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January 21, 2010: The day corporate dictatorship destroyed the last remnants of US Democracy

As we described many times in this blog, corporate power grew rapidly since the early 70s with the rise of neoliberalism and its subsequent establishment as the dominant culture, especially in the West. 

In the motherland of neoliberalism, the United States, corporations essentially legalized corruption in politics during the 70s in order to capture the entire political system and put it under their complete control.

As David Harvey describes in his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism:

                         The supposedly ‘progressive’ campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics. A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech. [...] Corporate PACs, which numbered eightynine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982. [...] The $5,000 limit on each PAC’s contribution to any one individual forced PACs from different corporations and industries to work together, and that meant building alliances based on class rather than particular interests.

From the early 80s to early 90s, banks and corporations took over completely almost the entire political system in the West. Harvey concludes:
                         The conclusion is, I think, clear. ‘During the 1970s, the political wing of the nation’s corporate sector’, writes Edsall, ‘staged one of the most remarkable campaigns in the pursuit of power in recent history.’ By the early 1980s it ‘had gained a level of influence and leverage approaching that of the boom days of the 1920s’. And by the year 2000 it had used that leverage to restore its share of the national wealth and income to levels also not seen since the 1920s.  
And as we already mentioned previously, the 2008 big financial crisis was almost inevitable. Yet, instead of seeing a mobilization by the state similar to that after the 1929 crisis, we saw the opposite.  The state intervened to save the advocates of the free market, at the expense of the taxpayers and the working class.

From that point, things could go to only one direction. The direction towards more power for the corporate establishment and less power for the working class. A critical moment in the timeline after 2007-2008 meltdown was January 21, 2010, when the US Supreme Court lifted any remaining restrictions against corporate money into the US politics.

As we read from Ballotpedia:
                           In 1976, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that individuals cannot be prevented from spending unlimited sums of money on political messaging. With two 2010 rulings, the United States Supreme Court lifted restrictions on corporation and union spending in politics. Individuals, corporations and unions may now legally donate and spend unlimited amounts on independent political speech; they may also donate unlimited amounts to groups that make independent expenditures.
                         According to the Center for Responsive Politics, super PACs spent more than $345 million in the 2014 election cycle. 

As Open Secrets reported in 2020:

                          On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the longstanding prohibition on independent expenditures by corporations violated the First Amendment. With its decision, the court allowed corporations, including nonprofits, and labor unions to spend unlimited sums to support or oppose political candidates. The majority made the case that political spending from independent actors, even from powerful corporations, was not a corrupting influence on those in office.

                           The decade that followed was by far the most expensive in the history of U.S. elections. Independent groups spent billions to influence crucial races, supplanting political parties and morphing into extensions of candidate campaigns. Wealthy donors flexed their expanded political power by injecting unprecedented sums into elections. And transparency eroded as "dark money" groups, keeping their sources of funding secret, emerged as political powerhouses.

                            The explosion of big money and secret spending wasn't spurred on by Citizens United alone. It was enabled by a number of court decisions that surgically removed several restrictions in campaign finance law, and emboldened by inaction from Congress and gridlock within the Federal Election Commission. Those government bodies remain deeply divided, meaning the mishmash of campaign finance rules spawned by the Supreme Court will likely remain in place in 2020 and beyond.
And as the Americans For Tax Fairness reported in 2022: 

                         Twelve years after the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in politics with its controversial Citizens United decision handed down Jan. 21, 2010, a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness finds a tsunami of billionaire contributions has been flowing into federal elections.

                         Translating their wealth into political power, billionaires upped their campaign contributions from a relatively modest $31 million in the 2010 elections (the first held under the new rules) to $1.2 billion in the most recent presidential cycle—a nearly 40-fold increase. Billionaire political donations in 2020 were nearly double the $682 million in 2016, the last presidential election.


                    The report finds that almost 40% of all billionaire campaign contributions made since 1990 occurred during the 2020 season. Billionaires had a lot more money to give politicians and political causes in 2020 as their collective wealth jumped by nearly a third, or over $900 billion, to $3.9 trillion between the March beginning of the pandemic and a month before Election Day. Billionaire fortunes have continued to climb since: as of October 2021, billionaires were worth $5.1 trillion, more than a 20-fold increase in their collective fortune since 1990, when it stood at $240 billion, adjusted for inflation.

Perhaps the most impressive, is that even Barack Obama warned about the implications of this development right after Court's decision. As Politico reported back in 2010:
                     President Obama led a chorus of Democrats and public interest groups attacking the decision, saying in a statement that the court “has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” and vowing that he will work with congressional leaders “to develop a forceful response.” 

                     “It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans,” the president said. “This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington—while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.” 
If you want to take a small taste of how badly things evolved today as we speak, recall that, as mentioned in 2021:
                         In June 2019, the office of UN General Secretary António Guterres, without previous discussion in the General Assembly or any other intergovernmental process, signed a strategic partnership with the World Economic Forum. [...] The summit seeks to erase the last 15 years of progress in recognizing human rights in food systems, and instead promotes false solutions like “zero-net emissions”, “soil carbon pricing”, and “a new deal for nature”, that in practice put more control over land, biodiversity, and water in the hands of elite and secretive bodies run by corporations. 
While we also identified the next step by private corporations to institutionalize the 21st century corporate feudalism using Nevada as a testing field for the transition. As we wrote, the Western economic model is about to be transformed into something even worse than capitalism, towards a kind of 21st century corporate feudalism. And the US state of Nevada is about to become the testing field for such a transition in the most official way!
These are are only a few examples depicting the dark future ahead of us. You can already forget Democracy. Corporate dictatorship is establishing the 21st century corporate feudalism and it seems that nothing at the moment could stop its brutal onslaught against the last Democratic institutions.


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