Powell memorandum questions: Do not answer questions directly; just use one or m
Place your order now for a similar assignment and have exceptional work written by our team of experts, At affordable rates
Powell memorandum questions: Do not answer questions directly; just use one or more of them as a guide in formulating a thesis to organize your paper.
1. What is conspiratorial about the memorandum?
2. Has it been successfully implemented today?
3. How does the paper frame the discussion of the role of government and business?
4. It is often called a “neo-liberal” blueprint. How does the memo fulfill its role as a “blueprint”?
Please: Use the paper, “The Powell Memorandum” as the basis of your paper in this folder. READ INSTRUCTIONS TO FIRST PAPER AS ALL PARAMETERS REMAIN THE SAME, EXCEPT RE: NUMBER OF DOCS (YOU NEED ONLY READ ONE FOR THIS ONE). Please quote directly from the Memorandum itself and do not use on-line sources.
Your paper should be an analysis of the content of the Memo. There is no need to go to the Internet except to fill yourself in on historical details as necessary. Please ONLY quote from the document itself and make sure your thinking is your own!
Powell Memorandum (from Wikipedia)
On August 23, 1971, prior to accepting Nixon’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Powell was commissioned by his neighbor, Eugene B. Sydnor Jr., a close friend and education director of the US Chamber of Commerce, to write a confidential memorandum titled “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System,” an anti-Communist, anti-Fascist, anti-New Deal blueprint for conservative business interests to retake America for the chamber. It was based in part on Powell’s reaction to the work of activist Ralph Nader, whose 1965 exposé on General Motors, Unsafe at Any Speed, put a focus on the auto industry putting profit ahead of safety, which triggered the American consumer movement. Powell saw it as an undermining of Americans’ faith in enterprise and another step in the slippery slope of socialism. His experiences as a corporate lawyer and a director on the board of Phillip Morris from 1964 until his appointment to the Supreme Court made him a champion of the tobacco industry who railed against the growing scientific evidence linking smoking to cancer deaths. He argued, unsuccessfully, that tobacco companies’ First Amendment rights were being infringed when news organizations were not giving credence to the cancer denials of the industry. That was the point where Powell began to focus on the media as biased agents of socialism. The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding society’s thinking about business, government, politics and law in the US. It sparked wealthy heirs of earlier American Industrialists like Richard Mellon Scaife; the Earhart Foundation, money which came from an oil fortune; and the Smith Richardson Foundation, from the cough medicine dynasty; to use their private charitable foundations, which did not have to report their political activities, to join the Carthage Foundation, founded by Scaife in 1964 to fund Powell’s vision of a pro-business, anti-socialist, minimalist government-regulated America as it had been in the heyday of early American industrialism, before the Great Depression and the rise of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
The Powell Memorandum thus became the blueprint of the rise of the American conservative movement and the formation of a network of influential right-wing think tanks and lobbying organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as well as inspiring the US Chamber of Commerce to become far more politically active. CUNY professor David Harvey traces the rise of neoliberalism in the US to this memo. Powell argued, “The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians.” In the memorandum, Powell advocated “constant surveillance” of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements. He named consumer advocate Nader as the chief antagonist of American business. Powell urged conservatives to take a sustained media-outreach program; including funding scholars who believe in the free enterprise system, publishing books and papers from popular magazines to scholarly journals and influencing public opinion. This memo foreshadowed a number of Powell’s court opinions, especially First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, which shifted the direction of First Amendment law by declaring that corporate financial influence of elections by independent expenditures should be protected with the same vigor as individual political speech. Much of the future Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission relied on the same arguments raised in Bellotti.
Though written confidentially for Sydnor at the Chamber of Commerce, it was discovered by Washington Post columnist Jack Anderson, who reported on its content a year later (after Powell had joined the Supreme Court). Anderson alleged that Powell was trying to undermine the democratic system; however, in terms of business’ view of itself in relation to government and public interest groups, the memo only conveyed the thinking among businessmen at the time. The real contribution of the memo, instead, was its emphasis on institution-building, particularly updating the Chamber’s efforts to influence federal policy. Here, it was a major force in motivating the Chamber and other groups to modernize their efforts to lobby the federal government. Following the memo’s directives, conservative foundations greatly increased, pouring money into think-tanks. This rise of conservative philanthropy led to the conservative intellectual movement and its increasing influence over mainstream political discourse, starting in the 1970s and ’80s, and due chiefly to the works of the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.