Saturday, September 26, 2009

Democracy is controversial.

Here's the conclusion of the Los Angeles Times review of "Capitalism: A Love Story."
"At the end of the day, perhaps the most startling thing about "Capitalism" is that Moore stands revealed not as some pointy-headed socialist but as an unreconstructed New Deal Democrat who admires Franklin D. Roosevelt, believes in increased democracy and opportunity, and feels that the decades-long weakening of unions has fatally weakened America. The fact that this will be a controversial stance says as much about today's political culture as it does about Moore's place in it."

I echo that last sentence. I would add that democracy will always be "controversial," as long as those who are rich and powerful off the current system have an influence in the debate that is grossly disproportionate to their numbers. ("One person, one vote" makes little sense if the man over there is a media mogul who funds a conservative policy "think tank.") The manufactured controversy is simply repackaged as the years go by. In the past, the argument has been as vile as to say that the poor and working class are too crude to have a vote. Lately, the argument says basically that democracy is all good and fine but it shouldn't affect anything that has to do with the economy. "Let the market decide," they who own the market say. They might as well say, "Just sit still while we think up new excuses for why we few should remain in charge."

Democracy is always the enemy of those at the top of the pyramid, because democracy would dismantle the pyramid and use the stones for something useful.


Becky said...

A propos of what you're saying, here's a bit from a letter of support from San Francisco State U to the occupying students in Santa Cruz:

"This is not just about education. These cuts are an attack on the entire working class as a whole, across California. We stand with the students of UC Santa Cruz who refuse to barter within the twisted logic of the current debate, where sectors are compelled to compete amongst each other over diminishing scraps while multi-million dollar corporations who profit from our work are given tax breaks."

Becky said...

Sorry, full letter is here:

delaine said...

Bravo, Dave ! Well told. "We the people" aren't as important as the corporations and the ultra rich. And we darn sure aren't as powerful.We live our insignificant lives hoping that their magnanimity will trickle down to us. Unfortunately, we're just a nuisance. We( and our life,liberty, and pursuit of happiness) are not near their "bottom line."

Amy said...

Have you considered Australia? It's lovely this time of year. (As you know.) ;)

Camp Papa said...

I'm pretty sure that "the market" is not the word of God. That said, market forces may follow some predictable principles and laws, but so do hurricanes. And we try to protect ourselves from hurricanes. Capitalism as practiced in the US needs oversight, regulation, and restructuring to keep us from hurting each other with it. If some of our institutions are too big to fail, then they are too big to exist.

BTW, my word verification is "vasal", which is way too close to "vassal" to be ignored.

Dave said...

Becky, I think they're on to something at SFSU. The site is pretty cool. I like that they say, repeatedly, that this isn't just about student issues, it's about working class issues. They talk a lot about creating unity between students and general working-class society. AND they talk about how this is a "continuation of every struggle throughout history where students have played a role in inspiring the imagination of general society."

I think this is part of why the Right, in general, dislikes universities. Think of it. Universities accumulate large groups of young people who have the time, energy, and idealism to organize for a better world. And when they're really on their game the students build alliances (like they're doing right now in California) with community groups and unions. Before you know it, you've got a broad and militant people's movement on your hands.

It seems like conservatives would be trying to punch holes in universities at any chance they get. Oh wait, they are!

Hmm, I think maybe your word verification is part of Google Inc.'s long-term strategy to build a World Wide Web of Feudalism.