The mask of democracy

By Kristian Laubjerg* 

Democracy provides cover for continued exploitation by a handful of oligarchs

Our own (USA) government, in alliance with the big corporations and banks,
has created an empire that brings servitude, misery, and death to millions of people. (
John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, New York, Plume, 2004).

The context

The observations presented here are based on the assumption that the corporate business world benefits from an adulterated version of democracy. The business community has successfully developed and implemented a perverted kind of democracy with aid from its agents of corporate endowed foundations, the media and the UN. This deprives populations of any pretext for action against a situation, which keeps them in perpetual servitude, while democracy provides cover for continued exploitation by a handful of oligarchs. The following propositions support this argument.

UN collusion with the corporate world

During my employment by a UN agency as head of country offices in a number of African countries over two decades, I became weary of the role I was asked to play vis-a-vis government counterparts. My apprehension became particularly obvious when we were asked to develop partnerships with civil societies and NGOs, rather than with government partners. Ever since the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, the expectations of the UN to advance democracy had become noticeable. The new catchword was a civil society which increasingly was given a major role to play in providing services to local communities to counter-performance of elected governments. Governments in some of the poorest countries had to accept a minor role in their development if they wanted any donations from the international community, as well as from bilateral development agencies.

As part of the UN management country team, I observed an institution, which increasingly served the well-being of the corporate world in the name of democracy promotion, even if it meant growing inequality and poverty. The UN had been established at the initiative of the USA, obviously with the objective to serve its own good. I had – perhaps naively – entered the UN to work for a better world, based upon justice and equality. I became increasingly confused by the obvious conflicts between what liberal democracies claimed to be their objectives for mankind and the obvious wealth accruing to a small group of oligarchs. The frequent visits to my office of the US Ambassador only added to my mistrust about the entire mission of the UN.

I was worried and at the same time fascinated by the global results on entire populations from decades of manipulation and indoctrination directed by corporate foundations, think tanks and the media. The ruling class in capitalist democracies has an obvious interest in ensuring that a population in a given country is committed to a type of governance, which perpetuates the system to its own advantage, regardless of negative consequences to others. Those in power have created a commitment to capitalism by confronting people with threats to values presented as desirable for all, although they may only benefit a small powerful group of individuals – the oligarchs. Those threats can be made up by Islamic fundamentalists, Putin, Chinese Communism, White Supremacists, Black Power, etc.

Manufacturing inequality

Once upon a time democracy offered people a certain measure of equality and a decent living standard. A quick comparison between China and the USA, the leader of capitalist democracies, suggests that the Chinese communist system has been more successful in terms of creating decent and equal living conditions for its people, while the USA is witnessing an increasing number of households falling below the poverty threshold. It is widely accepted that the economic system promoted by the US government and the Bretton Woods institutions results in millions of avoidable deaths only because people do not have enough to eat. This year alone, at least 9 million people will die from hunger. The figure suggests how little importance is given to being called a democracy. It underlines the falsehood of the “world’s greatest democracy” when it claims to have a moral duty to lead the world towards human rights for all. The economic policy promoted and imposed upon the world by capitalist democracies has produced the death of a child every five seconds. At the same time, roughly a third of the world’s food is wasted. That’s about 1.3 billion tons a year.

Free-Market democracy

Following the attempt of the US government to justify its democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East after the 9/11 (2001) events, the UN called attention to its role as a common denominator for all peoples of the world. It prepared several papers and guidelines on good governance, seemingly in competition with and to keep abreast with intention of the USA to uphold its leadership among nations of the so-called ’free world’.

Keywords in good governance are civil society and deregulation. It could be argued, that it would be more honest and in line with the actual situation, if general elections were replaced by a system of representatives from shadow banks, the arms industry and the transnational corporations (TNCs). In fact, this is already happening throughout Neo-liberal democracies although popular elections still take place with regular intervals. Taking advise from non-elected influential individuals, the elected representatives let the market determine the ‘right’ direction.

Bernie Sanders, who ran for the US presidency twice, asked about the value of being big and powerful if the democratic system is unable to give the people better-living conditions. Sanders concluded that a country like Denmark could serve as a model to the USA. It is a low-poverty, low-inequality, high-income, high-tax, high-welfare, high-innovation, high-employment country. In the last two presidential campaigns, his message has been that the US could easily move in the Danish direction. It would be a big improvement for poor and working people. But it would mean less profit to the corporations and oligarchs. This is why it will not happen.

