“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”Isaac Asimov
The USA is the core of the global empire of capital. As Americans, we live in an oligarchy, not a democracy, governed by the world’s oldest operating constitution. Most herald the age of our constitution as a fact deserving praise. I don’t.
As the imperial core of global capitalism, the USA is directly responsible for the maintenance of an economic system leading to at least 100,000,000 deaths every five years from “extreme poverty”-related causes, despite capitalists always claiming, “Capitalism is responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other system.”
In addition, the official definition of “extreme poverty” is controlled by the UN. The same United Nations that will admit the world isn’t on track to end widespread poverty but won’t admit capitalism is the driver of global poverty.
“[W]e are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
American “democracy” is literally stuck in the first widespread OS version. In other words, America is like the Windows XP of representational governments: decent for its time, and you wouldn’t willingly choose the contemporary alternatives, but long since outmoded by versions light-years newer across competing vendors.
Let’s look at just some of those vendors, shall we?
- The European Union
- The Soviet Union
The European Union (EU)
The EU is a federation of European nations. Its constitution was first defined in the Treaty of Rome, which was in effect from 1958-1992. The signatory nations of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany signed this treaty in 1957. This precursor union to the EU was known as the European Economic Community (ECC). Subsequent treaties led to the EU as we know it today.
Each nation in the union remains somewhat sovereign but contributes resources and leaders to the overall project of the EU, as well as shares standards of regulation in many matters. While each country under the EU can still make its own laws, they must meet or exceed the standards set forth by the EU. An example: A passport from one EU country is generally valid across all of them.
However, while the EU seems like a good model, it isn’t. It robbed each of its member nations of monetary sovereignty, negating the possibility of each government using MMT-based policy to provide for its citizens. This also led to forcing austerity governance on at least some EU nations, and austerity always looms over the rest.
The Constitution of Norway was ratified in 1814 and last revised in 2014. It is the second oldest working constitution after that of the United States. Funny thing is, despite being the spitting image of “social democracy,”
, Norway is technically a limited monarchy, rather than a republic or any other form of democracy. Bold, radical, and liberal, especially for its time, the Constitution of Norway and its subsequent revisions led to a healthy, functioning and prosperous nation. The same cannot be said for the United States.
There are problems with Norway, of course. They have mandatory military service for all young people (men and women, and therefore non-binaries too), Norway is nearly entirely homogenous, being 83.2% Norwegian, and at least 8.5% “other European” as of 2010. The lack of diversity in Norway isn’t surprising, but it means they don’t have to contend with as massive a history of oppression of minorities like the USA and Canada.
That being said, Norway was once its own empire, and took part in Scandinavian colonialism. It has also committed erasure of its indigenous people, the Sami, by forcing on them citizenship and “special privileges,”, much like the US has done to its First Nations, as well as including them in census counts as the same as non-indigenous citizens, or “Norwegian.” As of 2010, the remaining Sami counted were only 1.235% of the total population of Norway.
While Norway seems like paradise now, it was built on colonialism, and still requires the flow of global capital via exploitation of the global south for its social democracy to function.
Founded by the British empire as a colony, much like the USA, Canada is a result of colonialism. Its treatment of its indigenous has been violent and reactionary, and that continues to this day. Canada, however, applies more window dressing to its relations with the indigenous with active federal programs and grants.
The current Canadian constitution was expatriated from the United Kingdom in 1982. Bearing three primary branches of government and a parliamentary system, it is still a violent settler-colonial state, much like the USA.
While it claims to have universal healthcare, as one example, the reality is a patchwork of systems and a combination of private and public health insurances. Any non-citizen of Canada must purchase a private option while being excluded from the public one. It is the official policy of Canada at large to allow anyone with a disability to commit medically-assisted suicide, regardless of whether that disability/illness is terminal.
Once you couple that with the lack of real disability supports and a very thin social safety net, you realize the official policy of Canada is to use formalized eugenics to purge the disabled, especially the poor disabled. I know someone, who I won’t name for their privacy, who is too poor to qualify for pandemic assistance and has considered letting Canada purge them via medically assisted suicide rather than starve to death if things don’t turn around for them.
While the democracy of Canada is often be described as “stable,” Canada is still a neoliberal hellscape, and it gets away with far too much simply because it isn’t America, rather America’s northern, whiter neighbor.
All three of these Constitutions either directly (constitutional law) or indirectly (statutory law) guarantee far more human rights than that of the USA’s. This is due in large part to the US Government’s refusal to ratify the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as law. All of the governments discussed this far rely on exploitation of the global south for the stability and prosperity.
Furthermore, all three governments discussed lead to provably happier citizens, a freer press, more economic freedom, and so on, when compared to the USA. Here’s a direct comparison of Norway and the USA from 2018 data. (Note: the image calls Norway “Democratic Socialism”, when a better term would be “Social Democracy”)
One historical nation stands out. Described as a “totalitarian regime” in the West, the truth is far different. Bringing its citizens from agrarian poverty and serfdom to communally reaping the benefits of the Space Age in roughly three decades, the Soviet Union guaranteed equal or more economic and human rights than any of the previously discussed governments. The CIA, chiefly responsible for thwarting international movement towards the left, even admitted that Soviet citizens were more nutritiously fed than their USA counterparts. The Soviet Union was a collection of workers councils at all levels of what we’d consider government. Soviet citizens had a purer form of democracy than Americans have ever tasted.
