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The defining characteristic of the elite is to dominate by any means possible whether it be legal or illegal. The nature and extent of their "political power" is determined by how far they can push the rules of the game and get away with it.
So you're saying that the establishment of constitutional republics with electoral systems usurped power from the masses? So the masses held political power before the constitutional republics?
On which alternative timeline were the constitutional republics preceded by "truly democratic" political systems rather than the ancien régime or assorted authoritarian regimes?
Or are we talking about the times of relative anarchy around WWII? (Spanish Anarchist Revolution in 1936, possibly Italy and Greece at the end of WWII and during its immediate aftermath...)
There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
Perhaps the only true covenant within a republic that effectively checked or blocked elite domination was the Roman republic until the Gracchi murders over land distribution. Solderini's Florentine republic was another experience, short-lived at that. They were effectively hybrid democracies based on sortition and electoral systems. Modern oligarchic republics do have checks and balances as well as sortition-like empowerment but crucial power is wielded through electoral rituals that are easily gamed to the nearly exclusive benefit of the elite.
It seems pertinent to upcoming events such as the elections in Greece and the massive disaffection with politics throughout the world, thanks, I must say, to the crisis.
So you're saying that the establishment of constitutional republics with electoral systems usurped power from the masses?
Government has always been closely associated with adventuring corporations, from at least the time of the various India Companies.
The universal franchise and the electoral process provide the appearance of a pseduo-democratic mandate.
But as we saw recently in the UK, and as we've seen everywhere in Europe and the US, pretend-left parties always make sure that the interests of financial corporations come first, and that worker populations are farmed to that end.
The nastiness at the moment is based on the corporate realisation that domestic workforces no longer have any economic power. Most work can be done cheaper off-shore, so there's no longer any need to pretend that the working and middle classes can have a seat at the policy table.
The object now seems to be to keep workers cowed and terrified with consumer inflation, decreasing wages, and obvious political bullying and surveillance.
Politically we're already back in the 19th century pre-commune - never mind pre-franchise - days. The only question now is how much worse it's going to get, and how many pols are in on the joke.
Oh - and 'official' economics has never been more than a faked up justification for political repression.
The underlying problem is that elites are defined by their willingness to accumulate power and wealth at any human cost. There's no point expecting them to act differently, because it's who they are and what they do.
The only practical question is how to organise an effective pushback.
The underlying problem is that elites are defined by their willingness to accumulate power and wealth at any human cost.
Leo Strauss shared an interest in the philosophers, Nietzsche and Heidegger, admired by the Nazis and saw the Nazi party as a potential tool for his own aims, if they weren't so inconveniently fixated on the Jews. In Paris in the '30s he wrote to a friend "They consider me a Nazi here". Perhaps that is why the Nazi government assisted in getting him to the USA where he ended up at the University of Chicago teaching Political Science and became an influence on the likes of Rumsfield, David Rockefeller, Crystol, and other neocons.
As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
Let us now un-praise famous men. Last week, we congratulated Prime Minister Mario Monti for standing up to Italy's powerful trade unions and pushing ahead with a reform of his country's notoriously restrictive and anticompetitive labor laws. In a fit of temporary euro insanity, we even expressed the hope that Mr. Monti might be a leader in the mold of Margaret Thatcher, willing to stand up to modern-day Arthur Scargills.
And this after the FT interview with the troglodyte Emma Marcegaglia.
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