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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 40

Securing Capitalist Accumulation for America’s Ruling Corporate Caste

Tuesday 23 September 2008, by Eddie J Girdner

TERROR ON TAP

I

America is marked, as compared to the rest of the world, with a unique feature. If at all possible, every enterprise should be geared to the making of private profit. The public spirit, as such, scarcely exists, although it is cynically alluded to. Rather, it is the profit spirit which prevails. This probably should not be surprising, as the de facto ruling class in America is the business class. Indeed, everything revolves around the “business class”, not only in airports and airplanes, but everywhere else. If one wants status, then being in the business class is the way to get it. It is, more truthfully, a caste system in which those in the business class are the upper-caste Brahmins of the system, or “the Masters of the Universe”, as they prefer to call themselves.

In America, the business class buys and owns the politicians and tells them which laws to pass.1 The business class holds a virtual veto over whether a politician can get elected or reelected. With some rare exceptions, laws cannot be passed either in Washington, D.C. or the state legislatures, unless they pass muster with the business-corporate establishment. The process of buying politicians and the laws they pass is known among American political scientists as “lobbying”. Everywhere else in the world, it is known, somewhat more honestly, as bribery. Washington, D.C. is swarming with at least 25,000 corporate lobbyists at any one time, and they are not there for sight- seeing. But it would not do to tell American university students that the American political system is based upon bribery. So a new word was invented. The way it works is: vote for the laws I like and that will make me profits and I will give you money for your next election campaign. Politicians also cannot get elected or re-elected without lots of money and the major of that money is from large corporations. Interest group theory is merely a part of the American ideology as it fails to account for the inordinate stranglehold big corporations have over the political and legal system. In recent years, some politicians have pointed out in very strong terms that the system stinks, and have dropped out of the system. This, however, has not affected the operation of the deeply rooted system.

Voting in favour of defence appropriation bills, which funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to large defence corporations, is part of the requirement, of course, of a politician getting re-elected. And voting for laws favoured by the organisations of the Jewish lobby, such as the American-Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is part of the same system. Bribery of members of the Congress on behalf of Israel is deeply embedded as these organisations systematically use blackmail and are powerful enough to target a renegade politician (that is, an honest one) who does not play the game and flush her/him straight down the pipes and out of the system the next time elections come around. It has been done many times.

Of course, the system abounds with a host of myths, for example, that it is a “pluralistic system”. Such terms have been invented by political scientists who have been bought into the system and keep peddling the fiction that the American system is the “most democratic system” and so on. The system is about as pluralistic as the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union when it existed, where one could prefer one communist over another, but not a non-communist. In the US system today, one can prefer one neo-liberal capitalist over another, a little to the Left or the Right, but not a non-capitalist. Today an individual with a strong ideal of social welfare let alone democratic socialism, is not considered fit for the system. One should be in the mainstream of the neo-liberal ideology.

The study of American politics and the way American political scientists have taught and written about it generally comes under the rubric of perpetuating myths, rather than the scientific study of telling the truth. It will not do to tell the truth, but of course, this is generally true in any country, concerning the prevailing political system.

The common people cannot be fooled so easily, of course, those who take the hits of the system day in and day out. They know there is a lot that is rotten in the system, even if they cannot systematically analyse it. One needs a university degree to perpetuate the democratic myths and having a Ph.D provides one with the credentials and licence to be a fool. The common people know the truth, they feel it and see it, but they cannot say it everywhere and generally the proper clues calls forth the appropriate genuflection . They are just made to believe that they are stupid and so the ideology is easily preserved. It is a system of using propaganda to manufacture consent and it works. Of course, some people do crack, go berserk and land themselves in jail and are thus put out of general circulation. When one tells the truth, he or she is likely to be considered a little “crazy”.

When private businesses see the state performing some service, the immediate impulse is to protest that the private sector can do it better, for less cost. Of course, what they have in mind is at greater cost and inordinate profit. Often, the private sector does it worse, but the point is to get the enterprise into their hands and to make a whopping profit regardless of the consequences.

