Now that President Barack Obama is a lame duck president, he’s having no problem revealing himself as a corporatist. In doing so, he has alienated his once-loyal Progressive base while embracing the agenda of the opposition party that has done nothing for the past eight years but criticize and attack him, stand in his way, and undermine him at every turn. Traitor Democrats who have enabled Obama will be facing Progressive challengers in the 2016 House and Senate races. If Bernie Sander’s ongoing campaign is any indication, we could see a significant and positive change in our leadership.

How have we got to the point where the country’s first black President who inspired us all with his message of Hope and Change has ended his two-term presidency as a Corporatist? We have to take a journey to the distant past to understand.

In 1971, Lewis Powell (before becoming a Supreme Court Justice) wrote a manifesto entitled “Attack On The American Free Enterprise System.” A corporate lawyer serving on no fewer than 11 corporate boards of directors, Lewis sent this “confidential memorandum” to his old friend Eugene Sydnor, chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Education Committee at the time. It remained a secret for months, but was finally leaked over a year later to prominent liberal Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson. After studying the manifesto, Anderson wrote a piece for his column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, warning that Lewis could “use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…on behalf of business interests.”

And so Lewis did – as his corporatist successors are continuing to do today. Yet, while Progressives are still reeling from Obama’s corporate loyalty, aided and abetted by corporatist Democrats, David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule The World, is not all that surprised. In a recent article published on, Korten offers a lucid historical explanation of the four-decade corporate strategy to co-opt American democracy. Korten points out that presidential administrations of both parties have fought for corporate America over the interests of the American people, beginning with Carter’s deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s and continuing into the present with Obama’s aggressive push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Like Thom Hartmann, who has written extensively on the subject of corporate rule, Korten points out that the entire agenda has been to brainwash the public into blaming “Big Government” – while diverting attention away from the excesses of “Big Business.”

This is not the first time We The People have faced the threat of corporate oligarchy. In the 1920s, an impotent, do-nothing government stood idly by as Wall Street ran amok, nearly destroying the entire capitalist system. It took the FDR Administration more than ten years to repair the damage. During the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th Century, corporate monopolies had a death grip on the economy and the political system. The Administration of FDR’s distant cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, worked long and hard to rein in the corporate oligarchs. Long before any of that, however, dangerous power and political influence wielded by the world’s first trans-global corporation played a large part in the American War for Independence. That corporation was the British East India Company. Today’s corporations, aspiring to global dominance, continue to hold up the long-defunct British East India Company as a role model for success.

The time is fast approaching for another “Boston Tea Party” – but a real one, this time, not the fake “insurgency” staged by a buffoonish collection of weak-minded right-wing jackasses a few years back. The new Boston Tea Party is taking place in cyberspace, led by a thoughtful, knowledgeable and energized Progressive base. We have a real leader in Bernie Sanders around whom we can rally this time – and the number of his supporters are growing every day.

Keep it up, corporatists. You’re on the wrong side of history.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.