No 2128 Posted by fw, December 20, 2017
The Powell memorandum was a corporate call to arms that would mobilize the capitalist forces against the general population. Out of this memo, the modern conservative movement would rise giving birth to the neoliberal era starting under Carter, accelerating under Reagan and Clinton and finally culminating in the election of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees. … The idea was to gut non-market institutions, break down solidarity and weaken communities. Author Robert McChesney summed up the contemporary effects of the Powell Memorandum saying: ‘Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net results is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. … It reinforces the irrelevance of electoral politics to most people and assures the maintenance of unquestioned corporate rule.’” —The Powell Memorandum by The Anti-Social Socialist
With most US media outlets controlled by 6 propagandizing corporations, the fascist US government is now trying to hand over control of the people’s Internet to the Big Telecoms.
Below is the embedded 6:23-minute video about the infamous Powell Memorandum, including my transcript. In addition, at the bottom of this post is a link to a related 11:46-minute video also about the Powell Memorandum (without a transcript).
To watch the video on the You Tube website of the Anti-Social Socialist, click on the following linked title.
“The clinical definition of “fascism” is when private concentrated economic power takes government away from the people, turns government into a guarantor, a subsidizer, a covering of corporate power.” —Ralph Nader
The Powell Memorandum was a corporate call to arms that would mobilize the capitalist forces against the general population. Out of this memo, the modern conservative movement would rise giving birth to the neoliberal era starting under Carter, accelerating under Reagan and Clinton and finally culminating in the election of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees.
Lewis F. Powell Jr. graduated from Harvard Law School and became a renowned corporate lawyer and lobbyist for enormous business firms like the Phillip Morris tobacco company. In 1971, Powell wrote a secret memo entitled the “Attack on American Free Enterprise System” to the executive director of the US Chamber of Commerce.
It was a reaction to the radicalization of America in the 1960s, where women, minorities, workers, consumer advocate groups and the anti-war movement became active participants in the democratic process. The tone of the memo reflected the paranoia of the anti-New Deal corporate business interests and the failure of the Nixon administration to create an atmosphere conducive to corporate control.
It called for business to discredit Ralph Nader, smash unions, take control of the political system, indoctrinate and mobilize young conservatives, expand the pro-business media and take over college campuses and courts at all levels.
In the memo, Powell wrote:
“We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.”
Business sprang to life politically. One year later the Business Roundtable was created. It was the first business association whose membership was restricted to top CEOs. In 1971 there were 175 business headquarters in DC. A decade later there were over 2400.
“If you don’t know your senators on a first-name basis, you are not doing an adequate job for your stockholders.”
The nation’s most powerful CEOs began to have face-to-face meetings with congressional leaders. And by the time Reagan became president, business had a ratio of 130 lobbyists for every one member of Congress.
Later that year, Powell was rewarded for his efforts to reinvigorate business, and on December 9, 1971 was appointed to the Supreme Court. As an Associate Justice, Powell did what he could to advance the corporate agenda.
In 1976, the Supreme Court reviewed the now famous case, Buckley v. Valeo in which they ruled money was speech. In decades to come this decision would give corporate America unprecedented power ratcheting up the cost of elections, driving both parties into the ruling class and undermining the progress made by radicals in the 60s.
This new assault on democracy, which some called “the revolt of the bosses”, was launched as a full-scaled political rebellion by American business who took over US politics.
Conservative think tanks and organizations such as The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the John Birchers, and The Federalist Society, would rise and shape public consciousness to this very day. It would usher in as era of deregulation, privatization, trickle-down economics, the offshoring of production, the destruction of labor unions, and the monopolistic corporate consolidation.
The period after World War II and before the Powell memo was known as the “Golden Age of Capitalism” with a great compression. It was a time of egalitarian growth where the poorest 20% of Americans experienced the same economic rewards as the richest 20%.
But after corporate America mobilized, they were able to transfer the wealth from the working class into their own pockets. From 1945 to 1973 worker productivity rose 96% while the median wage rose 94%.
However, from 1974 to the present, worker productivity increased 80% while the median wage increased a mere 10%. And while wages stagnated, CEO compensation rose 937%.
In the 1970s corporate profits made up 6% of GDP while wages made up 52%. Today corporate profits account for 12% of GDP while wages account for 46%. With a $17 trillion GDP, that is, $1 trillion that was taken from the working class and given to the ruling class.
Venture capitalist and billionaire Nick Hanauer said:
“So a trillion dollars that used to be wages are now profits. That trillion dollars isn’t profit because it has to be, or needs to be, or should be. They’re profits because people like me prefer them to be.”
The assault by business replaced traditional American values such as thrift, self-effacement, and the community with corporate values such as greed, consumerism and the cult of the self. Regional identity, their own unique history and traditions and a decentralized press that gave citizens a voice in their own communities were all destroyed and replaced with a homogenization of corporate culture.
The idea was to gut non-market institutions, break down solidarity and weaken communities. Author Robert McChesney summed up the contemporary effects of the Powell Memorandum saying:
“Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net results is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. … It reinforces the irrelevance of electoral politics to most people and assures the maintenance of unquestioned corporate rule.”
And despite the corporate takeover of America, we are constantly told by the corporations that own the media that America should be run like a business.
The fact is America has been following the corporate business model for the last 40 years. A model where a tiny minority at the top are obscenely rewarded with the wealth created by the majority of people who do the actual work and, who, under the current system are as disposable as the goods they produce.
Thanks for watching.
“The Powell Memorandum” – Corporate America’s Master Plan, by Frank Puig, March 2, 2017 (11:46 min) — A little known but extremely important historic document to be aware of to understand the corporate dominance of our society.
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