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Member since: Sat Sep 15, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Capitalism and individual rights go hand in hand

(Cont. of my first post to you)
The very notion of rights as resting in the individual is a development of the classical 18th century liberalism that was the political justification of and corollary to capitalism.

Misunderstanding about the Founding Fathers attacking corporations, I believe, comes from confusion over historical context and vocabulary of the era. I provide an example from a leading history of Brazil, now retired from Yale, Emilia Viotti da Costa. She is writing about the ideas underlying Brazilian independence, which shared the same influences as those that gave rise to independence in the American English colonies.

In Europe, liberalism was originally a bourgeois ideology, intimately related to the development of capitalism and the crisis of the seigneurial world. Liberal notions were born out of the struggles of the bourgeoisie against the abuses of royal authority, the privileges of the clergy and the nobility, the monopolies that inhibited production, and traditional obstacles to free circulation, free trade, and free labor. In their struggle against absolutism, liberals defended the theory of social contract, stressed the sovereignty of the people and the supremacy of the law, fought for the division of powers and for representative forms of government. To destroy corporate privilege, they made freedom, equality before the law, and the right to property universal rights of men. And to the traditional regulations that inhibited production and trade they opposed free trade and free labor. Although rooted in an expanding capitalist economy and in the experience of the bourgeoisie, the liberal message was universal enough to appeal to other social groups that, for one reason or another, felt oppressed by institutions of the 'ancien regime' The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories

People see opposition to "corporate privilege" and they think of modern-day multinational corporations. Corporate in that era in fact meant the power of groups, like the Church or royal monopolies. The word first came into use in the 16th century, according to Merriam Webster's Dictionary:

Latin corporatus, past participle of corporare to make into a body, from corpor-, corpus
First Known Use: 1512

At that time, nor in the late 18th century, did there exist entities similar to GE or Citgroup. The corporation as we understand it today, as an organ of big capitalist interests, did not exist in that era. The above reference to challenges to corporate privilege refers to exclusive rights wielded by the Church , the Crown, and royal monopolies under mercantilism, not capitalist business corporations as we understand the term today.

Classical liberalism emerged in opposition to mercantilism, economies in which the Crown controlled and benefited from commerce, and granted exclusive licenses to certain businesses (be they slave traders, tobacco monopolies, or other commercial entities) that were allowed to trade with their approval. Any commerce that existed outside of that was illegal, hence piracy. Liberals like Adam Smith championed free trade as a more efficient than mercantilism and free-wage labor as more efficient than slavery. These were fundamental tenets to capitalism, and were at the foundation of the American Republic, hence the Constiution's emphasis on individual rights.

Like you, Smith believed capitalism was natural and would take care of itself (the invisible hand). It's superiority as an economic system was seen as so inevitable, simply removing restrictions would allow free trade, and hence--they believed--liberty, to prevail. (Sounds a bit like George W Bush and the neo-cons, doesn't it? There is a reason that the term neo-liberalism is used to describe privatization).

The US Republic was established according to the liberal ideas of men like Smith and John Locke. Our constitution bears their influence and as such is a quintessential capitalist document. The founding of the US is inseparable from the development of capitalism itself, and its political structures are meant to promote the "free" development of capital and liberty, which are seen as synonymous.

Now, if one does not believe that capital and liberty are synonymous or that capital takes care of itself but is instead carefully nurtured by the state, as I do, then one approach is to examine the structures and consequences of the capitalist state. http://bobjessop.org/2013/11/04/the-capitalist-state-marxist-theories-and-methods/

It is not the only approach, and I do not suggest it as absolute truth, but it is historically grounded . It most certainly is NOT libertarianism. It is how I interpret history, and I cannot present a bourgeois interpretation rooted in American mythology as fact. I must leave that to others who buy into those ideas, of which there are many.

My point is that is the function of the state under capitalism

Not how I wish it would be, but how it is structured so as to promote capital, meaning the interests of the wealthy. That below you referred to me as libertarian is pretty shocking. You clearly badly misinterpret a critique of capitalism for an endorsement. I have no idea how that is even possible.

