By Partha Banerjee
[I am sad to know David Koch of Koch Brothers died. But I can’t help but mention the massive harm they have done to us the 99%, and to mankind in general.]
How many people understand the importance of international news, or of certain extremely important people who are not daily features on mainstream media?
People know about the craziness of Donald Trump. People laugh about his desire to buy Greenland. People here in America — those who keep in touch with global news — about what’s happening in Kashmir, and what happened in Gujarat when Modi was chief minister. Right now, people are shocked to see what’s happening in the Amazon rain forest. Bolsenaro’s eerie similarity with Trump.
Meanwhile, few understand the importance of the death news of David Koch, one of the two infamous “Koch Brothers” here in the U.S. Even most Americans do not know, because they have kept a low profile, even when they have destroyed democracy in America, with their money and political power. Wall Street Journal, predictably, published an obituary on David Koch with a glossing over brush: they showed how much of a philanthropist he was.
Yet, Koch Brothers have been incredibly monstrous in their actions on a number of critical fronts: (1) They created Prosperity for America, a think tank that pumped money and political influence across the country to completely destroy FDR’s New Deal, deregulating from education to health care to social security to businesses; (2) They have been the ultimate influences to deny climate change, and bring back the fossil fuel industry (they themselves are big oil barons, with their father Fred Koch spending his entire oil fortune to establish John Birch Society, a far right anti-socialist organization); and (3) Koch Brothers were primarily responsible for enacting Citizens United, a U.S. law that legitimized big corporations to buy elections with their money, where corporations would be treated as individuals, and they didn’t have to disclose their names or amounts of contribution.
Why is a discussion on Koch Brothers important in the context of India also? Because, what Ambanis and Adanis are doing in India today is taken straight from Koch Brothers’ book. Today, around the world — from U.K. to Brazil to Sweden to India to Turkey to France — far right, violent, fascistic forces are trying to grab all the economic and political power, with financial backing of such extremely rich, conservative people and their business houses.
That discussion is critical, if we want to stop their onslaught on democracy, humanity, and the existence of earth, as we know it.