On page 295 of Democracy for the Few the author, Michael Parenti, political scientist and historian, states: “More than half a century ago the great sociologist Max Weber wrote: ‘The question is: How are freedom and democracy in the long run at all possible under the domination of highly developed capitalism.’ That question is still with us. And the answer suggested in this book is that freedom and democracy have at best a highly tenuous and marginal existence in capitalist society.
“In a democratic socialist social system the factories, mills, mines, offices, educational institutions, newspapers, hospitals, etc. will not be privately owned for private gain but will be controlled by and for their clients and workers. That is the goal towards which our efforts should be directed ... This commitment is, or should be, towards communal, collective and responsible decision making …”
Okeydokey! Now where have I read that before? I think it was in a book called Das Capital by some obscure writer whose name slips my mind at the moment.
But this does not bother me. The greatest champions for the rights of the working class in American history have come from the American Communist and Socialist Party. This fact has been credited by famous labor leaders from the AFL, CIO and documented by labor historians. It is an historical fact.
But regardless of the author’s conclusions, remedies and recommendations, I think this book is an invaluable read for anyone interested in the problems that face both capitalism and democracy.
This book was published in 1974 and the author’s analyses of the problems of our democratic system are as prevalent in today’s American democratic system as they were back in the 70s. Not much has changed. In fact, any changes that have taken place have only served to enhance Mr. Parenti’s analysis.
This same book could have the publication date 2010 and with a few name changes and an update here and there it would be on time and on the money. It is amazing to me how Mr. Parenti was able to achieve this. Few social critics have mastered this talent. Most political analyses become obsolete after months. Very few hang around for years and only the greatest for decades. The superstars are the ones we are still reading centuries later.
Democracy for the Few is packed with rather shocking facts and comparisons. For example on page 282 we have this interesting juxtaposition of random information: “… by the end of the 1960s upper income Americans were spending 2 billion a year on jewelry – more than was spent on housing for the poor – and no less than $3 billion on pleasure boating – half a billion more than what the fifty states spend on welfare. Over the years greater sums have been budgeted by the government for the development of the Navy’s submarine rescue vehicle than for occupational safety, public libraries and daycare centers combined.
“The total expenses of the entire legislative branch and the judiciary branch and all the regulatory commissions combined constitute a little more than one half of 1 percent of the Pentagon’s budget.”
This book is filled with such information.
As the title, Democracy for the Few, implies, we have a contradiction in terms with regards to our understanding of American democracy says Michael Parenti, college professor and educator. The gap between the democracy that most of us think we have and the democracy that is our national reality is Grand Canyon-like.
In light of the author’s detailed critical analysis can we seriously claim that we have a democracy – even a representative one, or a democratic republic for that matter?
The author points out every scam, every trick, and every deception. He explains why our democracy isn’t a democracy – with footnotes and easily understood facts and figures.
He tells us why our legislature isn’t working; how our executive and judicial branches have failed us; how our free press has turned news into propaganda; how our freedoms and constitutional rights have been undermined; how our legal system and our prisons have been diverted from the cause of true justice to protective institutions for the criminal wealthy; how our military has been twisted from defensive to aggressive – boarding on the fascist … Well, actually he doesn’t explain how the “system” has been diverted; he explains how it was designed that way from the very beginning. He shows us the Forefathers’ intentions and how our government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich has evolved according to plan.
Mr. Parenti does not think that “the system” can be tweaked. He sees our problems as endemic to our capitalist, corporate state. The old solution of switching corporate controlled Democrats for corporate controlled Republicans will not bring viable change nor will it institute true representative democracy.
This does seem to be the case, but Mr. Parenti, as with others who espouse his solution to these “endemic” problems, seems to be of the opinion that only the wealthy, elitist, current ruling class is capable of deceit and corruption. My question to Mr. Parenti would be, Are these problems endemic to capitalism and its ruling class or endemic to human nature. If capitalists, rich and poor alike, could be injected with a strong dose of the good old, Christian Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – could this not be a more apt and suitable solution? I would even support laws being enacted along the Golden Rule line of thinking. The Golden Rule solution may be naïve but I find it more acceptable than bombs, bullets and a blood stained revolution in the streets of the U.S.A. Revolutions don’t seem to be working all that well either. Look at what ours has wrought, Mr. Parenti – reed your own book!
Republicans and Democrats alike should read this book. I doubt that either group will benefit from it.
This book by itself could easily serve as the text for a two semester college graduate course in American Democratic Government.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.