Freedom as a pursuit of happiness

The behavior of the self-proclaimed leader among democracies, the USA, has prompted political scientists and philosophers to seek to define what indeed constitutes a democracy. Most have abstained from explicitly placing the US and equal minded countries among rogue states. As for the USA itself, it is not inclined to be bogged down by philosophical discourses. In line with its liberal policies, it leaves the ‘thinking’ to foundations and so-called Think Tanks. Thus Freedom House (“championing democracy”) in consultation with the State Department determines whether a country is democratic. Freedom House defines a democratic country as one where its citizens have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, and freedom of religion. It is hardly surprising that freedom House, which is 88 % financed by US Government grants, emphasize liberty as the most important element of democracy. Ever since the declaration of independence on July 4 in 1776 the Americans have been told: “… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The degree of freedom is seen as the key indicator of a democratic state. Unnoticeable to most Americans, the pursuit of happiness has come to mean the satisfaction of greed by a small influential and thus powerful elite – the oligarchs.

Freedom to live in misery

Countries categorized as free by Freedom House are increasingly becoming more unequal in terms of income, wealth, access to education and health and other basic rights considered the hallmarks of capitalist democracies. Simultaneously, we notice that these states, especially the US, are becoming more militarized, more violent and with more police brutality applied to minority groups. If this is freedom, it is certainly not felt as justice by ordinary people. Capitalist oligarchies attribute high importance to the mere right to vote at regular intervals. Indeed, it could be considered a minimum condition for democracy if those voted into law making assemblies actually legislated for the protection and promotion of decent working and living conditions for people who voted for them. However, lawmaking in all capitalist democracies remains in favour of those with influence.

The US propaganda machine presents an image of Cuba as the opposite of the democratic ideal. Cuba is looked upon by most Americans as the only non-democratic country in the Western Hemisphere. However, in comparison with a series of Latin American countries – El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Haiti and Honduras – Cuba has one of the very best human-rights records. Other Latin American countries, including the mentioned ones, have seen death squads eliminating opposition representatives, massacres on peasants, students and religious groups have been shot in cold blood. Countries with large populations living in poverty, homeless, untended sick, the disappearance of loved ones and unemployed or tortured people are referred to by Freedom House as democracies. While the USA never ceases to advocate for human rights as essential for democracy, it is alone among developed countries to ignore rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation. Democracy as seen from the White House has surely nothing to do with our cherished human rights.

Freedom vs. equality

It is beyond doubt that freedom-driven democracy as it has been promoted since the late 1970s has been implemented at the cost of protection of minorities and the more vulnerable groups of society. During the last 40 – 50 years, the impact of a liberal economy has meant a free hand to market forces to benefit large transnational companies with resulting inequality in most countries which have adopted a governance system dictated by enterprises and recommended by the UN. Few would deny that justice is the heart of democracy. But which just system allows top management of large corporations to pocket more than 1000 times more than the average employees?

National borders were never respected by the corporations. But after 2005 they could count on a helping hand from the US military and the ‘countries of the willing’. With Saddam Hussein’s intervention into Kuwait and following the Iraq war, the world took a different look at the rights of sovereign states. The official justification for tearing down borders of sovereign countries is to prevent genocide or other atrocities on a civil population. The hidden agenda is more often to smash borders for easy access to foreign markets, even if it would perpetuate abject poverty in countries, which gave up protecting their own industries. The benefits would mainly accrue to overseas stockholders and a small elite of the countries concerned while living conditions of the population, in general, remain unaffected by the interventions undertaken in the name of democracy and human rights.

Follow-up on 9/11 The rule of law is another principle praised in capitalist democracies. Therefore, there had to be consequences to the attacks of 9/11. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report1 served the purpose of legitimate activities already underway by the USA. With appropriate legislation put in place upon the recommendations of the Commission, the USA would be able to speed up its empire-building. Probably, the most important follow-up on the Commission Report was the Advance Democracy Act of 2005 made into law in 2007. This law emphasizes that the promotion of freedom and democracy in foreign countries is a fundamental component of U.S. foreign policy. The objective is “to advance and strengthen democracy globally, through peaceful means and to assist foreign countries to implement democratic forms of government, to strengthen respect for individual freedom, religious freedom, and human rights in foreign countries through increased United States advocacy… “ Time would soon show that the USA did not limit its efforts to peaceful means and advocacy.

One of the co-authors of the new law, the late Senator McCain stated: “The expansion of democracy and freedom is inseparable from the long term security of the United States and is intimately bound with the values Americans hold dear. We must, I believe, promote democracy, the rule of law and social modernization just as we promote the sophistication of our weapons and the modernization of our militaries.” As John McCain made this declaration, his country had already begun implementation of the promotion of democracy in Iraq with all of its military power.

