the Mythology of US Democracy©

Have We the People already waited too long to take Our Power back?  For your consideration, two submissions with parallel themes:

‘Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine’ from Class War Films, March 12, 2012

(23 minutes, & even more relevant now than then, imo)

‘A brief and crucial alternative history of the United States. FULL MANIFESTO:

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth — certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

The transcript form, although without the breathtaking imagery and sounds, it may be rather beside the point, save for later reference.

Second, and not quite a year later: ‘Lifting the Veil of Mirage Democracy in the United States’, Kevin Zeese (Rest in Power) & Margaret Flowers, Truthout, February 13, 2013  (Longish, but a few excerpts)

“We live in a mirage democracy,” Zeese and Flowers assert, as they trace the history and describe the institutions of a not-so-robust US democracy.

“Democracy” demokratia = demos+kratia; or democracy = people+power.

The “greatest democracy on Earth” is how the United States is portrayed to its people and the world. The hallowed words “We the people” and “Of, by and for the people” echo in the minds of Americans to characterize the United States. But do they accurately describe the “democracy” we have?

In reality, a constant conflict that has existed throughout US history, indeed throughout the history of democratic states, is present between the elites and the people. Justice Louis Brandeis said it well when he stated, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Over the past 40 years, income inequality in the United States has exploded from its lowest level in 1978 . What kind of democracy exists under these circumstances? And is real democracy possible for a global empire? How does nation-state democracy exist within the new globalized economy that serves transnational corporations?” [major snip]

The Maintenance of the Corporate State

The actions of the robber barons of the 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in such abuse of workers and poor living conditions that labor and others joined in protest. The response of the elites was the New Deal, which brought some relief, calmed the masses and allowed capitalism to continue.

Relative quiet ensued until the 1960s and early ’70s, when multiple struggles manifested in movements for civil rights, opposition to war, the environment and women’s rights. DuRand writes that this uprising was described by elites as a “crisis of democracy,” meaning that people were demanding too much democracy. Capitalists felt under attack once more. Following a blueprint developed by Lewis Powell in his memo to the US Chamber of Commerce, they built institutions over the next 40 years, including think tanks, lobbying firms and courts, to promote the market agenda and control the media and universities to prevent outbreak of democracy.”

You may remember Zeese and Flowers as the key authors of the Oct.2011 movement, which had imagined such a massive mobilization and occupation of Washington D.C. that the ruling class would simply…cede their power to The People.  Just ahead of that those pesky kids dropped into Zuccotti Park on Sept. 2011…and the Occupy Wall Street movement began.

(cross-posted at

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