Tuesday, October 18, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles: A Very USer Coup

Chris Hedges on Tuesday had a piece in the Blogosphere about how, after returning from 20 years as a foreign/war correspondent, he came home to the US only to discover that there had occurred, in his absence, a "corpoRat" coup d'Etat.

Coincidentally, I was listening to activist/lawyer/blogger Kevin Zeese the other day--he was a guest on one of the former Air America hosted spots, someone sitting in for Randi Rhodes, I think--who reminded me of the so-called "Powell Memorandum." It was the TEMPLATE for the coup to which Hedges testifies.

It's possibly the most influential document you NEVER heard of. Truly, there is probably not a more influential document in the WORLD, in so far as the shaping of the corpoRat climate in which we now struggle to survive--the world of CorpoRatocracy, Oiligarchy, and fiduciary servitude--than the Powell Memorandum.

Probably, you don't even remember Lewis Powell, either. Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, from 1971 til he retired in 1987--his mission already well underway under the Reaganauts. He cast himself as a mild-mannerd jurist; he was not a high-profile guy, considered a 'conciliator.'

A southern Aristo, Powell drafted a confidential memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that described a strategy for the corporate takeover of the dominant public institutions of American society--schools, the press, universities, media, etc--in early 1971, just before Nixon put him on the SCROTUS. On the Court, he was regarded as a "moderate," but the memo suggests his alleged moderation was simply a well-worn, comfortable costume which covered a radical, corpoRatist agenda.

I borrowed from Wikipedia the following outline of the basic premises of his plan, which was based mainly on his experiences as a corporate lawyer who was a representative for the tobacco industry with the Virginia legislature, to say NOTHING of his leadership, in Virginia of the '50s, of strident, official opposition to and defiance of the "Brown V. Topeka," school integration decision.

He wrote the notorious "Memo," privately, to a friend at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Investigative reporter Jack Anderson turned it up several years later. In it Powell called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding politics and law in the U.S., and suggested among other things, the formation of "friendly" think tanks. Can you say Heritage Foundation? American Enterprise Institute? The Coors Foundation? The Olin Foundation? Etc?

With it's title, "The Attack on the American Free Enterprise System," Powell, a subtler culture warrior than many of his time, sounded one of the opening calls of the culture wars. In shock from the dramatic upheavals of th 50s and 60s, Powell like so many of his generation--Alan Bloom, notably, who was ineradicably scarred by the sight of black men with shotguns outside Columbia in '67--Powell (for this instance at least) shed his reticence.

The tobacco litigations and civil rights actions were his watershed. The previous decade had seen the increasing regulation of many industries, as well as a burgeoning of civil rights laws. Powell argued the "most disquieting voices" joining the chorus of reprobation and criticism for the Murkin CorpoRat system "came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians." He firmly resolved to make any further or future recrudescence of such aberrations impossible.

To counteract these pernicious influences, in the memorandum, Powell advocated a variety of expedients which sound strange coming from the pen of a person considered at the time to be a futuere Supreme Court Justice: he urged "constant surveillance" of textbook and television content, as well as a "purge" of left-wing elements from important institutions, including University faculties and media posts.

In an extraordinary prefiguring of the social goals of CorpoRat State for the next half-century at least, Powell named the main goals of corpoRat propaganda/public relations campaigns: changing how individuals and society think about the corporation, in relation to the government, the law, the culture, and the individual.

Shaping public opinion on these topics became, and would remain, THE major element of the corpoRatist agenda. In pursuit of which goal, the corpoRats immediately began a program of acquiring media outlets, in a process called "press consolidation," which ensured "the People," whom Powell instructed the CorpoRats to seduce and confuse, would seldom if EVER be exposed to ANY rhetoric contradictory to the CorpoRat/Capitalist/Consumerist mantras of the Right.

You have only to look or listen around you to determine the power of the strategy, after only 40 years.

Thing is, hippies, and the thing they want us to forget, izzat the CorpoRats have been planning and executing their surreptitious, stealth coup d'Etat for nearly 60 years. And it's a done deal.

I even wrote a poem about it, called "Don't Eat the Souffle!":
"The fix is in:
"The deal is down;
"The game is cooked;
"The dice are loaded;
"The wheels are rigged;
"The decks are all marked,
Shaved, and stacked, and
"The dealers cheat,

"That's just how it is.
"If it bothers you, tough!
"It's what's on the menu!
"Eat it, or starve.
"The House don't care.
"So just shut up and deal.

"The chefs,
To express their disdain,
For the bosses and the clientele,
ALWAYS spit,
In the souffle…"

---Woody, 2011
An' dat's jus' how de cookie crumble, hippies...See ya at tha beach!

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