In America, some aspects of the carrying out of a war are some of the last spheres not yet taken over by private enterprise. The US invasion and occupation of Iraq has made admirable (read deplorable) inroads into changing that. Indeed, it all goes together so beautifully. The Right-wing political fanatics, the religious fanatics, the corporate greed fanatics, the Islamophobic fanatics, the war on terror fanatics, all rolled up into a ball, the reincarnation of self-righteousness, the Wilsonian spreading democracyism in its latest and most earnest metamorphosis, in monstrous form, the calling down of fire and brimstone from the Washingtonian heavens on all the heathen Islamofascists beyond the pale of Western “civilisation”! Lost and without “our American values”.

One can’t help but cringe when “George the Second” ruffles his feathers, swells up, gets red in the face and rattles his sword at the forces of evil. He is on his way out, of course, but he will be relieved shortly by his successor blusterer. The unfortunate tendency around the world, not in Turkey alone, is to follow America’s lead, no matter how grotesque the policy, presumably under the rationale that if America is doing it, it must be better. One should consider that America has destroyed most of the good things it once enjoyed, like healthy food, and is not going after the rest of the world with its prefabricated “French-fries” and other fast foods. If McDonalds (fast food coming) can invent the ultimate constipational sandwich (slow food going), the rest of the world should rush to include it in the national diet straight away! A country must keep up with global “development” and stay abreast of the times.

To the greatest extent of any war yet in history, the war in Iraq has been privatised.2 But two qualifications. First, it was not a war. It was an invasion and occupation by an illegal outside force with the Iraqi state initially resisting and after that, the people taking over to resist the occupation, with some outside help.3 The second is that privatisation is actually not the right description, as turning occupation over to private security companies is not really allowing the company to get chance to do something it would do anyway. So it is not privatisation in the proper sense. Rather, the use of mercenary forces is a type of mechanism which allows a state (the US political apparatus) to wage war on two fronts at once. One is against the working class of its own country to extract tax dollars from them, now and in the future. The other front is against the target country, to get control of the country, particularly to get control of the resources, such as oil and minerals, and make the country into a strategic military occupation, and exploiting its geo-strategic location. The objective of both wars is to expand and forward the accumulation of capital in the hands of the members of the ruling class/caste of corporate America. It is wholesale plunder on both ends, plundering the pockets of the working class/caste from one end of America to the other, to the tune of $ 30,000 per family (so far) in the case of the Iraq occupation to the plundering of the common people of Iraq and the resources of their country, from one end of the country to the other, while sharing some of the spoils with the fatted Iraqi pseudo-ruling officials, scoured up by the neo-conservatives in London, Paris, and New York and installed as a puppet government in Baghdad.

There was a Right-wing Christian family in Minnesota, who produced a Prince, Eric Prince, who founded the private security company, Blackwater USA.4 The family is part of the ruling caste in America who fit the bill. His company, Blackwater USA, has received contracts worth more than a billion US dollars from the US State Department since the beginning of the Iraqi occupation.

American state rule and colonial occupation around the world is built upon violence and the threat of violence, often terror, and if a company is to make inroads into taking over the function carried out by the US military and state police apparatus, it must produce and sell violence to the state. This is what Blackwater USA, Dyncorp, Triple Canopy and many other private security firms working in Iraq and other countries are doing and will do more of in future.

This sort of “privatisation” would be a chance to push the military industrial complex (MIC) forward, a giant leap forward for the MIC, we can say. It was right down Dick Cheney’s line, with his provision of massive government contracts to Halliburton, and it would help to conceal the true size of the colonial occupation of other countries around the world, particularly Iraq. It is an extremely dangerous and significant development for the American people, even more so than previous forms of the MIC weapons production boondoggle. It brings many more elements of the private corporation and many more corporations into the position of depending upon state violence, state terrorism, pre-emptive war, and occupation to maintain their high profits. If economies are to be patterned after America’s economy, and for sure they are coming to be around the world through the coercive mechanisms of the IMF and WTO, then it is truly significant that the health of the economy depends upon continuous war and occupation, under the deceptive and fabricated rubric of the “War on Terror”.5 Not only will big corporations have to ensure that there is always war, the common people too will become dependent upon war, while at the same time being exploited and having their sons and daughters killed by such crusades.

