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Overturning inverted totalitarianism

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Perhaps the most important result so far of the Bernie Sanders insurgency is how starkly it has exposed the truly totalitarian nature of the 21st century American state.

Of course, this is not totalitarianism of the classic Orwellian variety. It is the "inverted totalitarianism" that the late political scientist Sheldon Wolin so brilliantly described in his book, "Democracy, Incorporated." In a system of inverted totalitarianism, there is no real distinction between state and corporate power. In this system, a carefully "managed democracy," as Wolin called it, is supervised by a technocratic elite in the general service of corporate interests.

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In inverted totalitarianism, the outward forms of democracy continue to exist--enough to keep a deliberately uninformed populace under the illusion that they still live in a democracy--but the actual levers of government are tightly controlled by Wall Street and its associated industries--finance, armaments, energy and media.

What makes this system of totalitarianism "inverted" is that, instead of being ruled by a "strong leader," like you find in classic 1930s-style fascism--the earlier, more primitive version of the merger of corporate and state power--the system is instead governed by a consensus of corporate interests, with a puppet US president answering to the "phalanx of CEOs" that Bob Woodward once described as immediately surrounding every new American president.

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And Bill Clinton, with his brilliant technocratic grasp of policy, and his enthusiastic embrace of so-called "free trade" agreements, and his ruthless commitment to American imperialism, and his welfare and telecommunications and banking "reforms"--all of which served to increase the share of global wealth owned by the 1 percent--proved himself a very effective "manager" of democracy indeed. So he was generously rewarded for his services to the elite with millions in post-presidential speaking fees, and millions more in donations to a foundation that primarily serves as a personal family slush fund, and was welcomed wholeheartedly into the 1 percent--his trailer trash background and habits notwithstanding.

It is therefore a natural development for the global elites who oversee the world's economic system to hire Bill Clinton's longtime "partner in power," with equal confidence in her ability to provide the certainty and stability that capitalism and the financial markets depend on, and with the knowledge that she will do her utmost to protect and maintain the status quo.

Making Hillary president has the added benefit for the ruling elites of making it appear as if the US is moving in a more liberal direction politically. This helps to disguise the tightening grip of transnational capital on the US government, not to mention those of democracies worldwide, and keeps liberals confused.

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Meanwhile, a Hillary presidency will guarantee that Americans remain divided, as a Republican Congress--the likely result of a November enthusiasm gap--mine the files of the Clinton Foundation or, who knows, maybe Benghazi, for impeachable offenses, cheered on by those who have hated her with righteous fury ever since she was First Lady. And left and right will square off as enemies, rather than uniting as compatriots with a common foe: a corrupt American government that no longer functions either as a democracy or, in any meaningful sense, a republic. And a corrupt and unjust system will be protected from a united populace.

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http://hampshireindependent.blogspot.com/

Michael Hasty wrote a column for 7 years at the Hampshire Review, West Virginia's oldest newspaper, named "best column" in 2000 by the WV Press Association. His writings have appeared at hundreds of websites, including Online Journal, Common (more...)
 

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