The Oli­garch Prob­lem

Trillions - - Table Of Contents - By Tim Lon­car­ich, NAPC CEO

The world has an Oli­garch prob­lem and we need to rec­og­nize it for what it is

When two pro­fes­sors at Prince­ton and North­west­ern uni­ver­si­ties pub­lished a re­port in 2014 en­ti­tled “Test­ing The­o­ries of Amer­i­can Pol­i­tics: Elites, In­ter­est Groups, and Aver­age Cit­i­zens” which de­ter­mined that the United States best fit the po­lit­i­cal model of Eco­nomic-elite Dom­i­na­tion, not ev­ery­one fully un­der­stood what that meant but many agreed that it could be true. The United States had in­deed be­come an oli­garchy, a coun­try in which the wealthy had greater in­flu­ence over gov­ern­ment than the pop­u­lace.

Since the study was pub­lished in 2014, the oli­garchy has strength­ened and demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions have weak­ened. The oli­garchs have be­come an even greater prob­lem and it is im­per­a­tive that we un­der­stand the prob­lem and what to do about it. It re­ally is ef­fect­ing us whether we re­al­ize it or not.

Who are the oli­garchs?

One could say that oli­garchs are very wealthy peo­ple who use a por­tion of their money to in­flu­ence so­ci­ety to their ex­clu­sive ben­e­fit. Of course, not all of the very wealthy are oli­garchs and some rich peo­ple use their money for the com­mon good or their own he­do­nis­tic plea­sure. And not all oli­garchs are ex­tremely wealthy, but may merely share the ideals of the oli­garchs and get a seat at the oli­garch ta­ble by virtue of shared in­ter­ests and po­ten­tial to fur­ther the oli­garch agenda.

Oli­garchs are con­trol freaks and be­lieve that they know what is best for the masses and that it is their right and obli­ga­tion to rule over the masses. The are elit­ists.

Many oli­garchs sub­scribe to the philoso­phies of Al­dous Hux­ley, Ber­trand Rus­sell and Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski — who be­lieved that hu­man­ity should be ef­fec­tively con­trolled for the ben­e­fit of the elite. This con­trol comes in many forms and in­flu­ences our be­hav­ior and thoughts from an early age.

Ber­trand Rus­sell be­lieved, “The com­plete­ness of the re­sult­ing con­trol over opin­ion de­pends in var­i­ous ways upon sci­en­tific tech­nique. Where all chil­dren go to school, and all schools are con­trolled by the gov­ern­ment, the au­thor­i­ties can close the minds of the young to ev­ery­thing con­trary to of­fi­cial or­tho­doxy.”

In 1970 Brzezin­ski stated “...so­ci­ety would be dom­i­nated by an elite whose claim to po­lit­i­cal power would rest on al­legedly su­pe­rior sci­en­tific know-how. Un­hin­dered by the restraints of tra­di­tional lib­eral val­ues, this elite

would not hes­i­tate to achieve its po­lit­i­cal ends by us­ing the lat­est mod­ern tech­niques for in­flu­enc­ing public be­hav­ior and keep­ing so­ci­ety un­der close sur­veil­lance and con­trol.”

The elit­ist phi­los­o­phy is em­bod­ied in or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Tri­lat­eral Com­mis­sion, Coun­cil on For­eign (CFR) Af­fairs, the Royal In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs and others.

When Hil­lary Clin­ton was in­vited to speak at the CFR’S new head­quar­ters in Washington, DC she said:

I have been of­ten to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an out­post of the Coun­cil right here down the street from the State De­part­ment.

We get a lot of ad­vice from the Coun­cil, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be do­ing and how we should think about the fu­ture.

While Hil­lary is not cur­rently an of­fi­cial mem­ber of the CFR for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, Bill Clin­ton and her daugh­ter are both mem­bers.

Be­ing told “what we should be do­ing and how we should think about the fu­ture” by an elit­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion is def­i­nitely oli­garchy and Hil­lary Clin­ton des­per­ately wants to be­come an oli­garch her­self.

Washington is in­fested with CFR mem­bers and their elit­ist phi­los­o­phy dom­i­nates the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Oli­garchs are not all Amer­i­can or Euro­pean. Any­one with enough money and a sim­i­lar world view can join the global oli­garchy.

