Even stodgy academics from Princeton and Northweastern University, who hate to say anything that would make them seem "unobjective," have declared that the data (lots of it, carefully analyzed with sophisticated statistical methods!) show that the United States is an oligarchy, not a representative democracy. Their study concludes:
There is enormous evidence (see some of it here, at a website dedicated to building an egalitarian revolutionary movemement to win genuine democracy), besides academic studies, that the United States is ruled by a relatively small set of people with enormous wealth and hence power: an oligarchy or plutocracy or ruling class, if you will.
One of the most powerful Americans is David Rockefeller, the patriarch of the Rockefeller family. He controls a family fortune worth more than one Trillion dollars; his representatives sit on the boards of directors of about 108 of the biggest U.S. corporations in all parts of the economy, and he is the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations--the exclusive private "think tank" that determines U.S. foreign policy and whose members implement it as Secretaries of Defense and State, and Directors of the CIA, etc.
David Rockefeller was, of course, never elected. In fact, it has been said of him that if he were made president of the United States it would be a demotion.
In the United States, money is power; the billionaires have it and ordinary people don't. Billionaires don't become billionaires by winning an election, and so they cannot be un-elected.
How Much Power Does the President of the United States Really Have?
John F. Kennedy was, as we know, made president of the United States by the electoral process, and he was at first perfectly willing to go along with the agenda of the plutocracy. But after the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy feared that the Cold War could result in a thermonuclear war unless it was ended. Kennedy started to end the Cold War--against the will of the plutocracy--with acts such as initiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (to which the plutocracy was totally opposed) and, just before his death, ordering the Pentagon to make plans to withdraw troops from Vietnam (to which the plutocracy was also totally opposed).
Kennedy knew the CIA and its director, Allen Dulles especially, opposed him and so he fired Allen Dulles as Director. But the plutocracy viewed Kennedy as, literally, a traitor to his (upper) class. Because Dulles, and not Kennedy, was acting at the behest of the plutocracy, Dulles, despite being fired as Director of the CIA, continued to direct it from his personal residence and the new official director, John McCone, was a mere figurehead. The plutocracy gave Dulles a green light to orchestrate the assassination of Kennedy, which he did. (Read about this here and here and here.)
American presidents know where the real power resides in the United States and what will happen to them if they go against it. This is why the promises made during presidential election campaigns have no relation to the policies the elected president actually carries out, as described in great detail for every president from FDR through Obama here. Remember when the candidate Obama was for single payer health care and for ending U.S. military attacks on Muslims in foreign lands?
Presidents of the United States have the kind of power that a CEO of a corporation has. CEOs have the power to make important decisions as long as these decisions are for the benefit of the people with the real power--the major owners of the corporation, as expressed by the Board of Directors. Likewise, the President of the United States has the power to make important decisions as long as they benefit the ruling plutocracy, and not otherwise.
The plutocracy does not want a troublemaker in the Oval Office and it will use violence to prevent that from happening. Afterall, this is a plutocracy that routinely has used the CIA to remove elected heads of state in foreign countries when it felt they threatened its interests. Does it make any sense to believe that this same plutocracy would refrain from violence if it thought its power in the United States, itself, was threatened?
Eisenhower, using the CIA, had Patrice Lumumba assassinated. The CIA helped orchestrate the killing of Allende in Chile. The CIA removed Iran's democratically elected* liberal prime minister Mossedegh. The CIA removed Guatemala's liberal reformer and democratically elected* president, Arbenz. The CIA killed JFK. All of these killings and removals of elected heads of state (and more) were done because the people who control the CIA--the billionaire class--wanted them to be done. Presidents who objected (like JFK) to what the billionaire class wanted got killed as well. Can one seriously believe that a Jill Stein in the Oval Office would fare any better against the CIA than Lumumba and Allende and Mossedegh and Arbenz and JFK? Really?
So, Why Does the Plutocracy Hold Elections?
Elections are an important instrument that the plutocracy uses to control the public. Here are some of the important things that elections do to help the plutocracy remain safely in power:
1. Elections keep people focused on whom to vote for instead of on how to remove the dictatorship of the rich from power in order to have genuine democracy. To the extent that people are busy engaging one way or another in the electoral process, then to that extent they are busy NOT building an egalitarian revolutionary movement along the lines discussed here. This, not voting, is how it really is possible to remove the plutocracy from power, as discussed further below.
