Friday, January 22, 2010

A lesson from history for the death of our democracy.

t is ironic that the foundations of the American Revolution were a resistance against the enforcement of corporate hegemony in the form of the Tea Act which sought to insure the British East India Company's monopoly over the colonies. The revolution was not fought initially by the colonial populace at large, but rather by the merchant class who were upset with British enforced corporate monopoly being forced on them. They in turn roused the 'rabble' to revolt.

The first large, privately owned corporation to arise post-revolution was the Second Bank of the United States, and by 1830 was sponsoring its directors and agents as candidates for political office. In President Andrew Jackson's annual message to Congress on December, 3, 1833 he said, "In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions."

Forty years earlier Thomas Jefferson, when advocating for a Bill of Rights to be attached to the new Constitution, was warning that the people needed to be secure in their "freedom in religion, freedom of the press, freedom from monopolies, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, freedom from a permanent military, and a trial by jury, in all cases determinable by the laws of the land."

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court forever altered the outcome of U. S. elections by ruling that corporations, those very entities the founding merchant fathers enticed us to revolt against, had the same freedom of speech protections as individual humans and therefore were not restricted in how much they could contribute to election campaigns.

This ruling has the potential to forever change our democracy, silencing the voice of the people in favor of the voice of corporate America who will now be able to use their financial muscle to not only influence elections but threaten elected officials to do their bidding to an extent which will largely go unnoticed by the general public. It is especially disturbing when one considers the military-industrial-complex and the boost it received under Bush Cheney and the continuing 'war on terror.' When corporate profits are guided by the production of war profits, then war will be inevitable. When corporate profits decide elections then corporations will rule our country. We must resist now.


Anonymous said...

I used to live in SF, but ran away to france after bush.

I appreciate your posts, this one should be shared.
If only we all understood.

Anonymous said...

It lifted the ban on unions as well, I think we need to remember that.

woody said...

Yes, it did lift the ban on unions, but the power of labor has already become so restricted in this country that it barely matters.