RULED BY THE BUSINESS CLASSES: Canada's Politics Deep, Dirty, and Far from Democratic

By Conway, John F. | CCPA Monitor, September 2008 | Go to article overview

RULED BY THE BUSINESS CLASSES: Canada's Politics Deep, Dirty, and Far from Democratic


Conway, John F., CCPA Monitor


We exist in, and largely embrace, a deeply delusional system of political beliefs. The central delusion in this belief system is that we live in a democratic society, that the popular will prevails, that we have government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

We don't. More accurately, we live under a democratic dictatorship of the business classes. All the major parties embrace capitalism and the free market god. They compete for our votes on the basis of which party best serves the interests of the regional, national, and international business classes.

There are indeed elections allowing us to choose which party will oversee and manage our exploitation until the next election. We have the formal trappings of democracy-we can freely run for office and we can freely vote-but none of the substance of democracy, since the choices are either illusory or shallow, usually both. Dion will be less harsh than Harper. Obama will oversee the interests of the American Empire in the world with less barbarism than McCain. Choices? Yes, like choosing between Cheer and Tide in the supermarket.

The choices, of course, are not without some significance. But they reduce us always to choosing the least among evils. This leads to public disengagement and cynicism, further undermining our limited democracy and further empowering the capitalist business classes, as more and more of us withdraw from active participation in civil society. Nothing sustains the democratic dictatorship of the business classes more than the deepening disengagement of the people. Elections have become a democratic contest between conflicting interests among the business classes about how best to manage the affairs of the class as a whole. The people are reduced to pawns to be manipulated.

During election campaigns, the parties lie, spin, manipulate and con, spending millions on propaganda to win our votes. Extravagant promises are made, only to be broken after victory. Political debates and propaganda focus on shallow silliness and simplistic slogans: personal attack ads, 30-second TV clips, carefully cultivated images and messages massaged by the spin doctors.

When necessary, huge doses of fear are unleashedterrorists around the world and right next door; evil criminals lurking in dark alleys-to divert and then stampede the people into making frightened, irrational political choices. The real, deeper agenda of what power will be used for is hidden from view and repeatedly denied. Only after the electoral dust settles do people begin to get a glimpse of the deeper agenda of the successful party.

The fact is that the real political decisions that determine our collective fate are made in the secret substratum of economic power where all dirty tricks are allowed in order to deceive the public and to manipulate public opinion. No open democratic debate is allowed. The real politics in our sham of a democracy are deep, dirty, and profoundly undemocratic.

The basic truth of this assertion can be tested against three recent political events: 1) the Bernier affair; 2) the unexpected nuclear initiative in Saskatchewan; and 3) the recent public revelation that the war in Afghanistan is all about oil, natural gas, and pipelines.

The Bernier Affair

The unfolding of the scandal involving former Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier provided a public glimpse of how things really get done in Ottawa. Bernier had designated Julie Couillard as his spouse for official purposes, allowing her to travel with the minister, meet and greet heads of state, and enjoy all the trappings of ministerial power.

Initially it was a love match, or so we are led to believe, as poor besotted Maxime fell in love, or in lust, with the pulchritudinous Couillard. Then it was revealed that Couillard had lived with two members of the Hell's Angels, one of whom, Gilles Giguere, was her one true love (he ended up in a flooded ditch with three bullets in the head).

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RULED BY THE BUSINESS CLASSES: Canada's Politics Deep, Dirty, and Far from Democratic
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