This was the law the corporate world and the military industry had been waiting for. It would give the USA adequate excuses to ignore the international community and the international institutions, if these did not cooperate. Military interventions would now be made under the pretext of advancing democracy and human rights, rather than promoting corporate interests and expanding the empire.

Imposing democracy – USA style

In spite of its doubtful democratic achievements at home, the USA embarked with missionary zeal on democracy promotion in many parts of the world, with particular emphasis on the Middle East. When seeking a reason for the attacks on Pentagon and the Twin Towers, President George W. Bush said that the US had been attacked because” They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

With the Democracy Promotion Law the US Government could now legally undertake interventions into sovereign countries, without having to go through the UN. A spokesperson to the Ministry of Home Security is quoted for having said that ‘the planet is our home’.

Such attempts at justifying overseas wars seem rather absurd when one recalls the absence of democratic rights for a great many people in the USA and many of those countries under its freedom-umbrella. One of the justifying arguments frequently heard is that military interventions aim at introducing free and fair elections with opportunities to chose among candidates from several parties. President Obama coined the phrase ‘humanitarian wars’ However, families who daily have to struggle to stay alive are more likely to give priority to the welfare and survival of their families rather than a symbolic right to vote. During the cold war, people under the influence of the US empire were repeatedly told that the Soviet Union lacked ‘fair and free’ multi-party elections, although its citizens as well as those in the Soviet block were provided with decent standards of living in terms of employment, food, health care and education, contrary to large segments of populations in the ‘free world’.

The crusade for freedom began long before the 9/11 event. In 1982, president Reagan urged Britain and the world to join the United States to spread democracy, even in Communist countries. His speech worked as a catalyst for governments, foundations and other private organizations. Thus, at the fall of the Soviet Union the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created, paid for by US tax payers. While Freedom House identifies countries in need of more democracy, NED prepares the strategy for an implementation plan in a particular country, be that Russia, Ukraine or Bolivia. When Putin had established himself firmly at the presidency after Yeltsin, he banned NED since it serves the interests of a foreign power. Russia’s decision to prohibit NED and other NGOs from operating on its territory in the name of democracy promotion underlines the point that democracy promotion serves a wide range of objectives, the most important of which is opening up borders to the TNCs. Critics of NED have noted that frequently it is a threat to democracy.

The media and democracy promotion

The media play a key role in the process of imparting the ‘right’ understanding of democracy. The News Corporations, owned by K. Rupert Murdoch, controls Fox News, the most popular TV station in the US. These networks operate hand in hand with Freedom House and other institutions advocating democracy and human rights by manipulating populations to assume that they are free to control conditions, which affect their daily lives. Human rights principles inform them, that they can hold elected government officials accountable when in fact governments in capitalist democracies are really answerable to their sponsors in the corporate world. Capitalist democracies frequently emphasize freedom of speech as a key element of democracy. In principle, journalists play a key role in the implementation of democracy by providing the electorate with valid information about events affecting their daily situation. Thus. the electorate is usually of the belief that they cast their vote on the basis of an informed choice. When Julian Assange went public with facts on US war crimes committed by its army in Iraq, he was accused of espionage and treason by the US government. A similar fate came to Daniel Ellsberg, when he exposed war crimes committed by the same US army in Vietnam. It is a travesty that the US Government in the process of advancing democracy violates its core principles. Journalists who dare to undertake investigative reporting into too much depth often find themselves without a job, in prison or murdered. The proprietors of the media have no interest in disclosing the exploitative and abusive structure of so-called democratic societies. The media is about making money and selling programmes, preferably by entertainment, while seeking to influence public opinion. At a time, when the rights to expression and opinion are controlled by Murdoch, Turner and Bill Gates, it has been noted that these rights become the spiritual equivalents of private property rights.

