(Fresia 1988) Toward an American revolution: exposing the Constitution and other illusions

Fresia, Jerry (1988). Toward an American revolution: exposing the Constitution and other illusions [archival]. Boston: South End Press.

Fresia exposes the government of the USA under the Constitution as a disguised oligarchy, designed from the start to secure the consent of the governed by limited concessions to democracy while systematically frustrating any meaningful exercise of democratic control over the actions of the wealthy elite. He traces the origins of the Constitution to economic sanctions levied by Great Britain shortly after the Revolutionary War, which led merchants in the USA to tighten credit and attempt collection of existing loans, especially to farmers. The credit crisis in turn led to a popular movement for debt relief, and to local resistance against state governments dominated by the merchant class, culminating in Shays’ Rebellion. In other states, democratically controlled legislatures enacted debt-relief measures. The central government under the Constitution was designed to suppress local revolts by force, and limit the power of the states to provide legal relief for debtors, while creating a complex form of indirect popular government that would be susceptible to influence by moneyed interests. The more recent proliferation of obscure unaccountable bureaucracies, military black budgets, lobbyists, and shadowy nongovernmental advisory organizations is not an aberration, but a logical extension of what the Framers intended: the creation of obfuscated zones within the government, largely opaque to public view and subject to private manipulation. The Constitution was supported only by a minority of the population at the time it was proposed, and ratification was achieved by deceptive and antidemocratic measures.

Last revision: 2019 May 28