Chris Hedges and Richard D. Wolff: Competing Systems of Power in America: Autocracy or Oligarchy


Image by Hossam el-Hamalawy via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

RT America on Oct 2, 2021

On the show Chris Hedges discusses with the economist Richard Wolff how capitalism works under an autocracy or an oligarchy, the only two political systems left in the United States of America.

The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict.

The oligarchs from the establishment Republican Party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican Party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger.

The alliance of Republican and Democratic oligarchs exposes the burlesque that characterized the old two-party system, where the ruling parties fought over what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences” but were united on all the major structural issues including massive defense spending, free trade deals, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the endless wars, government surveillance, the money-saturated election process, neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, militarized police and the world’s largest prison system.

The liberal class, fearing autocracy, has thrown in its lot with the oligarchs, discrediting and rendering impotent the causes and issues it claims to champion. The bankruptcy of the liberal class is important, for it effectively turns liberal democratic values into the empty platitudes those who embrace autocracy condemn and despise.

The economist Richard Wolff is a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School in New York City. He previous taught economics at Yale University, where he received his PhD in economics, the City University of New York, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Sorbonne.

Wolff’s new book is The Sickness is the System – When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself.

See also:

America’s Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy, by Chris Hedges

From the archives:

Chris Hedges: The Legacy of the Obama-Biden Administration

Chris Hedges and David Harvey: The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Part 2

Chris Hedges and David Harvey: The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Part 1

Working Conditions are Getting Worse in the US, by Pete Dolack

The Outlook for the US is Uniquely Bleak, by Finian Cunningham

Joe Biden’s Hollow Resistance: Words vs. Deeds, by Paul Street

Capitalism and Alienation, by Yanis Iqbal

Chris Hedges and Richard D. Wolff: American Economic Illusions

Chris Hedges and Richard D. Wolff: The Sickness is the System—When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself

Capitalism is the Real Disease, by Finian Cunningham + Richard Wolff: COVID-19 and the End of Capitalism

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