Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tony Gronowicz on American Democracy

Tony Gronowicz, one of our speakers Sunday on electoral politics and social change is the author of a new book, Grand Illusion: American Democracy from its Roots to the Present. Here is the prologue to his excellent book.

Grand Illusion: American Democracy from Its Roots to the Present
By Anthony Gronowicz

PROLOGUE

This is the story of how the United States rapidly evolved from royally chartered mercantile corporations that serviced British aristocracy into industrial corporations whose political arm is a federal government that grants citizens only those freedoms corporate lawyers deem necessary. During this historical evolution, rights to a living wage, affordable housing, health care, and education were denied the public.

From the first permanent English settlement in 1607, citizen fate has been directed by an upper class whose thickest roots straddle the English-speaking Atlantic. By the Civil War in 1861, immense profits had accrued to a thriving Anglo-American financial marriage, based upon a labor force disciplined through a uniquely cruel chattel slavery for transported Africans, and an indentured servitude that most European immigrants shared until the nineteenth century.

The states were forged to reflect the mastery of a class whose collective national self emerges in 1884 with the annual publication of a Social Register that lists those whom this upper class seeks to include. Ironically, the very richest and most powerful among them, like a David or Nelson Rockefeller, have no need for such self-designation as their immense power is recognized in the context of the prevailing ideology of corporate-managed democracy.

Two world wars allowed this upper class to shape consumption patterns that polluted the very pores of the planet as an oily film penetrated air, water, and earth. Each of these global holocausts generated revolutions in Russia and China respectively. They snapped the shackles of Anglo-American capital and became great powers in their own right.

Upper-class failures to gauge the strength of Red Armies led to unanticipated military outcomes. Rockefeller interests then instigated a costly arms race. It was calculated to undermine the psychological incentive for socialism that the expansion of the Soviet Union and the establishment of Communist China had upon the world’s peoples. To facilitate the task of bringing down the Soviet Union while the U.S. national deficit soared due to record military expenditure, CIA and Saudi Arabia in 1979 began to fund and supply Sunni Muslim religious extremists as part of the largest covert operation in history. That this occurred in a region that produced 80% of the world’s oil, made the stakes very high for an upper class whose assets rested upon hegemonic control of a carcinogen.

Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia’s extreme brand of Islam, Wahhabism, soon took on a life of its own. Into the new millennium, the Saud dynasty poured almost one trillion dollars into Fortune 500 companies. The cash infusion bought the complicity of the U.S. upper class to the machinations of a cutthroat regime unique for being the only sovereign state on the planet not to possess even a fig leaf of a national legislature.

This unholy alliance was formalized in 1979. It was emboldened by the collapse of the Soviet Union whose loss of 50 million people and 2/3 of its industry at the hands of upper-class supported Nazis in World War II posed an insurmountable obstacle to the establishment of socialism, especially when it faced a United States that had sacrificed the least and gained the most from the two world wars.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union presented the Saud and corresponding U.S. dynasties with the opportunity to liquidate the neighboring Iraqi regime and privatize its oil. Saddam Hussein had been propped up in 1979 by Washington as a counterweight to the Shiite revolution in Iran that overthrew the CIA-installed Shah dictatorship and resulted in the sudden deprivation of extravagant profits for the Anglo-American upper class. In the immediate aftermath, record interest rates and oil price spikes more than recouped their losses.

A pretext was required, one that would shock and awe the average American into supporting an invasion of Iraq and the seizure of its oil through the installation of puppet surrogates like the Shah. That pretext occurred on September 11, 2001. Even though the destruction of New York City’s World Trade Center was triggered by mainly Saudi hijackers funded by members of the Saud royal family, many people were hoodwinked into believing that Iraq was involved—even though it was a secular dictatorship at bitter odds with the divine monarchy of Saudi Arabia. The Houses of Bush, Rockefeller, and Saud—and their minions—stood to gain the most.

Besides, time was of the essence since Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, planned to sell his nation’s oil to the French and Germans for euros, a financial exchange that would strain a dollar weakened by a half century of Cold War, and wars against Korea and Vietnam.

First, the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2002 as part of President Bush Junior’s “crusade” to get the American public accustomed to “endless war.” Then came the blitzkrieg against Iraq in 2003.

Iraq could not, thanks to popular insurgency, increase its oil production to pay for the costs of the war as Washington had maintained. In less than two years, it dropped out of the top 10 oil producers after having been # 4 before the U.S. invasion. By 2005, Russia had rebounded from the collapse of c ommunism to become the world’s second largest oil producer. And China for the first time consumed more raw materials than the United States.

If these developments did not pose sufficient threat to the U.S. plutocracy, Venezuela under the charismatic leadership of Hugo Chavez, used its vast oil resources to effect (in Chavez’s words) “a revolution of the poor,” in alliance with Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and a communist Cuba that is first in education, health care, and life span in Latin America.

Currently, with 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes 25% of the world’s resources—hardly a globally democratic use. With military expenditures that exceed the rest of the world combined, the American upper class continues to demand more and more privations from the American people that point to economic collapse, revolution, and the establishment of genuine democracy and environmental concern.

1 comment:

Valance P. said...

Does any one knokw where I can get a copy of Tony Gronowicz book?