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NEW BOOK: Reinventing Collapse (By) Dmitry Orlov


Excerpt from Pages 54 and 55:

Permission to reprint by author Dmitry Orlov to TPH Feb 23, 2009
Ed - - - added highlighted areas and underlined most significant.

The American model of supposedly unadulterated capitalism is producing steadily sinking fortunes for the vast majority, but is propped up by the fact that it allows a small minority to become fabulously rich, coupled with the notion that you (or any random person) could somehow miraculously become one of them.  There is also a pathological fiction known as the “American Dream,” which is aggressively promoted by the media and finds most of its victims among the working class.  It consists of the notion that diligent work and playing by the rules will make you successful.  Masquerading as hope, it gains its effectiveness from a perversion of pride, a psychological trick people choose to play on themselves to obscure their powerlessness.  They can sense that they are oppressed, and they can see that rebelling against this oppression would be futile, and so their last prideful stand is to pretend that their failures are of their own making, even if they have been most conveniently arranged for them by their oppressors.


Both the Soviet Union and the Untied States devoted a great deal of fanfare to publicizing their democratic institutions - - - much more than these institutions deserved.  Far more democratic countries make far less noise about their democratic institutions  - - - they simply take them for granted because they work.  The Soviet election system was a system of coerced consent: the Communist party selected candidates and the voters were compelled to either vote for them, by depositing  an unmarked ballot in an urn, or to vote against them, by crossing out the ballot under the watchful eyes of election officials.  Needless to say, most candidates sailed into office with astronomically high poll numbers.  The American election system is one of optional false choice: the one uniquely meaningful choice that is perennially missing is “none of the above.”


The Soviet Union had a single, entrenched, systemically corrupt political party, which held a monopoly on power.  The US has two entrenched, systemically corrupt political parties, whose positions are often indistinguishable and which together hold a monopoly on power.  In either case, there is, or was, a single governing elite, but in the United States it organizes itself into opposing teams to make its stranglehold on power seem more sportsmanlike.  It is certainly more sporting to have two capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one communist party to vote for.  The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing.  The Communist Party offered just one bitter pill.  The two capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos.  The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party pre-purchases exactly 50 percent of the vote through largely symmetrical allocation of campaign resources and the result is pulled out of  statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat.  It is a tribute to the intelligence of the American people that so few of them bother to vote.






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