It was in 1993 during Congressional deliberation over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican members of Congress who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. I distinctly remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris and Tokyo than with their own fellow American citizens.”
That was just the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.
At the end of the cold war, many writers predicted the decline of the traditional nation state. Some looked at the demise of the Soviet Union and foresaw the territorial state breaking up into statelets of different ethnic, religious or economic compositions. This happened in the Balkans, former Czechoslovakia and Sudan. Others, like Chuck Spinney, predicted a weakening of the state due to the rise of fourth-generation warfare and the inability of national armies to adapt to it. The quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan lend credence to that theory. There have been hundreds of books about globalization and how it would break down borders. But I am unaware of a well-developed theory from that time about how the super-rich and the corporations they run would secede from the nation state. Continue reading →
Democracy Now! has published this special broadcast, “Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power,” and it’s a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City.
The panel features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism“; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of “Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country.”
Fascinating and inspiring, this is one panel that deserves an hour of your attention.
Charlie Fink is an average American. He is also part of the solution to our problems.
What Charlie has discovered is that there are no easy solutions to our problems and that we are not likely to receive help from the political class or monied elite. Charlie has no answers – yet.
Charlie is still part of the solution. That’s because Charlie has decided to open his mouth and speak out against a system that is clearly broken. That act, acknowledging that we face a problem that is not going to fix itself, is the first step toward whatever corrections we will need to make.
As others come forward and voice their concerns it is entirely possible that some good ideas – better ideas – will start to surface; ideas from which we can begin a new course that just might save us from ourselves.