Friday, November 24, 2017

“Free Marketers” Are Corporate Totalitarians

The Trump FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality next month, which will cut off functioning Internet for those unable to pay large amounts of money, is how our four decade long digestion by the corporate ideology concludes itself. The arguments for this plan mirror those for all the past corporate takeovers, like Citizens United, the neoliberal trade deals, and the Wall Street deregulations: these net neutrality rules place an oppressive burden on internet users; removing oversight over the Internet would lead to innovation; the government has no role in this area. And the results will be the same here as they were for those past actions.

As we watch this sad affair, we notice our freedoms have already been almost completely taken away. The vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents are polled to support net neutrality, with the FCC’s board having adopted this agenda when Trump appointed a former Verizon lawyer as FCC chair. Most members of congress have had their net neutrality votes bought off by corporate lobbyists, in some cases for just a few hundred dollars. Around a million of the comments the FCC has gotten in favor of repealing net neutrality are submitted under the identities of dead people.
The systems supporting this coup against the Internet were set up similarly. The Trump administration was created when a corrupt and arrogant Democratic Party leadership sabotaged Bernie Sanders, who would have won. Despots like the Clintons took control of the party when the Kochs, the Waltons, and the other ruling oligarchs quietly installed them. These oligarchs took control when the financial and oil crashes of the 1970’s let a group of radical right wing academics quietly convinceelites to embrace unrestrained corporate capitalism. Never have these actions been supported by the majority of people, and never has the “free market” ideology been about liberty. It’s been about creating a totalitarian corporate state.
“The purpose of the corporate state is to deprive the people of their freedom and to concentrate power into the hands of a few large organizations and their leaders,” writes James Ostrowski, a libertarian who espouses the pure free market system of minimum state oversight. “As a result, a tiny number of people wield virtually all of the power. Buffalo, for example, is run by about fifty middle-aged politically-connected businessmen, lawyers and bureaucrats. The same ‘interlocking directorate’; the same usual suspects pop up wherever power is lurking in Buffalo.”
Yet Ostrowski’s ideology doesn’t acknowledge the insidiousness of corporate power. Any unchecked power system, whether involving business or government, will inevitably devolve into kleptocracy and despotism. Without a sustained mass revolt towards bringing democracy in both government and business, our crisis will only get worse.
The utopian promises of free market fundamentalism, which say society flourishes when public arrangements are destroyed, will again fail to materialize in the coming corporate domination of our information systems. Alternative media sites will be slowed down or shut off entirely. As Internet service providers make their users have to pay extra for complete services, access to online information will become a privilege for the upper class. The current scarcity in on-print alternative media publications will leave us under almost singular assault from the corporate propaganda centers.
Already we’re a lot more repressed than we were just a couple years ago, before the mass online expositions of the Deep State and its lies prompted crackdown from elites. An agency has been set up for attacking “foreign propaganda” and promoting “truth-based narratives.” The DOJ has forced RT America’s directors to register as foreign agents under threat of arrest. Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are frantically silencing material that threatens their partners in the intelligence agencies. Police have been further militarized this year, and laws restricting forms of peaceful protest have been passed in several states. The European Union will set up its own center for suppressing dissenting media next spring, solidifying the Thought Police state emerging within the United States and Europe.
As the sickness of the neoliberal system fully reveals itself in the coming years through economic unravelings and the continued collapse of our biosphere, an insecure and paranoid power elite will accelerate the takeover. Violence and censorship will become the only responses to dissent, with the fixed elections, false endorsements of democratic values, and staged political debates turning into blatant authoritarianism. Even now I’m writing from a platform compromised by the onslaught of censorship, as Facebook’s constantly restricting my posting accessibilities in recent months has massively shrunk my online viewership.
We are speaking our truths against an avalanche of propaganda and repression. With the corporate takeover of the Internet, and the current rate of attacks on free thought, our liberties and our access to information could be radically more limited a month from now. Yet we’ll need to keep speaking, if we want to keep thinking, talking and interacting with the world as independent human beings.

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