Push Public Ownership to Challenge Power of Billionaires – Q&A with Paul Jay (4/5)

Story Transcript

BEN NORTON: David Windt asked, Chris Hedges writes today in Truthdig, quote: “Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump.” He asked for your thoughts on that. I think you addressed it pretty well. Maybe in the in the subsequent answer you could talk more. But then there’s also another question here, which is somewhat related. It’s still not exactly about anti-Semitism, but I can maybe make it-

PAUL JAY: Actually, let me take on the first one first, because this idea of overthrowing the corporate state, yeah, sure. That would be lovely. Let’s be real. We’re in the middle, we are in the heart of the empire here. The amount of wealth in the United States is never- is beyond any reckoning. There’s not going to be some let’s go overthrow the corporate state. It sounds all very militant.

What we, the best hope right now, I think, is there needs to be a real fight inside the Democratic Party. There needs to be a fight to get to a kind of … Encourage the sections of the working people to participate in democratizing, which means run for office, take office, win elections, fight for this kind of more social democratic program. No doubt, you know, $15 and healthcare for all, and some of these other demands, no doubt they are not in and of themselves going to challenge the power structure, because power structure’s based on ownership, and you have to challenge how stuff is owned. But still, people need to create some space to organize and create some some power. So you know, just to think somehow there’s going to be an overthrow of the corporate state, it becomes meaningless, because it’s just words.

There’s a process happening now, and we’ll see how far it can play out, in terms of people getting engaged in electoral politics and pushing, you know, certain kinds of key reforms. And hopefully that starts to engage people, and hopefully some of the people that, you know, have kind of bought into that these Trump policies are going to make life better. I don’t think they are going to make life better, and I don’t … And people, I hope, come to realize that.

In a longer-term way, you know, as powers develop, whether it’s at a city level, or a state level; nationally, of course, much more difficult. But still, you know, who knows? Because there will be another big economic crisis. Who knows if it’s one year, two years, five years. It’s inevitable. And things can happen quickly.

But the critical issue people need to think about is there has to be some form of ownership that counters this one percent that owns, what is it, you know, 50-60 percent of the wealth of the country, maybe more. This idea of building out public ownership is not being talked about enough, including by people like Bernie Sanders and others. And while I think that kind of Sanders-esque politics is the only thing going right now that has some momentum and some chance to create some of the space I’m talking about, the heart of the problem needs to be talked about, which means, for example, start with public banking, and going to combat the role of finance and financialization and the blackmail that Wall Street holds this society to. You know, public banking is a piece of it. Building out other sections of the public sector is a piece of it.

And let me just add to that, we need- we, who, you know, whether it’s Real News, we who are watching Real News, generally there has to be way, way more conversation with people in rural areas and working class areas that feel so disillusioned they vote for Trump.

We interviewed a guy in Dundalk, just outside of Baltimore. This is about a year ago, I guess. And we asked him what he thought of Trump and the elections. This is just before Trump was elected. He says, we know Trump’s a liar. We know his policies are no good. We know he’s corrupt. And he went down the list of all the horrible things he thought about Trump.

And then he ended by saying, and you know, I voted for Trump anyway. That nihilism, that despair, that needs to be addressed. And so just the idea of overthrowing the corporate state, yeah, sure. But how do you get there?