Advancing democracy by fear

The media have discovered the commercial value of presenting their shows with an element of fear. This falls very much in line with the objectives of western capitalist oligarchies because fear when associated with the threat of cherished values helps to create unity among an otherwise divided people2. Those in power fear for good reasons that if people realized what takes place behind the mask of democracy, they would rise against the oppressors. We are beginning to see mass reactions to the injustice suffered by billions of people, not only in developing countries but also in France, USA, UK and other capitalist oligarchies. Instead of ensuring just and equal conditions for all of its citizens at home, the USA has embarked on a crusade of democracy promotion abroad, often applying means which violate those same human rights principles, they pretend to adhere to. The rhetoric applied by the political elite is slowly being seen for what it is: hallow and false. Human rights of democracy do not apply to everybody but is merely a mask worn by the oligarchs. Modification of the meaning of democracy carries the risk of unmasking the political elite and their sponsors as the real cause of the evils affecting the majority of people. Therefore, people must be brought to confront a threat to those values which – if eroded – would threaten community stability. Fear obscures political conflicts and helps to present capitalism as the only solution and not as a problem. However, the most salient fear which structures our lives and limits our possibilities is the fear among working people of our supervisors who benefit from the injustices of everyday life.

Human Rights for the oligarchs

The Universal Declaration of HR appeared when the world had just freed itself from the threat of Nazi dictatorship. This freedom could never have been gained, had it not been for the sacrifice of the people of the Soviet Union and the alliance with Stalin’s Red Army. Regardless of this, the western powers, notably the USA, UK and France perceived the Soviet Union as a new enemy and a serious threat to the expansion of their markets. It is on this background one understands the declaration’s strong emphasis on freedom and its much weaker accent on equality which continues to be perceived as an endorsement of a socialist ideology. The Declaration of Human Rights was never seen by the USSR as an important document since it gave more emphasis to negative freedoms. To liberals, this implies strong limitations on the activities of the state in favour of removal of obstacles to individual initiatives. The USSR stressed positive freedom understood as self-realization or as the self-determination of the individual or of the collectivity. The realization of this kind of freedom requires occasionally state intervention and control. The declaration was drafted under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the US president and was adopted in December 1948, with eight abstentions, including the Soviet block. The declaration came out at a time, when most of Africa was subjected to colonial rule, Blacks in the USA lived segregated lives and women suffered great inequality in most parts of the world, perhaps except for those in the USSR. Some commentators have found that the declaration made real people into abstractions. The real human in the declaration is a “… wealthy, white, heterosexual, male bourgeois standing in for universal humanity who combines the dignity of humanity with the privileges of the elite”3.

Through control of the media, the oligarchs have succeeded to make people accept that justice is similar to human rights. They have convinced most people that their rights are better protected by the oligarchs than under a government controlled by the people themselves. Democracy and human rights have instead become tools for the advancement of capitalism and a life of wealth and privileges for a tiny elite of oligarchs.

The right to rebel

The predecessor of all human rights is the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, prepared by the French revolutionaries and approved by the French Constituent Assembly in 1789, shortly after the storming on the Bastille, which was seen as the symbolic manifestation of the despotic and undemocratic reign by King Louis XVI. Within the framework of the declaration of these rights, the King was guillotined in 1793 for treason. Article two of the declaration made specific mention of the right to resistance to oppression. Contrary to the French declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 became an instrument of oppression in the hands of the new empire and its Neo-liberal vassals. It is used daily to intimidate sovereign countries, not yet convinced about the benefits of the free market. It carries no reminiscence of the right to rebel against oppression. On the contrary, the Universal Declaration stresses law and order, and states explicitly in article 30 that these rights are given to prevent radical changes. These rights have become a kind of insurance policy for the established order. But it does not always protect the oppressors. Recently, the arrest of the president and his prime minister of Mali was declared a coup d’état and a violation of Human Rights. But the people of Mali with support from its military acted against oppression and corruption.

Corporate endowed foundations

The ruling elite in the so-called free world is bent on establishing a governing system which would give them a free hand to rule the world with the consensus of the people, thus averting rebellion against the oligarchs and their transnational enterprises. To maintain their hegemony, the corporations consider it imperative, that citizens be brought to believe that they are in control and free to determine their own destiny. They believe this to be a precondition for law and order, peace and stability. Therefore they very early realized the importance of the voice of the people, as long as they could control the character and volume of that voice. The establishment of foundations empowered by large enterprises was meant to serve this general objective. Today, foundations have assets worth more than 450 billion US dollars. With such a huge capital they exert a significant influence anywhere they choose to support, even when institutions receive funding from elsewhere. Their greatest threat to democracy lies in their translation of wealth into power.

