We saw this when the WalMart Walton’s and Bill Gates poured millions of dollars into our state to bring in charter schools, a privatization of a publicly funded system.
We also saw this with the GMO initiative that would have required the labeling of our foods in the state of Washington.
McChesney explained how the term dollarocracy captures the “crisis” in American politics today. “Instead of ‘one person, one vote,’ you have ‘one dollar, one vote,” he said. “Those with lots of dollars have a great deal of power, and those with no dollars have no power.”
McChesney and Nichols lectured about the role money has in American politics and how the judicial decision commonly known as Citizens United has increased the influence money has in politics.
“Washington state is the number one example in the United States of the crisis of Dollarocracy,” Nichols said, referencing Initiative 522, concerning labeling of genetically modified foods, which did not pass in the Nov. 6 election. Nichols explained that the initiative failed, despite the overwhelming public opinion support for genetically modified foods to be labeled in stores. “You couldn’t find somebody that was against it.”
Nichols also said that companies like Monsanto, ConAgra Foods, Coca-Cola, and General Mills, “paid to make people so confused, so uncertain, so troubled… that they would vote against it.”
The Seattle Times reported the “No on 522” campaign raised over $21 million, a record in Washington state, while “Yes on 522” raised just over $6 million.
To follow is a great discussion by the authors, Evergreen alum Robert McChesney and John Nichols, on the roots of the big money takeover of our country and how it has affected what used to be a democracy in the United States.
This talk was held at Evergreen State College in November, 2013.