Show me any evidence, any at all, that shows that government was created as a countermeasure to wealth? Where? In the USA? Our Founding Fathers were the wealthiest men. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/ollman/docs/us_constitution.php
They were slaveholders and landed elite from Northern colonies. They built the structures of government to serve their own interests, and struggled most with balancing the interests of the slaveholding elite with the non-slaveholding elite. If you ever took a US history survey in college, you learned about the conflicts between "big and small states" in the Philadelphia convention. Big states meant states with large free populations and small states mean, by and large, slave states. It was fundamentally a conflict over how to balance power between the economic elite, those whose wealth depended on slavery vs. free labor, of the Republic.

The Founding Fathers believed property was a natural right. With that belief in property comes the view that one can exploit labor. In fact, laborers were excluded from the body politic precisely because they did not own property.

What in the Constitution prohibits inherited wealth? What seeks to distance government from wealthy interests? They were one and the same. The corporation as such was not a term used much in the pre-industrial era. The nation was founded during a period when agricultural interests predominated. As the economy has changed over the centuries, so has the economic elite. What was once landowners or the Slave Power later became industrialists and now the term here for corporations, corporatists, or the 1%.

There are some key differences today in that the economic elite is no longer bound by the nation state. Capital is now multi-national, more amorphous and impersonal, as is the trajectory of capitalist development.

I had originally planned to hunt down a series of sources to support my argument, but having seen your comment that you decided I was a libertarian, I figure doing so is pointless. I will instead point simply to a historiographical/literature review of various Marxist approaches to the capitalist state. http://bobjessop.org/2013/11/04/the-capitalist-state-marxist-theories-and-methods/

I get you buy the mythology of the American nation fed to you in grade school, so much so that you have no idea that it's entire purpose is to promote capitalism, but don't use that to try to pretend I am of all things a libertarian. If you are going to insult me, at least be educated about it.

You buy into the national mythology

that seeks to justify capitalism. I do not. That is a function of my exposure to Marxist historical analysis as well as my own experience growing up poor and female in America.

If one accepts capitalism as the inevitable or best economic system, that of course you will revere the US system of government and its constitution. But to then rail about corporatism is nonsensical. The US political system promotes a political ideology that elevates capital--which is the point of an emphasis on the individual--above the common good. The founders considered property to be a natural right--property in the hands of the few, and the ability of the property holder to exploit laborers in benefit of his property was seen as inherently natural. The focus on the individual ensured that relationship would be inviolate.

It is of course your right to buy into that mythology and even favor it above other forms of government and economic systems, but please don't pretend that has ever been about serving anyone but people of means. To then argue, as others have. that there is something inconsistent between that ideology and promoting the interests of corporations is absurd. That document you site so reverently protected the interest of slaveholders and Northern landowners and manufacturers. The nature of that economic elite has changed, but the function of the state has not. The founders sought to distance government from the people and established political rights only to propertied men.

I can understand if one comes from a privileged background, it is possible to buy into that ideology. No American government has ever represented me or anyone like me. It may indeed have represented you, but I am not a white man of means. Most Americans have never been represented. We have been excluded from the outset, and that continues until the present time. You may indeed be among those the government serves or did serve at one point, so obviously I can't speak to your own experience.

I did, however, see a poll and it helped me realize that we have a lot of people on this site whose incomes are far in excess of the national average, so as the economy has deteriorated I expect there is some angst that they find themselves starting to be treated as though they were like the rest of us. I think perhaps that is what explains why people have suddenly started to complain about the relationship between the government and what they call corporatists. They somehow think it unique to Obama when in fact is intrinsic to capitalism itself.

I see

Well, hopefully you learned that campaign slogans are not reality. Was there anything specific he said that prompted you to believe this? He always struck me as quite moderate in his rhetoric. He did promise changes to the tax code, and has tried but of course he proved himself to be inexperienced negotiating with Republicans.

