Wayne A. Clark, Ph.D., a writer and historian, has written An American Manifesto in which he describes the emergence of and the experience with the "malignant capitalism" that has begun to tear down democratic ideals. Below are some excerpts from his Manifesto:
An American ManifestoBy Wayne A. Clark - Ad's Libs Blog
. . . .
History shows us that a gradual concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few leads to a shift from democracy to authoritarianism. Our society is now blighted by the criminal excesses of people whose commitment to a democratic America is trumped by their obsessive pursuit of profit and market share. Neither bank failures nor the ensuing recession changed this. Rather the elite further consolidated their power from infusions of billions of public money into their coffers. Large financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America wield more power and influence than before the failures of September 2008. New York Times columnist David Brooks almost got it right: “Over the past few years, people from Goldman Sachs have assumed control over large parts of the federal government. Over the next few they might just take over the whole darn thing.” (David Brooks, NYT, June 30, 2008)
The Goldman Sachs crowd, along with their like-minded Wall Street friends in and out of government, took over the whole darn thing more than a decade ago. GE wallows in government contracts but paid $0 in taxes in 2010. Still hungry, GE lawyers asked for a $3.2 billion rebate to top off profits of $14.5 billion. The company CEO is an administration insider who heads the White House’s prestigious Economic Advisory Council. The corporate plutocrats know how to play the game and game the system. The Obama administration is exposed as weak, unwilling to challenge Wall Street with the prospect of even minimal reform. Today, nearing the end of Obama’s (first) administration, Wall Street rules the roost and generously rewards its friends in power. The payoff for Obama is that he is expected to raise more than $1 billion in campaign funds for the election of 2012.
. . . .
Bernard Madoff, a lone wolf who literally stole billions from trusting clients, did get a jail sentence. But he never would have come close to prison if he had been institutionally aligned with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, or any other giant financial corporation. Madoff has stated that only the naïve believe that the banks did not know about his Ponzi scheme. If one or two missed the signals, it was probably because they were busy building their own, more sanitized, version. Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi asked the salient question: “Why Isn’t Wall Street In Jail?” Those flagrant and dumb enough to get nailed paid their fines with what amounted to petty cash. Tabbi wrote that they needed the same punishment that Madoff got: hard time; decades of it and in a proper prison. Or, as one congressional aide told Taibbi, "You put (Goldman Sachs boss) Lloyd Blankfein in … prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street. That's all it would take. Just once." (The New Yorker, March 7, 2011)
. . . .
Free-market fundamentalists, even in a catastrophe like Katrina, leave it to the invisible hand that is not to be interfered with, neither in the market place nor in society at large. Or so they say. Corporate welfare is perfectly acceptable, even desirable. Its advocates are quick to exert their influence in the political arena and have no qualms about marginalizing the rest of us. They rush to channel huge bailouts to irresponsible banks and insurance companies that deserve to fail. The results have been disastrous for the economy and the body politic, but the true believers remain in control of the government and the economy. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a product of Wall Street, takes his marching orders from his friends at Goldman Sachs. So will the person who replaces him.
. . . .
The boomer intelligentsia can roll back cynicism and restore hope among younger people. They can show them how important it is to rescue the country from corporate thieves and political whores who, in their quest for power and wealth, are rapidly destroying it. Saving the country is more important than sitting in a coffee shop sipping lattes and talking about money, real estate and the retirement home. At some fundamental level, they know that there are more pressing concerns than their own comfort and welfare. With a bit of persuasion, they can enlist the help of their children and grandchildren – the Americans whose future is most at risk. It could be a great last hoorah.
In 1968, a profound slogan emerged from the students and young people rioting in the streets of Paris. It read: “Be Reasonable, Demand the Impossible.” Today Stephane Hessel – author, diplomat, and resistance fighter – tells the grandchildren of that generation: “To Create is to Resist, To Resist is to Create.” Fortunately, Americans can achieve our goals by demanding the possible, and we can do it by both creating and resisting. Poet politician Eugene McCarthy, like Harold Pinter, understood the nature of the beast that has us by the throat and he urged us to resist it. In 1968, while a presidential candidate, he told Americans, “now is the time for all good men and women to forget the party and come to the aid of their country.” Democracy is in jeopardy and the need for a concerted effort to rescue and restore it is more urgent now than it was in 1968. If we do nothing and continue to accommodate the drift toward corporate fascism, our fate is clear. Our children will not forgive us, and we, and they, will die strangers in a strange land. [END]
You can read the whole Manifesto here