The New World Order
And What To Do About It
By RICHARD MOORE
George Bush’s comment in 1990, that the Gulf War heralded a ‘new world order’, was the trigger that got me started on the path of analysing and writing about political power relationships. Bush was suggesting that the Gulf War was more than a special case, that it was establishing some kind of new pattern for international order. He didn’t tell us much about the details, and I found myself drawn in to figuring out what he could have meant.
The starting point for the investigation was the Gulf War itself. What was unique about it?
In some ways Desert Storm was a sequel to earlier events – it was third in a series of blitzkrieg invasions – blitzkrieg American style. “Blitzkrieg One” was the shameful invasion of the tiny island of Grenada – carried out mainly to test US public reaction. The “Vietnam syndrome” had been hampering US interventionism for years, and the Grenada invasion managed to make interventionism popular again. Then came “Blitzkrieg Two” in Panama – on a larger scale and again a hit with the American public. Desert Storm – “Blitzkrieg Three” – continued this pattern: bigger, more destructive, and again wildly popular. Americans were glued to their TVs. It was like 24-hour a day football, except that the violence was real instead of symbolic. But it would be unfair to conclude from this that American’s are a bloodthirsty lot – what they were being told by the media had very little to do with what was really going on.
In all three events of this blitzkrieg series, a new regime of control over the media was in evidence. Release of official information was highly centralised, and media channels made no effort to pursue independent sources – even though sources were often readily available. The result was more than simply slanted news – the coverage didn’t resemble previous war reportage at all, it was more like a real-time Hollywood movie – a story with black-and-white characters and a simple, clearly developing plot line. In the end, the bad guys were defeated and the good guys were victorious, and the whole tidy episode happened within the dramatic attention span of the audience. That last word sums it up – we in the US had become an audience to a presentation. As in the Roman Republic, the meaning of citizenship had been reduced to the act of watching circuses.
What was unique about Desert Storm was the way in which the project was internationalised. For the invasions of Grenada and Panama, ‘legitimacy’ came from the approval of the American public, and the propaganda was directed primarily at an American audience. In Panama, for example, Americans had been told that an unarmed US serviceman was shot by Panamanian guards. In fact the serviceman had sped through a Panamanian military checkpoint and exchanged fire with the guards – but this was not reported in the American press until much later.
In Desert Storm, the ‘legitimising audience’ became an international one, and the contrived war-provocation incident was one of international concern – the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Iraq notified the US State Department about the planned invasion, and Saddam Hussein received an official response that the US would consider such a conflict to be an “internal Arab matter”. This raised two questions in my mind. Why did the US create an excuse for bombing Iraq, and why didn’t the US simply go ahead and carry out the bombing on a unilateral basis, as in the earlier blitzkrieg scenarios?
It seemed that the US was intent on achieving international legitimacy for interventions, as a goal in its own right. But the legitimacy sought was of a rather narrow variety. The US wasn’t really seeking allies as it did in WW II – joint powers acting from a shared consensus. Instead, the US simply wanted an official authorisation to pursue its own agenda, and token allies, whose presence was more symbolic than of military substance. Much was made of the need for an authorising UN resolution, but once the resolution was signed the US completely ignored the spirit and letter of the resolution – and proceeded to carry out the war in whatever way it wanted, releasing only the information it chose to release.
These considerations led me to a tentative hypothesis regarding the nature of the new world order to which Bush was alluding.
It seemed that a whole slice of American culture – the traditional warpath scenario – was being re-installed in a larger context. Under this scenario, the international (particularly Western) public would be managed with the same Madison-Avenue/Hollywood techniques which had been perfected in the US. Wars and interventions would be justified by contrived or fabricated incidents, and once underway would be pursued by means and toward ends that would be largely unannounced. The UN would be expected to emulate the American Congress, which traditionally gives the Executive a blank check in time of warfare.
