In the early part of the last century massive political upheavals often happened in countries which had outdated systems of government based on some out of touch monarchy or dynasty. For example, Czarist Russia, the Ottoman Empire, the Manchu Dynasty in China and Colonial Rule in India all suffered defeat at the hands of people oriented mass protests. In earlier centuries, peoples’ revolutions took place in the America Colonies and in France. Some of these system overthrows resulted in communist takeovers and some resulted in some sort of democratic form of government. In all places the people had enough of the past system of government since it did not recognize or meet their needs. I believe we are in need of a new people’s revolution against what I call corporate democracy. People need to organize today like the people in the last century to overcome a travesty of human injustice where the dollar bill reins over the interests of the people. We need more demonstrations like last year’s 99% Occupy Movement, and we can learn from the Quebec student protests in Canada. The very future of Planet Earth is at stake here because the present governments are letting the Earth slide into oblivion.
If we do nothing, people 200 years from now will ask why? Good question. Each person has to decide to make a difference at the community level in whatever way they can. People have power but they must use that power with laser focus to create a much brighter future for the people of the future. People need to get politically involved; study the parties; which one is if for true democracy, sustainability, and not in the pockets of the corporations? If we take real action, generations of the future will not only have a better Earth on which to live, they will have more good role models to help solve whatever crisis they may face in their futures. In our current situation, we can use the revolutionaries in our past history to spur us on to greatness now before our window of opportunity closes on us. What has been done once can be repeated and repeated it must be to make real change happen.
Current giant multinational corporations have more power and money than some countries. Exxon for example has a budget which equals that of over 150 countries. Being multinational, they play one country against another to gain tax advantages and loopholes for inconsequential environmental protections. Corporations are supposed to be owned by nameless and faceless shareholders but in reality they are often run by one man, a CEO and a board of directors. The only thing that matters is the return on investment and the bottom line. No morals, no public impact studies, no environmental studies, no pollution studies, no long term impact studies and no electorate. None of these things matter, that’s somebody else’s job. That someone else is the government which is fed by political donations from these same corporations so nothing at all gets done. Governments are pawns in the hands of the big corporations. All democratic governments need to be elected and elections costs money the way they are currently operated. Corporations are more than happy to contribute for “future considerations”. Corporations also provide cushy retirement jobs for ex politicians who then act as insider lobbyists. They may call it the political game but it is actually a big money game.
Also, the big corporations have the means and the money to sway people opinion through TV ads, TV news (which is corporate run), TV shows that reflect corporate values, Murdoch style TV news stations, Murdoch newspapers, educational institutions which teach and support corporate culture and train the next breed of obedient and thankful employees. (Who are ever grateful for their job that the educational system said they wanted). Right now the only thing that the common people have is the internet but that will not last long before corporations take over that too. Many people use Facebook, Twitter and Google as the sum total of their web experience. Just look at them as the mega monopolies which they are and how closely they align themselves with big corporations now an in the future. That may change your view of this so called people friendly social network sites which actually make mega bucks selling data about you. Who do you think they sell data to? Corporations? Governments? IRS? FBI?CIA? CSIS? Interpol? Scotland Yard? Who knows? What do you think Facebook does with those “Likes”? Is this a new kind of corporate voting in disguise? (Brand success is often judged by numbers of likes.)
Big corporations not only control the democratic governments, they also control the health care systems through drug companies, insurance companies and private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. Big corporations also control all aspects of agriculture for growing crops for people and animals, raising animals, slaughtering animals and retail foods in your local supermarket. Big corporations control all the energy industries, oil, gas, coal, wind and soon solar. Big corporations are into everything you can measure and charge money for. In the third world, they are after water and other natural resources. Big corporations control all the banks, financial institutions, the Federal Reserve in the USA, the World Bank. Indeed there’s very little big corporations don’t control. Big Corporations control the educational system that is designed to produce “good employees” not free thinkers or entrepreneurs.
Corporations as a political entity have only been around for about a 100 years. People often blame governments for lack of action on climate change, for lack of economic change, for lack of action on human rights issues, for lack of action on labour issues, for lack of action on social issues, women’s, issues etc. It’s really not really the government itself that is doing nothing (there are many well intentioned politicians); it’s the power behind the throne. Just follow the money and you will see that all these issues are not being dealt with is because they are not in the interests of some major corporation somewhere.
How did these corporations become so powerful? Well they were created by families who had tons of money to start with and the corporate legal entity loophole just let them do it better and do it anonymously while wearing legal multiple hats. What can we do? Well we could continue to act like nothing is wrong and just go along with the crowd as if the crowd knew where it was going or you could vote with your spending habits.
Big corporations want your money. Your money is what gives them power. Money is their lifeblood. To corporations, money spent on corporate services or goods are like votes for a political party. While only about 50% of us vote on a regular basis, the vast majority of us spend money on goods and services every day. We spend money on groceries so we can send Big Ag a clear message almost anytime if we so decide, we invest money in company stocks which we could modify at any time, we can adopt a much better healthier lifestyle which will result in lower health care costs and lower profits for pharmaceutical companies, and private hospitals and nursing homes.
There are numerous ways we can use our purchasing power as a lever for positive change. The old system of true democracy, if it ever existed, has been replaced by corporate democracy. The real power today is the dollar bill. (Some would argue that it always has been but now it is much more obvious). How we spend that dollar bill has a direct impact on what kind of life that future generations will experience. Your spending decisions will determine ultimately whether or not there’s a real future at all.
Something to think about next time you are at the mall shopping for fashions, or at the grocery store buying food, or watching the latest TV ads or buying the latest technology or any time when you go for your wallet or click and spend money online. All your monetary actions are votes that are counted somewhere. Vote well.
Colm Maher. Politicolm.com