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Who is Sovereign?

The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie

– Marx

The standard response to the question “Who is sovereign in the modern world?” is that the “people” through their “representatives” are both the ultimate source and practical reflection of that sovereignty.

Would that it were so.

Imagine if you will a world where networks of influence operate internationally cutting across class, nation, and ethnicity held together by the enormous power and privileges such cooperation brings as well as establishing collective discipline through the literally deadly consequences of defection. Unfortunately you won’t have to try too hard; for this is the world that we live in currently.

“Conspiracy” would be too primitive a word to describe both the scope, depth, and abilities of such interlocking regimes of collective interest.

Historically, these varied interests developed over time and patiently expanded their range of action first nationally and then, especially after the Second World War, internationally.

If such interlocking collectivities can be said to have an executive location then it would be the financial and political power centers of the United States.

It should come as no surprise that the leading military, capitalistic power of the Twentieth and Twenty First Century would have built surreptitious networks of influence to expand their power and to thwart potentially revolutionary democratic practices throughout the now global “nominally democratic system of representation”. In effect, a state both within and above states was built.

Almost needless to say, those who are thus interconnected are not believers in either “human rights” or “democracy” rather they have all been schooled at the feet of Machiavelli who believed that all men are evil, and thus, that the doing of evil by the de-facto rulers is both necessary and proper for the maintenance and extension of power. In effect, an operative and active fascist fist has fit itself rather easily behind the velvet rhetoric of democratic institutions and beliefs.

However, this is not to say that interlocking networks of power employ wide spread fascistic methods. They do not. Instead, they tread carefully using their mutual deep acquaintance and singular interest (the maintenance of power) to help them both game the system and exploit its many legal, technical, and human gaps.

For those who have read Robert Michel’s “Iron Law of Oligarchy” we should not be surprised that modern day democracies have within their very midst brought forth oligarchs that as often as not work in the plain light of day.

Indeed, like Machiavelli’s Prince they are highly skilled in the art of manipulation and intrigue and even murder. And most important of all, they are able, quite often, to maintain the appearance of “being and doing good” when that is of course the furthest thing from their minds, whatever they and others might personally think.

It is quite possibly the fate of all organizations (national, international, even local) to be hijacked as it were by interlocking oligarchic collectivities and their surgically precise totalitarian practices.

It is thus that in this alleged age of nations and peoples, modern day princes and their minions still exercise all the final instances of power that ultimately define true sovereignty for the rest of us.

 

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Dan Corjescu teaches Political Philosophy at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

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