Enlightening Quotes

"All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." -- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776), Part 3, Chapter 4.

 

"I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. ... If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. " -- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Edward Carrington - January 16, 1787

 

"[S]tate monopoly in capitalist society is merely a means of increasing and guaranteeing the income of millionaires in some branch of industry" -- Vladimir I. Lenin, Imperialism (1920/1999), ch. 2, p. 51.

 

"[A] personal link-up, so to speak, is established between the banks and the biggest industrial and commercial enterprises, the merging of one with another through the acquisition of shares, through the appointment of bank directors to the supervisory boards (or boards of directors) of industrial and commercial enterprises, and vice versa. ...

The 'personal link-up' between the banks and industry is supplemented by the 'personal link-up' between both of them and the government. 'Seats on supervisory boards,' writes Jeidels, 'are freely offered to persons of title, also to ex-civil servants, who are able to do a great deal to facilitate [!!] relations with the authorities … Usually, on the supervisory board of a big bank, there is a member of parliament or a Berlin city councillor.'" -- Vladimir Lenin, Imperialism (1920/1999), ch. 2, p. 53-54.

 

 

"[I]mperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism" -- Vladimir Lenin, Imperialism (1920/1999), p. 91

 

"The big transnationals want to reduce freedom by undermining the democratic functioning of the states in which they're based, while at the same time ensuring the government will be powerful enough to protect and support them." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 17.

 

"Neoliberalism is the doctrine of uncontrolled markets:" -- Paul Mason, Postcapitalism (2015)

 

"Neoliberalism is mainly about transferring public assets into private hands." -- James K. Galbraith, interview (2016)

 

"[A] neoliberal state. The freedoms it embodies reflect the interests of private property owners, businesses, multinational corporations and financial capital." -- David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005), p. 7.

 

There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” -- Warren Buffett, article (2006)

 

"The goal is a society in which the basic social unit is you and your television set. ... Boards of directors are allowed to work together, so are banks and investors and corporations in alliances with one another and with powerful states. That's just fine. It's just the poor who aren't supposed to cooperate." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 29.

 

"[C]orporations are fundamentally illegitimate, ... they don't have to exist at all in their modern form. Just as other oppressive institutions - slavery, say, or royalty - have been changed or eliminated, so corporate power can be changed or eliminated. What are the limits? There aren't any." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 64.

 

"There's a very committed effort to convert the US into something resembling a Third World society, where a few people have enormous wealth and a lot of others have no security ... ." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 35.

 

"[R]ights are the result of popular engagement and struggle." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 153.

 

"You liberate yourself through participation with others ... Popular organizations and umbrella groups help create a basis for this." -- Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998), p. 154.

 

"It's Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses", Foreign Policy, June 28, 2016

 

 

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"...der neoliberalen Wahnidee. Diese behauptet, wirtschaftliches Tun gehorche Naturgesetzen. Der Neoliberalismus ist, wie Pierre Bourdieu gesagt hat, wie die Aids-Krankheit. Sie zerstört erst die Immunkräfte des Opfers und dann tötet sie das Opfer. Die neoliberale Herrschaftsidee induziert beim Menschen ein Gefühl der Ohnmacht. Die Menschen glauben, dass sie nichts tun können. Man kann gegen die Marktkräfte ja doch nichts tun. Das führt zur einer Selbstlähmung, zu einer Selbstentmündigung. Zur freiwilligen Abgabe seiner Autonomie. Der Mensch ist sich selbst fremd geworden, wie Adorno sagt. Das muss durchbrochen werden." -- Jean Ziegler, in "Che Guevara hat mir das Leben gerettet" (2015).

 

"Die Eliten sind gar nicht das Problem, die Bevölkerungen sind im Moment das Problem" -- Joachim Gauck, ehem. Deutscher Bundespräsident, 19. Juli 2016

 

"Der Melierdialog legt beispielhaft die Grundmuster von Realpolitik offen: dass nämlich für Hegemonialmächte nur das Recht des Stärkeren gelten könne und somit moralische und rechtliche Fragen irrelevant sind." -- Rainer Mausfeld, in "Die Angst der Machteliten vor dem Volk: Demokratie-Management durch Soft Power-Techniken", 2. November 2016.

 

Soft Power ist das gesamte Spektrum von Techniken, die öffentliche Meinung zu manipulieren. Vermittlungsinstanzen für diese Formen der Machtausübung sind – unterstützt durch Stiftungen, Think Tanks, Elitenetzwerke und Lobbygruppen - insbesondere private und öffentliche Medien, Schulen und der gesamte Erziehungs- und Ausbildungssektor sowie die Kulturindustrie. Die Wirkungen von Soft Power-Techniken sind für die Bevölkerung weitgehend unsichtbar; es ist also kaum mit Protesten gegen diese Formen der Indoktrination zu rechnen. -- Rainer Mausfeld, in "Die Angst der Machteliten vor dem Volk: Demokratie-Management durch Soft Power-Techniken", 2. November 2016.

Introduction

We live in imperialist or late-stage capitalist and market-fundamentalist neoliberal times in which politics and the state are largely captured by powerful special interest groups from the private sector through lobbying and enticement to corruption. Pay to play politics is the norm, and it is driving human society from a cliff in various ways (war, climate crisis, ecocide, debt, etc). What is required to fix this is a revolution on a massive scale, ideally before the impending climate crisis happens. A logical first step in this direction - also given that power usually tries to make itself invisible in order to endure and to prevent attacks on itself - is to make the hugely perverting influence of big transnational corporations apparent.

 

Key terms and concepts: anti-capitalism, anti-corruption, anti-neoliberalism, anti-imperialism, transparency.

 

Documents: United Nations Convention Against Corruption (pdf download here).

 

Initiatives

International

Global

Attac; for a directory of national branches other than in Europe, see Attac in Africa, Attac in the Americas or Attac in Asia

Transparency International "the global coalition against corruption" (-> glossary) (facebook); Corruption Perceptions Index

Europe

Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) "Europe's campaign for lobbying transparency"

Attac in Europe

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) "Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU" (facebook)

Deutscher Sprachraum

Lobbypedia "Geld Macht Politik"

statewatch "monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe"

National

Australia

Austria/Österreich

Canada

France

Multinationals Observatory "Tracking French Corporations Worldwide"

Germany/Deutschland

Ireland

New Zealand

Switzerland/Schweiz

United Kingdom

LEAP UK

Spinwatch "Public Interest Investigations"

Transparency International UK "fighting corruption worldwide"

USA

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Center for Public Integrity

Government Accountability Project (GAP) "Truth be told"

Judicial Watch "Because no one is above the law!"

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)

MapLight "Revealing money's influence on politics"

Occupy Wall Street "We are the 99 percent"

Open Secrects "Center for Responsive Politics"

Public Citizen "Protecting Health, Safety and Democracy"

Revolt Against Plutocracy (facebook)

Transparency International USA


Resources

Video