Both Vince Copeland’s “Market Elections: How Democracy Serves the Rich” (1999) and Paul Street’s “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power” (2010) make invaluable contributions in understanding how the presidential selection process works in the United States, from the distant past up until the present. Both books are effective tandem-tools in dismantling the extremely false notion that Joe and Mary Q. Public are at the pinnacle of both parties’ “righteously endowed” democratic concerns. They are not.
As homegrown members of the working class, Mary and Joe are regarded as objects of manipulation; mere pawns that serve the insatiable greed of the class in power. The offerings of Copeland and Street provide the kind of intellectual ammo necessary to combat this relentless imperial class assault. It is no exaggeration to say that humanity itself is counting on us to break away from the orbit of corporate rule. Knowing how and why is key.
The Democratic and Republican parties are “two wings of the same ruling-class, imperial vulture.” They exist together to superexploit workers and resources at home and abroad. And as such, they cleverly employ a multitude of strategies and tactics to deceive the general public into erroneously supporting them, contrary to the real interests of workers everywhere! The development of both parties is deeply rooted in slavery.
With the election circus less than two years off in the distance, it is not too early to begin to examine what makes the two parties “different,” but we must also grasp what binds them incestuously together, so we are no longer duped into supporting their giant electoral hustle any longer. The collective lack of awareness to this charade prolongs their rule to our detriment.
Roots of “the Evil of the Two Lessers”
Using graphic, easy-to-understand language, Vince Copeland writes in “Market Elections”: “A long time ago the two parties were arrayed against one another as the two contending spearheads of two different classes — not so much an oppressed versus an oppressor class, but two different kinds of oppressors: owners of chattel slaves versus owners of capital, who employ wage slaves. From about 1824 to 1876-77, the Democratic Party by and large represented the slave owners and the Republican Party represented the capitalists.”
Copeland goes on to assert that “after the great betrayal of Black freedom in 1877, the two parties could be characterized … as the instruments of two political factions of the same capitalist ruling class. The Republican Party favored the club against the working class. The Democrats advocated the carrot.”
Bed partners in crime, both capitalist parties skillfully ran a “three-card monte game” on a propaganda-drenched public. Schools, happy-talk news anchors, conspicuous-consumption advertising, TV game shows, flag-waving sports events, and Black-Hawk-Down-style movies, etc., are deftly used to dumb down an unsuspecting populace to accept the corporate Kool-Aid. And who benefits? Wall Street bankers and their worker-pension looters, the military-industrial complex, the school-to-prison pipeline and more.
Fred Goldstein, author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End,” provides vivid economic explanations as to how this is done. His books must be studied as well.
Republican and Democratic Party hacks play out the good cop vs. bad, Jekyll and Hyde scenario every day on the city, state and federal levels. And in the media-generated confusion, they deposit all kinds of worker-stolen wealth into their high interest-bearing accounts.
Brother, can you spare a trillion dollars instead of a dime? Both parties roll with bulging pockets of stolen surplus labor of the working class.
“Market Elections” starts out with slave-owning George Washington and ends with “Star-Wars” Reagan and “pardon-Nixon” Ford. It is well-documented, illustrated and sprinkled with educative humor. We find that long before presidential candidates become household names, they are selected, vetted, groomed and then sold to the U.S. public as a brand-name product. Advertising is an essential ingredient. Millions of dollars are invested to assure success. Vince Copeland skillfully shows how this scam is done.
Struggle and education
It should be noted here, however, that massive public movements can alter the plans of the presidential handlers, as in the case of the Great Depression — which ushered in the unions — the Civil Rights struggle and the anti-Vietnam War effort, all periods when the people greatly influenced the campaigns and candidates offered by “the Evil of the Two Lessers.”
Paul Street is to be commended for his “take no prisoner posture,” in developing his highly irresistible read, “The Empire’s New Clothes.” Unintimidated by the election of the country’s first Black president, Street meticulously traces the rise of Obama as a “virtual-unknown in 2004,” to become the leader and chief executive officer of an imperial presence, without peer, in the entire history of the world.
Don’t be fooled by the sideshow waged by Republicans against Obama. It is an integral part of the Jekyll & Hyde charade. Sure, some racism is involved, but Street’s book clearly makes the point that Obama is ready, willing and able to play his part in the grand heist. A careful look at Obama’s track record unavoidably reveals the sordid behavior — no matter how “good he looks or talks.” Street does not back down.
A flotilla of apologists and opportunists have surrounded Obama, as though the emperor is fashionably dressed to the nines. Tattered imperial cloth to them still has its misleading aura. Their silence and endorsement has paid for the graft, patronage and corruption that soaks, shamelessly, both political parties.
Paul Street’s “truth torpedoes” have accurately found their target, and readily give backup to the groundbreaking work begun by Vince Copeland. An x-ray examination of Obama’s domestic and foreign policy behaviors leaves no doubt about whose class interests he abundantly serves. The two wings of the same vulture benefit immensely from the rotating presidential dictatorship that has been theirs for over two hundred years!
Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Congo, Africom, drones, deportations, low-wage jobs, unemployment cuts, government shutdowns, charter schools, pension rip-offs, Trayvon, Leonard Peltier, Lynne Stewart, Mumia, the Cuban Five, Ukraine, as well as Haldemann, Ehrlichman, Mitchell, and Dean all follow a pattern, if you dig what I mean.
“The Empire’s New Clothes” strips bare the charade developed by Obama’s packagers. It is a sobering indictment that reveals how imperial power is managed internally and externally in a slick way. The disingenuous, “Yes We Can” persona, is hung out to dry and it has gaping, repair-defying holes in it. Some things cannot be repaired.
The intellectual armor that Street uses to advance his argument would generate sustained applause from Copeland. Street has built a Ham Rong Bridge [in Vietnam] of hype-resistant strength with facts. For example, he writes, “The comforting, self-pacifying notion that Obama — a president who often goes farther than required to appease corporate and military masters — really wants to transform America in genuinely progressive sorts of ways is simply unsupportable in light of what can easily be found and shown about his political career and worldview.”
Barack Obama, in my opinion, is a Trojan horse in reverse. Run out and devour both books. And then, educate, share and organize. Help the sun set quickly on the Empire!
Go to amazon.com to order both books.