Crisis of Legitimacy

Nothing new for us here at c99p, but a well written analysis by Bob Urie over at Counterpunch:

In 2016 the national Democrats demonstrated that they were utterly indifferent to the political disaffection plaguing both duopoly Parties. How could they lose 20% of their affiliated voters in the preceding years and not be in a panic over their electoral prospects?

Their calculation appears to have been: (1) the Republicans were even less popular and (2) duopoly Party control assures that no matter how few people participate in the electoral process, one Party or the other will prevail.

So it's all good, right? Because:

Carried to its logical conclusion, as long as there are an odd number of votes cast to prevent a tie, the duopoly Party leaderships are indifferent to how few voters participate in the electoral process. The obverse implication is that campaign donors, a/k/a ‘the rich’ and corporate titans, are the real constituents of the duopoly Parties. Taken together, these aggregate to a scheme where the duopoly Parties are the faux-democratic façade on a system of state capitalism.

Democratic PTB are not stupid:

It can’t be completely unknown by the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and the DNC (Democratic National Committee) that voters have been fleeing the Democratic Party. As a political entity, this is a catastrophe. But as a corporation that derives its revenues from duopoly control of the electoral process, it is selling access to those who have the means and desire to pay for it, and not political outcomes. In other words, even if Democrats keep losing elections, they still have access to the electoral process as their ‘product.’

Here's the core problem and the only reason I bothered to waste valuable bandwidth with this article. Political dysfunction in America is a win/win for the GOP and the Democratic party.

The problem for reformers is that bottom-up electoral wins are utopian in the sense that they leave the globalist networks of that serve existing power in place. The corporate models of control that the duopoly Parties use mirror those of multinational corporations because they evolved together around levers of social power. Conversely, why did the national Democrats believe going into the 2016 election, against all of the contradictory evidence, that Barack Obama’s tenure had been a raging success? Because for a few people at the top, it had been.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/12/democrats-and-the-crisis-of-legi...

"The problem for reformers" is an American as well as a global problem. The only rational unified goal for reformers is crushing both political parties, because reform is a pipe dream.

I wish nothing but the best for all of the progressives running to "reform the Democratic party". Even the limited success they are having is exposing the duplicity of Democratic operatives in the DCCC and DNC. For all their flaws and mis-steps, Bernie and Liz are helping expose the dark underside of the Democratic party.

The 2018 midterms are still a long ways out. Movements are being formed that are looking past 2018 to fundamental structural reform. We are nowhere near a new dawn, but progress is being made.

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Pricknick's picture

The idea that reforming either party will lead to measurable change for the 99% is bullshit.
Who could've guessed? /s

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

The Aspie Corner's picture

to the 'RUSSIARUSSIARUSSIA!!!111!1' narrative. Warren has done nothing but go along with Dipshit for 'fear' that if she doesn't, he'll do something worse. The Porky Dems aren't worth saving.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

zoebear's picture

only needs to "work" to provide an appearance of Democracy. The fact that only a quarter of the U.S. population votes at all, is apparently enough to keep the masquerade of "democracy" alive in the hearts of enough dutiful Americans/

The article is correct in saying that bottom-up insurgency is toothless when the corporatocracy essentially manages the outcome, leaving no incentive, electorally, for them to give us any crumbs of reform or meaningful participation in the process.

Opting out of their consumer economy is the only logical means of exacting "reform". But that would require a lot of effort on our part.

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Soldier: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
Soldier: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
Soldier: You've got two empty halves of a coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@zoebear

The fact that only a quarter of the U.S. population votes at all, is apparently enough to keep the masquerade of "democracy" alive in the hearts of enough dutiful Americans.

The article is correct in saying that bottom-up insurgency is toothless when the corporatocracy essentially manages the outcome, leaving no incentive, electorally, for them to give us any crumbs of reform or meaningful participation in the process.

These two are inter-related and interlocked. Three-quarters of the eligible US population doesn't vote because they -- we -- have nothing to vote for.

Opting out of their consumer economy is the only logical means of exacting "reform". But that would require a lot of effort on our part.

It would require more than just effort for most of us. Most of us lack any access at all to the land, which is required for opting-out of the consumer economy. And opting-out is like being dead or pregnant; it's either all or nothing. Any participation in the consumer economy renders one a full participant. To inflict what must be inflicted to force reform, complete mass opt-out is required.