From now on even more big corporations in the arms and private security business are going to be buying politicians who will provide them with the wars and occupations they need for high profits and accelerated accumulation of capital.6 We have seen the system put into place in the occupation of Iraq. At the same time the system is being extended to the domestic areas inside the United States as Blackwater USA takes over border security and the same firms move to take over intelligence operations. These developments are already well advanced.7

The real rub for the future is that the colonial occupation of countries is unlikely to be easily maintained politically, either in the occupied country or the occupying country. Regular troops may not be able to provide “security” as in the past. This has given rise to private security companies. They are not cheap, but they allow the necessary criminalisation of the occupation, that is, outside national and international law. That is, they guarantee that war crimes may be carried out with little or no accountability, with impunity. This has been amply demonstrated in the case of Blackwater USA in Iraq, the most blatant in the use of violence among the private security firms operating in the country. This is the operational mode of the professionalised rogue state. These firms are the necessary complement to the rogue state par excellence.

Some typical incidents will serve to illustrate. On September 16, 2007, in Baghdad, the shootings by Blackwater USA killed seventeen people and wounded at least 12 who just happened to be driving on the street.8 On Christmas eve in 2005, a Blackwater guard who was drunk shot and killed the body guard of the Iraqi Vice-President. On February 7, 2007, Blackwater guards shot and killed three Iraqi guards who worked for the Iraqi Media Network. The Blackwater men shot from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry nearby.9 Many other incidents have been reported in the press how innocent Iraqis have become victims of the violent cowboy tactics of this firm. The company has one primary mission in its ongoing contract with the US State Department. To keep its subjects, diplomats, politicians, government officials, businessmen, and so on, alive while carrying out their mission in the country. How many innocent Iraqis die in the process, whether men, women, or children, Iraqi Government employees, or whatever, is of no real consequence to Blackwater USA, except that negative public opinion back home could militate against the country. Even the fact that they anger and alienate the Iraqi people is not their concern, as is evident from comments made by Blackwater guards and some US officials who are concerned that such violence “undermines the US mission”. That is, it is hard to “win hearts and minds” by shooting people, running people off the roads, and blowing up their cars with assault weapons.10

The beauty of the situation for Blackwater USA and other security firms, and the problem for the Iraqi families, whose relatives have been shot, is that the private security firms are not considered to be under the legal jurisdiction of either US law or Iraqi law. The Iraqi Government vowed to expel Blackwater from the country, but nothing has happened. In fact, the Iraqi Government lacks the legal jurisdiction to control the firms operation in their own country. The US Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer issued a specific order (Order No. 17) which exempted private security firms from Iraqi law on the day before Bremer left the country in 2004. There has also been no attempt to hold the companies liable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), even though some believe this would be a way to prosecute misbehaviour. This would be a long shot, however, as the US courts might well rule against the use of the UCMJ, which cuts corners on individual constitutional rights. Still, it appears that there may, indeed, be US laws which could be used to prosecute these private security firms, but which have been ignored. One possibility is the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000, which authorises the Justice Department to prosecute employees of US contractors who commit crimes on foreign soil.11 It leads one to suspect that the US authorities have no interest in pursuing cases against the firms under existing laws and codes, even if such exist. Since the US cannot occupy a country in a hostile environment, such as Iraq, without private security firms, why should they open the can of worms which would emerge from prosecution of private security firms? US diplomats, who are often less than willing to serve under such life threatening conditions, are, of course, primarily interested in getting out of the country alive. The Iraqis in the street do not want the Americans there. They must constantly receive congressional delegations, and even the President, and if something happens to one of them, they are responsible.12 It is simply the only way that the country can be occupied and the sacrifice of the local people is of little consequence to the colonial masters. They pay a little blood-money to the families and that’s it. The population back home is not sensitive enough to get upset about the deaths of Iraqis, regardless of how innocent,13 even if it results in a massacre. The details of such cases become bogged down in legal detail and are difficult to follow for even those who take a keen interest in them. Of course, historically, British Indian occupation resulted in massacres, such as Jalianwalla Bagh in Amritsar. State terrorism comes to be used against the local population. Today this is being done with mercenaries. This is likely to be just part of the territory of occupying a country in future, and what breaches of the law can be tolerated under the rubric of the “war on terror” seem limitless. There are manifold evidence emerging daily that the rogue state principle is in the ascendance, but hardly surprising.

