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(Source: ABC News video)

(Source: ABC News video)

Long before Ivanka Trump was advising the President of the United States on whether or not to bomb Syria -- before she and her husband Jared Kushner had cushy jobs at the White House with security clearances and West Wing offices, researchers at Princeton and Northwestern published a report describing what we're seeing today. You probably heard about the 10-year study conducted by Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern, which went viral a couple of years ago. But if you missed it, its authors announced that the United States is not a democracy—it's actually an oligarchy.

That's right, an oligarchy—a government ruled by a small number of people who have political power solely because of their wealth, family ties, corporate ties, or some variation thereof—anything other than being democratically elected.

While the average American may participate in elections, the study found that, ultimately, these voters have little to no influence on the decisions politicians make, once in office.

While the average American may participate in elections, the study found that, ultimately, these voters have little to no influence on the decisions politicians make, once in office. This is irrespective of political party. Giles and Page say that their study showed that—on both sides of the aisle—after being elected, politicians almost completely ignore their constituents if the deep-pocketed corporations or wealthy individuals with access have conflicting wishes.

Their meticulous research proved that when rank and file voters come up against economic elites, the rank and file lose—every time.

When you consider that deep-pocketed individuals and corporate interests only hold political sway because of our current system of capitalism, the next logical question is, “Can democracy and capitalism—as it is practiced today—coexist? And, if unrestricted capitalism and democracy are incompatible—where are we headed?

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When I think about these issues and the lack of solutions readily available, my thoughts turn to Rick Wolff —a man who needs no introduction in some circles but one who I met just a few short years ago. If you're unfamiliar with Rick Wolff and his books, you can watch him being interviewed on HBO's Bill Maher Show in a video I've placed at the end of this article—but please keep reading.

The reason I'm writing this article is to announce that Rick Wolff is coming to Los Angeles to speak to as many people as can be seated at Choi Auditorium at Occidental College at 7:00pm on April 21, 2017. His talk will enlighten and entertain but most importantly—he'll give you reason to have hope for the future—even under a Trump administration. There are things we can do to get rid of this oligarchy and anyone who cares should be paying attention.

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Won't you join us? Register today by clicking this button (and don't forget to watch the video down below with Rick Wolff and Bill Maher):

Sharon Kyle, Publisher, LA Progressive

Richard Wolff Beyond Capitalism