The US Supreme Court Rules Corporations Can Now Buy Elections
For over a century, claims have been made about the death of bourgeois democracy in the American Empire. However, on January 21st 2010, what was left of bourgeois democracy died.
It died not in a great bloody takeover by the fascist right–it didn’t need to. It died not in a proletarian revolution, and it certainly did not die in a heroic war. It died with a whimper and the bang of a gavel. Indeed, the ruling on Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission has overturned rulings and laws going all the way back to 1907 limiting the amount of money and political rights of corporations. In short, the ruling is nothing more or less than “individual citizens have no rights which corporations are bound to respect.”
Another, similar ruling was made in the middle of the 19th century by the US Supreme Court. Strangely, during the Vice Presidential Debates in 2008 Sarah Palin could not name it as a decision she disagreed with (apart from Roe V. Wade of course). This ruling was called “The Dred Scott Case” which stated quite plainly that “Negroes hold no rights to which white Americans are bound to respect.”
The aftermath of that decision ended in a great bloody Civil War and a century of racial violence. This decision hopefully will result in a great proletarian revolution.
But conjectures of the future aside, what are the immediate results of this decision? First, every politician who isn’t already bought by the corporations and corporate interests definitely will be. The political paradigm used to be: “you can prostitute some of the politicians some of the time; you can prostitute all of the politicians some of the time; but you cannot prostitute all the politicians all of the time.” This has now shifted to prostituting all of the politicians all of the time. Let’s just look at what would happen in a bourgeois election now after this ruling:
Senator A is an incumbent from Michigan and he is quite friendly to the Auto Workers Union.
Candidate B is the challenger for the Michigan Senate seat and is quite friendly to GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
Long story short, Candidate B wins because the big three dumped cash on him like it was going out of style.
Within ten years of this ruling not a single politician will be in office that was not bought by and paid for by corporations. This of course will also result in our second shift in the “democratic” processes of the US, namely that only the legislation wanted by and approved by the corporations will be passed. Health care reform? Kiss that goodbye. The health insurance companies–the very people who make billions off a system of health care denial–will simply purchase whatever Senators and Representatives they need to kill it. Ending wars of imperialism and aggression? Not going to happen now! The defense contractors–the Military-Industrial Complex as it is called–will simply buy whatever presidents, Senators and Representatives to create continuous imperialist wars for their profit margin.
And this only names a few of the consequences.
However, there is hope. There is only one hope. It does not rest in legislation or executive orders like Barack Obama idealistically has touted as a possible solution. That hope, indeed the only hope, rests in proletarian revolution. A revolution which will sweep away old property relations, appropriate the means of production from corporations and the bourgeoisie and establish production for the needs society. The only other alternative is to live in a decaying society–which itself is like a rotting corpse–where so-called “free speech is not free. It must be bought and paid for with corporate dollars because the corporations have raised the price of speech so high that no private citizen can speak.