This hypothesis, at the time, was highly speculative. It was based on three assumptions: (1) Bush was serious with his NWO remark; (2) his seriousness was linked to policies that some community of people had the power to implement; (3) the unique aspects of Desert Storm provided the necessary clues as to what those policies were about.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but subsequent events were to overwhelmingly validate the hypothesis in every one of its particulars. More about that a little further down. While waiting for on-the-ground validation, I used my time to investigate who this community might be, that could define and then implement new world orders – of whatever variety, and what else was involved in their new order besides the globalisation of US interventionism.
This led me to investigate corporate power, the Reagan-Thatcher revolution, the EU, the free-trade agreements, and the rapidly developing global bureaucracy centred in the WTO (World Trade Organisation), IMF, et al. This led to a review of the history of the old world order... the Enlightenment and the birth of republics, and the relationship between the growth of capitalism and the growth of ‘democracies’. Here are three paragraphs from “Common Sense and the New World Order”, which was published in New Dawn in September-October, 1995:
This nightmarish political regime is being expanded to the Second and First Worlds by means of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area), GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), the WTO (World Trade Organisation), and other similar agreements and entities. Unlike the IMF, which controls via the purse strings, these so-called “trade agreements” control via intrusion into the regulatory power of signatory nations. By exploiting the treaty mechanism, which has the force of national law, these agreements become permanent parts of each constitutional system, making it all but impossible for future governments to choose different regulatory policies. Thus the transnationals are able to translate temporary political ascendency, attained at considerable effort and expense, into a permanent stranglehold over sovereign nations….
Over the past century, the US has felt free to “intervene” unilaterally in dozens of countries to support the operations of various corporate interests. As foreshadowed by the Gulf precedent, the NWO scheme is to “legitimise” such interventions, by embedding them within an international framework. That framework won’t be the UN – which includes too diverse a representative base – instead, it will be framed within organisations such as NATO, which fit better the technocratic model and are more easily managed by the NWO elite.
Thus the military agenda of the NWO can be foreseen by simply looking back at the history of US imperialism in the Third World. Whenever a country gets too uppity – pursuing its domestic interests rather than those of transnational corporate investors – it can expect to be subdued by overwhelming military force, preceded by an appropriate media demonisation campaign. Traditional international law – largely ignored in practice anyway – is to be formally replaced by an “internationalised”, but elite controlled, NWO Police Strike Force.
So far, I had been looking at two things: the events of the day and a few history books. I had not yet heard of Samuel Huntington and his “Crisis of Democracy” and “Clash of Civilizations”, nor had I looked into the Council on Foreign Relations and the well-documented history of elite planning as the basis for major US policies. The current genre of globalisation books had not yet been published, including two landmark works: Michel Chossudovsky’s Globalization of Poverty, showing how the IMF acts as a conscious agent of Western neo-imperialism, and Mander & Goldsmith’s The Case Against the Global Economy, which comprehensively covers the economic and political aspects of globalisation (but not the military aspects).
All of this later material, together with the continued unfolding of the NWO agenda on the ground, only served to confirm and to expand the original hypothesis. The evidence became overwhelming and conclusive. There is a new world order; it is a consciously organised project; it brings the end of national sovereignty and the destabilisation of Western democracy; it is based on the intentional maintenance of international conflict; it is to be backed by a ruthless and centralised military force; it represents the final stage of global capitalism, in many ways similar to the predictions of Marx & Lenin – but with some significant differences.
By the end of 1997 none of this, in my mind at least, was any longer in the ‘hypothesis’ category. The investigation had been carried out, and the conclusions were inescapable. I turned my attention to two new projects: (1) learning how to explain what I had learned in terms that could be received by those who have been conditioned by a lifetime of dis-education and corporate propaganda, and (2) investigating what could be done to change things.
Nonetheless, up until mid 1999, much of the NWO was still latent. The handwriting was on the wall, but the implementation had not been carried out. For the skeptical, Desert Storm could be seen as a one-off event, and even still today the WTO has not unleashed its full powers against environmental laws and the like. Most people still think they are living in sovereign nations, and link the term ‘NWO’ to right-wing conspiracy theories. Much of what I was writing could be categorised as ‘prediction’.
