Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
A little over two decades ago, on December 2, 1993, the principle engineer of Colombia’s infamous cocaine empire, Pablo Escobar, was killed while fleeing police on the barrio rooftops of his hometown, Medellin. Before he died he had amassed an organization of state-like power, challenging, in fact, the government of Columbia itself over the question of its extradition policies-and winning. Dubbed the Medellin drug cartel, his international cocaine operation grew to prominence functioning similarly to the corporations which dominate today’s global economy. Escobar knew, by controlling every possible link in the drug chain from production to retail, he could corral suppliers under a single umbrella, dictate the price of his product, and severely limit any would-be competitors from challenging his power.
Escobar was not alone in learning from the strategies of corporate giants. If anything he was late. Few organizations have pervasively and durably monopolized a market as well as America’s Republican and Democratic parties. The two dominant machines steering the U.S. electorate have consistently diminished the potential for a freer America. That’s because the reality is, rather than arch rivals, liberals and conservatives are two factions of the same team. Both are capitalist. Both are imperialist. Both are white supremacist surrogates. And both are controlled by a plutocratic elite who have discovered what Escobar learned in his early twenties, that competition is best neutralized by eliminating all possible outliers. We merely perceive the two parties as markedly different because of the degree to which the spectrum of possibilities has been narrowed.
Politics, at its barest, is a market characterized by power-and the struggle for how power will be distributed. As CrimethInc illustrated some time ago, in this market ideas function similar to currency. Delineated by ideas which can build capital enough for the acquisition of more power, and those which might unbind power, political parties are tethered to the same basic operating principles of any capitalist enterprise. They must solidify market share in the realm of ideas and grow, wherever and whenever possible, or go bankrupt. Incubated within this constant power play, self-preservation becomes the party’s central priority; and it does not matter if the ideas which accomplish this outcome are beneficial to the electorate or detrimental, so long as it achieves the imperative to survive.