Tag Archives | oligarchy

Anarchist Social Justice

Travis Gray (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Travis Gray (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Edward Martin and Mateo Pimentel write at CounterPunch:

As a justifiable reaction to the problem of oligarchy in organizations and liberal democratic institutions, some theorists and activists have identified alternative political arrangements to liberal democratic organizations and institutions. Such anarchist examples include Chomsky’s recommendations of the Kibbutzim villages of Israel and the worker-owned cooperatives of Spain’s Mondragon experiments. Other anarchist examples are based on the New Social Movements (NSM) school, which for the most part have become an activist alternative means of self-governance through autonomous grass roots organizations (see Alan Scott’s Ideology and New Social Movements). Leading NSM theorists include Alain Touraine, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, Claus Offe, Immanueal Wallerstein, Michel Foucalut, and Jurgen Habermas. These proponents base their anarchist tendencies on identity, politics, culture, and ideology, which for all intents and purposes has emerged in the women’s movement, ecological and environmental movements, LGBTQ rights, peace movement, and more.

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Equality by Lot: A Brief Animated History of Sortition

This short animated clip offers a succinct history and explanation of how the ancient Athenians came to use sortition (the selection of random citizens through lottery to fill government roles). It questions whether or not such a system could be used in today’s modern world. Could this ancient practice help eliminate greed and corruption from the political arena by restoring the integrity and efficiency of the democratic process? As America gears up for yet another brutal election cycle, these are worthy questions to be asking…

This clip comes courtesy of the fantastic blog, Equality by Lot, and they have also transcribed the video:

What did democracy really mean in Athens? – Melissa Schwartzberg

Hey, congratulations! You just won the lottery. Only the prize isn’t cash or a luxury cruise. It’s a position in your country’s national legislature. And you aren’t the only lucky winner. All of your fellow lawmakers were chosen in the same way.

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The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made

wef-logo

Seumas Milne writes at The Guardian:

The billionaires and corporate oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. It might be hard to stomach that the overlords of a system that has delivered the widest global economic gulf in human history should be handwringing about the consequences of their own actions.

But even the architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers. It’s not just the maverick hedge-funder George Soros, who likes to describe himself as a class traitor. Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, frets about the “capitalist threat to capitalism”. Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, fears capitalism might indeed carry Marx’s “seeds of its own destruction” and warns that something needs to be done.

The scale of the crisis has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. Just 80 individuals now have the same net wealth as 3.5 billion people – half the entire global population.

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From Dictatorship to Democracy

Screen shot 2014-10-30 at 4.49.09 PMFrom Dictatorship to Democracy

Last night, whilst watching TV, a very interesting documentary was on, called How to Start a Revolution. I had never heard of the book “From Dictatorship to Democracy” before, nor how it had been instrumental to the Velvet and Orange revolutions of Eastern Europe, not to mention several other popular uprisings around the world (Arab Spring, etc.). The methodology in the book are tried, tested and have worked all around the world.

The 198 rules (in the appendix) are a road map to peacefully overthrowing a repressive regime and may represent human-kinds last best hope of changing our seemingly inevitable course towards climate induced species extinction.

This should be required reading for anyone who has any wish to change the current oligarchical status-quo of psychopathic elites willing to kill us all for a few more dollars.

You can read the full book here

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The US is an oligarchy, study concludes

"Bedsheet banner" by Charles Hutchins via Flickr.

“Bedsheet banner” by Charles Hutchins via Flickr.

Report by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities suggests that US political system serves special interest organisations, instead of voters.
The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.
The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.
After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.
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“The Good Fight” warns of rise of business oligarchs

the-good-fightAustralia’s former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan outlines the growing oligarchy in his newest book.

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via The Guardian:

Vested business interests helped destroy the former Labor government and are now trying to run the country, according to the former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan.

Quotes from Swan’s book, The Good Fight, have been published in the Australian Financial Review, ahead of its release next week.

The paper quoted Swan as saying a small but growing group of “oligarchs” were trying to run the country, and that this was clear from some of the policies in the Coalition’s budget.

“Vested interests, backed by the ­current government, have prevailed, much to the detriment of our people and our nation’s future,” he said.

“In their world, a high-quality ­universal education and health ­services are a drain on the budget, not a platform for a fairer and more prosperous ­economy.”

“At the time of writing, the very people I have discussed … are now running the Abbott government.

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Craig Hulet: Corporatocracy Dictatorship is the Next Step

Africa_satellite_orthographicCraig Hulet has been laying it out about the corporatocracy and economic fascism for thirty years. His most recent interview was particularly trenchant. Topics covered include African land and resources grabbing, oligarchy, the pointlessness of elections, Putin, Snowden, the possibility of revolution, fascism, corporatism, etc.

Craig Hulet 05-23-14

Craig Hulet radio interview archive

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Plutocrats vs. Oligarchs

PIC: Lihatria007 (CC)

PIC: Lihatria007 (CC)

David Rosen writes at CounterPunch:

Oligarchy is defined as “government by the few” and came into English use around 1570.  The term derives from two Greek words: oligos meaning “few” and arch for “rule”; similar English-language terms include monarch or hierarchy.  Plutocracy is derived from the Greek ploutos meaning “wealth” and kratos for “govern.”

Today, both concepts — plutocrats and oligarchs — refer to the growing influence the rich – and especially the superrich – have on the national (and international) political economy.  Oligarchs are plutocrats who use their enormous wealth to further a particularly conservative, if not rightwing, agenda.

Thomas Piketty’s study, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, reveals that the U.S. – along with much of the advanced capitalist world — is returning to what economist Paul Krugman calls the “new Gilded Age.”  Piketty finds that that in 2010, the top 1 percent controlled 20 percent of U.S.

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That ‘Iron Law’ Of Oligarchy Is Back To Haunt Us

The word “oligarchy” has finally come home.

For years, it was a term only used in connection with those big bad and sleazy Mafioso-type businessmen in Russia.

Russia had oligarchs; we didn’t. That became a big difference between the official narrative of what separated our land of the free and the home of the brave from THEM, the snakes in the shades and private planes, in the post-Soviet period.

Actually, I first heard the term oligarchy when I was studying labor history at Cornell a half a lifetime ago. We were taught about something called the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.”

It was a concept coined by Robert Michels, a friend of sociology guru, Max Weber, way back in 1911. Here’s how it was defined in that relic of another age: The Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Michels came to the conclusion that the formal organization of bureaucracies inevitably leads to oligarchy, under which organizations originally idealistic and democratic eventually come to be dominated by a small, self-serving group of people who achieved positions of power and responsibility. 

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