The Only Political Question that Matters?
You can’t avoid it. The presidential election. Everywhere you turn on the media, endless discussion of a reactionary racist billionaire and a war-mongering Wall Street clone. Who to choose? Who to choose? Such a dilemma!
The fact that the falsely ‘democratic’ electoral system in the U.S. has given us this choice shows that U.S. capitalism’s façade is dropping. Really, it is as paper-thin as it has been in 80 years. Two frankly reactionary candidates, each with their own severe problems that can’t be wiped away by rationalizations, has to give even the ruling class pause. Why do the majority of people call themselves ‘independents’ in spite of years of propaganda for the Democrats or the Republicans? Why do so few people vote in elections? The last one in 2014 had the lowest turnout in history. In the last round of Party primaries in 2016 less than 10% of the people voted. Why do these two candidates have the lowest ‘positive’ ratings in history? All of this expresses a profound disassociation from the imitation democracy that our country practices by a majority of the population.
Then there are the structural problems. In elections, incumbents almost always win. Money has an inordinate finger on the scale. Districts are absurdly gerrymandered to the point that Republicans have far more seats than Democrats, even though they have fewer voters. Voter suppression, since first being exposed in the 2000 election in Florida, has become even more widespread, especially with the destruction of the Voting Rights act by the undemocratic ‘Supreme’ Court. Even the Constitution limits actual democracy - the Senate is inherently anti-democratic and the Electoral College as well. Winner-take-all election rules, which mitigate against other parties, are the overwhelming legal rule. 3rd parties are castigated for being ‘spoilers,’ not for promoting democratic choice. You are spoiling the ruling class machine! Hacking voting machines is current practice. Wall-to-wall propaganda coverage from cable, network television, public radio, corporate newspapers and websites all back up the same corporate messages. The list goes on.
Yet the political context is even more sinister. Anyone who rejects an electoral charade in which the population is expected to believe the utterings of these laughable candidates, just as new-born babes trust their mothers, is ignored. We are to vote our ostensible identity and our pocketbooks, even though neither major candidate actually cares about the working class – which is the majority across all ethnicities, nationalities and genders.
In reality, it is the current lie of democracy that is being exposed – a situation that bodes ill for the future of this ‘democracy.’ It is becoming clearer – even to non-Marxists - that we do not have a real democracy. We have a rhetorical democracy. We have an oligarchy with two wings, running two different parties with tactical differences. To “Occupy the Democrats” is like getting a suite at the Waldorf Astoria for free. It is a fantasy, and always has been one.
The supporters of Trump are actually much higher-bracket Republicans than the press lets on. His xenophobic, racist and sexist campaign brings to mind the Italian reactionary billionaire blowhard Silvio Berlusconi – not Adolph Hitler. Right-wing demagogues have a long history in the U.S., so Trump is not something completely new. Even so, large segments of the Republican capitalist class and their politicians are rejecting him - even neo-conservatives are flocking to Clinton. Bush I has joined that club. People wonder where Trump came from? Political characters like Trump are using politics that have been embedded in prior party platforms for years. Like the wall to keep out Mexicans? Already built by both Democrats and Republicans and the Israeli government, but the latter for Palestinians. Deportations? Massive practice even now. And so on.
Trump ‘says’ he wants to take it up to a whole new level, but the capitalist handlers in the deep state will have a sit-down talk with Trump if he wins and let him know how far he can go.
What created the immediate Trump? The whole 40-year move to the right by the U.S. ruling class, which has ignored poverty, criminalized non-whites, deprived workers of jobs, sidelined unions and lowered wages. Ultimately the hidden enabler is a Democratic Party that has collaborated with Republicans on many economic and political issues – though not all, as there are still tactical splits. The Democrats are the ‘more effective evil,’ as Black Agenda Report describes them, that has prepared the ground for this vicious billionaire. Continuing the tactic of supporting a Wall Street supporting, incarceration-state loving, war-mongering Democrat only guarantees that the next Republican candidate might be even more effectively right-wing. Both parties leave the majority – the working class – with little more than phrases. The “green” of money is the real identity we should observe. Following the ‘green’ is the only way out of this mess to understand who are our real enemies and our real allies. Follow the money, because it is what unites both parties.
I must comment on the personal proclivities of Clinton supporters. Clinton called Trump’s base 50% ‘deplorables’ at a $250K a plate fundraiser. You can imagine that THAT audience was not exactly on the front lines of the ‘freedom struggle.’ “Racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic” as the chant goes. You’d think Hilary was a real leftist with that, right? Au contraire. Trump actually used the phrase ‘working-class’ to counter her attack on his base, though some of it was certainly true.
Lets look at Clinton’s reality about these issues. Does she have a government-funded program to get rid of poverty and unemployment? No. Has she decided to back off the military up-arming of the police? No. Has she come out clearly for marijuana legalization and against the incarceration state? No. Has she decided to reinstate AFDC? No. Has she backed off the privatization and re-segregation of charter schools? No. Is there a program of paid government child-care in the works? No. Or promotion of unions in mostly female workplaces? No. Has she pledged to get rid of discriminatory laws against gay people in the x number of states that allow businesses to fire you for being gay? No. Will she refrain from arming ‘moderate’ jihadis or bombing another Middle-eastern or African country full of Muslims? Or pulling the FBI off their practice of ‘terror’ stings in the Muslim community? No. It is all hot air designed to fool the credulous, just as Trump’s attempts to pretend he is some kind of working-class hero to whites is a complete fraud.
They are both frauds because it is essential to lie to voters when you actually represent monied interests.
So the support for Clinton by Democratic Party loyalists actually is a form of loving the status quo. These people do not really want to change anything about the U.S. and never have. For those who are in the labor movement or the working class, it is self-deception on a very personal level. Now you may chose to vote for one wing of the capitalist class as a more rational alternative – but understand clearly what you are doing. Don’t dress it up with pretty phrases about ‘fighting racism’ and the rest. Just admit to yourself: “I love this group of rich people more! I don’t care about fundamental change!”
Words mean something, but policies mean more. It is the structural aspects of racism, sexism, homophobia & denigration of Middle-Easterners that needs to be addressed, not just reciting clichés about identity. It is these structural aspects that materially maintain the actual experience of oppression, and continue the process of making ‘identity’ real in a capitalist society.
If Trump wins the election, this country will be up for grabs, as a good chunk of the population will go on a ‘war’ footing against him. If Clinton II wins, things will go on as before. War, war profiteering, nuclear rearmament, unemployment, precarity, inequality, killer cops, arrests, deportations, anti-unionism, low wages, gentrification – the list is long. The NYT, Wall Street, the corporate media and the majority of the capitalist class is betting on option 2 as the smoother choice. Yet for the working class, neither is acceptable. And so the revolution in the U.S. advances on tiny, many-millioned mouse feet.
September 25, 2016