Guardian columnist George Monbiot provides his view of a coup against democracy in How the Billionaires Broke the System. The campaign, apparently successful in the USA, inspires similar movements in Canada and other nations that experimented with democracy in the 20th and 21st centuries.
“…The Tea Party movement mostly consists of people who have been harmed by tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for the poor and middle. Why would they mobilise against their own welfare? You can understand what is happening in Washington only if you remember what everyone seems to have forgotten: how this movement began.
“…a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP) set up a Tea Party Facebook page and started organising Tea Party events(7). The movement, whose programme is still lavishly supported by AFP, took off from there.
“So who or what is Americans for Prosperity? It was founded and is funded by Charles and David Koch(8). They run what they call “the biggest company you’ve never heard of”(9), and between them they are worth $43 billion(10).
“Koch Industries is a massive oil, gas, minerals, timber and chemicals company. Over the past 15 years the brothers have poured at least $85m into lobby groups arguing for lower taxes for the rich and weaker regulations for industry(11). The groups and politicians the Kochs fund also lobby to destroy collective bargaining, to stop laws reducing carbon emissions, to stymie healthcare reform and to hobble attempts to control the banks. During the 2010 election cycle, Americans for Prosperity spent $45 million supporting its favoured candidates(12).
“But the Kochs’ greatest political triumph is the creation of the Tea Party movement…
“AFP mobilised the anger of people who found their conditions of life declining, and channelled it into a campaign to make them worse. Tea Party campaigners appear to be unaware of the origins of their own movement. … they take to the streets to demand less tax for billionaires and worse health, education and social insurance for themselves.
“Are they stupid? No. They have been systematically misled by another instrument of corporate power: the media. The Tea Party movement has been relentlessly promoted by Fox News, which belongs to a more familiar billionaire. Like the Kochs, Rupert Murdoch aims to misrepresent the democratic choices we face, in order to persuade us to vote against our own interests and in favour of his.
“What’s taking place in Congress right now is a kind of political coup. A handful of billionaires has shoved a spanner into the legislative process. Through the candidates they’ve bought and the movement that supports them, they are now breaking and reshaping the system to serve their interests. We knew this once, but now we’ve forgotten. What hope do we have of resisting a force we won’t even see?”
A complete and fully referenced version of this article can be found on George Monbiot’s website.
After reading the following article, consider if the corporate media reports the news or creates it.