The unleashing of state terrorism in occupied countries is, of course, a model for bringing this terrorism home and using it against the local domestic population. In Hurricane Katrina Blackwater and other firms were brought in to shoot civilians who may have been involved in looting. Now local police forces are being increasingly trained at Blackwater training facilities. Private security firms can be used when citizens carry out legal protests. This sort of privatisation is a useful tool in pushing America in a clearly fascistic direction.14

II

THE taking over of the security and intelligence functions of the state by the private sector in lucrative contracts is but an extension and deepening of the military industrial corporate complex. It is not, in fact, privatisation. It is the cankerworm of private corporate greed eating out the heart of the state in the massive theft of the life-resources of the people. With the private-enterprise maggots embedded deep in the apparatus of the state as cash-sucking parasites, they have injected their poison into the blood veins of the politicians who are supposed to represent the people. But as we noted earlier, the system is one of bribery. The maggots worm their way into every nook and cranny of the system and then the IMF, sure enough, hoists this malignant form of business caste rule as a model for the rest of the world to emulate.15 It is the metamorphosis of the state into an organisation of monstrous theft, waging class warfare on the people and at the same time extracting the wealth which rightfully belongs to society for the benefit of the corporate ruling class. In Washington, these private companies are called “Beltway Bandits”. The state has come to operate as a mafia running a protection racket. While the shibboleth, “market”, is cynically thrown around, as the tossing of holy water by the high corporate priests of the system, it has nothing whatsoever to do with a market.16 The lofting of the holy cross of the “market”, invoking the sacred icon, will serve to ward off all danger of criticism. It is straightforward extraction of the surplus of society through fear and force.

This extension and deepening of the military industrial complex, which former US President Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his departing speech on January 17, 1961, gives every corporation a vested interest in war and occupation, in “the war on terror”, to be more imprecise, profiting not only from producing obscenely overpriced weapons systems for the state but now from pre-emptive wars and imperialist occupation. Now private companies spring for contracts in the field of intelligence, spy upon the domestic population of the country, and the state justifies the breach of privacy euphemistically under the rubric of the “war on terror”.17 During the Clinton Administration, more than 100,000 Pentagon jobs were transferred to companies in the private sector. In 2002, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) received a $ 200 budget to compile dossiers on 300 million Americans, work which is not done through private contractors.18

In other words, “Big Brother” has now become a part of the Military Industrial Corporate Complex (MIC). At root, the MIC is a highly deceptive mechanism for using the state to produce high artificial profits for private corporations. In other words, we have mass state communism for private corporations, feeding out of the hog trough after burying their way into the entrails of the state, under the rubric and lie of “private enterprise”! Meanwhile, the people can enjoy so-called “capitalism”, which the corporate bosses have rejected as too risky, and when the risk hits the people are on their own and take the hit. The state is nowhere to be found, high or low, probably hiding somewhere behind the “market”. For the people, this is not a system of capitalism, but rather a system of crapitalism, where, in hallowed tradition, “shit flows down hill”. When the wise leader at the helm decides on another pre-emptive war and occupation, the people get hit with the bill. They also get hit with the bill for the government spying on them, listening to what they say and spying on what they do.19 They never see any of the oil; as Woody Guthrie says, they get the grease.

