Saturday, October 15, 2011

Governments Represent Corporations Now

Image: William Hessian
It is before dawn on a day of global history making, October 15, 2011. People will pour into public spaces to demand an end to government that serves corporate interests and financial elites, some while pretending to represent the common people.
An excellent piece in Common Dreams yesterday (reprinted from Foreign Policy in Focus) brings the problem into focus. Lockheed Martin's dirty dealings in Mongtomery County, Maryland to keep a war dollars home resolution from even being considered is reported by authors Jean Athey and John Feffer:
...a simple, straightforward resolution. It urged Congress “to make major reductions in the Pentagon budget, in a manner that does not harm the safety or lives of our troops, with the savings invested in state and local needs so that Montgomery County and other counties in Maryland can repair their deteriorating infrastructure, reverse budget cuts to education, health care, and other needs, and otherwise improve the welfare of their residents.”
On October 4, the Council president introduced this resolution with three cosponsors. One additional Council member announced that he would also support the resolution. With this majority, the resolution was guaranteed to pass when it came up for a vote on October 11.
But it didn’t pass. Cue the ominous movie soundtrack.

The Machine Fights Back

Lockheed Martin is one of the premier military contractors in the world. It also employs about 5,000 people in Montgomery County. Alerted to the resolution, Lockheed Martin switched into high gear. One of its top lobbyists began calling council members.  The Washington Post reported that some Council members were also called by a “state delegate, and the offices of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D).”     
Maryland officials were most upset at the prospect that Lockheed would up and leave Maryland – for Virginia. Last year, Northrop Grumman opted for Virginia over Maryland as the site of its new global headquarters.  The prospect that Lockheed Martin might pull up stakes prompted Maryland County Executive Isiah Leggett to refer to the resolution as “a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Montgomery County.”
With that degree of opposition, at least one and perhaps two of the original supporters decided to rescind their support for the resolution. In order to avoid a defeat, the Council president pulled the resolution, and the Council never voted on it.
A commenter called since 1492 claimed, "We don't need no stinkin resolutions. We need civil disobedience that will lead to the dismantling of the Pentagon and the mindset that runs it."

Well, 1492, I think we need both. Here's part of the comment I made explaining why I think so:

As for whether resolutions are worth working on, in my experience these non-binding acts by local governance units open a space for discussion of the issues by many citizens who are practically brain dead from an entire lifetime of getting their "news" and information from the mainstream media. These are discussions with the potential to educate the 99% in a significant way. Then, when the dirty dealing of corporate players like Lockheed Martin kicks in, the revelation of who is really represented by county government (or town, or congress) has a similar value in revealing truth.

There is no one path to regaining representative government. I'm pretty sure Jean Athey has been in the streets many times. Lots of us work on resolutions when we can, march when we can, occupy when we can. Today, Oct 15, 2011, the whole world is going out to public spaces to say: We are the 99%. Our government does not represent us. Corporations, beware.
Occupy Wall St. photo from Andrew Courtney>Liberty Park, NYC, Bloomberg backs off 10.14.11

See you in the streets. I'll be there in Augusta -- you'll be there where you are. I'll be wearing my Bradley Manning t-shirt today. Bradley told the truth and he has now been locked up without trial for more than 500 days -- not for killing anyone, not for torturing anyone, not for bombing civilians, or sending troops into Uganda -- but for telling the truth. And just look what he started!

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Maryland County Executive Isiah Leggett prompted to refer to the resolution as “a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Montgomery County.”

Was he trying to use Zionist imagery or is he just real clumsy?
Israel is not real.
Zionism, there and here, is the most crass opportunism. He got a call from some big donors, and here he could blame it on those damn terrorists. You don't need to be Jewish to be a Zionist. In fact, it gets in your way. A Zionist is a psychotic who lives in that castle in the clouds built by the neurotic (to quote a slogan on a heating tunnel wall in Carleton College once).
Hey, there's big money in that real estate.