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John Stauber on Democracy and Radical Politics

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This week I spoke with John Stauber, an investigative journalist, author, founder of Center for Media and Democracy, and most recently a  self-professed outside agitator, on the benefits of voting two party.

In an article you wrote for Counterpunch back in March, you zeroed in on the "Progressive Movement" a democratic money and propaganda machine/echo chamber run by liberal elites like OFA, Mother Jones, Van Jones, The Nation, and largely MoveOn.org to name a few who sometimes fool progressives into supporting corporate causes and have co-opted messages from OWS to appear populist. Considering the far right has the left beat in the messaging game, how successful has the professional left been at advancing their neoliberal agenda on a larger scale? Are liberals really buying it?

A. These terms - progressives, liberals, left, populist, far right, neo-liberal - have different meanings for different people. I like to keep things simple and get back to basic principles and terms like democracy, individual rights and liberties, corporate power, concentrated wealth. The situation today is this: both the Democratic and Republican Parties represent the interests of the most powerful corporate elite in America. Neither party will ever represent the fundamental radical democratic changes we need to take wealth away from the small percentage who have concentrated it in their hands, and to empower people in a democracy. Let me repeat that: neither party will ever serve economic and political democracy.

The so-called "progressive movement" is made up of corporations run by paid staff and contractors who believe that the key to the future is to defeat the corporate Right, the Republicans, in elections. They believe that their own elite-funded propaganda campaigns on behalf of the environment, social justice, human rights, anti-monopoly politics, unions, can mobilize a public that can move the Democratic Party as a whole in this direction. That's a farce and a fraud.

The crises facing us - poverty, ecological devastation, increasing concentration and power in the hands of the super rich and their economic institutions - are simply worsened by both corporate Parties, and those Parties run on elite wealth and massive propaganda. They are fully supported by all the established institutions of the society, including the corporate media.

But of course those of us who are radicals outside the corporate political parties are depicted as friends of fascism and the far right when we refuse to lend our support to electing Democrats. That will always be the case. And the extremely articulate and financially well rewarded pundits, flacks, and hacks of the professional "progressive movement" are dependent on the myth of two-party "democracy" to pay their bills, put their kids through school, buy houses, appear on TV, sell their books, and further their careers. They need deeply to believe this myth of American Democracy being advanced best through the Two Party system, because if they didn't they'd be lousy at their jobs and would have a hard time living with themselves. It's the cognitive dissonance of the salespeople; if you stop believing in the car or shoes or whatever you are peddling, you won't be very good at selling it. So, they believe!    


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