Getting in a position to leach massively off the state is what contemporary political economists refer to as “rent seeking”, but with a vengeance. In this case, they are stealing the life-blood of the population. More accurately it is rent-ripping, the massive ripping off of the wealth of the population to ensure the profits and private capitalist accumulation of the corporate caste sector.

As noted before, it has no relation to markets, unless one considers no-bid contracts to be a “market”. The people are not asked to choose in the marketplace whether they wish to pay $ 30,000 US dollars for the occupation of Iraq or $ 10,000 worth of war in Afghanistan, and maybe a dead or injured son as a bonus, but simply get the tax bill in their mail box, now and in years to come as long as the debt keeps hanging over their heads. Given a choice, a family might well have chosen $ 30,000 worth of house or university education, or a better car.

The only way to get the population to go along with massive state rent seeking (rent ripping) is to make them quake in their boots, that is, to impose fear. Let’s have a metre that is said to measure the threat of terror in the country. This system was implemented quickly after 9/11, 2001. When more tax dollars are needed, the metre is simply moved up to red alert, extremely high danger, and pockets can be plundered. It can be seen that this is just a modern version of the old Truman-era trick of Senator Arthur Vandenburg. To get the money out of the people for rearmament for the Korean War after World War II, Truman said truthfully: “We had to scare the hell out of the American People.” The ‘threat level’ metre is just the latest trick to con the people out of their hard-earned pay.

The state must play the protection racket, the modus operandi of a mafia, to make the people afraid and then offer to protect them for a fee, for taxes, which are eaten out of the state coffer by the corporate maggots. The old game was played using “communism” as the bogey man during the Cold War, and now terrorism.

Of course, most people in America are far more threatened from a collapsing building or an auto accident than from the Taliban. They are vastly more threatened by lack of health care of lack or a job. Most people in America were no more threatened by communism than Hindu pundits on the Ganges in Varanasi. How could terrorism today be a threat to the half of the world’s humanity living on less than one dollar a day? They will probably never be hit by a bomb, but are hit daily by the bomb of poverty and lack of food. We can dismiss the “threat of terrorism” as the height of absurdity for at least three-quarters of humanity, who really have almost nothing to lose. How does the terrorism of the Al-Qaeda threaten them when the system has already reduced them to their level of grinding poverty? What threatens them with one-hundred per cent certainty every moment is the global system of capitalist inequality which has been imposed upon them, the ultimate form of insecurity. It is surely the genius of good propagandists to portray terrorism as what people in Kansas or Calcutta should be worried about, and to actually get them to worry about that!

Of course, “we believe in markets” and “we believe our capital markets are strong”, the Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, keeps droning and intoning. But while the high priests of the financial system claim to believe in the “”markets” they certainly do not act like it. They do not depend upon them. They know that in the long and sordid history of so-called capitalism, the system sputters along at best and when the engine dies the state has to grab hold of the crank and pump the dying carcass back to life. The contradictions mean that the life-needs of the people must be sacrificed for the suits in the board rooms to keep up capitalist accumulation.

Wars and so-called threats of wars have proved to be the best way, the protection racket of pumping value out of the people. And so when actually existing communism failed the global G-8 rulers as a credible threat, terrorism had to replace it. Of course, terrorism is no fiction, it is there, like communism was there. The problem is that there must be enough of it to scare the living daylights out of every poor citizen working stiff to fork over what he ought to have to run his family. There shouldn’t be too much, but there also shouldn’t be too little, because in that case, the poor citizen would forget what was threatening him and no longer be willing to pay the protection money.

Fortunately, it is well known how to supply enough fear and terrorism that the threat is there. And that is simply the global political economy itself, as it operates, that pushed countries into revolution in the Cold War era and the policies which push them into terrorism today, so that “counterinsurgency” measures are needed to provide “security”. Security for who? It is not that half of the world which lives on less than one dollar a day. As we have noted, what would the threat of terrorism mean to them? Rather, getting blown up would simply put the poor sons of bitches out of their misery. Many of them are already resorting to committing suicide, like Indian farmers who have lost their livelihoods.