Among the first ones was the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation, which were established early in the last century. Andrew Carnegie accumulated his fortune from US Steel. Another, perhaps more aggressive foundation, is the one developed by John D. Rockefeller, who made his fortune from the oil business, notably Standard Oil. Together they formed the Council on Foreign Relations in 1921. The Council is the most powerful pressure group on US policies domestically and abroad. The board of directors includes personalities from the highest offices of the US administration and representatives from the corporate world, such as the founder of Black Rock, Mr. Laurence D. Fink, and the co-founder of the Carlyle Group, Mr. David M. Rubenstein. With such representatives from the corporate world the CFR need no financial contributions from the public to meet the costs of its annual budget of approximately 74 million US $ The presence of some of the richest people on earth on the board of the foundations has made it imperative to stress the good work they do for the common man and for mankind in general, Thus, Rockefeller has listed on its website an initiative which aims at ‘scaling solutions for workers by advancing policies to boost earnings for America’s working families. One could justly argue that if these foundations really wanted to improve welfare for working-class families, they could begin by paying their worker’s decent salaries.

It is characteristic for all corporate foundations that they apply a vocabulary, which misleads people to believe, that their primary objectives are to alleviate suffering. Their frequent reference to strengthen democratic values and human rights contributes only to conceal their real purpose, which is that of ensuring the global position of their sponsors – the transnational businesses.

The foundations and civil societies

Corporate foundations, regardless of which enterprise gave them their name, fear for good reasons that people one day will rise against the violence conferred upon them in the form of law and order democracy. With a view to counteracting this to happen, the foundations have now for more than 70 years invested heavily in civil societies, NGOs and international educational institutions. The Ford Foundation has funded economy courses at universities in Indonesia. Elite students were later selected and trained by US officers in counter-insurgency. They played an important role in the killings of hundreds of thousands of communists in the mid-60s. Chilean students got Rockefeller scholarships to attend courses at the University of Chicago, where they were trained in Neo-liberal economics by Milton Friedman. They were actively assisting the CIA to prepare and execute the killing of the democratically elected president Allende. This only goes to show that the frequent emphasis on democracy, human rights and equal opportunities mainly serve as an ornamental mask to ensure that the corporate world can exert its planetary control.

The role of corporate endowed foundations has also been successful in rewriting history in order to give presentations which are in line with their ideology and mission. Martin Luther King serves as an example of this. When the war in Vietnam was at its highest, he stated that “We cannot remain silent as our nation engages in one of history’s most cruel and senseless wars”. King noticed the efforts of the establishment, especially the military, to silence dissent and to keep the public ignorant about the costs involved in the war. King observed that “It is estimated that we spend $322,000 for each enemy we kill, while we spend in the so-called war on poverty in America only about $53.00 for each person classified as “poor.” King dared to make the forbidden connection between capitalism, racism and the Vietnam War. Given the popularity of King, especially his rise to the status of a national hero after his assassination in 1968, made it imperative for the establishment to create an image of King, compatible with the objectives of the foundations and their sponsors. The Ford Foundation together with Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, US Steel and several others provided grants to the widow of Martin Luther King thus enabling her to found the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. An analysis of philanthropic foundations concludes that “The cumulative effect is that foundations, despite the pretext of progressive goals, have a depoliticizing effect, one that preserves the hegemony of Neo-liberal institutions.”5

The corporate world is not the only one to present its mission to the world in glamorous and people-friendly terms. The United Nations also master the art of concealing its role as part of the network controlled by the oligarchs. The UN was founded back in 1948 and constructed its headquarter on land purchased by Rockefeller in Manhattan in New York City.

Democracy promotion UN Style

The General Assembly of the United Nations approved in 2007 resolution A/62/7 on ‘Support by the United Nations system of the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies’. The UN resolution is a desperate effort of the world community to take the lead over the US with regard to defining and implementing democracy.

The conflict between the UN and the USA is clearly seen with regard to bringing to justice culprits committing crimes against humanity. The Universal Declaration of Democracy stated in its last paragraph (27) that “in order to strengthen international criminal justice, democracies must reject impunity for international crimes and serious violations of fundamental human rights and support the establishment of a permanent international criminal court”. The USA, however, does not accept to be subjected to a different concept of justice, if it is not its own brainchild. The law on Democracy Promotion pro-vides for the USA to investigate and take action against its own offenders of international laws. In an effort to take the lead the UN Secretary-General issued a guidance note on democracy(2009).

Distancing itself from the US, it states that “the Organization has never sought to export or promote any particular national or regional model of democracy”.The note stresses that “no amount of external assistance will create democracy” It must grow from within. With this position, the UN invites the foundations and other private organizations, such as NED and Soros Open Society to mobilize civil societies and NGOs. The note mentions the importance of the freedom of the media to ensure the availability of information for a critical population. However, the need for the media to be independent of corporate power is not mentioned. Neither is the importance of a strong state to set rules and standards to ensure that its people have real possibilities to live and grow without the interference of corporate interests.

