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Inverted Totalitarianism

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posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 05:38 PM
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Inverted Totalitarianism is a political theory describing the current system in the United States. The idea was first written about by Sheldon Wolin in Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism



According to Wolin, there are three main ways in which inverted totalitarianism is the inverted form of classical totalitarianism.

1. Whereas in Nazi Germany the state dominated economic actors, in inverted totalitarianism, corporations through political contributions and lobbying, dominate the United States, with the government acting as the servant of large corporations. This is considered "normal" rather than corruption.[6]

2.While the Nazi regime aimed at the constant political mobilization of the population, with its Nuremberg rallies, Hitler Youth, and so on, inverted totalitarianism aims for the mass of the population to be in a persistent state of political apathy. The only type of political activity expected or desired from the citizenry is voting. Low electoral turnouts are favorably received as an indication that the bulk of the population has given up hope that the government will ever help them.[7]

3.While the Nazis openly mocked democracy, the United States maintains the conceit that it is the model of democracy for the whole world:[8] Wolin writes: Inverted totalitarianism reverses things. It is all politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political. Party squabbles are occasionally on public display, and there is a frantic and continuous politics among factions of the party, interest groups, competing corporate powers, and rival media concerns. And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.[9]
Wikipedia


Mr. Wolin writes on the topic in The Nation




Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic.

Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.

What is at stake, then, is nothing less than the attempted transformation of a tolerably free society into a variant of the extreme regimes of the past century




Further Reading
Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Inverted Totalitarianism by Chalmers Johnson

Zero Point of Systemic Collapse by Chris Hedges

Inverted Totalitarianism and the Corporate State




posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 05:57 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not a sociologist), but haven't all modern forms of government, perhaps with the exception of a few socialist states, been controlled by corporate interests? After all, the economy played a huge part in the Nazi party's rise to power. If Jan Valtin's autobiography Out of the Night is anything to go by, the Nazis were also the henchmen of certain companies and corporations used for breaking up union meetings during the 1920s and 1930s.

I'm aware this question is a little slanted in the socialist direction, but still...
edit on 20-7-2012 by XeroOne because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 06:12 PM
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reply to post by XeroOne
 


I agree. I believe we can go further. All urban societies have been ruled by an oligarchy. It may be a corporate class, a politburo, or a monarch's advisers. The majority are always ruled by a minority. The mechanisms of the ruling class change. The underlying power structure does not.
edit on 20-7-2012 by stephinrazin because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by stephinrazin
reply to post by XeroOne
 


I agree. I believe we can go further. All urban societies have been ruled by an oligarchy. It may be a corporate class, a politburo, or a monarch's advisers. The majority are always ruled by a minority. The mechanisms of the ruling class change. The underlying power structure does not.
edit on 20-7-2012 by stephinrazin because: (no reason given)


There's the problem nailed in one sentence. I used to be a rather arrogant socialist a few years back, until the realisation of this kind of destroyed my political beliefs within a few short months. When you experience a Leninist organisation, you eventually learn first-hand that it's actually no different from the 'crony capitalism' it rails against, and it's precisely for this reason Soviet Russia quickly became a dictatorship. It was destined to happen that way. The only real difference is the level of adherence among the followers to the system.
What is ideology? It's something that keeps a minority in power. That's the only thing I'm certain of these days.



posted on Jul, 20 2012 @ 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by XeroOne

What is ideology? It's something that keeps a minority in power. That's the only thing I'm certain of these days.


I believe that ideology can be something positive. An ideology based on human dignity, and individual liberty for example.

Sadly, ideology is rarely principled in practice. Instead it is used to cloak power. Oligarchies use the language of "freedom," "proletariat," or "God's chosen people"to justify power. It is easier to market control when you have a hook to sell your product. In this case the product being the existing power structure, and the hook being ideological language.
edit on 20-7-2012 by stephinrazin because: wording



posted on Jul, 21 2012 @ 09:10 PM
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Here are some more links.

This link isn't about Inverted Totalitarianism, but is pertinent to the world view such a system cultivates.

Here is a preview version of Sheldon Wolin's book mentioned above.





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