Greatest Threat to Democracy: The Oligarchs

While there is no doubt that the many attempts to create political systems based upon Marx’s ideas have in most places been a dismal failure, his economic theory and understandings of the workings of capitalism are sound and as relevant today as they were in his time.     Centralization (fewer and fewer firms) and concentration of capital:  as individual capitalists (e.g., see Rolling Stone by Tim Dickinson, like the Koch brothers  accumulate more and more capital, the result is increasing concentration into fewer and fewer hands.  This is not only about the absolute amount of money they control.  It is also about the power that results from the absolute amount of capital under their control (e.g., concentration).  For example, they fund a host of extremist political organizations (e.g., Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners, James Madison Institute, The Federalist Society, CATO Institute).   The Kochs have purchased the current Republican majority.See Lenny Zeskind’s (recipient of the MacArthur award), article ( about the Koch affiliations with the extreme right.  Every time I walk pass  the Lincoln Center home of the American Ballet (The David Koch Theatre), I imagine that the gay dancers are either blissfully ignorant of dancing under the banner of the far right.  Or perhaps they are fully engaged  in the most disturbing ways:  I think of Visconti’s film, the Damned.  I think of the Nazi SA and Ernst Rohm.  See the recent Huffington Post piece on their anti-gay agenda.   I think of my first visit to the Holocaust museum, just after it opened in Washington, D.C.  We were all given cards with brief bios describing a victim.  I drew the card of a young gay artist and dancer, killed in Holland.

Next week, the Kochs will convene the oligarchs in Palm Springs California, to plot the purchase of the next election.  See list of  attendees at the 2011 retreat.

In 2008, David Koch, donated 100m to for the renovation of the theatre, which now bears his name.    Is it possible that as the extreme right continues to shift the center of U.S. politics to the right, that one day these same dancers will be pleading for their lives?

David Koch at Lincoln Center

Make sure you read the full account of Koch empire:


How is it that we can altogether erase the memory of the U.S. Senator, Rand Paul’s association with the right-wing John Birch Society? See Lenny Zeskind’s Huffington Post piece on Paul’s association with the far right.

U.S. Senator, Rand Paul

Lenny Zeskind (see his book, Blood and Politics) has long argued that the center has shifted so far to the right that we no longer recognize the fox in the henhouse.   See recent NY Times piece on Paul’s nefarious connections with the far right.


From Steubenville, Ohio to Sayreville, New Jersey

I’ve never played football.  I don’t read the sport’s page.  I’ve never read the sport’s page.  In high school, it seemed that the sport served the purpose of turning boys, not into men, but into crazy men.   And recent events in high school football (e.g., Steubenville, OH)  prove what I’ve long believed:  while football players act out  sexually violent fantasies, these fantasies are not all violent .   And more recently in Sayreville, NJ, (see BBC Story) football players have been accused of sexually assaulting younger players.   And even more recently players on a Pennsylvania high school football team, the Central Bucks West High School, were accused of sexually molesting younger players.  How are we to understand the relationship between violence in football and sexual violence, especially when it seems to often occur as collective action, that is, groups of players acting on younger boys? 

I’ve only watched the Super Bowl two or three times in my life.   I’ve never fully understood the desire and I marvel at how otherwise intelligent people watch and seem to enjoy the violence.    I’ve asked many people why they watch;  it never seems to provoke a rational or intelligent conversation.

Today, I read in the NY Times that the Detroit Lion’s football coach, Caldwell,  does not yell at his players.


And Caldwell has a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence.   The press attributes recent success of the Lion’s team to Caldwell’s demeanor.  


Is his a nonviolent action within a coterie of otherwise intrinsically violent acts?   Does Caldwell not act as a kind of governor on the violent impulse?  Is this an attempt to help young adults master these impulses?  There’s a story in here somewhere.   For now, I’m trying to imagine the coach in my high school.   He had no way of taming his impulse.   He wore the potential for violence in his gestures and in his expressions.  In his gait you could feel his potential for swift and cruel action.   His laugh too.