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America’s Descent from Democracy to Oligarchy

- GLOBAL RESEARCH - Chaitanya Davé - APRIL 10, 2023 -

During the Great Depression of 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt became the President. In his first 100 days in office, he rolled out a program called the New Deal. He embraced Keynesian economic policies and fought to expand the role of the government in the nation’s economy. He implemented a series of programs called the New Deal to stabilize the economy and give jobs to millions of Americans who had lost their jobs.

New federal agencies were created including the Social Security Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He created the Tennessee Valley Authority that enabled the federal government to build dams and hydroelectric projects creating thousands of jobs. The Congress passed the Social Security Act which provided a safety Net for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled. A decent minimum wage was established. The Glass-Steagall Act was passed to protect people with their savings and deposits in the banks. He raised taxes on the rich to pay for all these programs.

During these difficult times, labor unions were a critical part of the New Deal. Both the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 included protections for unions and required corporations to negotiate with unions. Unions were decimated during the 1920s, but now they had started growing rapidly. Millions of workers joined the unions. Unions felt empowered to fight for better wages and hours with the government on their side. These were all democratic moves. Union membership was at its peak in the 1950s. It was at 35% in 1954. From then onwards, its decline started. By 2021, it had declined to just 10.3%. That means corporate power has drastically increased. Millions of workers in America have no power, no say. Today, big corporations have become so powerful in America that they control every aspect of our lives. They directly or indirectly control not only our politicians but also where we live, what we eat, what we buy, how much we earn, and what we read, see on TV, or listen to on radio and ultimately what we think.

During his term, President Clinton signed the Telecommunication Act of 1996 into law. The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to gobble up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world. Thus, all of us across this country and around the world get the same news and the same narrative on the TV, radio and even main stream printed media networks. Using Noam Chomsky’s famous phrase, they ‘Manufacture the Consent’ across America and the world. “Never have so many been held incommunicado by so few”, said Eduardo Galeano, the Latin American journalist, in response to the act. In 1983, some 50 corporations owned 90 percent of the media. That number dwindled after this Communication Act just in few years and today, five mega corporations own and control 90 percent of the media in America. The same thing happened in the radio as well as in the printed media network. No wonder democracy’s decline in America has accelerated further ever since.

Today, what do we hear on the radio or watch on the TV news? Mainly Weather, murders, shooting, rapes etc. No issue of major importance for the citizens is discussed in these media. People are intentionally kept ignorant and ill informed. This is what these oligarchs want. They want –as per their thinking—’dumb millions’ to keep serving them. Because they know, if people are well informed about how corrupt our politicians are, they may unite, create a revolution and take away their power in this country. They also know that to keep Americans divided into democrats, republicans, independents, liberals, progressives, conservatives etc., they can never unite and threaten the powers of the oligarchs or threaten their tight grip on the economy and the government.

The greatest tragedy is that we Americans think that we are ‘free’. But, in reality, most of us are slaves of these giant corporations. America has descended from a democracy of 1950s to an oligarchy today.

For last fifty years and more, we Americans have been indoctrinated with the massive propaganda that America is ‘the greatest democracy’ in the world. This propaganda is carried out by the mainstream news-media which is controlled by a handful of mega-corporations which are in turn controlled by billionaire oligarchs…super rich individuals.

So, let’s find out how democratic America is. As we all know, genuine democracy means a majority rule. In a democracy, the government acts according to the will of the majority of its people. Hence, here are the numbers of what majority of Americans want:


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