By Jason Michael
Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is everything but transparent. Democracy has never been transparent. We lazily assume that by it we, the people, have power. When it isn’t transparent, how can we know who has power?
Until the recent rantings of Donald Trump any talk of the political system being weighted to favour the rich and the powerful has been slighted as fringe; the stuff of crack pot, lunatic leftist conspiracy theory. It made the politically and economically comfortable uncomfortable. It was ignored. That Trump brought this to the fore in his campaign against Hillary Clinton – seen by most now to have been the Neo-Conservative and Wall Street establishment’s candidate – does nothing to make it any less of a conspiracy theory, but he has forced it into the open as a theme of modern political discourse. Having said, however, that it is a conspiracy theory doesn’t mean that it is not true.
“State” is the representative apparatus; and it is discovered that the most important events of French history from 1870 until the present day have not been due to initiatives by political organisms deriving from universal suffrage, but to those either of private organisms (capitalists firms, General Staffs, etc.) or of great civil servants unknown to the country at large. But what does that signify if not that by “State” should be understood not only the apparatus of government, but also the “private” apparatus of “hegemony” or civil society? It should be noted how from this critique of the State which does not intervene, which trails behind events, there is born the dictatorial ideological current of the Right, with its reinforcement of the executive.
– Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks
Gramsci is right, of course; the most important events of history – even in our own times – have never been the work of democracy. Both of the World Wars, the Cold War, the “War on Terror,” and now the current débâcle in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan have been the work of democracies, but they were never decided by “universal suffrage.” That is to say that government, rather than the people, made the decisions. Granted, the electorate democratically decided on a government to which it delegated power, but that power was used to change the world without the mandate of the democracy – no government ran for election on a manifesto of doing these things.
This is his first point. The second is an interrogation of the nature of these, often elected, governments. What, he asks, motivates them? Is it the well-being of the people they represents, the ambitions unelected civil servants – the powers behind the throne – or the concerns of private, capitalist interests? Answers to these questions are mainly a matter for speculation, but we still have some insight from minutes and memos released from secrecy, internal leaks, security breaches, and the likes to build a picture of a protected hidden system of power behind the trappings of the power of popular democracy. This, one must assume, is the primordial power that has always functioned, and that has simply accommodated itself to different illusions of power.
Bill Burr On The USA’s Rigged Political System
Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)