Monday, October 14, 2013

Managed democracy and the demobilization of the working class

When it comes to the economy Michelle Nunn has no clue what she is talking about (see Dean Baker, and Brad Delong for more)

Eric Loomis of Lawyers Guns and Money recently noted the nonsense coming out of the Nunn campaign:
I understand that Michelle Nunn faces an uphill battle to win the Georgia Senate seat. But I’m absolutely not convinced that parroting right-wing lines about the national debt and the need to cut spending is going to help a Democrat win office anywhere. I know that she might have to make some compromises on the issues that matter to a conservative Georgia electorate–I wouldn’t expect her to take a strong statement on guns. I’d expect her to be pretty hawkish on foreign policy (which I expect anyway because of her father). I wouldn’t expect her to be a national leader of gay marriage (although I would expect at least neutrality). I wouldn’t even really resent her for being an ally of dirty energy. But how does the national debt play with the voters of Georgia? I’m skeptical it really matters to anyone but the 1% who are looking to concentrate resources in their pockets. Unfortunately, Democratic politicians tilting right seem to equate that with also supporting the extremely rich. This is DLC-style posturing at its worst. Makes the big funders happy though.
Sheldon Wolin in his excellent bookDemocracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism tapped in to the reasoning behind the DLC 1% posturing of the Nunn campaign; the goal is managed Democracy:
A major tactic on the way to managed democracy was to encourage what might be called "discouraged democracy." A prime example was the device of requiring extraordinary majorities that became a staple of antitax and -spending forces beginning in the latter part of the twentieth century. Not only did the device increase the power of highly organized minorities, but it served to discourage a majority from using its power to promote social programs intended to meet basic needs and improve the lot of poorer citizens.  Voter apathy is importantly a consequence of low expectations that their government will respond to their needs. Why bother? Perhaps because inequalities are not confined to differences of wealth, status, life prospects, and conditions of existence; such inequalities translate into inequalities of power.  Arguments about taxation are, at bottom, arguments about the distribution of power.
 While low voter turnout might seems a reflection of low civic morale and a dangerous symptom of democratic decline, republicanism would view it in a positive light.  A certain amount of nonvoting is especially welcome if it deters the most desperate, those who are likely to be swayed by "populist" demagoguery.  When Republicans and conservative Democrats work methodically to reduce or eliminate social programs, the result is tantamount to a deliberate strategy of encouraging political apathy among the poor and needy....
During the 1990's politicians of both parties educated the populace in anti government ideas. Democrats and Republicans alike then raced to see who could propose the most drastic cutbacks in social welfare programs.  Government that had prided itself on serving the Many was dismantled in favor of "a leaner government." Predictably this counterrevolution was made easier during the 1980's and 1990's by a spate of ideologically inspired, wildly exaggerated, and racially divisive attacks upon "welfare cheats" and "Cadillac welfare queens."
The successful counterrevolution was doubly significant.  Whatever the merits of corporate capitalism, it is not a system whose benefits are equally distributed.  It is instead a system that, as a matter of course, produces striking inequalities.  The results are evident in the greater concentration and extremes of wealth, a deeper divide between classes, in terms of health care and of educational and cultural opportunities than at any time in recent history.  The wide disparities serve to expose the counterrevolutionary strategy that motivates the champions of managed democracy.
Counterrevolution means, not a return to the past--the powers fostering it are too dynamic--but a closing off of a demotic direction and the nudging of society toward a different direction where inequalities will be taken for granted, rationalized, perhaps celebrated....
.... The aim of the counterrevolutionary strategy is the permanent institutionalization of a counterdemocratic state.
 In the middle of an economic crisis one might think the Democrats would work to stick a pro-gun populist on the campaign trail in the US Senate race; we instead have a "name" that is AWOL from the campaign trail aside from random op-eds and interviews where she pushes talking points of the 1%.

The Democratic Party insiders are selling a "grand bargain" type to the base of the party as a "done deal".  The 1% has the Democratic primary on lock-down.  Its doing two things--telling working class Republican voters "we think you are rubes who couldn't understand economics if we tried".  Believe me, they may not know a lot of macroeconomics but Red voters in Georgia will see through Nunn for the lies she's touting on the campaign trail (either Nunn is a liar or clueless; if she's just clueless lets get her some better advisers. If she isn't  clueless and is just telling people what she thinks they want to hear to get elected she is therefore a liar.)

Its also continuing a pattern of the Democratic Party selling out the working class of Georgia, so they can get through to the General election a politician that will reinforce the worst cliches about an out of touch Democratic Party elite who don't understand working people--and those red voters will be absolutely correct.

That's why I started a Draft Jason Carter for US Senate petition campaign.  The only thing that will beat Nunn is a name who has the political apparatus able to beat her in the primary.  Working people don't have the time, energy, or money to help one of the other two  no name candidates win the primary--its just not going to happen in this short amount of time.   But can get people to sign a petition in opposition to Nunn's neoliberalism.

We need demotic action; we need Jason Carter to run for US Senate.  Please sign and share.

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