Alec Dubro at reported on last month’s “Taming the Corporation” conference and asked the question few reformers and social movements ever ask seriously: if we’re so right, why aren’t we winning? The answer in this particular case (my paraphrase) is that since the death of Marxism, the left has no systematic alternative to offer.

“The U.S. may be a police state,” Dubro writes, “as anyone who protests against the WTO will find in out in short, ugly order – but it is not, for most people, a totalitarian state. People tolerate, or actively embrace, corporate rule not primarily because they’re cowed by the police, but because they aspire to the promised gifts of the program…

“We get from corporate culture: big homes, comfortable cars, investment counselors, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, personal watercraft, beachfront condos, hundreds of TV channels, central air conditioning, cheap airplane flights, cheaper electronic gear, and pizza on demand. You and I may not cherish these things, but millions do, and are not anxious to give them up for a new, uncertain economic system to be named later

“The vision of a post-corporate America put forth at the conference was one in which security and equality reigned. But that left out what corporate state traffics in: the possibility of success. It’s what the conservatives misleadingly call freedom, but it’s not entirely a fraud. Lots of people want to do better, and we need their support.”