But in mid 1999, in the space of a few short months, the NWO hammer came down – the final implementation of the global military regime. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have announced that Yugoslavia is only the beginning, that we can expect interventions throughout the world as routine policy. NATO is to be the vehicle, ‘humanitarianism’ is to be the pretext, and centrally-controlled wag-the-dog propaganda is to make sure events are interpreted with the white hats and black hats plainly assigned to the right characters.
Clinton made it all quite clear, when he spoke to NATO troops in Macedonia (“The Clinton Doctrine”, from the Washington Post, reprinted in The Guardian Weekly, July 1-7, 1999, p. 31):
We must win the peace. If we can do this here... we can then say to the people of the world, ‘Whether you live in Africa or Central Europe or any other place, if somebody comes after innocent civilians and tries to kill them en masse because of their race, their ethnic background or their religion and it is within our power stop it, we will stop it.’
You’ve got hand it to them... it’s a very effective formula. Who can resist the idea of ‘doing something’ to prevent genocide?
The problem with the tidy little formula is that the same folks who decide where to intervene are the ones who run the global system that intentionally creates the conditions which are destabilising societies globally and making pretexts for intervention plentiful.
It is the US who installed and supported Noriega, Marcos, Pinochet, the Shah, and the Ayatollah; it is the West that sold Saddam Hussein weapons of mass destruction; it is the West that supported Suharto and profited from his crony-capitalist regime and East Timor repression; it is the US and Germany who intentionally promoted the destabilisation of Yugoslavia over the past decade and repeatedly encouraged Milosevic, giving him enough rope so they could later hang him with it.
A band of arsonists has successfully usurped the role of global fire crew. They start fires all over the world on a routine basis, and whenever they want to intervene militarily, all they have to do is turn the media spotlight on the results of their own diabolical handiwork. Not only that, but when they do intervene, as we’ve seen in Iraq and Yugoslavia, they don’t put out the fire: they simply burn down the rest of the house.
If you seek alternative source of information, then you know ethnic repression is going on all over the world, including within staunch American allies such as Turkey and Israel, and Most-Favored-Nations such as China. But when the mass media gets around to ‘revealing’ such circumstances, then you know you’re being prepared for a sooner-or-later potential intervention.
Let’s move up one level, re/ strategic analysis... let’s ‘follow the money’.
In terms of global capitalism, what we are seeing in Yugoslavia is a large-scale redevelopment project. When a developer wants to build a new shopping centre, or housing estate, he bulldozes down all existing structures and starts over from the ground up. That’s exactly what happened in Yugoslavia, and that’s why the biggest bombs were aimed at the economic infrastructure.
As Marx and Lenin foresaw, the global triumph of capitalism has led to the exposure of contradictions inherent in the system. Growth and wealth concentration, the engines of capitalism, can only proceed so far. Real economic growth in the global economy has been relatively stagnant for more than a decade now. The paper-growth that we read about in the economic news and on the exchange ticker-tapes is related more to the final stages of concentration, where giant TNC’s gorge themselves with mergers and by taking over markets currently served by smaller businesses or by public agencies.
The engineered destabilisation of Southeast Asian economies was part of this concentration phase, knocking competitors to Western-based TNC’s out of global markets, and giving those TNC’s an opportunity to further gorge themselves on undervalued Southeast Asian assets.
But as I mentioned above, even this IMF-assisted concentration phase cannot last forever. The TNC’s already control something like 80% of global markets. They’re now rapidly squeezing the last few miles out of this growth vehicle.
Capitalism is far from ready to give up the ghost, and new growth vehicles are being developed. In Yugoslavia we see the latest model being deployed. NATO blitzkrieg is the bulldozer, and ‘recovery’ programs are the growth vehicle. The people of the world must understand that it’s “not nice” to resist the dictates of the new world order.
