We’re all aware of the major problems facing our nation. More than any other group or nation abroad, there is a trend which many -- including this author -- feel is the single biggest threat facing our nation, for it gives rise to many other problems that both Left and Right agree need addressing. At the root of our national woes, we have the rise of Economic Feudalism.
This manifests both in the domestic economy -- where the average person now has to work harder for less compensation than they got even a decade ago and where those on top of the economic ladder gain greater and greater compensation for mere position – and internationally, where military policy has become the enforcement division in service of unaccountable business interests.
We've seen this with “too big to fail” attitudes on the part of elected government towards large corporations and we've now had several elections since the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, where elections are bought and sold like any stock on Wall Street and where legislation against average workers’ right to act on their own behalf is now creeping onto the books of nearly every state. If buying policy and forcing the majority of the populace to work harder and longer just to put food on the table isn't enough insurance to keep the citizenry in line with this New Order, the exponential militarization of police forces around the country and the increasingly free reign the police have in using excessive lethal force is. This is the very definition of Imperial Fascism, as described by Mussolini as "the merger of state and corporate power."
To the completion of this end, there are several rhetorical tactics being used to justify the increasingly militaristic and fascistic methods being implemented across our nation.
Firstly, we have the increased reliance on a pseudo-philosophy that creates some “buzz-word” talking points designed to legitimize this Feudalistic trend. Typically, these talking points can be found in the Right-Wing schools of thought, which tend to reject any attempt to check-and-balance economic disparity in the name of “individual free enterprise” and usually revert to a “blame-the-victim” approach when confronted with the negative results. This tactic has been most evident when it comes to police abuse in their disproportionate targeting of minority communities.
Another classic tactic, by which Corporate Feudal interests maintain control, is through a focus, particularly in the mainstream network media, on divisive social issues. The push for Theocracy by the religious right in this country, for instance, which, in seeking to remove the Constitutionally-guaranteed Freedom of Religion for all, and ironically, in mirroring fundamentalist talking points around the world, is a major contributor both to the push to divide the citizenry against itself as well as a force behind the degradation of our national education system, through the re-writing of our national history and the replacement of science with religious instruction in biology classrooms.
This divisive tactic also manifests as a highly-xenophobic set of ideas which on the one hand divides the populace at home based on religion or ethnicity (usually directed at immigrants specifically, but also at social minorities in general) and on the other promotes a highly-militaristic imperial mindset when it comes to matters abroad. The lies that were used to drag the US into the War in Iraq (and are now being used to promote the idea of another war with Iran) are the primary example.
While these talking points have great appeal to those souls who desperately hope for a good life without interference from those in power, in reality, these talking points empower those already on top at the expense of the powerless. This ultimately interferes more with the average person’s well-being than any other force (ask yourself this – who really has more direct impact on your daily life: the employer who pays your checks or the local council of your town, whose names you may not even know?). We've seen everyone from political candidates to police captains use these very talking points in defense of the abuse of power time and time again. Corruption in our case is literally trickling down from the top of the food chain, from the highest halls of government all the way down to your local police precinct, and it’s being justified on airwaves across the country on a daily basis.
Due to their simplistic appeal, these talking points have worked brilliantly, particularly in Social Media, to keep the population at each other’s proverbial throats. By keeping the citizenry divided, frightened and ignorant, the unelected powers-that-be have an easier time of maintaining control.
“What can I do about this?” you may ask. These are huge problems, well beyond the average person’s ability to confront.
Aside from political disobedience or outright armed rebellion (the latter of which has never worked in the history of our nation -- just ask the Confederates), the only tool at the disposal of the citizenry to address the root problem of Economic Feudalism is the Federal government itself on the national level and State governments on the local, both of which are still on paper accountable to the average person, but will soon be entirely in the hands of unelected moneyed interests rather than the citizenry’s if we don’t act. To act, we have to unify and organize. It is imperative that the citizenry retake the reigns of our own governance, and this will require measures that at first glance may be unpopular, especially among Right-Wingers.
