Two Ways to Affect Political Power
By Michael McGehee at Oct 13, 2008
Not that it has really taken me this long to come to this conclusion but after all I have learned about our government - and nearly every government or political institution that exists - I have noted a near truism in two methods that will get our government to act accordingly: bribes or bad publicity.
John Dewey, the American philosopher, is noted for having said that "as long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance."
This is a remark that many on the radical Left have long accepted, but I think there is too much emphasis put on this, which amounts to the first method.
And I think over emphasizing on big businesses influence in politics has led to two notable conclusions:
- Considering our lack of financial resources, we feel powerless and helpless. What can we do to make change if it has to be bought? And wouldn't that entail a perversion of our goals to begin with? And how can we "change the substance" by being an integral part of it?
- We are ignorant to our own history, the kind of history Howard Zinn has dedicated a lifetime to: A People's History. In our obsession of private power over political power we have ignored the power of public power. There is a long history of struggles being won by agitation and other means of exposing the various flaws of political power. That is to say that our struggles over the centuries have brought around some meaningful change by giving the perpetrators and accomplices bad publicity.
It would be nice if we had a government or political institutions that didn't have to be bribed or threatened in order to function and this is something that could be effectively addressed with more popularly controlled institutions.
But in the mean time, since Main Street is still clearly below Wall Street, we will have to focus on providing bad publicity of our government and their affluent constituents if we are to rattle their cages.