The Revolutionary Imperative
The course of world events, for the first time in history, is now largely controlled by a centralised global regime. This regime has been consolidating its power ever since World War II and is now formalising that power into a collection of centralised institutions and a new system of international “order”. Top Western political leaders are participants in this global regime, and the strong Western nation state is rapidly being dismantled and destabilised. The global regime serves elite corporate interests exclusively. It has no particular regard for human rights, democracy, human welfare, or the health of the environment. The only god of this regime is the god of wealth accumulation.
From the beginning, this evolving regime has employed dual-agenda propaganda. For each elite initiative there has been a public cover story which made that initiative seem palatable to public opinion. There has been a public reality and a hidden reality. In public reality the UN was to begin an era of peaceful international collaboration. In fact the postwar era has been dominated by US interventionism in support of international capital. In public reality the Reagan-Thatcher revolution was about freedom and individualism. In fact neoliberalism was about transferring power to corporations and dismantling democracy. In public reality humanitarianism has been the motivation for the recent acceleration in Western interventions in places like Iraq, Albania, Yugoslavia, and East Timor. In fact the global regime has been establishing – in the public mind – the “legitimacy” of its new world order.
In two centuries the Western world has come full circle from tyranny to tyranny. The tyranny of monarchs was overthrown in the Enlightenment and semi-democratic republics were established.
Two centuries later those republics are being destabilised and a new tyranny is assuming power – a global tyranny of anonymous corporate elites. This anonymous regime has no qualms about creating poverty, destroying nations, and engaging in genocide.
Our elite rulers did not lead us into tyranny and environmental collapse because they are evil people, but because they were forced to by the nature of capitalism. Capitalism must continually grow in order to survive. If investors have nowhere to increase their funds then they stop investing and the whole system collapses like a house of cards.
Propaganda myth tells us that capitalism and free enterprise are one and the same thing. They are not. Under free enterprise a business can provide a service or product, make a profit in the process, and continue on stably for many years. Under capitalism such a business would be considered a failure – it does not provide a growth opportunity for an investor. Under capitalism society is forced to continually destroy old ways of doing things and adopt new ways – not because it is good for society but because that is how wealthy investors can increase their wealth still further. That’s why General Motors and Firestone banded together to destroy excellent urban transit systems throughout the US in the 1940s and 1950s – so that people would be forced to convert to automobiles and create growth for the automobile, tire, and petroleum industries. For exactly the same reasons, and during the same period, rail systems were destroyed in Great Britain and Ireland.
The history of the past two centuries can be understood as a process of creating new growth vehicles as required by the capitalist system. Imperialism provided immense room for capital growth and enough wealth was generated to be shared with Western populations. This process continued up until the late 1960s. At that point growth through external imperialism began to slow down. Neoliberalism permitted growth to continue by consuming the nest of capitalism – by dismantling Western societies and subjecting them to intensive capitalist exploitation. Globalisation takes this process even further – creating capital growth through intensive exploitation on a global scale. The new world order system of global tyranny is a necessity for capitalism – in order to force the world’s people to submit to the exploitation which globalisation represents.
Humanity can do better than this – much better – and there is reason to hope that the time is ripe for humanity to bring about fundamental changes. For the past two hundred years capitalism has employed an unbeatable formula to maintain its stranglehold over the world. That formula has been based on the relative prosperity of Western populations. Popular support maintained Western regimes and those regimes had the military might to dominate the rest of the world. That formula reached its culmination in the postwar years when Western prosperity reached unprecedented heights.
With neoliberalism and globalisation, this formula has been replaced by another. Western populations and democracy have been abandoned and capitalist elites have bet their future on the success of their WTO new world order tyrannical system. In a few years this regime may be so thoroughly established that it will be invincible. But in the meantime – if Western populations wake up to the fact that they are being betrayed – they have the opportunity to rise up and assert the democratic sovereignty which they in theory yet possess.
Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. The nature of capitalism is forcing revolutionary changes. Those of us in the West have a choice. On the one hand we can acquiesce to global tyranny so that capitalism can continue its insane growth. On the other hand, we can assert our rights as free peoples – we can oust the elites from power and reorganise our economies so that they serve the needs of people instead of the needs of endless wealth accumulation. This is our Revolutionary Imperative. Not an imperative to violent revolution, but an imperative to do something even more revolutionary – to set humanity on a sane course using peaceful, democratic means.
The New World Order
And What To Do About It
By RICHARD MOORE
The theory behind our current democracy-model is that people – by joining parties or various other kinds of voting constituencies – can collectively achieve some measure of representation in the body politic. As we are all aware, this process inevitably devolves into a game of power-brokering. What could theoretically be a bottom-up process of democratic input becomes instead a top-down process of demagoguery and manipulation. Such a system of ‘competitive factionalism’ is ideally suited to enable power usurpation by well-organised wealthy elites, and that is precisely what has happened throughout the West. In the case of the US, James Madison and other Constitution-framers were well aware of these dynamics, and it was their express goal to avoid ‘too much’ democracy, what they called ‘mob rule’. They felt the nation should be run by ‘those who own it.’ They succeeded. And the mechanisms of usurpation work increasingly effectively as the scale of operation grows larger.
But my own critique of electoral systems is at a more fundamental level. Instead of focusing on the corruption aspect, which is scale related, I suggest that we start by looking at the problem of democracy in-the-small – the decision-making process at the local level. Our standard Western model for this process, I suggest, is Robert’s Rules of Order. That is, proposals are made and voted on, and when a proposal is adopted by a majority, then the matter is settled.
In this small-scale microcosm can already be seen the phenomenon of competitive factionalism. It is a win-lose scenario. Instead of the best-solution for the whole community, some majority faction achieves something favourable for itself – and the rest are simply out of luck. Majority voting leads to competitive faction formation as surely as fire leads to smoke, even at the smallest scale.
Robert’s rules, in typical practice, are about deciding among alternatives. My central observation, as regards democracy, is that ‘decision making’ is the wrong frame for the democratic process. I suggest instead that the proper frame is ‘problem solving’. As one argument for this frame shift, I – with some irony – point to the process that occurs in a typical working team meeting in a modern corporate setting.
In such a meeting a group assembles to solve a problem (technical, managerial, marketing, or whatever). Ideas and knowledge are pooled, via discussion, and the group moves toward identifying possible solutions. Suggestions might be rejected, refined, combined, modified, elaborated, etc, in a process of open discussion and mutual education. In decades of work in industry, I never saw anyone suggest a vote in such a meeting. It would be seen as absurd. How can you possibly solve a problem by voting? You can only do it by thrashing out the issues. I believe the argument for a consensus-like democratic process can be made more strongly by looking at these kind of models, than by emphasising the history of consensus, and its apologists, in the political domain.
Majority voting functions as a mechanism to externalise the problem solving process from the official political process. Problem-solving tends to move offline, into factional groupings (caucuses, party meetings, etc.) where legislative proposals (solutions) are worked out by other processes, not documented in any rules of order. Thus society’s path (at each level of scale) is ultimately decided by these other, offline processes – depending on which faction wins the majority in each case. Wherever the actual sleeves-rolled-up problem-solving is done is where the future is designed. That place – the place where trade-offs are considered – is, in some real sense, where power lies.
For democracy to work, and I think this could in some sense be rigorously demonstrated, the problem solving process must be brought online. That is to say, the problem solving process must become the official political process. Participatory democracy (suitably defined) is not just a good idea – it is a provably necessary condition if sovereignty is to truly lie with the people themselves. Genuine democracy requires that people collaboratively solve the problems that affect their lives, that they discuss together the trade-offs of different alternatives. If they’re ‘outside the loop’, they’re out of power.
