Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The United States is Officially a Plutocracy

In honor of the Supreme Court's recent decision I thought it might be a good time to promote the film, The Corporation.

Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Part film and part movement, The Corporation is transforming audiences and dazzling critics with its insightful and compelling analysis. Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?"
Answer: A sociopath.

Gene TeSelle at Witherspoon comments on the decision:

We had suspected it for a long time, but now, thanks to a swing vote by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the United States is officially a plutocracy. On the dubious and probably perverse principles that corporations are legal persons and that political contributions are "speech" protected by the First Amendment, restrictions on corporate contributions to issue organizations (though not to specific political campaigns) have basically been thrown out.
Gene compares our turn to that of the Roman Empire:
The Republic came to be ruled by a triumvirate of wealthy men, then by Caesar Augustus as emperor (which simply meant commander-in-chief). The Republic and the Senate technically continued to exist (the emperor was simply "princeps," "first citizen"). But the power relationships were drastically changed. And the rich got richer, holding vast estates in multiple regions and expecting to receive official positions in the provinces or at the imperial court.
I don't know if we are going to be able to change the direction our nation is taking or if our future is going to look like a Margaret Atwood dystopia, but at the very least we should name it when we can.

Might be a good time to re-read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. If you have six and half minutes watch this short film on the Shock Doctrine:

As Naomi Kline says in the above film:
The best way to stay oriented, to resist shock, is to know what is happening to you...and why.