How today’s plutocrats are not so different from the czars

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was time for a change;
Killed the czar and his ministers;
Anastasia screamed in vain
—Mick Jagger, “Sympathy for the Devil”

Czar Nicholas II believed that he and the Romanovs had a divine right to rule. If the peasants froze or starved to death, that was their problem—he was chosen by god to live a life of luxury, much as American billionaires of today who inherit from the robber barons. No matter how much suffering it causes, they expand their wealth to deprive the masses of so much as a crust of bread.

Serfdom was prevalent during the reign of the Russian Czars. Almost 80% of the Russian people were either peasants or serfs. Today we have wage slaves to replace the peasants, obligated to work so that the modern Romanovs, our ruling plutocrats, may live in similar splendor.

In 1918, the Bolsheviks killed the Czar and his family, including the royal children, intending to finish the line so there’d be no more vampire class to bleed the masses. The capitalists of the USA, Britain, Japan and France sent troops, allied with the White Army to suppress the revolution, to no avail.

The victorious Red Army contained things only for decades, however. In time they were surrounded by hostile dictatorships financed by the world’s capitalists, particularly by the USA. Their ability to trade or participate in international banking was strangled, and their experiment was made to fail.

Today, the richest 10% of American families are worth a combined $51 trillion, equal to 75% of total household wealth. To put that figure in perspective, US GDP totaled only $18.5 trillion in 2016.

The net worth of U.S. households and non-profit organizations was $94.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2017, a record level both in nominal terms and purchasing power parity. Divided equally among 124 million U.S. households, this would be $760,000 per family. However, the bottom 50% of families, representing 62 million households, average $11,000 net worth.

To make such an economy function with such a massive disparity in wealth requires the largest prison system on earth, by any measure, more hunger than exists in any other major industrialized nation, and thousands dying for a lack of health care annually in the wealthiest nation on earth.

At some point in each year, one in five children in the Land of the Free lacks access to proper food, goes to school hungry and unable to appropriately learn.

This should all be common knowledge in a nation where information flows freely, but corporate media have, as their primary function, the task of supporting plutocracy by suppressing contradictory facts to keep the masses as ignorant as they possibly can. Consequently few peoples on earth are as ignorant as Americans.

Financing the elections and controlling the mass media (through ownership, staffing of media boards and advertising) are the two ways in which the modern Romanov-like plutocrats control the nation. Democratic Party predictions of a “Blue Wave” will not happen this autumn, when Americans will awaken the morning after the elections to discover there’s been another Green(back) Wave, as Democrats and Republicans are discovered to have been purchased by the Neo-Romanovs.

These are greedy, ignorant plutocrats who don’t realize that the working class, against whom they wage perpetual war, produce their wealth so that they might continue to live in grandeur. Tens of thousands of workers die each year in the USA from work-related disease and accidents that are preventable, and chief executive officers of corporations never go to prison for it, even when it is proven that they know they had an unsafe workplace for their employees, because the CEOs work primarily for the plutocrats who benefit from their corruption.

The modern Romanovs allow the school system to deteriorate, while sending their own children to private schools. Ignorant peasants, they feel, make the best peasants.

They allow the food system to become poisoned through profit-making pollution by their corporate lackeys and they allow for the elimination of minimal food standards by their purchased government, to increase their profits on food sales. They have fresh organic produce grown and delivered to their mansions, ski lodges, beach houses and yachts and would never eat the contaminated food they sell to the peasants.

The new Romanovs encourage wars around the globe to produce for themselves profits from the production of munitions.

While enjoying excellent health care for their own families, the modern Romanovs deny health care to Americans, the only such victims in the industrialized world.

Today’s Romanovs profit from pollution, prisons—all manner of suffering applied to the working class. In America’s modern plutocracy they never bend an inch toward compromise that would result in an iota of democracy breaking out in the land, keeping a tight fist on the rented election system by financing butt-kissing Democrats to “counter” butt-kissing Republicans.

They are like Nicholas II, who, when confronted with a proposal to allow a bit of democracy in Russia, replied, “I want everyone to know that I will devote all my strength to maintain, for the good of the whole nation, the principle of absolute autocracy, as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father.”

Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can’t Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice. He is author of “An Attack on the National Security State,” about peace activists in prison.

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