capitalism v. democracy

Launching a new project:

I am assembling the record of US leaders’ anti-democratic statements, including opposition to social democracy.

First, I intend to gather quotes from Kissinger, as Naomi Klein (“Disaster Capitalism”) has recently brought up his opposition to to the good governance of Allende’s social democracy in Chile.

Below I quote Michael Parenti on capitalist anti-democracy:

“Consider the case of Cuba. We’re told that decades of U.S. hostility toward Cuba-including embargo, sabotage, and invasion-have resulted from our distaste for Castro’s autocratic government and from our concern for the freedoms of the Cuban people. But why this sudden urge to “restore” Cuban liberty? In the decades before the 1959 Cuban Revolution, successive U.S. administrations backed a brutally repressive autocracy headed by General Fulgencio Batista.

The significant but unspoken difference was that Batista was a comprador leader who kept Cuba wide open to U.S. capital penetration. In contrast, Castro eliminated the private corporate control of the economy, nationalized U.S. holdings, and renovated the class structure more equally and collectively: that’s what makes him so insufferable.

Far from supporting democracy around the world, the U.S. national security state since World War II has actively destroyed progressive democratic governments in some two dozen countries. In justifying the 1973 overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, Henry Kissinger argued that when pressed to choose between the economy and democracy, we must save the economy. More precisely, Kissinger wanted to save the private big corporate economy.

In two short years, Allende’s Popular Unity government noticeably shifted the gross national income away from wealthy elites who lived off interest, dividends, and rents, and toward those who lived off wages and salaries. In Allende’s Chile, the rich had their consumer goods rationed and were expected to pay taxes for the first time. Some of their holdings and businesses were nationalized. Meanwhile, the poor benefited from public works employment, literacy programs, worker cooperatives, and a free half-liter of milk each day for every child.

A few of Chile’s radio and television stations began offering a view of public affairs that differed from the ideological monopoly of the nation’s business-owned media. Far from endangering democracy, Allende’s Popular Unity government was endangering the privileged oligarchies by expanding democracy. What alarmed leaders like Kissinger was not that social democratic reforms were failing, but that they were succeeding. The trend toward politico-economic equality had to be stopped. In the name of saving Chile’s democracy, the CIA and the White House destroyed it, instituting a fascist dictatorship that tortured, executed, and “disappeared” thousands, and suppressed all opposition media, political parties, labor unions, and peasant organizations.

Immediately after the military coup, General Motors, which had closed its plants after Allende’s election, resumed operations, demonstrating how much more comfortable Big Capital is with fascism than with social democracy. Far from rescuing the economy, the CIA-sponsored coup provoked an era of skyrocketing inflation and national debt, with drastic increases in unemployment, poverty, and hunger.

Official Washington cannot reveal to the American people that its gargantuan military expenditures and belligerent interventions really make the world safe for General Motors, General Electric, General Dynamics, and all the other generals. Instead we are told that our nation’s security is at stake.”

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