Consider what this means at the local, community, level. Presumably we’re talking about some kind of town-hall scenario in which issues are talked through, leading to an actionable ‘sense of the community’ regarding the ‘best overall solution’ to the issues at hand – using collaborative problem solving instead of divisive voting. Clearly there are problems to be faced in making such a scenario workable (modern busy schedules, ethnic divisions within the locality, etc.) – but for the sake of discussion let’s assume that a town-hall meeting scenario can be made workable at the most local level. This very thing does in fact seem to work in Cuba, where upwards of 85% of the population participate actively in such local meetings. Meaningful involvement in societal problem-solving is inherently motivating, and the community-collaboration process helps build a sense of community even in places where we now see only alienated consumerist family units.
Consider what kinds of issues need to be deliberated at this local level, in order to achieve a democratic society. Some might presume that ‘local issues’ would be discussed, and that ‘wider issues’ would be handled somewhere else. Not so. Not if “Genuine democracy requires that people collaboratively solve the problems that affect their lives.” TNC’s affect my life, GM crops affect my life, the inadequacy of public transportation affects my life, NATO affects my life, the existence of nuclear weapons affects my life. National issues, and global issues, are also local issues. The community is the only place where ‘the people’ can get together face-to-face, and anything not discussed there will a priori be decided in some non-democratic way. It is generally only at the local level that you (and you and you) ever get to express yourself. If something important is not discussed there, then you have no input to it.
Some problems – the ones usually called ‘local’ – can be dealt with entirely at the local level. I think it is self-evident that the more autonomous the locality, the more democratic the society – other things being equal. A mandatory ‘national curriculum’, for example, would be anathema in a democratic society, as perhaps would be a uniform building code. There are many exceptions – areas where laws and regulations need to be adopted more widely which constrain localities – including civil-liberties, child-labour, pollution controls, etc. etc. But by and large, in a democracy, a community would feel in control of its own destiny. The community is the fundamental governmental unit in a democratic society.
The other problems – those that involve a larger scale of society – obviously require a more complex process. I’ll skip the theoretical arguments and simply point out that this process scales up very nicely. Not only that, but we can see one implementation of the model working well in practice in Cuba. The way they do it, after discussing a wide range of issues locally – not limited to the ‘local’ – is to select a slate of delegates to represent their locality at the next ‘higher’ level of government. These delegates are typical community members, sent off temporarily to represent the positions of the community – as discussed in session. They are not full-time politicians who, as in the West, consider that being elected gives them a blank check to go off and pursue their own (or their party’s) agenda.
In terms of the more abstract model, the system scales up this way. Besides handling its own affairs, the locality talks through the wider issues about which the community is concerned, especially those that are expected to come up for discussion in ‘higher-level’ sessions. The goal is not to come up with hard positions which are to be ‘sold’ or ‘bargained’ elsewhere, but rather to develop a ‘sense of the community’ regarding their values and preferences, as regards each particular issue. Unless the community discusses an issue, no one can possibly know what its ‘sense’ is – and there is no way anyone could ‘represent’ the community. (One reason our existing systems couldn’t possibly work.) The ‘sense’ only exists because it is developed in community discussion. Just as in a business meeting, this is a mutual-education, problem-solving process. It is creative work to come up with a community ‘sense’, and that is the work of real democracy – the true meaning of empowered citizenship.
What happens at the next level is again a collaborative, problem solving process. This is a fractal model, you might say. In the local meetings, individuals don’t come in with fixed positions, ready to sell them. Instead they come in with their own concerns, in all their subtlety, and participate in a collaborative process to find a mutually advantageous solution to problems. Similarly, at the next level, delegates come in armed with their ‘community sense’ – which is again a subtle fabric of ‘concerns’. And as in the local meeting, the assembled delegates collaborate together to find solutions that address the various concerns, to everyone’s mutual advantage. Threatened minorities (those whose local interests are somehow in conflict with wider tides of concern), rather than being ignored as in a majority system, are more likely to be at the centre of the discussion, since their concerns are the ones most problematic to incorporate into a mutually acceptable outcome.
