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Ellison writes: "Only when such a vast gap in power and influence exists between most people and the uber-wealthy in any society, can the one percent ram through legislation that deeply harms the lives of most people in that society."

Keith Ellison. (photo: Getty)
Keith Ellison. (photo: Getty)


We Must Thwart the Rising Oligarchy in the United States

By Keith Ellison, Reader Supported News

04 January 18


As legislators move to support democracy abroad, we cannot ignore the leaders and policies corroding our politics at home.

ot far from the state of Texas, a fraudulent election was very recently held and stolen. The Honduran electoral commission recently certified that Juan Orlando Hernandez became President after widespread reports of irregularity and fraud. It was the culmination of a trend decades in the making in Honduras, one final and dramatic blow to democratic governance that came on the heels of decades of worsening inequality, increasing concentration of corporate power, and creeping authoritarianism. The Organization of American States is right; we need a new election in Honduras. But more than that, in the United States have to acknowledge that we are seeing our future when looking at the political climate in Honduras, if we don’t recognize the early warning signs and do something about it.

Honduras has become a deeply unequal society. According to an analysis by CEPR, more than 63 percent of Hondurans are either unemployed, underemployed, or working for less than the minimum wage. But that didn’t just happen overnight; it came after decades of rubber-stamping legislation by the Honduran government giving away windfall profits to massive corporations at the expense of most working people. It was a systematic takeover of government by the wealthy, and an intentional effort to make life harder for the poor in order to secure more for the rich. Labor unions were dismantled, and corporations wrote the laws. The tax fight this week showed us that the United States is clearly on that same course. A single family ― the Walton family ― owns as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined. Wealthy elites write our laws, own our newsrooms, and seek to use their influence to secure even more in profits.

That economic reality is deeply tied to why a right-wing politician was able to override the will of the people in Honduras. Only when such a vast gap in power and influence exists between most people and the uber-wealthy in any society, can the one percent ram through legislation that deeply harms the lives of most people in that society. Over the past few months, it has become clear just how many Americans deeply oppose the tax bill passed by Congress this week. Still, because of the sheer economic and political power that’s wielded by the wealthiest one percent in our society, legislation that harms the overwhelming majority of people in the United States was passed. That should frighten us all, because the fundamentally undemocratic exercise of power by the wealthiest to override the will of the majority is exactly what just happened in Honduras.

Representative government rests on the premise that government serves the people. When that stops being true, and when the powerful can override what most people want, the potential for undemocratic abuse is absolutely immense. In Honduras, at least 22 demonstrators have been killed, mostly by state security forces, since the election. Police and military kill their own neighbors without consequence. That’s because undemocratic oligarchy has become the norm, and has convinced those in power in Honduras to believe they are rulers, instead of servants.

In Congress, we are speaking up loudly and clearly against U.S. support for the Honduran regime, as we have since the coup, because the futures of our two nations are deeply tied. In March, I helped lead the reintroduction of the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, H.R. 1299, sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson, which demands an immediate suspension of all U.S. security aid to Honduras and requires the U.S. to vote no on loans from multilateral development banks for the police or military of Honduras. But we’ve also got to recognize the creep of oligarchy against democracy here at home, and fight against it by outlining a bold, forward-looking vision for our future that includes everyone. I’ll do that with renewed vigor in the year to come.


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+7 # anarchteacher 2018-01-04 18:52
https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/rules-america-power-elite-analysis-deep-state-american-history/

Who Rules America: Power Elite Analysis, the Deep State, and American History
 
 
-10 # Farafalla 2018-01-04 19:12
Something is wrong here. I don't think Keith Ellison is writing about Honduras! The headline and byline do not match the text. Whassup chall?
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2018-01-05 00:16
He is writing about Honduras. The title isn't clear. Either it was mis-titled or the connection between US oligarchy and the stolen Honduran election, which is not immediately obvious to everyone, should have been explained. It is possible that Ellison didn't title it himself.
 
 
+18 # Working Class 2018-01-05 11:26
Ellison is using Honduras as an example of what can and is happening in the US. The headline is not mis-leading at all if you look at the article in that context. The important (read vital) message is it can happen here. The American people are either going to reclaim their government or surrender their freedom.
 
 
+14 # Wally Jasper 2018-01-06 08:52
Not "it can happen here". It *is* happening here. We are right now becoming more and more of an oligarchic country. That is Keith Ellison's point.
 
 
+7 # vicnada 2018-01-06 07:50
The gutting of democracy in Honduras is the work of the US Oligarcy. How else have our uber-rich consolidated their wealth and power except by decades of rape and terror across our planet. In the old days, it was called colonialism.
 
 
+27 # bardphile 2018-01-04 19:30
If the oligarchy is imposing itself on "the people," and it is, the people have only themselves to blame. The people still rule in the USA, or they would if they got their act together. True, it will take more than a majority to turn the ship around, what with voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money, not-so-dark money, etc., but the numbers are still there for a progressive government. We need to offer our fellow citizens a coherent left-of-center platform and make a sustained effort to push it through.
 
