27 October 2011

The Fourth Branch of American government

(Written in the early weeks of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011)

When I was in elementary school, I learned that America is governed by three coequal branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial, none of the three any more important or dominant over the others.  This lesson was reinforced in middle and high school, as well as in nearly every one of my political science courses at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  All true, at least according to the written constitution of our federal republic.

Experience and observation during life since university have taught me that there is, according to our unwritten but nevertheless concrete constitution, a fourth branch of our federal republic, one more important than the other three put together, at least given the weight to which its needs are considered and to which its wants are catered, to such a degree that it in fact dominates the other three to the point of eclipse.

The legislative branch passes our laws and approves expenditure, the executive branch executes the laws and conducts foreign affairs, and the judiciary interprets laws and hears appeals.  The fourth, the corporate branch, sets the agenda and determines the direction of the other three, using them as mere extensions of its will, its frontline troops facing off against nothing more than the people over which it rules, the 99%.  The real governing principle of the United States is not “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, but of the people, by the government, for the wealthy corporate elite.

The three branches of the written constitution, both political parties, all commercial media (radio, television, print, digital), every level of lower government, many social and civic associations, even many religious denominations, adhere to the same fiction that the People of the United States actually have a voice.  All of the above support either implicitly or explicitly the idea that capitalist ethics based on individual and collective greed is the best determining factor for deciding any social, economic, and political question.

Occasionally, there is some small change which benefits the actual People of the United States, but only if those advocating the mild, cosmetic change in question can demonstrate more profit to be made for or loss to be avoided by the corporate branch.

Commentators, pundits, and blowhards from across the American political spectrum look without seeing and speak without knowing because what is going on in America today is outside of the fiction they accept, that the political system of the United States is democratic even in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

They want “issues” defined in order to pigeonhole the movement and dismiss it or discover how little they can get away with giving in order for it to go away.  Or they want to co-opt it and use for their own narrow agenda as the Koch brothers, Dick Armey, and Newt Gingrich did to the Tea Party through Americans for Progress, Freedom Works, and Friends of Freedom.

They want leaders selected in order to make it easier to cut off the head or else to use them in order to subvert, dishearten, deflate, and defuse the movement the way the regime in the Islamic Republic used Moussavi, Karroubi, Khatami, and the other “reformists” to destroy the Green Movement.

They do not understand that the paradigm has changed.  The people of America, inspired by the others in the world who have stood up against their oppressors and are in turn inspiring others around the globe to likewise follow their lead and stand up, are refusing to play along with the lie any more.  It’s certainly not about “issues”, and it has less than zero to do with electoral politics. 

It’s about changing the entire system, the real system rather the ideal in which it is more convenient for our rulers for us to believe, which works primarily for the interests of the Fourth Branch of government, the corporate branch.  It’s even less about setting up a system under which a vanguard of persons who pretend to know better than the people themselves what’s good for them take charge.  It’s about taking the first steps toward establishing a cooperative commonwealth that benefits each and every citizen and the citizenry as a whole rather a narrow wealthy elite.

Contrary to what its detractors claim, democracy is not about allowing the tyranny of the majority over any kind of ethnic, racial, religious, or other similar population group minority.  That is not a democracy but an ochlocracy, or rule by the mob.

The Occupy Wall Street, or 99%, movement is not just about America, either.  It’s about the whole world.  Just as we have accepted the baton from our brothers, sisters, and cousins in North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Europe and are holding it with them, we are in turn sharing it and holding it with countless other humans in many, many other countries.

Out of many we are One.  There is but one race, the Human race.

In every major city and state of the United States and Puerto Rico, in every province in Canada, in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Belgium, Croatia, Russia, Serbia, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Mongolia, Malaysia,  Australia, and New Zealand are marching in the name of the 99%.  They have joined those in Israel, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, even in Iran where the movement is waiting its chance to reawaken, seeking their dignity, freedom, and self-determination.

We are all Terrans, citizens of Earth.  The whole world is our home, and all its people our brothers, sisters, and cousins.

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