America in Crisis. What Now?

Published on Global, by Luke Hiken and Marti Hiken, Nov. 13, 2010.

… First, what are we facing?

  • 1) The wealth of the nation has been consolidated into the hands of a clique of corporate executives that dominate both political parties and determine who the American people will “elect.” These corporations, described by many authors as “The Oligarchs,” are run and owned by CEOs in the following industries:  oil; insurance; pharmaceuticals; agri-business; Wall Street and the banking industry, and the military/security complex. These oligarchs are accountable to no democratic forces in this or any other country. 
  • 2) The democratic, organized union movement and working class unity, are long gone.  By sending jobs and manufacturing off-shore to other countries, the oligarchs have undermined and destroyed the traditional vehicles for mass opposition to corporate greed and manipulation. This has been accomplished within a legal anti-union framework and the de-politicalization of the working class. There are currently no voices or forces capable of opposing the oligarchs at this time.
  • 3) The oligarchs have seized control of all branches of the U.S. government. The Congress is composed of millionaires accountable to monied interests. The judiciary is no longer chosen by any conceivable democratic process, and consists of the most right-wing zealots that the religious right and prosecutorial machines can envisage.  Decisions emanating from the highest courts of both the state and federal governments are so shockingly oppressive as to harken back to the opportunistic courts so aptly described in Robert Mueller’s “Hitler’s Justice,”
  • The Executive Branch speaks in terms of bi-partisanship, which really means “obey your corporate handlers.” The differences between the policies of the Bush vs. the Obama administration are simply insignificant.
  • 4) The media is controlled and dominated by the oligarchs to the point that any attempts at transparency concerning what is occurring nationally or internationally are met with prosecutions and violence. Whistleblowers, or independent media, publish under threat of serious retaliation.
  • 5) The Oligarchy is so powerful that it is able to halt all attempts at regulation or limitation on their power or wealth. Wall Street and the banking industry continue to pillage at will, and many Americans have lost their life savings, their housing, passable public education, health care, and social services. The super-rich have stolen the wealth of the nation, and the oligarchs have made it impossible for us to take the money back.
  • 6) The rapacious imperialism we see in the Middle East, and throughout the world is no longer controlled and defined by the U.S. government, or the Pentagon, but by mercenary armies outfitted, financed and directed by private corporate interests. It is questionable whether the President of the U.S. or the Pentagon even have the authority to hire or fire these mercenary forces.

Given this pessimistic, but realistic, assessment of the current situation, what are the alternatives available to the American people to regain control over the wealth and politics of the country? … //

… All of these alternatives are possible and plausible. We must continue to reject the tendencies toward depression/rage and immobilization, and seek new solutions – a new society that has viable economic and environmental alternatives. (full text).

(Marti Hiken is the director of Progressive Avenues. She is the former associate director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and former chair of the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force. She can be contacted by e-mail.
Luke Hiken is a former supervising attorney at the California Appellate Project, and has engaged in the practice of criminal, immigration, and appellate law

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