Oli­garchs are not loyal to any one coun­try and hold a glob­al­ist per­spec­tive.

Stash­ing the loot - oli­garchs and taxes

The leaked doc­u­ments com­monly called the Panama Pa­pers and the Luxleaks have high­lighted the fact that a lot of re­ally rich in­di­vid­u­als and large cor­po­ra­tions hide their money in off­shore tax havens.

While hav­ing an off­shore shell cor­po­ra­tion and keep­ing money in off­shore ac­counts is cer­tainly not il­le­gal or even im­moral in it­self, crim­i­nals do in­deed uti­lize off­shore se­cre­tive tax havens like Panama and Lux­em­bourg to store their loot and some use por­tions of that loot to in­flu­ence gov­ern­ments and me­dia to strengthen their po­si­tion and re­duce the chances of be­ing pros­e­cuted for their crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity or sim­ply hav­ing to pay their fair share of taxes.

While it is pos­si­ble for a de­cent per­son to be­come very rich and not all bil­lion­aires are crim­i­nals or so­ciopaths, the chances of le­gally be­com­ing a bil­lion­aire in many coun­tries is ac­tu­ally pretty slim. There are all kinds of ob­sta­cles to le­gally mak­ing bil­lions and keep­ing much of it. So, many of the world’s bil­lion­aires do get their money by less sa­vory meth­ods, some al­most le­gal, some very il­le­gal and some are meth­ods that should be il­le­gal but aren’t due to weak laws or en­force­ment.

This is noth­ing new. Through­out hu­man his­tory the rich have been us­ing their money to gain priv­i­lege while deny­ing the same to others. What many of us didn’t pre­vi­ously re­al­ize is just how much il­licit money there is, or how some of these same crim­i­nals use that money to screw up the world.

In 2013, it was es­ti­mated that up to $32 tril­lion was hid­den in off­shore ac­counts, untaxed and avail­able to sub­vert democ­racy around the world. Some of the money is used to spon­sor ter­ror­ism and in­cite con­flict to fuel the im­mensely lu­cra­tive war in­dus­try.

Oli­garchs and the cor­po­ra­tions they con­trol gen­er­ally pay lit­tle or no taxes and of­ten en­joy tax­payer sub­si­dies. The 1% get the 99% to pay the taxes and keep them rich. It is es­ti­mated that tax avoid­ance by just U.S. multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions cost gov­ern­ments more than $130 bil­lion each year.

A re­cent ar­ti­cle in The In­ter­cept de­tailed how the oli­garchs use their money to in­flu­ence the U.S. agen­cies who shape tax pol­icy on the rich and their cor­po­ra­tions: the House Ways and Means and Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee. Both are in­fected with lob­by­ists who pre­vi­ously worked for large cor­po­ra­tions seek­ing to avoid taxes. Now the lob­by­ists help run the very or­ga­ni­za­tions they were pre­vi­ously lob­by­ing.

At the ex­ec­u­tive level, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is filled with for­mer lob­by­ists and min­ions who do the bid­ding of the oli­garchs - most are mem­bers of elit­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions or aspire to be.

If an oli­garch can’t get the low or no taxes they want in the U.S. or Panama they can get it in Lux­em­bourg, if they pay enough money. The 2014 Luxleaks doc­u­ments showed that over 340 multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions were al­lowed to claim much of their prof­its had

been gen­er­ated by Lux­em­bourg sub­sidiaries taxed at rates as low as 1%, even when those com­pa­nies ac­tu­ally did no busi­ness in Lux­em­bourg. The com­pa­nies in­cluded Pepsi, Fedex, IKEA, AIG, Walt Dis­ney, the Car­lyle Group, Deutsche Bank, JP Mor­gan Chase, Proc­ter & Gam­ble, ebay via Skype, and many others.

In­stead of shut­ting down its fraud­u­lent tax evasion schemes, Oli­garchy Lux­em­bourg is pros­e­cut­ing those who leaked and pub­lished the in­for­ma­tion.

Most large multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions con­tinue to evade taxes by fraud­u­lently shift­ing prof­its to no or low tax ju­ris­dic­tions, be­cause their ser­vants in Washington and else­where pre­vent leg­is­la­tion from be­ing passed that would make it il­le­gal.