American intelligence agencies have reported very clearly the root and causes of terrorism. That is the very foreign policies of Western countries, mainly and especially that of the United States. All the United States has to do is to carry on alienating nations and people around the world and this will ensure an adequate supply of terrorism.

To summarise, first terrorism can be turned on or off as needed or called for by the system. Secondly, capitalist accumulation for America’s corporate caste can be ensured by embedding private firms within the state and thus providing security for the system. This is the real meaning of “security”. Third, this “security” necessitates wars and the threat of terrorism, but more critically for the common people, it strips them of what they need for a decent life. Security for the corporate caste is insecurity for the common people. Fourth, the concept of “security”, as commonly used in its doctrinal meaning, is relatively meaningless for more than half of the population, as there is no way they can live under the prevailing economic conditions, and there is little hope for them that things will improve. Fifth, profits will be maintained and capitalist accumulation continue as long as the system can be kept in place, “secured”. That is, as long as the majority of mankind can be kept insecure and thus prone to engaging in terror or revolution or some sort of natural revolt against the system which is killing them. Sixth, the system will be threatened from within if the propaganda breaks down. This is not likely in America as all stops are pulled out as with the Fox TV daily morning and evening frontal lobotomy. The system may also be threatened from financial collapse over time from the over-extension of the empire. Seventh, the most essential element and the pillar that the system cannot do without is terror, or some other equivalent which can be used to produce fear and discipline in the society.

III

IT has recently been argued by Patrick Buchanan that World War II was a useless war which could have been avoided.20 This is probably true of just about every war. Nevertheless, probably the main function of war in a Western neo-liberal society today is for the purpose of engaging in wholesale theft from both the “enemy” country and the home population for the purpose of maintaining profits and overcoming the contradictions of capitalism. It transfers massive wealth from the poor to the rich and serves to reinforce the myth that wars happen, are unavoidable and cannot be avoided by the wisest of leaders. Wars are said to “break out”. But it seems that if conditions do not exist for wars they must be created and great resources are devoted to this enterprise. Take the case of Iran today. Why pick a fight with Iran? Even if it is engaged in the project of developing nuclear weapons, so what? It is not the only nation doing it, and all hell has not broken out from the fact that India, Pakistan, Israel and other nations have developed nuclear weapons. There are other nations currently engaged in such projects and so who pick a fight with Iran? There has to be something else going on here, of course. We can recall that a fight was picked over Iraq for the same reason. There is no indication that nuclear weapons are very useful, except as a deterrent from preventing a pre-emptive attack on the home soil, and of course making money for the defence corporations when the enterprise is privatised.

However, if war and occupation is pushed too far, it will kill the goose that laid the golden egg, which is the actual historical fate of empires. The US is following in this same path.

It is characteristic of capitalism that it does not, in general circumstances, generate enough surplus to satisfy the corporate caste for their greed for profits. This has given rise to the vast system of military Keynesianism to finance the MIC and the practice of putting the cost on the national credit card for future generations to pay. Today the source of credit is mostly China and Japan and the US national credit card has run up a bill of more than nine trillion US dollars. None of the cost of the Afghan and Iraq military operations has been paid for, but merely stuck on the national credit card for future generations to worry about. Very convenient for the politicians and the corporate caste. Meanwhile the companies go on raking in their enormous profits.

This is happening just when the US has experienced a period when consumption and economic growth was funded by rising household debt and refinancing of mortgages on family homes, that is, for a number of years, people were supplementing their incomes by spending the rising equities in their homes. Now that the bubble in house prices has burst, it serves to impoverish families and increase inequality. At the same time, the corporate sector is awash with cash and corporate profits are at historical highs, although there has been a crises among some banks. At any rate, they get it while they can and they got it while they could.

