This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013


This is the first of a series of articles that will lay out the outline of a strategy for creating a just world economy, ending war in the process. Basically, it identifies the central problem as corruption of governments, particularly that of the US. The general strategy is to attack the problem by taking away the power of the global economic elite to dictate who we can choose among to represent those of us in “democratic” countries. This will fundamentally undermine their ability to dictate domestic and foreign policy in the nation with the most power behind both, as well as the partners and client nations of the US.

The next several essays in this series will elaborate on goal setting, specific elements of the strategy and tactics for implementing it, with emphasis on strategic messaging

When you mention the developing “New World Order” to people who still think there is a two-party system in the United States, eyes roll.  Anything you have to say afterward is dismissed before it is out of your mouth. Many Republicans are closer to understanding what it is than are partisan Democrats. They recognize that there has been a fundamental change in the way the federal government operates, starting with the first banking bailout. They acknowledge the effects of financial manipulation of the economy, but mistake it for a socialist takeover by "liberals" rather than the fascist coup that it is. Partisan Democrats believe that the only problem is Republican politicians and the solution merely to elect more Democrats, who they equate with “champions of the People.”  Any debate framed by partisan politics is therefore a distraction from the real issues.

The obvious truth is that both parties have been systematically corrupted by powerful financial elites who put their interests over those of the rest of us. Therefore, one of the objectives of any strategy must be to find a way to get partisans to understand that neither party represents them. Liberals and conservatives are already beginning to work together on selected issues. If we can connect these issues to a larger agenda and convince partisans that the issues are more important than whether a candidate is a Republican or a Democrat, it is possible to develop a strategy to take back America for the People.  Congress already ignores the clear will of the People on many critical issues. The only way we can change that is to work together.  We must agree that our overarching goal is representative democracy.  If we can put aside ideological differences, it is possible to pressure our elected representatives to act according to the common will. Americans have proven capable of putting the candidate over the party when given a reasonable choice. They will do it again if they understand that it is the only way to make their votes count. We can worry about consensus on other issues after we get the attention of Congress by taking out a few entrenched corporate puppets.

With election campaigns having become largely a matter of who can generate the most funding and corporations and the wealthy free to spend unlimited sums to influence elections, it is delusional to think that voters can influence decisions in Washington before strong campaign finance reform is instituted. We must find a way to guarantee that members of Congress know their jobs depend on supporting a constitutional amendment to effectively ban corporate expenditures to influence elections while limiting the amount individuals can spend to buy the candidates of their choice. The only way to do this is to make support for such an amendment the litmus test in every Congressional campaign where a candidate of any party can be found who will pledge to amend the constitution.

The first goal for assuming popular control of the United States government and restoring national sovereignty to all nations is to define the fundamental problem in a way that most people agree on. We then have to educate average Americans and citizens around the world about the danger of allowing control of the US government by the economic elite. This common understanding is necessary to find a solution, since Americans must speak with one voice to merit the claim of representing the will of the People. Citizens of other nations must stand with them against the same global financiers who control their governments, directly or indirectly.  It is critical that those with the biggest audiences outside the corporate media understand and communicate the urgency of putting aside partisan, national, cultural and religious differences to save humanity from perpetual economic slavery.

Ultimately, the survival of human civilization as we know it may depend on it. Failure to check the power of corporations with trillions of dollars in assets in the fossil fuel industry will doom millions as the result of global climate instability.

For those who question the existence of a relatively small group of individuals so powerful that they can manipulate the global economy, consider this:

1) 147 of the largest international corporations hold 40% of the assets of over 43,000 transnational corporations. The great majority of these are financial institutions. The most influential individuals in each are also members of the Boards of Directors of others. They are at the top of the pyramid of the global economic elite whose power we must attack.

2) Through this system of interlocking directorships, with financial resources that dwarf those of even the United States, financial institutions have come to control key economic sectors including energy, telecommunications, insurance and corporate health care in addition to a financial industry that at the time of the 2008 crisis generated about 40% of US GDP, wealth that the common citizen never sees.