Oli­garchs, the CIA and or­ga­nized crime

Some his­to­ri­ans claim that the CIA was founded not re­ally as a gov­ern­ment in­tel­li­gence or­ga­ni­za­tion to sup­port Amer­ica’s na­tional se­cu­rity but was cre­ated on be­half of Amer­ica’s oli­garchs to pro­tect & pro­mote their in­ter­ests. The known mis­deeds of the CIA and its mas­sive in­tel­li­gence fail­ures sup­port this as­ser­tion.

The CIA was the pri­mary force be­hind the cre­ation of Panama as a haven for dirty money. Panama’s 1976 Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees bank­ing se­crecy, and it im­poses no tax on rev­enue gen­er­ated out­side the coun­try. With more than 110 in­ter­na­tional banks and 400,000 off­shore cor­po­ra­tions, it is one the world’s lead­ing havens for dirty money and has re­mained im­mune from the re­quire­ments im­posed on other coun­tries for bank­ing trans­parency. Bill Clin­ton, Bush Sn. & Jr. and Obama have all helped pre­serve Panama as a dirty money safe-haven.

In the thor­oughly re­searched and ref­er­enced 2015 book Op­er­a­tion Gla­dio, au­thor Paul Wil­liams ex­poses how shortly af­ter be­ing formed af­ter WW II, the CIA re­cruited some of the worst Nazis for a se­cret stay­be­hind Euro­pean army to check com­mu­nist ex­pan­sion. In­ves­ti­ga­tions by the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment led to it be­ing com­monly called Gla­dio.

To keep Gla­dio se­cret and to not have to go to Congress for fund­ing, the CIA made ar­range­ments to keep it self-funded with drug money in part­ner­ship with the Si­cil­ian mafia. Gla­dio quickly be­came a se­cret in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal en­ter­prise that has grown to im­mense pro­por­tions and is now one of the great­est threats to the world.

Thanks to the CIA and the oli­garchs, Gla­dio re­mains untouchable.

One ex­am­ple of Gla­dio in­flu­ence is opium pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan. Not long af­ter the Tal­iban banned poppy pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan in 2000, the U.S. in­vaded in 2001, opium pro­duc­tion was re­stored and even­tu­ally U.S. sol­diers were pro­tect­ing poppy fields and drug ship­ments. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime, in 2001 opium pro­duc­tion in Afghanistan be­fore the U.S. oc­cu­pa­tion was at only 7,600 hectares. Shortly af­ter the oc­cu­pa­tion it had risen to 74,000 hectares and rose steadily to 224,000 hectares by 2014. In the same pe­riod, heroin ad­dicts in the United States rose from 189,000 to 2,500,000 and deaths from heroin over­dose rose from 1,779 a year to 10,574 per year.

Gla­dio has also been linked to nu­mer­ous as­sas­si­na­tions, coups, the Sav­ings & Loan fraud of the 1980s in which hun­dreds of bil­lions were stolen and the more re­cent sub-prime mort­gage fraud in which tril­lions were stolen.

For many decades, Gla­dio re­mained un­known for what it was but was the sub­ject of var­i­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Jour­nal­ist Danny Ca­so­laro re­ferred to it as The Oc­to­pus and just be­fore he ex­pected to ob­tain de­fin­i­tive proof of its ex­is­tence he was mur­dered and all of his notes taken.

For­mer FBI whis­tle-blower Si­bel Ed­monds has also writ­ten about Gla­dio but has pro­tected her­self by pre­sent­ing the more sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion in the form of a novel.

While some oli­garchs reign over vast crim­i­nal en­ter­prises, most earn their money in semi-le­gal means through lay­ers of cor­po­ra­tions. When one of their cor­po­ra­tions is caught break­ing the law and charged they merely pay a fine.

Oli­garch cor­po­ra­tion Mcgraw Hill paid a $1.5 bil­lion dol­lar fine for the role of its sub­sidiary Stan­dard & Poors for fraud­u­lently rat­ing bun­dled sub-prime mort­gages. The fine was a small prices to pay to make tril­lions dis­ap­pear and crash the world econ­omy. The com­pany could eas­ily af­ford the fine and none of the crim­i­nals re­spon­si­ble went to jail.

