The current political mess, in the USA, began, as usual, with the wealthy and powerful seeking additional ways to expand that power and wealth while dealing with that irritating concept of democracy. They needed something like a back door, a way to turn their massive wealth into actionable political power. Power that “the people” could not keep in check. This would allow them to change or circumvent the constitution, as needed, through the courts and/or legislation. Their progress has been dramatic and today they are nearing what may be an insurmountable takeover/revolution.
Throughout the 1900’s and early 2000’s the wealthy and powerful worked hard to add a simple, but extremely dominant change to American law. That, of course, was the fictitious concept of “corporate personhood” (their back door). Next, they needed a plan, to effectively and efficiently utilize their power and this fictitious personhood, on every front. That plan became real with the Powell Memorandum, laying out a comprehensive step by step guide. Finally, they needed to execute that plan and do it ASAP. This began with the Reagan administration and the birth of the new GOP, eagerly implementing, what might best be called the “Overthrow Project”, changing government to a “minuscule government that is basically an appendage to private enterprise”.
I am stealing a phrase (Overthrow Project) found in the article below from The Nation Magazine, by Herbert J. Gans, where he goes into detail analyzing aspects of the overthrow. He says that “Understanding the GOP’s various activities as a single project makes it possible to see the unstated purposes of these activities and how they are connected.”
Again, Gans says: “The essence of the Overthrow Project is familiar: to reduce taxes on the very rich, free the business community from taxes and regulations that interfere with its money-making, and subsidize that community with public funds.” Below I have restated many of Gans’ points, summarizing (in bullet format) the comprehensive implementation of this plan or project. It quickly becomes outright frightening how close the GOP, the 1%, is to completing their coup.
The essence of the Overthrow Project is familiar:
- Reduce taxes on the very rich,
- Free the business community from taxes and regulations that interfere with its money-making
- Subsidize that community (the very rich) with public funds
- Privatize as many governmental activities as possible.
- Leave for government … the maintenance of the remaining public infrastructure that enables private enterprise to operate efficiently and safely
- Assure public safety through ever-higher funding of the military, the homeland-security apparatus, the police, and other forces of so called law and order
- Obtain permanent control over all branches of the federal and state governments.
Think tanks and control of the media are essential tools in this project. “Much of the Republican program and strategy originated in the many right-wing think tanks created and supported by the donor class and the business community.” One of dominant players here is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) where laws are created by big business and the wealthy and delivered to our representatives for implementation (along with an appropriate financial perk). Gans reminds us that Trump “has always supported … (the) Overthrow Project, adopting its goals and its hardball methods”.
What is in jeopardy as privatization runs amok?
- Public education
- Veterans Affairs department,
- Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs
- Divert part of Social Security to Wall Street
- Privatization of public lands, including in the national parks, is already being discussed
- Expansion of existing privatized institutions (prisons, etc.)
- Possible elimination of cabinet departments and other federal agencies
- Privatize election campaigns
What would this overthrown world look like?
- overnment’s role would be limited to enforcing the rules and regulations for the newly privatized enterprises (and wealthy)
- Enterprises will supply government with many of these rules and regulations and government would mainly protect money making and prevent unfair competition (already happens via ALEC)
- Additional institutions supplying (new) public goods are eligible for eventual privatization
We are already well on the way to this goal
- The GOP has completed systematic gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts
- Various (successful) voter suppression, limitation, and discouragement schemes have helped to further increase GOP control
- Cutting back funds for the Bureau of the Census and other federal data-gathering programs that implicitly but clearly criticize Republican policies.
- Suppression of information reporting the increases in racial, economic, and other inequalities that could hurt the (GOP) party politically.
- Intimidation of critics and the barring of access to critical news media.
- Distract attention from important events and facts that could interfere with the pursuit of party contr0l – Fake news / Alternative Facts
- Rejection of long-held political norms
“All of these actions support the Republicans’ attacks on the foundations of democratic government and thereby advance its overthrow.” What we must remember is that a democratic government is not a priority for those in power. Instead they see it as an imposition, but it is an imperative to the majority of the American people. Today’s politics show increasing signs of unrest and the word “revolution” is beginning to be thrown around. Here Gans suggests that “Although the Overthrow Project may be revolutionary in the changes it could bring to the country, it will probably not include violence. Instead, its primary effects may include the normalization of the various party-control schemes, the constant violation of traditional norms, the toleration of nepotism, corruption, and the injection of alternative realities into the country’s political life … (and although Democrats) have resorted to some of the same strategies and tactics as the Republicans—gerrymandering, for example—they have never gone about it as systematically as the Republicans.” Likewise, there are many Democrats equally participating in some form of this overthrow (valuing the powerful over democracy), but it is only a portion of Democrats while it is almost all of the GOP.
Watch what is happening and take note as the GOP checks off item after item from it’s game plan – unless, of course the Democrats and the left wake up and find a way to counter the massive progress already made by the GOP. If it were up to me, I would start, as they did, focusing on the fictitious concept of “corporate personhood”, removing it once and for all by passing the We The People Amendment introduced by MoveToAmend.