3)  Six corporations control virtually all of Americanmainstream media: Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Newscorp, CBS and NBC. Corporate donor also heavily influence the content of "public" TV and radio in the US.

4)  It is estimated that there is far more than enough money heldoffshore by wealthy citizens to pay off the US debt.

Most Americans have almost no knowledge of how the economy really works, having been brainwashed into buying the myth of the free market. This is the essential assumption of the Washington consensus. Other demonstrably false tenets of this neoliberal model are that global free trade is inevitable, that endless growth is possible and that national economies struggle in it only if they do not adhere to financial and monetary policies that allow the rich to accumulate enough wealth that it magically trickles down to those who are willing to work hard enough.

This is an economic strategy that in the final analysis is nothing but a scheme cooked up by international financiers to consolidate their control until they essentially run everything through their proxies in governments and corporate intermediaries they own.  As taxpayers around the world accumulate massive debt to the very individuals who crashed the global economy, the global economic elite counsels austerity. This leads to slashing of government services, job loss in nations with no industrial base or excess capacity in the face of reduced demand and finally, the selloff of government assets to pay the interest on the accumulated debt.  As job losses mount and wages and salaries decline, the tax base is undermined. This is magnified by corporate and individual tax breaks for the rich in an ultimately self-defeating cycle since the worker is the only source of real wealth. Paper money is only a promise of payment by a government so deeply indebted to those who control the printing press that most politicians must serve the interests of Wall Street if they value their jobs.

Americans are starting to grasp the enormity of the fraud perpetrated on them, but are far from organizing effectively to do anything about it. It was considered a major victory that Larry Summers, one of the chief architects of the global Ponzi scheme in derivatives, was not selected as Chairman of the Fed, replacing his co-conspirator Tim Geithner as he exits through the revolving door between Wall Street and government. A real victory would be to see the two of them in prison, yet none of  the principle criminals responsible for the global economic meltdown has been prosecuted. Meanwhile, “too big to fail” banks used bailout money to buy failed financial institutions for pennies on the dollar, making them even more powerful.

Here is the difference between most "socialist" nations and those which by definition are fascist:  In a centralized socialist system, the political class generally controls the economic elite and they work in tandem to promote the interests of both.  Venezuela and some other Latin American countries are notable exceptions to this rule.  In fascist countries, it is the other way around.  In banana Republics like the US, corporations control the political elite. Note that this definition of fascism does not require a dictator, the only thing lacking in the US. There is no dictator, but a small oligarchy of powerful individuals who have no concern for the good of the nation,  its people or that of any other nation. There is no need for a dictator in a fascist nation whose people have willingly given control of their government to the economic elite in exchange for promises of endless wealth. The “shining city on the hill” promised by Reagan was built on sand. It was a mirage, becoming more distant the nearer Americans were told it was. The collapse was inevitable, as the whole system was based on credit backed only by worthless derivatives. Since the total value of the derivatives market is several times the global GDP as a result of failure to impose real reforms, the next crash will be much more catastrophic.

If fascism is defined as corporatism, then all the elements are present in the United States. A police state apparatus is in place. People have been brainwashed into accepting an extreme version of nationalism known as “American Exceptionalism.” The government has imposed the most intrusive surveillance methods ever devised.  War, always regarded by most as inevitable, has become endless. Until recently, these have been accepted as the price for a false sense of security. What most activists aware of these problems have missed is how they are related to each other. They must understand these relationships so that they can connect the dots for the population at large. That is the basis for developing a strategy for the progressive movement as a whole. Fortunately, recent events have made that much easier.

To reach our goal of establishing representative democracy, our strategy must build on the partnerships we are forming across ideological divides on critical issues such as domestic surveillance, the NDAA and the pursuit of world domination by endless war.  All of these are related to the global war of terror, which is in reality a global war on national sovereignty and democracy. Its economic counterparts are the Trans Pacific Partnership and the proposed Trans Atlantic Partnership with Europe. While general recognition of the danger of these massive free trade agreements has been slow to build, the phony outrage of European governments over US corporate spying revealed by Snowden has put the brakes on the latter. That gives us a chance to make Americans realize that the ultimate goal of these agreements is to make national governments subject to the demands of transnational corporations, regardless of the interests of the people of any of the subject nations. That should alarm both liberals and conservatives who hold national sovereignty as an unshakable principle of peaceful coexistence on the one hand and economic self-determination on the other.

