The United States is not a democracy

This photo says 1000 words.

So if the United States is not a democracy, what is it? It’s certainly not a “republic” anymore. Perhaps the best term would be “an oligarchy with the consent of the people.” Many Americans love their ruling class, which they hope that their kids will join some day. Democracy takes work. It takes time and effort. Just sitting back and letting the rich run everything is a lot easier.

But here’s the rub. The United States is an oligarchy with the consent of the people, but not all the people. There’s a continuum, the “privileged,” white upper middle class on the far right, poor blacks and poor immigrants on the far left. I wouldn’t give any exact numbers, but I’d guess that maybe 25% of population wants the status quo to continue (albeit with a President who’s a bit less of an obvious authoritarian goon), maybe 25% want radical change, and maybe 50% couldn’t care less either way.

Currently there’s a battle for the hearts and minds of the uncommitted 50%. But make no mistake. While the privileged, upper-middle-class would rather see the status quo upheld by propaganda — keep us all so busy keeping up with the Kardashians that we fail to notice who’s actually running the great reality show that is the USA USA USA — than with brute force, they will absolutely use brute force if they need to. They’ll sign the checks for all the private death squads necessary to keep the radical 25% beaten down and the indifferent 50% zoning out on reality TV. They’ll pile our bodies so high we’ll take the title back from Dubai for the tallest skyscraper in the world.

That’s precisely why the image of Blackwater mercenaries on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is a sign of weakness, not strength. The American ruling class, and their upper-middle-class bootlickers, can no longer relay on propaganda to keep the rest of us in line. They’ve decided to show us that they mean business, that they’ll kill all of us if that’s what it takes to preserve their stock portfolios and their children’s trust funds. That, in and of itself, is a form of propaganda. This photo is meant to terrify us. It shouldn’t. We should be celebrating how we’ve made them all come out of the closet and reveal themselves as the fascists they really are.

9 thoughts on “The United States is not a democracy”

  1. The majority of ares protesting are and have been governed by Democrats. Local, regional, state, legislative and executive. And they have all done nothing against long standing police corruption. And they won’t do anything now. So, get out the vote for Joe Biden!

    1. Right. The most dangerous power in the United States to black people are militarized, big city police departments, most of which are in cities governed by Democrats.

      But what De Blasio teaches us is that these cities are really governed by their local oligarchs through their police forces, not by their elected officials. The real power in NYC is the NYPD and the big real estate companies. They effectively neutered De Blasio in 2015.

      Also, there have been a number of racist murders in red states, not by cops, but by local gun nuts, most of whom support Trump. I think this Jacobin article gets it right.

  2. Rule under the Democrats:

    Mass stops and arrests. Baltimore under Mayor Martin O’Malley arresting 100,000 people in 2004. Chicago stopping 250,000 people in 2014, a stop rate four times higher than New York in the peak years of “stop-and-frisk.

    Constantly throwing people against walls, writing them nuisance tickets, and violating their space with humiliating searches. New York in 2010 – 100,000 people strip-searched after misdemeanor charges.

    The corporations are all on board. Every one of them releasing statements of solidarity and heartfelt Instagram posts and sending money to all the right places. Nike had their famous ad.

    Because the same companies paying slave-wages to 10-year-old Indonesian kids in vast sweatshops just hate racism and inequality, honest.

    Internet attention-seekers of the world have found a way to make George Floyd’s death all about themselves. From San Diego to Sydney and from London to Buenos Aires, Instagrammers are supporting #BlackoutTuesday in a pointless show of vanity dressed up as activism.

    1. What’s Bloomberg actually? Is he a Democrat first and an oligarch second or an oligarch first and a Democrat second?

      The media kissed his ass so much during his time in office that he was able to bypass NYC’s term limits (the same thing they organized a coup in Bolivia against Evo Morales for) and rule for another 4 years.

      Then in 2013 the Democrats finally elected a regular politician in De Blasio explicitly to end stop and frisk and in less than a year the NYPD showed him who really ran the city.

      I think if these protests are useful they’re illustrating just how dangerous militarized big city police departments are and how they have to be dismantled. But will the rich allow it? LOL of course not.

  3. You are very clear sighted here. Yet, there is a ray of hope.

    Protests in the U.S. do not have a favourable outcome. There is an outrage. People surge into the streets to protest. They are not organized or disciplined. Looting undermines their cause, dissipates their strength. The police beat them down. Law and order wins again. Nothing changes. The last ‘victory’ were the huge and sustained protests against the war in Vietnam.

    This case may turn out differently. There is an outrage. People know what they are Against. Street protests are held in an impressive number of cities. The numbers are not large and of course there is no organization. Plus, there is looting.

    But, the protests are unusually sustained. A lot of people are arrested but more keep coming out. And some police, some authorities and some media are sympathetic. The unity of the rulers is broken; they are divided against themselves. The pressure is on – an election looms. Trump plays the military force card. Which has fallen flat. So far. With major figures in the military and intelligence field denouncing Trump’s conduct.

    Now, the further arrests in the original outrage. This is definitely not the norm. Protesters are heartened. More establishment types will line up in approval of this. The law ‘n order crowd have all remembered they have a dental appointment to go to.

    Looking good so far. But for this to wrap up sweetly there needs to be only a couple more days of non-looting, no incident protests. And then, people go home and DECLARE VICTORY. Because people need victories. With victory, however limited, folks can be inspired to keep on fighting. And feel proud of having accomplished something.

    And then, and only then can they next fight FOR something. Like what you said.

    In the Civil War nobody was FOR ending slavery at the outset. But once they got in motion that’s what happened.
    In the English Civil War, nobody was FOR ending monarchical rule. But once they got going…
    In the French Revolution, nobody was FOR a republic. But once they got going…
    In the Russian Revolution nobody was FOR the expropriation of capital. OK, maybe a few but…

    Know when to declare victory and use is as leverage for the nest round. Which must be FOR something.

    1. I think the real problem is that both Covid-19 and the protests are moving society in a direction the ruling class wanted anyway. I suppose you can say the same thing about the American Civil War. The south’s backward feudal society was blocking the USA from becoming a great power. It’s telling how quickly Grant went from being a great general to being a corrupt capitalist President. In the case of these protests, I think the original model of heavily militarized police forces that came out of the LA riots of 1992 is obsolete and they want to get rid of it, to replace police with private security contractors. From my point of view, let them. The NYPD is already a private security force that answers, not to the Mayor or to the City Council but directly to the rich. Privatizing it will take away the illusion that it’s a legitimate part of any kind of democratic state.

  4. The founding fathers never intended for the US to be a democracy and it has never been one.

    A republic and a democracy are not the same thing. US is a republic, a government based on laws expressed in a constitution.
    A democracy is a government based in majority rule.
    The two are not at all the same.

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