Monday, November 09, 2009


Cast of Thousands

Following Obama’s career since summer 2006, it was clear he represented an illusion, not a possibility. He has not changed, but we must. Grassroots social centers, that developed in response to the malign neglect of the political status quo in Europe and South America in recent years, point the way to creating community here also.

In 1973, Walter Karp wrote Indispensable Enemies, the definitive book on American politics. In that book, Karp argues that the political theatre of feined conflict between the Republican and Democratic parties is necessary to conceal the fact they are both owned by the American aristocracy.

One of the essential facets of this charade playing out in the American media, academia and public square, are supporting actors who help limit the scope of debate and imagination of the American public. Sometimes these actors are aspiring talking heads, ideologues or politicians, but more often than not, they are crass opportunists echoing messages developed by the respective parties or industries they actually represent. Pious progressive poseurs cautioning pragmatism, religious fundamentalists warning of Armageddon, and business-minded authority figures chastising radicals for suggesting fraud is anti-democratic, all play their part in keeping democracy down.

As neoliberals busy themselves with helping neoconservatives rob us blind on behalf of their mutual masters, it takes a lot of extras — perhaps a cast of thousands — to keep up the appearance of democracy. Meanwhile, “futurists” and other noble heroes allegedly guarding us from notorious villains, have to work overtime to maintain the deception.

Leadership, as usual, will never come from Washington.


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