Thursday, August 21, 2008

To be Stenciled on Yr Nearest Church Pew

Even assuming that efforts to erase race and gender privilege have allowed the input of African Americans and women to count as much as that of whites and men (which they have not), greater wealth can be, and often is, transformed into greater political capital or influence. Elections are relatively infrequent and especically in national elections, restricted de facto to a handful of candidates, most of whom are wealthy. Consequently, the bulk of the population must rely on representatives who tend to look out above all for the well-being of business donors, and fail to recognize the problems of the 80-percent of the population who have relatively limited resources and/or face discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Holland, Nonini, Lutz, Bartlett, Frederick-McGlathery, Guldbrandsen and Murrilo, Jr.
Local Democracy Under Siege: Activism, Public Interests and Private Politics


andrew. tn said...

lil' blurb for you, unrelated

Lips Dexter said...

awesome blurb, schmidt!

EZ said...

Great post! It is hard to argue against your hypothesis, especially given the average winning house race costs over a million, and the reelection rate in both houses is near 90%...but let me give it a try.

Since Jackson and the birth of the D party, and the accompanying dropping of property ownership requirements for voting, I would argue that the American system has slowly but steadily moved toward a real democracy. Not because power elites wanted it to be so, but through diligence and actively pushing it towards Dem.
The civil rights movement pushed the govt to begin to honor the "rights" supposedly guaranteed post war of northern aggression.
Also, while not available in all states the initiative, referendum, and recall (while as dave noted they can also be tools for the rich) can provide "populist" tools to help "social movements" overcome resource inequalities.
Not perfect. but many reforms that have been kicked around would also be helpful in breaking the links you point out. For example campaign finance reform (not McSame style, but real) and reforming the media charters would be one place for "concerned citizens" to start.