 
+8 # RLF 2018-01-05 06:46
I agree Bard. I'm just hoping that the fool in office will make things bad enough for the working class that they start to see beyond faux and Breightbart...b ut I've been thinking this every Republican president since Raygun and it hasn't happened. I'm not counting on the American people to be smart enough to get out of a paper bag!
 
 
+2 # randrjwr 2018-01-07 10:15
Quoting Farafalla:
Something is wrong here. I don't think Keith Ellison is writing about Honduras! The headline and byline do not match the text. Whassup chall?


Here is Wwhassup: "....in the United States [we] have to acknowledge that we are seeing our future when looking at the political climate in Honduras, if we don’t recognize the early warning signs and do something about it."

Honduras is an example of what the United States is becoming. We should look in the mirror and learn something.

And read what #Working Class and #Wally Jasper say.Quoting bardphile:
If the oligarchy is imposing itself on "the people," and it is, the people have only themselves to blame. The people still rule in the USA, or they would if they got their act together. True, it will take more than a majority to turn the ship around, what with voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money, not-so-dark money, etc., but the numbers are still there for a progressive government. We need to offer our fellow citizens a coherent left-of-center platform and make a sustained effort to push it through.


Agreed, but it will take MONEY, and lots and lots of it, thanks to Citizens United.
 
 
+26 # ddd-rrr 2018-01-04 22:02
Keith Ellison speaks a very important truth in this article -- and we ignore what he says
at our peril. I hope very many people in the US see, read, and understand
what Mr. Ellison has observed and described here.
This is essential for our survival
as a democracy!
 
 
+3 # lamancha 2018-01-05 00:28
Too often one's head can spin out of control as if in a pure state of vertigo wanting to thrash about while shouting obscenities at the entirety of the Republican Party. I guess it's designed to get us progressives so far off course so as to act irrationally and throw our hands up in despair. Is it because no one is leading the charge to bolster our morale and find a way through the morass?
 
 
+18 # Celtic Tiger 2018-01-05 06:43
Fine points by Mr.Ellison. But what he needs to do is address the role the Democratic Party has played, since Bill Clinton, in helping bring out the oligarchy. Under the DLC and the Party leadership, even during the Obama years, unbridled support for unaudited Pentagon and CIA spending, neo-liberal trade/globaliza tion policies that fail to include worker interests/right s, human rights abuses such as police brutality here in the US, etc. To date, the Democratic Party has failed to provide the kind of leadership Mr. Ellison now claims both in Congress and for him as deputy DNC director. Time will tell if the truths he enumerates in this article are met with actions and leadership by Democrats. Time to replace Schumer, Pelosi and the usual "old" guard or else Mr. Ellison's party will be all talk.
 
 
+12 # Blackjack 2018-01-05 09:13
Mr. Ellison seems to be doing some beneficial things, but until Citizens United is overturned, they will likely not be enough. Dems should have immediately started working to overturn the Supreme's giveaway to corporations the very day the decision came down. But that would have required real courage, a well thought-out long-term plan, and cohesiveness as a party. Sadly, none of those attributes applies to the Dem Party. What the party did instead was to learn to play the money game just as well as the Repukes play it. Now they like that game because it keeps them in office, even if it's as a member of the minority party. Citizens United alone is turning this country into an oligarchy, which is just fine if you're part of the moneyed, ruling elite. For the rest of us, well. . .we don't really matter.
 
 
+3 # revhen 2018-01-05 11:17
What's this? Ellison just points again to what many of us have seen for years and the slimy trolls ooze out of the woodwork to try to trash the truth. The philosopher said, "Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it." The point is to fight for the truth rather than rehash how we got here.
 
 
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-01-06 07:28
Oligarchy is now global. There are many remnants of national oligarchs so sometimes we think of a Bill Gates or other as "American." But not even Gates is an American oligarch. He works with tyrants and criminals all over the world. Same with Soros.

The real institutions of Oligarchy are the global banks. They are connected through the World Bank and IMF and also through central banks in nations or in the case of Europe the European Central Bank. They work as extended royal families manipulating whole nations.

John Perkins in his various "confessions of an economic hit man" is one of the best to explain how all this works. Banks own governments in small nations like Honduras, and in large nations like the US or Germany.

Ellison and others in the US government must put an end to oligarchy all over the earth. It is growing at a terrifying rate. They need to start by regulating private banks and then move up to the FED, World Bank, and IMF. Oligarchs and their banks need to be brought under the control and regulation by the representatives of people. This is what democracy, as opposed to oligarchy, means. People rule, not money.
 
 
-2 # John Puma 2018-01-06 18:54
Sorry Mr Ellison,

Your voting to nominate HRC strips you of any credibility in any meaningful discussion of oligarchy in US government.

As to "we cannot ignore the leaders and policies corroding our politics at home," you need to first read "Surrender - How the Clinton Administration Completed the Reagan Revolution" by M Meeropol
 
 
+1 # chapdrum 2018-01-07 11:18
Good luck with that.
Remember "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"
 

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