The first step I’d advocate towards fixing the problem of economic feudalism is to steal a page from Teddy Roosevelt's playbook and push for the return of previously-successful governmental oversight and regulation of large-scale corporate business. While admittedly at times inconvenient, regulation and taxation of large-scale corporate business quite successfully checked-and-balanced the forces of unaccountable corporate power for decades in this country. That is, until the “neoliberal” forces of economic feudalism, originally championed in my lifetime by Ronald Reagan and continued by his successors, successfully pushed through campaigns to remove those impediments. Like criminals freed from the fear of police, these interests literally got away with murder and very nearly ran our economy into the ground. In the name of private profits, the public sector -- which serves us all -- is suffering. Public infrastructure is crumbling, the criminal justice system has become a cash cow incentivizing the criminalization of the non-violent and bribery has become the modus operandi of elected government. And as the impediments to economic feudal control over government are removed, the boldness with which these forces push forward increases. By itself, reinstating a few pieces of proven, successful regulation and removing bribery from government will de-clog the mechanisms of our Constitutional government currently held hostage by gridlock.
But what can the average citizen do to make a positive difference? There are a number of policies that we can push for – and many groups pushing for them that we can support:
FIRST, WE FORCIBLY SEPARATE CORPORATOCRACY FROM DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT
OPENSECRETS The first step in mounting an effective citizen’s defense is in knowing who the real enemy is. Perhaps the most important source of information on this list, this site tracks the donors and lobbyists’ ties to every elected official on the Federal level. If you really want to find the people buying our government for their own interests, this is the place to start!
OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED Run by Credo Action, this citizens group is actively working to cut the ties of corruption between government and moneyed interests and is currently gaining ground in the fight to legally end the rampant bribery that has crippled our national governance.
OCCUPY WALL STREET This group gained national notoriety for its correct identification of and initially-strong action against the root of governmental corruption -- unaccountable corporate power. Though its organizational model is not the strongest, it has become an umbrella resource for numerous action groups seeking to empower the individual against forces ordinarily too powerful for a single individual to combat directly.
SECOND, WE CHECK THE ABUSE OF POWER BY POLICE AND MILITARY
ACLU For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. They know the system inside and out and are an ideal resource for training, information and legal defense, with chapters in every state in the Union.
SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER Another experienced group, the SPLC is a non-profit legal advocacy group specializing in civil rights and legislation for the public -- rather than private -- interest. If you're being victimized by police, these are the people to call!
STOP MASS INCARCERATION This group is on the forefront of the fight against the commercialization of our criminal justice system. Very much against the drug war, private prison complexes and the systemic targeting of minorities, their national network is a prime example of how to organize for our own defense.
THIRD, VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENTS AND REPLACE THEM WITH THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES
I SIDE WITH A simple and fun way to figure out which party best represents your interests is to follow this link to a political quiz on the various issues facing the country. The quiz takes about 20 minutes and delivers a comprehensive and often surprising result.
Above all, though, the single most important thing we, as citizens, can do is to remain engaged in the process, rather than throw up our hands and give in. At the bottom of this engagement is making sure that we use our power of the VOTE.
BALLETOPEDIA The next step in informed voting is in knowing your options when it comes to political representation. This site lists all recognized political parties in the USA. Many of them have been recognized by most states and a simple Google search can direct you to the platforms of whichever party you feel most connected to. If you’re as fed-up as I am with the same old lesser-of-two-evils choice that comes around every year, this site is ideal for finding someone better.
REMEMBER: VOTING IS YOUR RIGHT AND DUTY AS A CITIZEN! If you do NOTHING else, make sure you move heaven and earth to get your vote in. Make sure you’re registered in your local town and have proper ID BEFORE you go to vote!
ALL of these groups and sites list actions that are happening every day around the country towards the return to true liberty for the average person. Sign up for any one of them. Even a day’s work can make all the difference in the world.
Stay as informed as you can on every issue, making sure you’re informed of the actual facts, not a biased narrative. Avoid the mainstream network/ corporate news at all costs.
News outlets such as NoPartySystem, Democracy Now!, the Associated Press, VICE and C-Span all have long-standing histories of sticking to the facts and reporting in a straightforward manner. White-hat hacker groups like Anonymous and whistle-blower groups like WikiLeaks also have solid reputations for delving into sources of information usually censored by unaccountable interests. When these journalism groups report an opinion, they make a point of reporting it as such, where corporate media sources often will deliberately confuse fact with interpretation in order to sell more advertising time.
It’s a traditional assumption among totalitarian governments that the people they rule are too dumb or too weak to be treated as anything other than cattle. The best thing we can do as citizens – and in the truest American tradition – is to make sure we prove our home-grown totalitarians wrong.