Oli­garchs and the war in­dus­try

Be­cause the U.S. Pen­tagon func­tions as a mas­sive piggy bank to the war in­dus­try, many oli­garchs are heav­ily in­vested in the war in­dus­try and man­u­fac­ture con­flict to en­sure that the fund­ing con­tin­ues and there is no ef­fec­tive over­sight of where the money goes.

Re­gard­less of how one feels about the at­tacks on 911, if one looks closely enough one can see the oli­garch’s fin­ger-prints on it:

15 of the 19 hi­jack­ers were Saudi Ara­bian and Osama bin Laden was Saudi Ara­bian and funded with Saudi money, yet Saudi Ara­bia was not held ac­count­able in any way. Why?

Saudi planes were the only planes al­lowed to fly in the days af­ter the at­tacks. Why?

The 28 pages of the 911 com­mis­sion re­port that im­pli­cates the Saudi rul­ing fam­ily re­mains clas­si­fied to this day. Why?

Most of the U.S. gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees who al­lowed and even fa­cil­i­tated the at­tacks were re­warded with pro­mo­tions. Why?

Af­ter 911, the ready-made Pa­triot Act was forced through with­out Congress hav­ing time to read it and Amer­ica went to war against Iraq and Afghanistan, not the oli­garchy of Saudi Ara­bia which was ac­tu­ally in­volved in the at­tacks.

Saudi Ara­bia’s mil­i­tant Wah­habi sect of Is­lam is the world’s pri­mary source of Is­lamic ter­ror­ism. Wah­habi re­li­gious mind-con­trol schools around the world are highly ef­fec­tive at man­u­fac­tur­ing a steady stream of will­ing ter­ror­ists and ji­hadists.

Obama sup­porter Se­na­tor Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut re­cently told the oli­garchy think tank, the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, “sup­port for the Wah­habi move­ment forms the foun­da­tion, the build­ing blocks, of the very ex­trem­ist move­ments we say is a top pri­or­ity to fight in the re­gion.”

The U.S. con­tin­ues to sup­ply the rul­ing Saud fam­ily the weapons and sup­port it needs to stay in power.

When the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of 911 tried to get Congress to let them sue Saudi Ara­bia the Saudis threat­ened to dump $750 bil­lion of their Amer­i­can as­sets. Obama was quick to as­sure the Saudi oli­garchs that he wouldn’t al­low any­one to sue them.

Of­fi­cial cal­cu­la­tions put the di­rect cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to-date at $2 tril­lion, most of it un­ac­counted for and sub­stan­tial sums known to be stolen. Har­vard econ­o­mist Linda Bilmes, claims that the cost of the two wars to Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers will ul­ti­mately be $4 to $6 tril­lion when “count­ing long-term med­i­cal care and dis­abil­ity com­pen­sa­tion for ser­vice mem­bers, veterans and fam­i­lies, mil­i­tary re­plen­ish­ment and so­cial and eco­nomic costs.”

The United States is by far the world’s largest arms dealer. The sec­ond largest is the oli­garchy Rus­sia with ap­prox­i­mately half the amount sold. Sup­ply­ing the world with a steady sup­ply of weapons en­sures in­sta­bil­ity and cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to oli­garch’s ex­pan­sion of power.

Oli­garchs be­hind doc­u­ment leaks?

The Panama Pa­pers were se­lec­tive leaks that ap­pear to have been tar­get­ing spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als while avoid­ing im­pli­cat­ing Amer­i­can oli­garchs and the CIA and its vast crim­i­nal em­pire. Putin’s oli­garchy, which doesn’t fully co­op­er­ate with the Euro-amer­i­can oli­garchy was one ob­vi­ous tar­get.

Other tar­gets may have in­cluded the Prime Min­is­ter of Ice­land and even the UK’S Prime Min­is­ter.

For­mer Swiss banker and whis­tle-blower Bradley Birken­feld be­lieves that the CIA is re­spon­si­ble for leak­ing the Panama Pa­pers. In an in­ter­view with CNBC he said, “The CIA I’m sure is be­hind this... The very fact that we see all these names sur­face that are the di­rect quote-un­quote en­e­mies of the United States, Rus­sia, China, Pak­istan, Ar­gentina and we don’t see one U.S. name. Why is that?”