Neoliberalism and neoconservatism are two sides of the same coin, best described as neofascism. The first seeks to establish global corporate dominance by economic coercion, while the other is a policy of militarily destroying any nation that stands in the way. On these issues, there is no gridlock and no partisan divide. The majority of Democratic and Republican politicians support both. While Americans continue to divide themselves into liberals and conservatives and argue nonsense with each other about who is responsible for destroying the American dream, the corporate criminals responsible remain at large, laughing all the way to their respective banks. 

If there are an “us” and “them,” they are the 99% versus the 1%. No one can claim to represent the 99% if we cannot persuade those who fail to understand the problem of our common interests.  We have to abandon the model of politics as civil war and build alliances based on mutual interests if we are going to use the power of our numbers to assure that our children will know the real freedom that comes from the absence of economic coercion. That is the nation Americans were promised and that the rest of the world aspired to emulate. Another world is possible, but it will require forging a united international front against fascism and war.


  1. Thank you for providing such clear and coherent commentary on the real state of the world today. This is vital information.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Skywalker. I hope that you will share the ideas with others.

      It is past time for us to get a discussion going about how to build a revolutionary movement. Most prominent writers are focusing solely on the problems and perhaps some defensive actions, while ignoring the fact that you cannot build a movement to deal with 10,000 problems separately.

      You have to attack the root problem, and that will require a strategy to build a united international front against fascism and war.

  2. One of the best and most articulate articles I have read on this topic. Makes everything crystal clear.

    1. Thanks, and thank you for helping share my ideas with your audience!

  3. You have obviously spent years carefully observing how these mechanisms work, why they have worked well despite their cost in wealth and lives of all ordinary people, and where the points vulnerability are that may permit We the People to rewrite the scripts of the fascist reality that has been handed to us. A very nice piece of work, with plenty of food for thought for anyone, on any side of the artificial divide.

    As you also know, from reading my posts and comments over the years, we are pretty much in agreement on nearly every point you have made. I use my own words and approaches, of course, but say pretty much the same things. I won't go into them in detail (heaven's forbid), but there is one vulnerability in your thesis I would like to address.

    I've suggested another approach than the 'litmus test' for a campaign finance amendment that you've suggested. Perhaps the two ideas offer interesting ways to transform things we both agree cannot be permitted to continue.

    you can read about it at . Thanks for your farm, Rick.

  4. Your thinking is in line with my assessment (instincts). Was impressed a few years ago as I first learned of Move to Amend but did not have the bandwidth to engage. So many other pressing justice issues and I was just beginning to learn and engage politically. This last year, my focus has been on the Sanders' campaign. It is now past time to unite the powers against the global power elite. As you suggest, conservatives might be encouraged to focus their wrath on corporate control of Congress and corporate socialism instead of the democratic socialism they have been trained to fear. Appreciated the book, "Giants - the Global Power Elite" by Peter Phillips. It is a quality reference book of united Democrat and Republican elite powers To the extent Congress is ineffective for the people, the powers continue to profit and those of both parties that do their bidding receive meaningful compensation. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    1. Move to Amend is still active but unfortunately having to rebuild their momentum due to a series of what I consider tactical errors. The most important of these was not letting people know from the beginning that the end game was making this issue a litmus test for candidates for federal office seeking our votes. Their strategy of introducing one new tactic per year (gathering signatures of support, getting local resolutions passed, then state resolutions) before telling people to make it a campaign issue was a recipe for failure because once people accomplished the first task they were actively discouraged from moving on to other tactics. That's how they lost momentum

      On the other hand, I have encountered so many people who argue that there should be no litmus tests that I have to wonder if that strategy has a chance. At the least, it will have to be a sustained effort over years. The biggest problem with that is the limited attention span of people besieged year after year with one political crisis after another and now, one personal crisis after another.

      Nonetheless, we can't really address the issues until we deal with corrupting influence of money in politics.