Major Parties. In the United States, the political system is a very marginal affair. There are two parties, so-called, but they're really factions of the same party, the Business Party. Both represent some range of business interests. In fact, they can change their positions 180 degrees, and nobody even notices. (Chomsky. “Rogue States.” P.122) The two Parties represent the interests of various investors at various times. This begs the question, why two parties instead of one. Actually this is quite easy to understand when you take into account that the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate. (Chomsky. “Rogue States.” P.50-51) This is type of nefarious control has slowly evolved within the framework of the American three branch government system, and amazingly, is a system of control that is much more stable and lasting than the “prototypical” seizure of a nations wealth and power by the business elite, the corporatist backed fascist movements of the early nineteen thirties. Perhaps this is because the current American system has to evolve slowly and pay lip service to “moral and constitutional concerns.”
This is the leading tenant in the design of Bush and Kerry’s “stance” on policy. The business press reported that there was “ecstasy” in the boardrooms on Wall Street on November 3rd, when it was made clear that Bush had won.(Chomsky. “Election of 2004.” P.2) Any person with the capacity for rational thought should be able to understand that Wall Street was not rejoicing for family values or gays not being allowed to marry. The elections, especially the election of 2004, was centered on non-issues. There's a modern perversion of conservatism and libertarianism, which has changed the meanings of words, pretty much the way George Orwell discussed in 1948. Word and slogan mean vague things, or they mean whatever in convenient at any given time.
Issues selected to be spoken about openly by the backers of the candidates come in two flavors. One type of issue is the sort of issue that has no bearing on the profit and power of invertors. These include things like gay marriage, abortion, religion, the death penalty, and most other “moral conflicts.” These type of issues are meant to do one thing, rally people to a party and keep them distracted from the larger picture. These issues do affect the lives of the people, but they really have no impact on big business.
The second type of issue selected it an issue that is of major relevance to the establishment, but an issue that can be brought into the public area safely, and by safely, it means that the issue can be talked about in a vague enough way that business interests can act in naked self-interest and justify whatever actions they take. This type of issue must be discussed in vague terms and what Ann Rand called anti-concepts, terms without real meaning. These issues include the budget, the economy, energy, education, the environment, foreign policy, health care, homeland security, immigration, social security, trade, and the war in Iraq.
For example, John Kerry, the “left-wing” candidate, was running on a platform that was far to the right popular opinion (when one observes independent polls) on every major issue in 2004. To the extent that people could even understand the programs, they did not favor it. People voting for Kerry were concerned about health issues and the economy. Does anyone think that those people who voted for Kerry could tell you what Kerry’s plans for the economy or health care were. Experts in policy can’t tell you. Scholar Noam Chomsky can’t tell you. You would have to do a research project to figure out what Kerry’s programs were really about. It’s not that voters don’t know because they are stupid, it’s because the material is not presented as something comprehensible. (Chomsky. “The Toothpaste Election.” P.1) The people voting are not supposed to understand what they are voting for. They are not supposed to know the intentions of the people behind the parties.
The real issues behind the scenes were dictated by big business. John Dewey, perhaps America’s leading social philosopher, whose worked centered of Democratic Theory, argued that democracy hold little value when the life of the country, means-of-production, commerce, and media, are controlled by private tyrannies in a system which he dubbed “Industrial Feudalism.” (Chomsky. “Rogue States.” P.208) Industrial Feudalism in a much better description of socioeconomic system than “democracy” or “the free market.”
The modern election is controlled by the US based multinational corporation. A century ago, during the early stages of corporatization of the United States, discussions (about the very nature of the corporation) was quite frank. Conservatives at this time denounced the corporation, describing the corporation as a “return to feudalism” or a “new form of communism” neither of which is an inappropriate analogy.(Chomsky. “Rogue States.” P208)
In conclusion, we can see that the Election of 2004 is not a unique event. It is like every other presidential election since the industrial revolution. The drama surrounding it, hard hitting issues and miscounted votes are really just minor details.
The Election of 2004 is the best of example of what the American national election system is, a meaningless spectacle. To the people at the bottom, the working poor and middle class, its not completely meaningless, because even though voting alone does not change the direction of the country that much, small changes in policy affect people lives.
Unfortunately, most citizens of the country and the world are trapped in “trickle down” economics model. The man on the street has to hope rich people are happy and hope some crumbs float down from the top. The small difference in a Democrats stance can make huge financial difference in people lives. When we remember that 1% of the population control upward of 90% of the countries wealth, and we note that the US, which is 6% of the global population, controls 50% of the wealth, we see that a crumb from the top can change lives. Upon analysis, the Election of 2004 is seen for what it actually is, a prime example of the triumph of aristocracy and modern feudalism over democracy.