The Mainstreaming of Extremism
The rise of right-wing politics is sometimes traced to Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican convention. But perhaps a better place to start is the 1971 memo written by Lewis Powell, who would later be appointed by Nixon to the Supreme Court. Powell sent his memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He asserted, “no thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack.” He warned: “Business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late.” Powell’s central message was that corporations needed to organize to roll back the popular movements which challenged business hegemony. And did corporations ever respond to the call. The money flowed. Media, foundations and think tanks were created to reestablish the top-down old order and root out all those egalitarian ideas from the dreaded 1960s .
Arun Gupta, journalist and activist, was a founding editor of The Indypendent and the Occupied Wall Street Journal. His articles appear in Alternet, Truthout, The Guardian, and Z. He also appears on Democracy Now! and Al Jazeera.