Some be­lieve that the leak of NSA doc­u­ments by Ed­ward Snow­den was also an oli­garch-cia leak de­signed to re­place the head of the NSA with one more aligned with the oli­garchs. None of the in­for­ma­tion leaked was re­ally sen­si­tive or dam­ag­ing and much of it was ob­so­lete. Snow­den had pre­vi­ously worked for the CIA and while em­ployed there claimed that leak­ers of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion “should be shot”.

The oli­garchs shape mil­i­tary doc­trine and the U.S. mil­i­tary doc­trine calls for “full spec­trum dom­i­nance” over all pos­si­ble ad­ver­saries, in ev­ery class of war­fare, for the in­def­i­nite fu­ture. Any coun­try that is not aligned with Amer­i­can oli­garchs or un­der their con­trol be­comes a tar­get. This in­cludes com­pet­ing oli­garchs.

On May 9th at 2 PM EDT more of the records stolen from the Pana­ma­nian law firm Mos­sack Fon­seca will be made avail­able at https://off­shore­leaks.icij.org. The doc­u­ments will in­clude in­for­ma­tion on 200,000 off­shore en­ti­ties that are part of the Panama Pa­pers in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Oli­garchs and trade agree­ments

The heinous trade agree­ments cur­rently be­ing pushed onto the world, and some of those al­ready in place, are moves by oli­garchs to strengthen their po­si­tion and weaken democ­ra­cies that pose a threat to them.

The mech­a­nism by which the oli­garchs weaken na­tional sovereignty and democ­racy through trade agree- ments in­clude the clause on “In­vestor-state Dis­pute Set­tle­ment,” or ISDS. The ISDS clause gives cor­po­ra­tions the abil­ity to sue gov­ern­ments in tri­bunals and im­pose mas­sive penal­ties for ob­struct­ing the prof­its or po­ten­tial prof­its of a for­eign cor­po­ra­tion. This vi­o­lates na­tional sovereignty and elim­i­nates the right of a na­tion to make and en­force its own laws or to gov­ern re­spon­si­bly.

Some trade or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Word Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO), im­pose re­stric­tions upon a coun­try’s abil­ity to merely stock­pile food. Some famines in Africa are a di­rect re­sult of WTO poli­cies. Famines cre­ate so­cial and po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity which means more arms sales, loans and ex­pan­sion of oli­garch power.

Oli­garchs, phi­lan­thropy & so­cial en­gi­neer­ing

Oli­garchs give a lot of money to var­i­ous non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, think tanks, aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, me­dia and other or­ga­ni­za­tions to cre­ate a so­cial frame­work to sup­port their agenda.

How we view our­selves, the world around us and our place in the world is de­ter­mined to a great ex­tent by the so­cial frame­work the oli­garchs have cre­ated for us. But we can re­ject it, ques­tion ev­ery­thing, make new ob­ser­va­tions and hold new be­liefs un­til new in­for­ma­tion is avail­able to update those be­liefs.

One good ex­am­ple of how we are con­strained by the oli­garchs so­cial frame­work is the be­lief that one shouldn’t dis­cuss pol­i­tics or reli­gion. But, we re­ally should dis­cuss both top­ics ra­tio­nally and on a mean­ing­ful level, try on new ideas for size and share our per­cep­tions.

An­other con­straint is the be­lief that Amer­ica is a democ­racy, the best coun­try on Earth and the Amer­i­can way is the only way. As long as we be­lieve that then we aren’t likely to see the truth or try and im­prove things.

One of the most dam­ag­ing be­liefs is “doc­tor knows best”. Med­i­cal mal­prac­tice is the third lead­ing cause of death, so maybe doc­tor doesn’t al­ways know best. Many oli­garchs are heav­ily in­vested in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try and re­ally do want to keep peo­ple sick.

We have been lied to for a very long time and need to ques­tion ev­ery­thing.

Oli­garch so­cial en­gi­neer­ing only works as long as we don’t think for our­selves.

What to do about the oli­garchs

In some ways, the oli­garchs are right. Many peo­ple want some­one to rule them and tell them what to do. Many Amer­i­cans re­ally aren’t qual­i­fied to par­tic­i­pate in a democ­racy and don’t make wise choices.

Yet, if we do noth­ing about the oli­garchs and con­tinue to let them rule us, the down­ward spi­ral will con­tinue. Democ­racy and lib­erty will be fur­ther eroded, the mid­dle class will get poorer, there will be more man­u­fac­tured war and con­flict, we will get sicker and med­i­cal costs will in­crease and the en­vi­ron­ment will con­tinue to be degraded. Our chil­dren will in­herit a world of de­spair in­stead of hope and prom­ise.