It is ironic in all of this, and a tribute to the power of propaganda and ideology, that the American people, the rank and file, just do not get it. They do not understand that World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the wars in Afghan and Iraq have been, at root, mechanisms to serve not their security, far from it, but mechanisms to ensure the security of capital and the owners of capital. They do not see that the process is part of a system, bound by deeply established institutions, put in place during the long twentieth century. While a few will get lucky and get rich, this just serves to prevent clear thinking. The role of the average citizen, the drones in every country, is to keep their nose to the grind stone, “hope and pray, live on hay… you’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” Hope, they apparently think is the new face of Barack Obama, who will make some enlightened decisions and then America can “move on” away from the bad and greedy days of the George W. Bush era of the neo-conservatives to the promised land. They will not learn how the system works by studying the American Government in American universities or watching the US Presidential campaign on CNN, for that matter.21

The President of the United States actually has very little power and is reduced to a poor tinkering, which can help a little, but makes no inroads into the system, even if a President could be elected who genuinely wanted to bring change. The locus of power in America has long been known by those thinkers and scholars who pulled the wool away from their eyes and saw things clearly. Those such as G. William Domhoff (Who Rules America), C. Wright Mills (The Power Elite) and Noam Chomsky. The power in the American system is located in Wall Street, the Pentagon, major corporations and their boards of directors, the privatised Federal Reserve Board, the Pentagon, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the institution of the North Atlantic alliance, such as the North American Treaty Organisation (NATO), the links with corporate elites in other G-8 countries, and the on-going deals with the feudal rulers of the Middle East oil kingdoms and the secret (deep state) and private clubs of powerful individuals who can make secret decisions behind the scenes that affect most Americans and most of the world’s population. The system will be run this way, from behind the scenes, until the contradictions in the system finally lead to its historical demise. It has very little to do with democracy, whatsoever, except for those few who actually run the system and benefit from it.

IV

TODAY, the best bet for the perpetuation of the system of security for capitalist accumulation is the so-called “war on terror”. That is, the continuation of the system which, far from being a “war on terror”, perpetuates and creates terror. This will serve to instill the necessary doses of fear to intimidate the American and global masses and keep them docile and generating surplus for the ruling class. The Cold War, after all, from the point of view of the West, was about crushing all hopes of suffering humanity for human liberation, under the rubric of making people free. The so-called “war on terror” is a continuation of that war, recycling human repression and a renewed imperialist drive for global resources.

Teach the people that their protectors in the protection racket are providing them “security” (albeit security from the terror the protectors themselves necessarily create) and keep them marching lock-step and patriotic and tying yellow ribbons around trees and sending their sons and daughters off to die to “preserve the American way of life” and “spread American values” and so on, which God wills them to do. The rulers of the system can then rest assured that the brains of the American people are made of mush, as Walter Lippmann assured the intellectual architects of the propaganda machine, that the “average man is stupid”. And the corporate caste will keep on laughing all the way to the bank until they finally run the system into the ground.

V

THE so-called “privatisation” may be hollowing out the state, but the vacuum created is being filled up by the swelling, bloated maggots of the private corporations which are living off the flesh of the body politic and the people. At some point, the corporate parasites will become the masters and the corporation will take power into its own hands and rule directly. This will usher in the dictatorship of the corporatariat. The façade of the state, the veil, will be lifted and the people will come face to face with the true Masters of the Universe… now their rulers.

Perhaps we have already reached this point and it is too late to go back. The politicians are puppets, manikins,22 marionettes, one-dimensional men, shadows of real people, serving to muddle and bemuse the people, while the serious cash-crunching and munching goes on behind the scenes inside the dead carcass of the liberal democracy. Civil society, that is, democracy, is highly subversive of capital.

The ruling apparatus is on auto-pilot, pre-programmed, the interlocking institutions finely meshed. A well-oiled machine, fuelled by mass infusions of cash, but inside a black box. The people are to be oblivious of its workings, guaranteed by a Fox TV lobotomy. Outside, in the public arena, the show goes on with all the glitz and glitter, the media spin, the official lies, the Obama rhetorical flourishes, “change we can believe in”, thumping John McCain, the “straight talk express”, McCain, McSame, Mc-fooled once again and another goddamned election! And back to business as usual.