I can understand feeling disappointed. I would suggest, however, that the corrective to that is not to look for another presidential candidate who tells you what you want to hear, but to focus on how we can bring about change. if you are talking about modest reforms of the sort a congress and President would actually enact, then the key is not the presidency but congress. That power is allocated largely during midterm elections like the cycle we are currently in. That is also when state legislatures, which control redistricting, tend to be determined and when the fewest Democrats turn out to vote. And endless focus on fantasy presidential elections doesn't help that situation. Elizabeth Warren isn't going to create a Democratic majority in your state or give you Democratic House and Senate members who can actually vote for the kind of legislation you might like to see enacted.

If you are thinking of anything other than whittling away at the margins, it's important to understand that no government bestows changes that benefit the people as gifts. They do so only when compelled by sustained popular pressure. That was the case during the New Deal, a period many here long for. Only they imagine FDR granted govt programs out of the goodness of his heart. He did not. There was unprecedented popular protest in that era and an active Communist Party. He still acted in the interests of big money, but the nature of popular pressure was such that shoring up capitalism required more substantial change.

Then there is the incredible disconnect between rhetoric of members here

and the reality of their economic circumstances. I was frankly taken aback by how much the average income is of people on this board, according to the poll the OP did. What exactly is it that people want Obama to do to corporations? It's pretty obvious that most DUers who voted in that poll are advantaged under the current system. Incomes here are far in excess of the national average and exponentially higher than the global average. The average American income is in the range of $47K for a family of four. The average global income is far, far lower.

So you want a government that overturns the interests of capital for the people? For a moment we will set aside the obvious historical fact that governments don't do that of their own accord, that such changes are brought about through revolution, but we'll ignore that important historical reality and extend this fantasy of going against "corporatists." We'll also ignore the fact our economy is based on financial services rather than production of any kind. So let's say we have a state that goes after corporations for the benefit of the people. I'm cool with that, but I'm not the one going to lose tons of income. I'll lose, but not as much as most. People in socialist countries live subsistence level existences. They don't starve, but they don't have any extras. That means most of you will see a dramatic decline in your standard of living, in this hypothetical world where the US President doesn't serve the nation's economic interests. Only the poorest members will see an improvement in their way of life. So if you all are willing to give up 3/4 or more of your income to establish an equitable society, I am all on board with that (still, I would like to know how you plan on achieving that).

Or is it that what you really want is the President to say things that echo your own views rather than make any substantive changes in American society? Is his job, perhaps, to provide rhetoric that makes you feel good about yourself, while still living in ways that are diametrically at odds with your stated political values?

How would you feel?

If you posted a story about a family struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table, and someone came along and posted statistics talking bout how starvation rates are down?

How would you feel if you posted about the heinous murder of a child, and someone came along and posted a chart saying, child murder really isn't very common anymore. It's not a crisis.

You might feel just like I did when I posted about young Jada's gang rape and humiliation via social media and someone came along and posted a chart insisting rape wasn't really a crisis.

How would you interpret such responses? I interpret them as diminishing the experiences of people suffering poverty, murder, and rape. If I make a point about statistics, then responding with a counterpoint is within the bounds of acceptable debate. My view is that such a response is it at best insensitive when the context is not about patterns but a victim's experience.

Horrifying New Details On the 'Viral' Rape of 16-Year-Old Jada

Over the last few days, the stomach-churning story of Jada a 16-year-old girl whose rape was recorded and then shared and mocked on social media has shown up everywhere. Now, it Jada's mother and a family spokesperson are claiming that Jada's far from the only girl victimized by the people who allegedly drugged and raped her. And one other girl may soon be coming forward.

In an exclusive interview with Ronan Farrow, Jada's mother Sukieda and family spokesperson Quanell X give further details in the case that is starting to share disgusting elements with other stories that have made news in recent months.

According to Quanell X, even though the police are investigation the alleged drugging and sexual assault of Jada, supporters of the perpetrators are continuing to cyberbully the girl. Furthermore, a Houston-area rap artist has already written a song that riffs on the #jadapose hashtag, a sick trend where social media users would post pictures of themselves bottomless and posed as a passed-out Jada was in the photos passed around by her alleged rapists.

