by Joel S. Hirschhorn
As recently presented, there is global respect for and use of the classic and brilliant work by Gene Sharp “From Dictatorship to Democracy.” It is credited for empowering many actions around the world to overthrow dictatorships, including recent actions in the Mideast . My thesis is that his ideas, strategies and tactics, a handbook for revolution, can and should be applied to the US where there is a form of corporate dictatorship operating.
American dictatorship and tyranny is masked by an electoral system that no longer functions with integrity, fairness or efficiency and, therefore, acts to sustain the more hidden and ignored corporate dictatorship inflicting enormous harm on vast numbers of Americans. In many ways the uniquely American form of dictatorship is far more sinister, indiscernible and powerful than classic dictatorships where one recognized person, military junta or family rules ruthlessly.
The corporate ruling class has often been exposed but still maintains its power. The recent excellent article “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?” presents yet another fine analysis, for example, of how corporate rulers have escaped prosecution and punishment. It showed that “a veritable mountain of evidence indicates that when it comes to Wall Street, the justice system not only sucks at punishing financial criminals, it has actually evolved into a highly effective mechanism for protecting financial criminals. This institutional reality has absolutely nothing to do with politics or ideology — it takes place no matter who’s in office or which party’s in power.”
Another article exposed the plutonomy and noted that the top 20 percent received nearly half of all income generated in the US — 49.4 percent — and the ratio of the income of the top 10 percent of Americans to the poor has risen from 7.69-to-1 in 1968 to 14.5-to-1 in 2010. Just as conventional dictators steal from their nations, America ’s corporate rulers rob US wealth and get away with it because they have succeeded in controlling government and public policy. This explains why a noted New York Times columnist discussed the “corporate stranglehold on American democracy.” A dictatorship is all about control.
To say this differently, a sophisticated and powerful plutocracy has hijacked an electoral democracy and behaves just like a dictatorship in critical ways, despite a citizenry that believes it has freedom and liberty secured through the US Constitution. The middle class is being destroyed and the general population no longer has any realistic expectations of rising affluence. Economic oppression should be the chief driver of revolution.