Good governance and human rights programming

I had the privilege to observe a growing instrumental role of the UN in the hands of particularly US-based TNCs after the Monterrey Declaration (2002), which is strongly influenced by corporate interests. It charged the UN country team with the promotion of ‘good governance’. Whether or not a country would rank as democratic came to depend on its willingness to work with international capitalism. Introducing free markets became more important than the fight against poverty and reduction of child mortality, Applying the UN jargon, programme planning was now referred to as human rights programming. Assistance to poor countries to solve their social problems became contingent upon their willingness to open up markets to outside competitors and their capacity for ‘good governance’.

The UN recognized that it was necessary to protect individual rights from abuses and exploitation of TNCs. With the objective to introduce some measures of control of the uncoordinated activities of Corporate Endowed Foundations and their sponsors, the Secretary-General of the UN-appointed a Special Representative on Human Rights and TNCs and Other Business Enterprises. This representative worked from 2005 until 2011 with the main objective: “To provide views and recommendations on ways to strengthen the fulfillment of the duty of the State to protect all human rights from abuses by TNCs and other business enterprises….”. The Special Representative prepared yet another set of Guiding Principles which established global standards for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity. This was a way for the UN to wash its hands, while the TNCs continued business as usual.

Homo economicus or homo solidaricus

In capitalist oligarchies practically no importance is given to the social contract, which normally determines the relationship with citizens, thus ensuring their welfare and justice. The role of the state is particularly felt when the market collapses. Then the private sector calls upon the government to come to its rescue. This happened during the financial crisis in 2007/8 and during the ongoing Corona pandemic. Governments were asked to save the capitalist world with financial support packages for the collapsing enterprises in order that their exploitative system can continue unabated. Ironically, this is ‘socialism’ for the stockholders.

The future looks more and more grim for populations in capitalist countries. The oligarchs control the destiny of the planet and its people. Protests are spreading in reaction to rising hardships for a majority of people in these countries. The question is, what can be done to turn around this situation in a peaceful manner.

An indispensable kickoff for system change would be to identify all elements of the current political system, which manufacture inequality. Therefore, all cross-ownership in businesses must be stopped. Weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations, corporations and their foundations cannot fund universities, and the pharmaceutical companies cannot control public health funds. Secondly, natural resources and essential infrastructures – water supply, electricity, health and education cannot be privatized. These two conditions for the creations of a more just society will not by itself lead to the disappearance of the capitalist system, which has successfully convinced us to accept that the achievements of human rights is the ultimate justice. But human rights prepared under the leadership of the wife of an American president helps mainly the corporate world and its network to secure stability by enslaving populations under a system of law and order, with zero tolerance of rebellion against oppression. The control of our lives is total and has become so in an almost unnoticeable manner.

The working poor does not perceive law-and-order democracy as violent, although they have lost their humanity and identity in a war of classes. Breaking this power is rarely done through a general strike or even prolonged demonstrations, as we have seen in France with the movement of the yellow vests.

The predominant image of mankind is one of homo economicus. A new and conflicting image of homo solidaricus is gradually emerging during the Covid pandemic, suggesting that man indeed is able to act in solidarity and empathy with his fellow citizens. The question is whether this new man will be allowed to replace the current one through peaceful means, or whether it can only come about as a result of radical activities aiming at a system change and thus an end to the global power of oligarchs through their control of large corporations and their supporting international institutions.

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Notes

1 Kean/Hamilton Commission, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (US Gov. May 27, 2004).
2 Robin Corey, The history of a political idea (Oxford University Press: 2004).
3 Costas Douzinas, Adika: On Communism and Rights (in Costas Douzinas & Slavoj Zizek, The Idea of Communism, London 2010).
4 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, The Casualities of the war in Vietnam (1967).
5 Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy, The Mask of Pluralism (State University of New York Press, Albany, 2003).

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Article published in The Wall Street International on December 20, 2020 and sent to Other News by the author

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*Kristian Laubjerg studied at the University of Copenhagen, (1968-1974). Master of Arts, 1977-1980, Doctor of Philosophy. Senior Program Officer & Deputy Representative, Nigeria, United Nations Children’s Fund since 1990. Senior Tech Advisor, Tech Advisor Division to the Board, Danish International Development Agency, Denmark, 8690. Socio-Economic Coord, Programme Division, United Nations Children’s Fund, Bangladesh, 1983-1986.