Oli­garchs may seem im­mensely pow­er­ful and a for­mi­da­ble foe but they aren’t. They en­joy their po­si­tions over us only be­cause we al­low it. We can still make other choices and cre­ate en­tirely new op­tions, but time is run­ning out. If we aren’t will­ing to ex­pend the time and en­ergy to re­gain our democ­racy then we don’t de­serve it.

To start, we can stop vot­ing for oli­garchy by not vot­ing for a Demo­crat or Repub­li­can. We don’t have to vote the way TV and other me­dia tell us to. Most of us al­ready know that both par­ties are cor­rupt and serve the oli­garchs. There are other par­ties not con­trolled by the oli­garchs. If you un­der­stand this con­cept, share it with others.

More of us 99% can run for of­fice. We non-oli­garchs can in­sert our­selves into the sys­tem and change it from within. We can also lobby those we know in key po­si­tions to do the right thing and hold those ac­count­able that do the wrong thing.

We can get more in­volved in our lo­cal gov­ern­ment and en­sure that it serves our needs, not the needs of the oli­garchs.

How many times have you ex­pressed your thoughts and feel­ings to those in power? Ever called your Con­gress­man or Se­na­tor to let them know what you think? It re­ally can help in some cases. If we don’t do it then the oli­garch spon­sored groups will be the only voice heard.

Web­sites like Change.org may have some cam­paigns that they shouldn’t but such pe­ti­tion sites can make a big dif­fer­ence in some cases.

We can also stop giv­ing our money to oli­garch cor­pora- tions who spend more money on lob­by­ing than taxes, who sup­port oli­garch politi­cians and oli­garch me­dia, source their prod­ucts from sweat-shops and who trash the planet. We can choose to buy from lo­cal busi­nesses who share our val­ues, if there are any left.

Ed­u­cat­ing our­selves is also es­sen­tial. In­stead of spend­ing 4 hours a day veg­e­tat­ing in front of the TV we can in­vest that time into im­prov­ing our­selves, mak­ing bet­ter choices and help­ing others ex­tract them­selves from the oli­garch’s so­cial frame­work.

Not all oli­garchs are malev­o­lent. We can also lobby the few good ones and help them do more.

The whole con­ser­va­tive - lib­eral so­cial frame­work is de­signed to pit us against each other and get us to vote for one party or the other and think that if we just keep vot­ing ev­ery­thing will be OK. This game is ob­so­lete and we should stop play­ing it.

Most of us re­ally do want the SAME things and have the same fears and con­cerns. We want a de­cent job, a com­fort­able home and for our chil­dren to grow up in a hope­ful world with op­por­tu­nity.

Guess what? We don’t re­ally need po­lit­i­cal par­ties at all.

We can re­place rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy with di­rect democ­racy, do with­out po­lit­i­cal par­ties and give the vote to the peo­ple and col­lec­tively make de­ci­sions.

Per­haps the oli­garchs are wrong and we don’t re­ally need to be gov­erned if we know that we have re­spon­si­bil­ity and there are con­se­quences to our choices.

Gov­ern­ment as we know it is not nec­es­sary if we step up and act more re­spon­si­bly as a peo­ple. Cer­tainly we still need var­i­ous agen­cies to per­form the tasks needed but we can col­lec­tively man­age those agen­cies within the proper frame­work.

Per­haps we could start with a small town, get res­i­dents to at­tend town coun­cil meet­ings in per­son or re­motely and vote on is­sues along with the coun­cil.

What if the 99% cre­ated a new po­lit­i­cal party to end all po­lit­i­cal par­ties and re­placed gov­ern­ment with col­lec­tively man­aged ser­vice providers? Wouldn’t that help dis­place the oli­garchs?

Please share your ideas with us on how to cope with the oli­garchs.

Graf­fiti by un­known artist in the Tras Talleres neigh­bor­hood in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Clau­dine Van Massen­hove.

Afghan poppy field. Photo Pics-xl, Shut­ter­stock.com

Pil­grims walk­ing around Mo­hammed’s tomb in Mecca, Saudi Ara­bia. Photo by Samet Guler / Shut­ter­stock.com

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