That’s basically the model. It’s collaborative problem solving all the way down, and all the way up, with common-citizen delegates representing articulated agendas – and no professional politicians. There are countless peripheral issues, such as accuracy of media, which bear on democracy. But my investigation of democracy, over several years, both theoretical and empirical, leads me to this basic model as being both necessary and sufficient (!), as the core paradigm for genuine democracy. That is a very strong statement, and I don’t claim to have proven it here. But I think the sketch has the appropriate structure for a more complete exposition.
In Cuba, fortunately for them, this process is more or less the official government structure. For this model to be applied in our pseudo-democracies, with their majority systems, a bit of thought is required. And again, there is a real-world example that can be used for illustration. It is only on the scale of a single city, but all the mechanisms are there. I refer to the “Participatory Budgeting project” (PB), which operated for a time in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The city officially operated under a majority electoral system. But there was a massive grassroots, bottom-up collaborative process (PB), which was empowered to work out the city’s budget. PB’s process was consistent with the model I’ve described, and it was large enough to exhibit several levels of deliberations. What happened in practice is that whatever the PB process came up with, was implemented verbatim by the elected officials. And the budgetary results were considered, by objective outside review, as being quite sound. The system worked.
Speaking more generally, there would be two parallel structures – the official governmental structure, and the collaborative problem-solving structure – the civil-society structure. The first provides the mechanism to carry out the bureaucratic necessities of implementing policy; the second provides the democratic process by which policies are formulated. Formal elections would become ritual formalities, much like America’s ‘electoral college’ that has no volitional charter. A slate of delegate-candidates would be selected, at whatever appropriate level of the civil-society structure, and essentially everyone would vote for them – since everyone has participated in the collaborative process and is invested in its success. These elected officials would then carry out their implementation responsibilities using a similar collaborative problem-solving approach, and representing the articulated agendas of the constituencies with selected them.
Ironically, this parallel-structure system is extremely close to the system we already have in the West! In our current system we have a formal governmental system, and it acts as the rubber-stamp implementation agent for another structure – a structure which actually sets policy. That ‘other structure’ is the backroom deal-making environment in which moneyed interests and power brokers work out who the candidates will be, how the election issues are be framed, how the campaigns are to be staged, and what the legislative priorities will be once ‘their men’ are in office. Our policy-making process has always been separate from the official ‘democratic’ process, a point that I developed above in terms of ‘competitive factionalism’, ‘off-line problem solving’, ‘corruption’, and ‘usurpation of power’.
The two-structure scheme is a sound one. Our governmental structure functions well in its bureaucratic aspects, generally speaking, despite neoliberal smear campaigns to the contrary. The perceived ‘bunglings’ of government are due to misperceptions of what governments are actually trying to accomplish. Their actual (unannounced) task is to serve the interests of corporations – and they do a very efficient job of that. They only ‘bungle’ if you believe their pseudo-progressive lies about why they’re doing things. We simply need to replace the wealth-dominated structure that currently sets policy with a democratic structure. There’s no need to storm the bastilles, dismantle the parliaments, nor write new constitutions. The official governments can continue to do what they do now rather competently – carry out policy set by someone else. In this case, by the people.
But where is this civil-society structure to come from – the parallel structure which is to set policy. The answer is embarrassingly obvious. You’ve probably already figured it out. That parallel structure is the matured revolutionary movement itself. ‘The victorious movement’ = ‘The renewed, empowered civil society’ = ‘The collaborative policy-setting parallel structure’.
That is to say, the model for democracy is also the model for movement structure. The means are the ends. As Gandhi personified it, paraphrasing, “You must become the future you seek”. The movement itself must begin as a bottom-up, collaborative, problem-solving process. Activist groups, the scenario goes, come together and say “What are our different goals? How can we combine forces and accomplish them together? Let us articulate a platform that benefits us all, and promote it collectively.” From such a seed, everyone can be brought in, for in truth we are all in this together and all really want the same basic things. The process by which the movement plans its strategies and actions serves as training for how the movement – renamed eventually as ‘civil-society’ – continues into its ongoing task of guiding society’s evolutionary path.