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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/3/11

The Necessary Use Of Violence To Support The Corporate Economy And The 1%

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There has been much discussion lately about the inevitable ramifications of laissez-faire capitalism. Taken to the extreme, laissez-fair capitalism results in the present corporate economy with its attendant capture of government functions. Once regulatory capture is complete, such as it is in the United States, the elite--who control the corporations which control the economy and the government--can do whatever they want. What they evidently want is to govern the world for profit, at the expense of approximately 7 billion others.

The worldwide Occupy Wall Street movements are one response to that situation. Since capitalism can be guaranteed to eventually arrive at its present point, no matter what "fixes" are implemented; many of the 99% realize that basic structural changes must be made. Because of this, the MSM decries the movement as being anti-capitalist. Given that this is said by capitalists, it is assumed to be a bad thing; but is it? Let's look at what capitalism, in the guise of the corporate economy has brought us.

Over the past 180 years or so, capitalism in the United States has produced a series of boom and bust cycles. Basically, the capitalists inflate a balloon and then it bursts; leaving them with the "profits" and everybody else holding the bag. This has become so commonplace and predictable, that it was given a name: "the business cycle." New Deal policies, enacted under FDR, put a major damper on that, until the Reagan administration. During that time the economy enjoyed unprecedented growth; which was shared by both the elite and the workers. Since then, productivity has continued to grow even faster, but all of the gains have gone only to the corporate elite. This trend picked up speed under the baby Bush and the Obama administrations. In the meantime, corporate interests managed to dismantle the protections of the New Deal; the loss of which led to the worldwide economic crash of 2008.

Simultaneously, another even darker aspect of the corporate economy was raising its ugly head. That is, the use of violence to further corporate economic goals. Since this article is not on American labor history, I will restrict my comments to violence perpetrated on Americans by the security establishment over the past half century at the behest of corporate interests, but not for the specific purpose of quelling labor unrest.

Mahatma Gandhi once said "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." This has been adopted as a slogan by many in the Occupy Wall Street movement, but its applicability to U.S. protests against corporate policies goes back at least to the 1960s anti-war movement. At that time, the non-violent protests grew to a size where the "authorities" didn't know what to do. Since they were not about to abandon their corporate clients, they did the only thing they knew how to do: use force. That state sponsored violence and the resulting increase in the size of the movement, led to the end of the war. This is precisely what Gandhi predicted. When the vast majority of a population takes on a small minority, the eventual outcome is not usually favorable to the minority, even if they have "all the money and all the guns."

Unfortunately, no lessons were learned by the corporations or their hired "muscle." The use of force has been a successful tactic for corporations overseas for well over a hundred years. Examples abound: Iran, Chile, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria, Libya and Iraq.

Since the late 1960s, virtually every police department in the United States has become militarized with many even having armored vehicles! The sole purpose of this militarization is to use maximum force against American citizens who don't behave in an "acceptable" manner with the intent of "teaching them a lesson." To date, many peaceful innocent citizens and non-violent suspects have been killed without reason by these forces.

Two months ago, a small group gathered in lower Manhattan to protest what was being done to them. They were at first ignored, then ridiculed. When their numbers began to grow to the point where the corporate elite considered them a possible threat, the thugs were called out. Anyone who watches television or accesses news on the internet has seen the resulting violence. As predicted, the movement numbers grew substantially as a result. The natural response is that--with a few temporary exceptions--the violence increased,. Nobody involved in this aggression seems to care that it is front page news everywhere in the world except in the U.S.

Corporations have always insisted on remaining "at arm's length" from the brutality they perpetrate, thus enabling plausible deniability (for the gullible.)

At this point it is impossible to say what the outcome(s) of the Occupy Wall Street movement might be. Prediction or forecasting is always just a guess. One thing that looks like a sure bet, though, is that as long as the corporate elite control the economy and the government, that the violence will continue and will steadily escalate. Eventually, some of the 99% will also escalate their actions. This will probably persist until either the elite are no longer in control, or until all dissent is quashed.


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Bruce is a retired university professor who has been actively supporting populist progressive positions for the past ten years. Besides teaching, he has spent almost ten years in the Marine Corps, including more than two years in combat, and has (more...)
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