Breaking corporate control of politics

Imagine if a couple of national leaders dared to stand up to the corporate powers that have taken control of government. Imagine if one of them came right out and said, "I [am] fed up of living in a country ruled by lies, cynicism, and greed." And imagine if these leaders arranged for the people of the country to be able to throw out all political parties that "represent oligarch interests or vote in the interests of oligarchs."

Imagine if a couple of national leaders dared to stand up to the corporate powers that have taken control of government. Imagine if one of them came right out and said, “I [am] fed up of living in a country ruled by lies, cynicism, and greed.” And imagine if these leaders arranged for the people of the country to be able to throw out all political parties that “represent oligarch interests or vote in the interests of oligarchs.”

Impossible, you say? Not so – in fact, it just happened. Not here, unfortunately, but in Latvia. Located on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, the people of Latvia broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991, but a handful of powerful insiders formed corporations that grabbed oligarchic control of public assets, making them billionaires. Using their corrupt fortunes, they literally “privatized democracy,” buying political parties and control of parliament. The oligarchs then pushed through laws that further enriched themselves, while knocking down the incomes of regular people and ruining the Latvian economy.

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Sound familiar?

What’s not familiar to us is that a former president and the current prime minister of Latvia decided they’d had enough of corporate rule. This spring they launched a public campaign to break the culture of graft between politics and the corporate powers, and in May they called for a national referendum to dismiss all 100 members of the corrupt parliament. The vote on that proposition is now in, and the result is stunning, revolutionary, and historic: 95 percent of Latvians voted to throw the bums out! New parliamentary elections are set for September 17.

America could use a dose of this cleansing tonic, and I have no doubt that Americans would throw out all of our corporate-controlled politicians – if only that possibility was put to a vote.

“Voters cast ballots to sack Parliament,” Austin American Statesman, July 24, 2011.

“Latvia votes to dissolve parliament in a bid to clean up politics,” www.dw-world.de, July 24, 2011.

“Latvia Voters May Dissolve Parliament,” www.bloomberg.com, July 22, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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