Meanwhile, the real state, the Masters of the Universe, consolidate their control of society as private power becomes totalitarian rule. The Iron Fist. Slavery is freedom; War is peace. Welcome to the glorious Dictatorship of the Corporate Maggotariat!

REFERENCES

- 1. It is a very elementary and fundamental feature of the political system which has never yet been revealed in any widely used textbook on American politics. An exception is Democracy for the Few by Michael Parenti
- 2. For the first time in history the number of “private contractors” in the occupation is roughly equal to the number of foreign troops. Richard Lardnerz, “180,000 private contractors flood Iraq”, AP, September 19, 2007.
- 3. We are glad that we can objectively report that the US has never yet been guilty of rendering any such help to any nation or group!
- 4. The story of Blackwater USA is found in Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, New York: Nation Books, 2007.
- 5. Daniel Howden and Leonard Doyle, “Making a Killing: how private armies became a $120 bn global industry”, Independent, September 21, 2007.
- 6. Robert Scheer, “Checkbook Imperialism: The Blackwater Fiasco,” Truthdig, September 20, 2007.
- 7. Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, Simon and Schuster, 2008.
- 8. The case received wide coverage in the international press. While it is yet to be completely resolved in July 2008. No one has yet been charged. James Glanz and Sabrina Tavernise, “Backwater Shooting Scene was Chaotic,” New York Times, September 28, 2007. Jeremy Scahill, “Making a Killing,” The Nation, September 27, 2007.
- 9. Steve Fainaru, “How blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards,” Washington Post, November 8, 2007.
- 10. All evidence seems to point to the blame being on Blackwater for the September 16, 2007 massacre. Robert H. Reid, “Iraq: Blackwater guards fired unprovoked,” AP, September 23, 2007.
- 11. Brad Knickerbocker, “A legal danger zone for Blackwater,” Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2007.
- 12. In the most serious case to date, a grand jury investigation continues, but it is not expected that any private security company officials will be indicted or convicted. It appears more of a public relations exercise than anything else.
- 13. The hypocrisy is seen in such stories as the treatment of the Iraqi child with a burned face, apparently to demonstrate the humanitarian bent of Americans while the slaughter in the streets goes on almost daily.
- 14. The state-private corporation complex, termed corporatism, is the basis for the fascist economy.
- 15. It is guaranteed to induce strong salivation in political ruling classes across the globe.
- 16. How much capitalists love markets can be observed by their swift flight in every direction as the housing market and he big banks in the United States came crashing down around their heads in 2008. They quickly repaired to their patron saints, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, to come to their rescue. Helping the people who were losing their homes, on the other hand, was considered to be a pretty bad idea.
- 17. According to Tim Shorrock, intelligence contracting is now a $ 45 billion a year industry which eats up some 75 per cent of the $ 60 billion US intelligence budget.
- 18. Chalmers Johnson and Tom Engelhardt, “The Military-Industrial Complex”, TomDispatch, July 28, 2008.
- 19. Tim Shorrock, “Exposing Bush’s historic abuse of power”, Solon.com, July 23, 2008. The “no-fly” list is said to contain the names of 400,000 Americans and it is claimed that some eight million Americans are now listed in the Main Frame data base as potentially suspect. It is thought these individuals could be rounded up by the state during a national emergency.
- 20. Patrick Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, Crown, 2008.
- 21. Sometimes the programme “Inside USA” on al-Jazeera actually addresses some of the serious class conflicts going on in America. The corporate press would not touch it with a ten-foot pole.
- 22. Perhaps the headless kind that one sees in shop windows, or at least those with half their head chopped off, with the cranium cavity missing.

Eddie J. Girdner is a Professor of International Relations at Baskent University in Ankara (Turkey) and the author of USA and the New Middle East, New Delhi, Gyan Publishing House, 2008.

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