Even if the Soviet Union and communism really killed 100,000,000 people in a century, we’ve shown how capitalism kills at least that many every five years from poverty alone. Plus, the “Black Book of Communism” counts the deaths of Nazis caused by the Red Army towards that 100M number. Killing Nazis in war and saving the world at-large from fascism is bad, apparently, when communists do it.
“If it is not democratic, it is not socialism”Delegate Lee Carter
If you investigate America’s foreign policy, you’ll find the 20th and 21st centuries littered with coup attempts and, in some cases, all-out wars.
Reagan aided, armed, and trained the people that later became Al-Qaeda in order to achieve regime change in Iran and Iraq. Earlier, in 1953, the US overthrew the pre-eminent democracy of the Middle East by having the CIA use Islamic agents to remove democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran.
Much more recently, Obama legitimized a US-backed coup in Honduras (2009), and Trump and Elon Musk tried to overthrow democratically-elected anti-imperialist president Evo Morales of Bolivia for lithium (2020). Decades of US-backed coups and coup-attempts in Latin America have led to the ongoing refugee crisis and influx of undocumented migrants. US and EU Sanctions (economic warfare) are what led Venezuela to its current, sorry state, not “socialism.”
Responsible for coups and destabilization the world over, the USA often creates its own problems.
“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
|“Democracy”. What a popular term. Used to describe right-wing and “centrist” governments the world over. An illusion maintained in order to justify the global order of capitalism and hegemony of neoliberalism; “democracy” has been awfully muddied. Once and always a noble ideal, now a cover for greed and blood, what is democracy really? How does it work? Does it mean electing rulers and voting every 2-6 years? Or does it mean a real voice in the decisions and systems that shape your life?||“Regime” What an interesting term. Used in mainstream media to describe any remotely left-wing or anti-imperialist government the world over in order to justify the perpetual coup attempts, wars via proxy, and drone strike diplomacy used to maintain the flow of global capital and the smothering liberal hegemony, “regime” has inverted intonation. What is a regime, really? Is it governments that brutalize or governments that refuse to be brutalized?|
America’s primary claim to fame is that it is the pre-eminent democracy of the world. Our noble Constitution, written by the framers with “perfect” intent – they who were inspired by God himself – is a standard to the world of what democracy means, and American republicanism as it was originally designed is the perfect form of representational government.
Hey, that’s what they teach us in school and church. Is it true? Of course! Why else would they teach it, unless it were true? Right? Can we all go home?
America’s Constitution is problematic, to say the absolute least. From the 3/5ths compromise that codified “other persons” aka slaves as 3/5ths of a person for all intents and purposes, including a lack of power and voice in the process, to the doctrine of discovery used then and today to achieve the theft of indigenous lands and the ongoing attempts at permanent genocide of the First Nations, it was rife with violence and brutality, and if it was inspired by a God, it is no God I worship.
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”Mahatma Gandhi
The regime of the Constitution led to centuries of slavery, decades of de jure segregation, and decades more of de facto segregation, which still exists today. It led to Jim Crow laws and eugenics programs that inspired Hitler himself as he used the laws written under the system of our Constitution to design his Nazi genocide programs.
It led to Uncle Sam first working with the Nazi government, then, after the war, importing high-profile Nazi officials and scientists to head important government agencies including NASA and assume military posts.
We still live under the regime of the Constitution. If you’re not indigenous or a person of color, you could never feel the full weight of its brutality and bloodlust.
“Politics is good; when it works properly, disagreements get solved without people beating each other up. But when a regime knows its days are numbered, there’s always the chance it may use its position to change the rules and make the debate it is losing irrelevant.”Vernor Vinge
The Constitution may put into writing noble ideals, but the implementation was designed by white, land-owning, slave-holding, titans of industry who hated a relatively nominal tax rate. Of course, the regime of the Constitution is rife with blood, genocide, tears, white supremacy, and fascism.
A Republic is the perfect political shell for capitalism and oligarchy, which lead to fascism.
“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States.”Henry A. Wallace
The American constitution has some key aspects giving us the power to redeem ourselves. From our elections, to constitutional conventions and ballot referendums in our states, it mixes indirect and direct democracy. This mixture of governing models allows an engaged electorate to make waves, and change aspects of the fabric of America ourselves. It also gave Congress the sovereign “power of the purse,” making MMT economics a possibility in today’s age.
Without the power to tax and print its own currency, Congress truly would be powerless to enact a bold, truly progressive agenda without crippling tax rates. However, since America is sovereign over its own currency – a free-floating fiat currency, that is not the case. The US dollar (USD) has been the global standard of currency for nearly a century, based on trade agreements set up in the New Deal era. As long as there is unemployment in America and real resources to be purchased, the United States Congress can, will, and does spend the funds into existence every time it appropriates a new program, continues to fund established programs such as Social Security and Medicare and gives those members of Congress their junkets.
Since the Constitution is the source code of modern America, it’s well beyond time for a massive overhaul. We can keep the working aspects of the old as we design the new. After all, Empires only last 250 years, and America as we know it is 245 years old.
Barack Obama once wrote, “Conservative or liberal, we are all constitutionalists.” He’s not wrong, and that’s exactly the problem. Americans idolize a 245-year-old document as if it were written by the finger of God, and never dare to dream beyond its confines.
Well, not all of us.