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Green Semantics: Understanding the American feudal system

Forget the “Deep State,” or “Oligarchy" because we are now in a feudal system: The rules may have changed

Opinion by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood
Friday, November 1, 2019

Look under America's hood, and you will find a feudal system. Comments by various Greens has convinced me that many of them may misunderstand the nature of what they sometimes call “the oligarchy” or “the deep state,” when they speak of it as one thing rather than many things interacting.

The deep state, i.e. the oligarchy, is not one thing, it is many things. It is not a solid block of movers and shakers who move in lockstep formation. Not at all. If we see what is really out there, we might have a better chance of dealing with it appropriately. Although I offer this as my opinion, it is subject to modification, so please feel free to inform me of any errors in my thinking, backed up of course, with supporting information. Although the economy system is transcontinental, I think we need to concentrate on the American Feudal System first because, for one thing, the powers that be have made it illegal to spread our base beyond our borders, where any collaboration is liable to be viewed as foreign interference. It would appear that both Democrats and Republicans are quite determined that no foreigner should participate in the USA's national political debates.

What the deep state really is:
At least in my view, the deep state/oligarchy is less like a governing board of the United States (and therefore, much of the world), and more like a feudal system with islands of power. Sometimes their interests are the same, and sometimes they differ. I think of them as corporate castles or corporate islands vying for power and control in their respective fields of interest. As in any feudal system, these power blocks form alliances when it is convenient for them to do so, perhaps not always by formal agreements, so much as by lobbying for (or opposing) the same or similar bills in Congress, or by supporting the appointments of judges in the Supreme Court who they think will produce rulings that favor their perceived interests.

The glue that binds these globs together is a rather slimy goo that connects legislation, money, and often huge government contracts in an ever changing, stretching and contracting rubbery, green $$$ blob, supported, naturally enough, by private banks and individual financiers. The sad fact is that We the People have repeatedly given power to this conglomeration of money-hungry goblins.

I think this is what we are up against as greens, and because of the huge amount of wealth and “capital” involved, I suspect this monster-mash may eventually force greens to resort to accepting corporate donations, as loathsome as that may sound. Before you cut me off, please bear with me a few seconds more, and then if you see your way clear to accomplishing our goals in another fashion, without dividing and conquering our opponents, please lay out for me your plan.

Here’s the thing: Certain corporations work directly at cross purposes with us, at cross purposes with saving the earth, at cross purposes with peaceful negotiations, and cross purposes with democracy, while others at times are allied with our goals. And sometimes the same corporation may be involved with a little of each. Or else they may split off a subsidiary and play both sides of the field, say, working on clean energy development while also doing war contracts. Contradictory, of course, but their goal may not be consistency but profitability. We may see the US Corps of Engineers, for example, working to mitigate for the effects of global warming, in spite of the fact that the military is a major polluter, some say the largest polluter ever. Many corporations work with the information provided by NASA and other government agencies to monitor and report on -- and perhaps to address -- such things as the melting of the ice caps, the cleaning up of the oceans, the provision of electrical power to meet the needs of rural America as well as the cities, the design and implementation of mass transit, even the rethinking of community planning.

Surely, these things can or could be approached in a variety of ways; through government agencies and an expanding central government, through private corporations both nonprofit and for-profit, through decentralized (state or local) government projects, or (and this is more likely to actually happen) through a mixture of these. Some greens will have a problem with accepting anything but a purely socialist or even Communist approach, but there is some question as to how effectively they can generate support and offset the $-billions of dollars that would oppose a centralized or decentralized socialist America, dollars that will surely be used to prevent a socialist takeover. Furthermore, were such a takeover to miraculously happen here, what would you do with those millions of people who resisted? Typically, resistance in takeovers of governments is met with increasing levels of violence, something that goes against a major plank of our platform: non-violence is the glue that holds our party together, at least in America. Surely, our approach will determine whether, in some far off future, Greens are loved, or feared and hated.

Examples of corporate donations to past Green Party Candidates
The reality is that Green Party national candidates have probably always accepted corporate money, and I think we should be more up front about it. In 2016 I was amazed and dismayed when someone claimed that the Green Presidential candidate Jill Stein had, gasp, accepted money from a corporation, or an individual associated with a major corporation, Alphabet Inc. to the tune of $44,013, a small amount, given that Citizens United.enabled corporate donors to run roughshod over small donors. But still, it stung. it is also important to note the following:

"Organizations and individuals looking to do more than just write a check to their favorite candidates can spend unlimited money -- independently -- to buy ads, send mail or otherwise advocate for the election or defeat of specific candidates. Corporations, labor unions and ideological groups may also spend directly on these activities as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. They cannot coordinate with candidates or parties.Although she received no money from PACs, Stein did receive over a million bucks in “large individual contributions.” (Open Secrets)

Although the amounts were not enormous by today’s standards, according to Open Secrets, some major corporations who donated to Stein’s campaign were as follows:

Contributor Total
Alphabet Inc $44,013 $11,266
University of California $9,691
Lockheed Martin $9,659
Microsoft Corp $9,350
Apple Inc $8,207
IBM Corp $7,075
Sahm $6,450
Kaiser Permanente $6,271
McKinsey & Co $5,900
United Parcel Service $5,750
Y Combinator $5,400
New York University $5,351
Pacific Surveys $5,200
Brand M $4,200
Dell Technologies $4,053
Community Care Network $3,950
eBay Inc $3,908
US Postal Service $3,787
NVIDIA Corp $3,725

It is important to note that the (above) money came either from the organizations' PACs; their individual members, employees or owners; and those individuals' immediate families. At the federal level, the organizations themselves did not donate, as they are prohibited by law from doing so. Furthermore, Open Secrets shows zero PAC income for Stein. Nevertheless, enough corporate funding as described above to give rise to complaints or criticisms of hypocrisy on the part of Greens who claim that we can run our national candidates without accepting corporate funds. Perhaps that can happen, but it remains to be seen.

In the currently ongoing conversations by the GP National Council members, a lot of energy has gone into discussions of whether we made a mistake supporting Presidential Candidate David Cobb a few years back, rather than Ralph Nader (the former Green Candidate who came the closest to moving the national Green Party into mainstream politics) . Aside from whether the GP rejected Nader, or whether Nader rejected the Green Party, it might be enlightening to look at his revenue streams.

Industries that contributed to Nader in 2004 were as follows:

Lawyers/Law Firms $71,091
Education $63,882
TV/Movies/Music $56,208
Securities & Investment $45,300
Computers/Internet $44,050
Health Professionals $40,764
Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $33,075
Misc Finance $32,183
Printing & Publishing $31,870
Real Estate $30,320
Misc Business $28,748
Business Services $18,550
Civil Servants/Public Officials $17,250
Other $15,300
Retail Sales $14,900
Non-Profit Institutions $13,450
Automotive $9,150
Food & Beverage $8,400
Agribusiness $9,450
Communications/Electronics $136,928
Construction $17,583
Defense $3,480
Energy & Natural Resources $6,950
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $126,541
Health $57,178
Lawyers & Lobbyists $73,091
Transportation $13,650
Misc Business $115,498
Labor $500
Ideological/Single-Issue $95,526

I suppose it is possible, but I would find it hard to believe that none of those donations came from corporations or individuals who controlled corporations, so let’s take a closer look at who donated. The information from Open Secrets is as follows: 

Nader 2000 General Cmte $83,726
Lynx Investment Advisory $24,850
Kafoury & McDougal $23,020
Pe Platform Enterprise $15,550
GH Palmer Assoc $12,000
Kayline Enterprises $12,000
Rochester Gauges $10,000
Nader for President 2004 $8,500
Farouk Systems $8,250
Barnes & Noble $8,250
Forbes Inc $8,000
Muze Inc $7,767
Emond, Vines et al $7,000
Lintilhac Foundation $6,000
Perishable Distributors of Iowa $6,000
Writer, Educator $6,000
University of Vermont $6,000
Norway Hill Assoc $6,000
Conservator $6,000
Wccusd $6,000

Again, one of the most popular and successful candidates ever supported by the Green Party was obviously the beneficiary of corporations, even if you would not describe it as being “on the take” from corporations.

Back to the Green Glob (sometimes mislabeled as Leviathan).
The current oligarchy has often been described as the great sea monster in the Bible, possibly because of the great size, power, and threat that it represents, but I think the metaphor is overworked. For one thing, the Leviathan was One Thing, although it may or may not have had many heads. As I stated earlier, the Deep State is composed of a multitude of often competing organizations and wealthy individuals. When they do collaborate, as they often presently do to control markets and natural resources, they are formidable. A big question facing the Green Party is, how can we hope to overcome these competing forces when they unite against us, as they surely will, especially once we become a force to be reckoned with? I would expect them to pour $-millions, if not billions, to defeat us and or contain us, to keep us from breaking the chains with which we have been bound and indentured to the ruling class.

I am not about to go along with the Pollyanna crowd who thinks that if we just smoke enough pot and carry enough placards, good things are going to happen. If we are to win a national election, there must be, not only a lot of collaboration going on, but a lot of money involved, and sometimes from groups or individuals that we might otherwise prefer to avoid associating with. Not every corporation is our enemy: Sometimes they can be our allies, if not our friends. Some folk might consider that we are at war with an intractable enemy. I prefer to think of those who oppose us as “opponents.” But the following is for those who insist on the war metaphor:

The Art of War, first written in 250 BC, if not earlier, is credited with the saying: “Know thine enemy.” I would rephrase that and say, know your opponents, and know who opposes your opponents. Understand the feudal state, and thus overcome it. As to money, it may have been none other than Jesus himself who said: “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home." (New King James Version)

Well, I don't know about the everlasting part: All things on earth at least, are temporary. But take if from one of the most successful revolutions in world history, the Roman Catholic Church: The Golden Rule is that those who have the gold shall rule. Never more true than in American Politics today.

#greenparty #corporatedonations #financingarevolution


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