We've got to devise ways to fight this fight from the inside, where most of us are trapped!

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Meteor Man's picture

@thanatokephaloides

We've got to devise ways to fight this fight from the inside, where most of us are trapped!

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

zoebear's picture

@thanatokephaloides

but people seem to have a short memory. Thanks to President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security took over our entire electoral system at the end of 2016. The problems we saw in the 2016 primary were only obvious to us because we had an engaged electorate and a candidate who was not part of the establishment. This forced the Corporatocracy to push back, and push back hard. We all saw what happened. How do you suppose that scenario will improve now that the DHS is overseeing our entire electoral system?

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Soldier: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
Soldier: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
Soldier: You've got two empty halves of a coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.

This is part of what makes the ‘Russian meddling’ storyline so insidious. It is an institutional end-run around the likely impact of this widespread political disaffection. If disaffection is reframed from internal to external opposition, it becomes an external challenge to national interests as defined by those with the power to do so. That this is the desired outcome of national Democrats should end the seemingly eternal fraud that they are a less strident Left rather than the more effective friends of the reactionary right.

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SnappleBC's picture

@lizzyh7

... who's concerns have been appropriated by the #Russiagate True believers. Every time I've heard them trot out one memes they think Putin is pushing I think, "Wait... that's MY concern and I had it long before the '16 election."

So yeah, to be anti establishment nowadays is to be Pro Putin and Pro Trump in the eyes of the Democrats.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

Pluto's Republic's picture

No matter how many people turn up at the polls, the American people cannot VOTE their way out of this inverted totalitarianism. Definitely not at the Federal level. Everyone caves into AIPAC and the Neocon Deep State sooner or later. It only took four months to shackle Trump and dial up the US-empowered human slaughter in the Middle East. The barrier to third parties is a centuries-old monolith. Non-conformity is punished with exile.

What we need to do is work from ^^^^^ these facts. There's an upside and reversal of fortune in every extreme situation. We just need to "see" it, and then go to work. At least, that's my strategy. It's not going to be something direct. It will be oblique, like the secession of the West Coast, possibly triggered by marijuana laws — just as an example.

We are not the first civilization forced to vote, over and over again, for choices that do not benefit them and generally leave them worse off. Democracy is its own curse. Over time, it makes people complacent and delusional, and it corrupts the bureaucracy. We've carefully maintained a fog over the Federal vote for two centuries, and that is not going to change. There are much better ways to do things and we are evolved enough to find them.

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Meteor Man's picture

@Pluto's Republic
I agree wholeheartedly and I think the most positive accomplishment we can achieve going in to the midterms is highlighting how corrupt and two faced the Dem Establishment is.

Word is getting out in spite of the media propaganda. We have to keep the pressure on and ratchet it up wherever possible.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

You are so right about this, Pluto. We are not a democracy in any form of the word and I doubt that we ever were. This country was formed by rich plantation owners to protect their property and wealth.

Here's Chris Hedges interviewing Sheldon Wolin on this.

Inverted Totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers,” Wolin writes. “Employment in a high-tech, volatile, and globalized economy is normally as precarious as during an old-fashioned depression. The result is that citizenship, or what remains of it, is practiced amidst a continuing state of worry. Hobbes had it right: when citizens are insecure and at the same time driven by competitive aspirations, they yearn for political stability rather than civic engagement, protection rather than political involvement.”

This has been happening in the open since Reagan's administration and now it's on steroids with Trump and his buddies who are gutting everything in sight. Think that voting is going to change anything about this? Yeah, me neither.

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

CB's picture

Americans think they have the best "democracy" in the world. But, no matter who is voted in, domestic and foreign policy remains the same.

Here, I'll let Putin explain it:

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Meteor Man's picture

@CB
Every single point was correct. Has any U.S. President ever talked to a reporter that clearly? Has any MSM reporter or cable talk show host explained U.S. foreign policy so plainly?

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

snoopydawg's picture

didn't get the DP to change direction, then nothing will. Obama sighed in relief when the republicans were the majority party because he didn't have to pretend that he was going to help us anymore.

