5 Disturbing Signs Romney Would Steer Us to Towards a Capitalist Dictatorship
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The mainstream media and even Democrats have been slow to call Mitt Romney's deliberate falsehoods "lies." But after just calling them what they are, it is also important to analyze their meaning. Lies on Romney's scale do not simply show contempt for the intelligence of American voters. They show contempt for democracy, and display some of the features of capitalist dictatorship of a sort that was common in the late twentieth century. Mohammad Reza Pahlevi in Iran, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, Park Hung Chee in South Korea and P.W. Boetha in South Africa are examples of this form of government. Capitalist dictatorship has declined around the world in favor of capitalist parliamentarism, in part because of the rising power of middle and working classes in the global South.
Capitalist dictatorship has many similarities to fascism, but differs from it in lionizing not the workers of the nation but the entrepreneurs of the nation. Fascism seeks a mixed economy, whereas capitalist dictatorship privileges the corporate sector and attacks the non-military public sector. But both try to subsume class conflict under a hyper-nationalism. Both glorify military strength and pick fights with other countries to whip up nationalist fervor. Both disallow unions, collective bargaining and workers' strikes. Both typically privilege one ethnic group within the nation, marking it as superior and setting up a racial hierarchy.
One big difference between capitalist democracy (as in contemporary Germany and France) and capitalist dictatorship is the willingness of the business classes to play by the rules of democratic elections, to allow a free, fair and transparent contest, to acknowledge the rights of unions, and to respect the universal franchise. Businessmen in such a society share a civic ethic that sees these goods as necessary for a well ordered society, and therefore as ultimately good for business. They may also be afraid of the social disruptions (as in France) that would attend any attempt to whittle away workers' rights. Attempts to limit the franchise, to ban unions, and to manipulate the electorate with bald-faced lies are all signs of a barracuda business class that secretly seeks its class interests above all others in society, and which is not afraid of workers and middle classes because the latter are apolitical, apathetic and disorganized.
1. Romney's contempt for the democratic process is demonstrated in his preference for the Big Lie. In order to scare workers in Toledo, Ohio, into voting for him, he alleged that President Obama was arranging for Chrysler's Jeep production to be shifted to China. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sent an email to all employees refuting Romney: "I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China..." He pointed out that Jeep production in the US has tripled since 2009. Romney's political ad containing this sheer falsehood, is blanketing Ohio.
2. Romney backs Koch-brother-funded attempts to bust public unions, as in Wisconsin, even though that effort has run into trouble with Wisconsin courts.
3. Romney supports Koch-brother-funded attempts to suppress voting, typically through state legislatures requiring voter identification documents at polling booths. Such identification often costs money, so that it is a stealth poll tax. It also requires, for non-drivers, a trip to a state office and bureaucratic runarounds. Voter i.d. requirements hit the poor, Latinos, African-Americans and urban people who use public transit hardest, i.e., mostly voters for the Democratic Party. In some states, the courts are questioning the laws. But in many states they are now entrenched. Limiting the franchise was a key tactic for Apartheid South Africa's government under Boetha, which was run as a capitalist dictatorship on behalf of the white Cape Town business classes.