“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country … corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
–attributed to Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Col. William F. Eakin, Nov. 21, 1864
The evil unleashed by the Great Emancipator has come full circle; the Republic is destroyed.
Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow unlimited campaign contributions by corporations, labor unions and other political entities spells the end of representative democracy in the United States and the beginning of an era of unbridled oligarchic tyranny.
What Mussoloini, Franco and Hitler could not accomplish in Europe, the neo-conservatives have made happen in America: the fascists have won.
The Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for influence-peddlers to have their way with the crooks in Washington by striking down a part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law which prevented independent political groups from advertising within certain time frames surrounding elections.
A story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal notes that the corrupters are wasting no time, forming political organizations to campaign against lawmakers whose policies they oppose.
Individual Americans already have a hard time getting Congress to listen to them. Now, the corporations and labor unions will be on the other end of those cell-phone calls.
The sad fact is that it was Lincoln who is to blame.
In the early United States, a “corporation” was an organization formed for a specific purpose — such as building a bridge or a road. It disbanded when that purpose was finished, or in the event of a corporate township, retained limited power. You’ll recall seeing that term “Corp. Limits” on road signs as you enter towns — that, folks, is the original purpose of a corporation.
As European and American industrialists grew in power in the early 1800s, however, the nature and purpose of a corporation changed. The industrialists realized the power they could attain by banding together in corporations — funding ever-larger projects than any of them could do alone, and coincidentally wielding far more power than any of them could singly.
When Lincoln found himself losing the Civil War, he made a deal with the devil. The industrialists and their corporations gave him the war machine he needed, and he gave them carte blanche to profiteer from it.
The activities of labor unions were curtailed in defense factories; indeed, at some, captured Confederate soldiers were used as slave labor. When newly-arrived immigrants protested being drafted into the Union armies, they were fired upon in New York City.
In a relatively short period of time, Lincoln’s government was taken over by corporate shills. The same was happening in Europe — particularly in England, where English colonialism became markedly more militant and the Victorian Age became marked by gunboat diplomacy around the world.
Too late, Lincoln saw his error. There are some conspiracists out there who believe that John Wilkes Booth and his cohorts received help from certain industrialists who favored Radical Reconstruction and who thought they’d get it from Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice-president.
Johnson wouldn’t play ball with them, however, and, backed by the corporations, the Radical Republicans impeached him for blocking their attempts to impose harsh reconstruction measures.
Johnson’s successor, Ulysses S. Grant, was under no such constraints. His administration was perhaps the most corrupt in American history, and in 1886, the Supreme Court whose members he appointed decided in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company that corporations have the same rights under the Constitution that individuals do.
The faceless entity of the corporation henceforth had all the rights and privileges of the individual — and far more resources it could dedicate to peddling its influence.
Britain spent much of the latter 19th Century grinding the Third World underfoot, and the U.S. set out on the same course in the early 20th Century — invading and occupying, at one point or another, virtually every Central American country and building its own empire by picking a war with Europe’s crumbling Spain.
The American corporations’ first drive for power ended in 1935, when Marine Corps hero Gen. Smedley D. Butler, who’d fought in almost every one of those “Banana Wars,” went public with a plot by a group of industrialists to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt and establish a fascist state.
Interestingly enough, Congress held a couple of hearings on Butler’s charge of an attempted coup, then nothing more was done.
The Supreme Court decision removes the strictures that McCain-Feingold had placed on unbridled corporate political spending. What your measly little $20 campaign contribution couldn’t buy, their $200 million television ad will.
I make no secret of the fact that I am a Texas Nationalist. This decision by the U.S. Supreme Court only reinforces my belief that the only way we can save representative democracy in Texas is by leaving the United States.