But it gets worse.

Now, we come to find out, as of yesterday, in doing further investigation into this case, it's not just Jada. There are other young girls who they've been posting pictures online having sex with these young girls also who are comatose and obviously unconscious. And so the police now are putting out a call to identify who are all these young girls who these videos and pictures by these alleged perpetrators are out there online and they're having sex with these girls who are obviously unconscious.

The spokesman says that one of Jada's friends was victimized the same night that Jada was, and that she's now attending counseling. A police investigation is ongoing.

Video at link: http://jezebel.com/horrifying-new-details-on-the-viral-rape-of-16-year-old-1603719252?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

I am far less generous toward that attitude

Dismissing the rights and concerns of people of color and women is reactionary. It is way more reactionary than Third Way. There is nothing progressive or liberal about it, and I don't consider people who do so to be leftists. Period.

I also consider a lot of this angst about corporatism to be strange, as though they have no conception of the country they live in. There has never been a President in this country that did not promote economic interests and there never will be as long as we remain a capitalist nation. For one thing our constitution makes property sacrosanct. It is a quintessential capitalist document. I might wish for a different political system, but I know enough history and political theory to understand the role of the capitalist state. When I articulate those ideas, which are clearly Marxist in orientation, I am called a "centrist." It's nuts. What I am is politically pragmatic. I refuse to obsess about individuals, be it Snowden or Obama, and make political decisions based on the available options at the time.

I care about the NSA but I don't give a shit about Glen Greenwald or the boxes in Snowden's garage. None of that has any relevance to the conflict between national security and civil liberties or the actions of the NSA. In fact, it's a way of avoiding substantive discussion on those issues. THAT is why I avoid those threads.

Why Brazil Lost? Mick Jagger's "cold foot."

Brazilians begged Mick Jagger not to support their team at this World Cup. He developed a reputation for cursing the teams he supported at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when he was present for the elimination of England (his homeland), the U.S. (he attended with Bill Clinton) and Brazil (he has a Brazilian son with model Luciana Gimenez). But that turned out to be nothing compared to the horror he ushered in at the 2014 World Cup.

With the Rolling Stones on tour, Jagger could not attend the early rounds of this World Cup, but still afflicted teams with his tainted support from afar. At a concert in Rome, he predicted Italy would beat Uruguay to reach the knockout stage. Italy lost 1-0 and were eliminated. At a show in Lisbon, he predicted Portugal would win the tournament. Portugal also went out in the group stage. And when England played Uruguay, he tweeted "Let's go England! This is the one we win!!!" England lost and, like the others, failed to reach the knockout stage.

This prompted Brazilians to dub Jagger "pe frio" a term for bad luck that translates to "cold foot." They tried to harness his powers of destruction and use them against their rivals along the way to reaching the semifinals by bringing cardboard cutouts of him wearing the opposing team's shirt and offering a message of support in word bubbles. Here's one that was brought to the semifinal against Germany

But the cardboard cutouts proved to be no match for the real thing.

Wearing an England hat to try and divert his curse to a team he's already doomed, Jagger attended the Brazil-Germany match with his son, who wore a Brazil shirt, and a group of other local supporters. And the result was emphatic enough to make a believer in occult out of anyone. Brazil lost 7-1, with five goals coming in the first 30 minutes of play a new World Cup record. It was Brazil's widest margin of defeat ever. Not just in the World Cup. Ever. It was Brazil's first home loss in a competitive match since 1975. And to top it off, Germany's Miroslav Klose scored to overtake Brazlian Ronaldo all-time World Cup scoring record against Brazil and in Brazil.

This was the first match Jagger attended during this World Cup and it just so happened to be one of the worst losses in the history of the sport. Clearly his powers of destruction are only growing stronger.


Obama has enlisted the puppytarit in his communist plot against America

Witness Nathan, the Leninist pooch.

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