They don't care who's in control of congress because they know that they will still keep their jobs and that's all that is important to them. Money and power is what they get for being in congress. How does $174,000 a year work out to a couple hundred million? It doesn't, but knowing which companies are going to be getting contracts does. As does insider trading.

Why so many people still believe that if their party gets to be in charge then their lives will get better is beyond me. People watched what the democrats did when they had all 3 branches of government. They did shit for us, but whoboy did the rich get richer.

Obama did the exact same things as Bush did and very few people had a problem with it. The Libyan debacle should have woken them up, but no. They actually believed Obama's spiel of protecting them from Gaddafi. Killing people is a funny way of doing that, dontcha think?

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

On second thought, while it would be satisfying to take the trolls down a few pegs, it probably wouldn't accomplish much. If someone began to report honestly, he or she would be immediately replaced by another troll. It is a real puzzle, what to do. How do we fight propaganda produced from unlimited resources?
Blackballing this or that newspaper or TV show isn't going to work. People still want local news that comes along with the political messages.
Protesters will just get harassed legally, thrown in jail, hosed down, etc. The water protectors didn't get far. Occupy Wall Street protesters didn't get anywhere. The West Virginia teachers got a small raise (5% after 4 years) by striking, but they had the state by the balls. Can you imagine the outroar when parents had to take care of their kids all week? But any kind of nationwide general strike seems unlikely and unwinnable against the government & big business money combine.
What to do?
I keep coming back to the phrase, "Don't play." The words keep popping back into my mind. Non-violent drop out, choosing positive alternatives personally and in groups, seems the best course. Building from the bottom up and changing with soft power like that of rain or flowing water would be maddeningly slow, but it might be the only way. Just don't play their game-- scrabbling for success (money). Worker coops. Block chain communications that can't be altered. Proudly independent, etc.
Private financing. All we really need is the vision and our own means of communication.
What do you think?
The internet would allow individuals to participate from anywhere (I am in Rhodes, Greece, at the moment). A doctor here, a few mechanics there, farmers & gardeners, journalists, home schoolers, people from every walk of life, in ones and twos and threes, choosing honor & truth, exchanging with each other and offering advice at large, a slowly spreading ganglia in the social body, unstoppable in the long run as the center is dispersed and intangible. Education would be fun (lists of recommended reading for all kinds of pursuits). Self administered tests for certificates of learning. In the real world, social & class war considerations aside, no one cares where you went to school. What matters is what you can do, what you know. I personally walked the walk on that one, having paid my son to drop out of high school. He worked his way around the world a couple of times and now does better than I ever did, managing large construction projects.
Don't play their game, play yours.
That is a better way to say it. I don't mean that you can drop into a utopian parallel society. You (just) change internally. If your position (job or personal life) requires you to lie, you refuse, you tell the truth, that's all. If that leads to divorce or mowing lawns instead of managing workers, so be it. It is a win either way: your position, your relationships, improve in place, or a negative situation is left behind and you are free to add your strengths elsewhere.
There is something simple at the heart of things that last. Roundness in the wheel, a read/write binary unit to represent a "bit" of information. Truth is at the heart of human connection, among ourselves and with the universe. When it becomes acceptable to lie, a society is doomed. This can only be changed from the bottom, one person at a time, from parent to child, from teacher to student.
Above, I used the word "ganglia" to describe the spread through society of people playing "their" game, telling the truth. I like the image, but it is too horizontal. Those who tell the truth are also connecting vertically, back through time, to those who also told the truth. So they are also connecting with their better roots. I think that a better image is a tree, spreading.

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dkmich's picture

@wetterau

We can destroy both parties if we get smarter. I still think the vote has value. If you vote for one of the two parties, you throw its power away.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

@wetterau Thank you.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@wetterau

These are vitally important images right now. They are the path to where we want and need to go to grow.

Individuals can get there, but we need to move societies there, as well. We need to hold a vision, a shared vision of what we deserve as humans, for it to happen. Infrastructure is important to scale this up and lift the entire world into dignity. As a practical matter, I look to the Chinese to make it possible to connect all physical points and set possibilities free.

Very excellent comment. Stay close. .

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earthling1's picture

by voting for the candidate with the least amount of money. Paint the opposition with their own money.
The best way to enforce term limits without a law is never vote for an imcumbent, always a fresh face. Make new millionaires 535 at a time.
IMHO.

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