There are good reasons for any good progressive to bemoan the presence of the childish, racist, sexist and ecocidal, right-wing plutocrat Donald Trump in the White House. One complaint about Trump that should be held at arm’s-length by anyone on the left, however, is the charge that Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. global power—to the erosion of the United States’ superpower status and the emergence of a more multipolar world.
“Cooperation Jackson is an emerging network of cooperatives and grassroots institutions that aim to build a “solidarity economy.” By seizing on the crisis and weak links of modern capitalism and building on the historic struggles for racial equality by the black people of Mississippi, Cooperation Jackson has created a model we can all learn from.” — Richard Moser, “Jackson Rising: At Last, a Real Strategic Plan“, Black Agenda Report, Jan. 30, 2018
With the US mass shootings epidemic claiming 17 more lives at a school in Florida, there has been a nationwide outcry against multi-million-dollar lobbying by the National Rifle Association. But how the NRA, and other corporate giants, wield power and influence over the US government is mostly concealed by the very laws meant to strengthen democracy.
Rich people rule, make no mistake. They have ruled for centuries, and the toll of their reign has been high. At their feet can be laid the bodies of every child starved in a world with surplus food; every person who freezes to death in the streets while there are six empty houses for every homeless person; every death from lack of affordable healthcare; and the incalculable casualties of the world’s wars – which have all had the wealthy at the helm. Colonization’s genocides, slavery’s murders, and the living death of mass incarceration can all be added to the oligarchy’s tally.
The United States is a laboratory for democracy – a centuries-long experiment in what does and does not work for people making decisions together. Moments of abject failure and soaring success punctuate long periods of disruption, shut-downs, and the regular ransacking of our laboratory. Our experimental efforts have often been thwarted by undemocratic interests. The equipment has been smashed or corrupted. The results ripped to shreds. The data distorted. The facilities destroyed. The funding cut off. Every aspect of our experiment in democracy has been tampered with by those who fear the will of the people.
On January 16, 2018, the World Socialist Web Site will video livestream a discussion on Internet censorship, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and WSWS International Editorial Board Chairperson David North. WSWS reporter Andre Damon will moderate the discussion. The webinar will explore the political context of the efforts to censor the Internet and abolish net neutrality, examine the pretexts used to justify the suppression of free speech (i.e., “fake news”), and discuss political strategies to defend democratic rights. Hedges and North will also field questions from on-line listeners.
Most of the media’s attention on journalist Michael Wolff’s “explosive” new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has focused on the disclosure that Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon used the words “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” to describe Donald Trump, Jr. and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians claiming to possess damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The empire has no clothes. Be the boy who dares to speak the truth: there is no democracy. All around you, the courtiers are clapping and cheering, but their trembling hands are showing. They are terrified to admit the truth. There is no democracy in the US empire; rich people and corporations run the show. Study after study has shown this. The courtiers of power have been applauding the empire for so long, they’re afraid to speak the truth. But you cannot afford to let yourself be fooled. The empire has no clothes. There is no democracy in the Unites States.
Censorship is the foe of freedom. It comes in many forms. The choking grip of control silences dissent. The bullhorns of propaganda blare out lies and fictions of consent. The maddened clench of greed stifles outlets for a diversity of expression, creativity, opportunity, and invention. The lurking spies of mass surveillance send chills down once-fearless spines. The data collectors of corporations mine our lives for ways to shrink-wrap our worldviews into commoditized sales pitches.