2. Elections provide (undeserved) legitimacy to the dictatorship of the rich by making it seem as if it is actually a government freely elected by the people. This undermines the confidence of those who might otherwise work to abolish the dictatorship of the rich, by making them believe they have no right to go against the will of the majority. This is why foreign oppressive and anti-democratic ruling classes also often hold elections, and why Jimmy Carter has gone around the world giving these elections his "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."
3. Elections are a good way to implement divide-and-rule. This is what is happening today with the Trump versus Clinton campaigns. In truth, Trump and Clinton are acting as a divide-and-rule team, as explained here.
4. Elections are a good way for the plutocracy to ensure that the president will be a person who is capable of getting most of the public to trust him/her enough, at least, to vote for him/her. The long road to the White House--the primary elections to get nominated and then the long general election campaign to get elected--winnows out the inferior (in the sense of being less able to appeal to the public) politicians, so that the elected president will be the best person for the job (which is to get the public to accept, however grudgingly, the policies of the plutocracy.)
5. If the plutocracy did NOT hold elections, it would make it crystal clear to everyone that we were living under a dictatorship of the rich and that the only sensible thing to do is to figure out how to make a revolution to remove the plutocracy from power.
But Why Do People Keep Falling for the "Be Sure to Vote" Routine?
Everything said above so far is, to some extent, already known by many people who nonetheless consider "Who to Vote for" the most important decision when it comes to trying to make the world better. Why is this so? One would think that people who know the truth about the United States being, in reality, a dictatorship of the rich, would not take the election game so seriously.
The answer to this riddle is, I believe, the following. Most people, including those who know the truth about power in the United States, believe something that is actually false. They believe that most ordinary Americans oppose removing the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with No Rich and No Poor (a.k.a. an egalitarian revolution.)
The truth is exactly the opposite, as one can see from this video of random people-on-the-street interviews in five neighborhoods of Boston. The vast majority of people would LOVE an egalitarian revolution (once they hear what that means.) This is why it really is possible to build an egalitarian revolutionary movement of hundreds of millions of Americans that can actually remove the plutocracy from power.
But most Americans think that it is only a tiny, and hence hoplessly weak, minority of Americans who want such an egalitarian revolution. They think this because the mass (and alternative!) media censor all expressions of a desire for an egalitarian revolution (no matter how worded). This censorship makes it seem that hardly anybody else DOES want an egalitarian revolution.
Once one accepts the false premise that most Americans are opposed to an egalitarian revolution, it follows perfectly logically that the best one can hope to accomplish is to use the vote to try to win some band aid reforms that will make life better even though these reforms leave the dictatorship of the rich intact and thus keep us on the treadmill of defeat (as discussed here.)
Furthermore, those who accept the false premise (i.e., believe that egalitarian revolution is impossible because hardly anybody wants it to happen) believe, again very logically, that anybody who advocates building an egalitarian revolutionary movement instead of voting is attacking a very possible GOOD in the name of a very impossible PERFECT.
Likewise, because they don't think it is possible to build an egalitarian revolutionary movement, they therefore dismiss as irrelevant the fact that the growth of an egalitarian revolutionary movement is far and away the BEST way to win even short-term reform demands, as discussed here. Nothing makes the rulers more willing to grant our short term demands--for things such as a $15/hr minimum wage, or better pay and conditions and benefits at work, or affordable health care and college--than a growing egalitarian revolutionary movement that makes them fear there will be a revolution unless they grant such demands.
Yes We CAN Remove the Plutocracy from Power, But Not by Voting
It sounds intimidating, this notion of "building an egalitarian revolutionary movement." But it is actually something that anybody, even an isolated individual, can very easily do, in a way that is described here. It is easy, legal and cheap. Furthermore it doesn't take any extra time from one's busy life of work or school or child care. And it is even fun! By doing it one will discover, for oneself, that one is literally surrounded by people who would LOVE an egalitarian revolution. It will also help others discover the same thing. When millions of us know this, it will result in a polical sea change. The time to start doing this is now, not "after the election," because there will always be another election around the corner; the ruling plutocracy knows how important it is to ensure there will always be one to keep people from aiming to remove it from power.
* The phrase "democratically elected" is a misleading phrase because in virtually all nations the election process is not really democratic in a meaningful sense of the word. Elections in all nations are controlled by an elite ruling class of one sort or another and these rulers do not permit people to elect a government that will truly do what most people want so very much, which is to abolish class inequality. The phrase "democratically elected" is used in this article merely in the sense of having won such an election.
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