Blowing the Roof off the Twenty-First Century: Media, Politics, and the Struggle for Post-Capitalist Democracy
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In the United States and much of the world there is a palpable depression about the prospect of overcoming the downward spiral created by the tyranny of wealth and privilege and establishing a truly democratic and sustainable society. It threatens to become self-fulfilling. In this trailblazing new book, award-winning author Robert W. McChesney argues that the weight of the present is blinding people to the changing nature and the tremendous possibilities of the historical moment we inhabit. In Blowing the Roof off the Twenty-First Century, he uses a sophisticated political economic analysis to delineate the recent trajectory of capitalism and its ongoing degeneration. In exciting new research McChesney reveals how notions of democratic media are becoming central to activists around the world seeking to establish post-capitalist democracies. Blowing the Roof off the Twenty-First Century also takes a fresh look at recent progressive political campaigns in the United States. While conveying complex ideas in a lively and accessible manner, McChesney demonstrates a very different and far superior world is not only necessary, but possible.
corruption at the hands of corporate lobbyists and moneyed interests. See Ken Silverstein, Washington on $10 Million a Day (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1998); David Cay Johnston, Free Lunch (New York: Penguin, 2007); Robert G. Kaiser, So Damn Much Money (New York: Knopf, 2009). 4. Lawrence Lessig, Republic, Lost (New York: Twelve, 2011), 99, 123. 5. Robert Weissman, “The Role of Federally-Funded University Research in the Patent System,” testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary,
allies or junior partners, it makes the U.S. military ascendancy even more imposing. Only the reality of global empire (and the effects of this on the internal body politic) can explain such an overwhelming destructive power. As Atlantic correspondent Robert Kaplan proudly proclaimed in 2005: “By the turn of the twenty-first century the United States military had already appropriated the entire earth, and was ready to flood the most obscure areas of it with troops at a moment’s notice.”18 The
be understood as a classic case of the phony moralism that thrives as a distraction in neoliberal times, covering up the real failures of capitalist society. But there are two other, even more direct ways in which neoliberalism is crucial to explaining the expansion of the penal state. FIGURE 7.5: Crime Rate per 100,000 since 1960* *Note: The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report uses property and violent crimes, which are referred to as “index crimes,” to construct the crime rates. Sources: U.S. Census
traditionally characterize as monopoly status. Three of the four most valuable publicly traded corporations in the United States are Internet-related firms, and fourteen of the thirty-two most valuable firms are primarily Internet firms. Several more of the thirty-two largest firms have significant digital operations.7 By contrast, only three of the “too big to fail” banks—which Senator Richard Durbin, in reference to Congress, conceded “frankly own the place”—rank among the thirty-two most
commercial interests would have no incentive to invest in directly, but that make for a much better society. But though Friedman embraced a government role for providing the funding for public education, he thought the idea of government-run schools opened the door to a tyranny that should be avoided. He proposed that the entirety of public school spending should be divided up and apportioned equally among all the school-age children, with a voucher for that sum to be given for each child to the