Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Hilarity or the Don?

Capitalism stinks. It stinks of corpses. The millions starved to death, dead of preventable diseases, killed in war, worked to death: and the myriad mundane vicissitudes of class life, beaten to death in the petty squabbles of humans thrown together against their will, coughing out their final days with coal-dust on their lungs or dying of lung cancer from tobacco. In short, capitalism is a thing that should fill us with disgust and revulsion. Capitalism has reduced everything to the cash nexus. Why don't they just dispense with voting altogether and have an auction for all the offices of power between the capitalists and their puppets? The whole thing has become a farce and has no claim to the term "democracy". The reality behind the American Dream is the sordid money-grubbing, back-stabbing rat race of capitalism; where politicians are merely the message boys of the rich and powerful and where the poor and exploited are left behind.

It’s not just that things are bad. Americans are also losing confidence that things will get any better. Many personalities urge people to support one of the two main capitalist parties, the Democrats, on the grounds that they are a “lesser evil”. A mistake that voters often make, especially during election campaigns, is to compare what the Republicans say and do with what the Democrats say. The relevant comparison is with what the Democrats do. But those familiar with the record of Clinton might have noticed that between what the Democrats say and what they do yawns a chasm wider than the Grand Canyon.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the Democrats are a significantly lesser evil. In that case, helping them into office does ward off a greater evil. But only in the short term. For once in office, Democrats come under irresistible pressure from their capitalist masters to break their “populist” promises, to disappoint, disillusion and betray the working people who placed their trust and hope in them. Some sink back into apathy and despair, while others fall prey to a racist or fascist backlash. These reactions give the Republicans their chance to return. This is a recognizable political cycle. We have been through it before. Over and over again. Not only in the United States but (with variations of detail) in many other countries. Those who support the lesser evil play an essential role in constantly reproducing the cycle. They share the responsibility for its persistence. Support for the lesser evil also entails support – indirect and delayed, but support nonetheless – for the greater evil. Some capitalist politicians are totally subservient to the oil, gas, and coal corporations and recklessly oblivious to the looming danger. In their hands we are doomed. Other capitalist politicians are a little less subservient, show a limited awareness of the situation, and try to do something to mitigate it. Something, but much less than is absolutely essential. In their hands we are still doomed. Pass or fail. The “lesser evil” is simply not good enough.

The Republicans and the Democrats are essentially two wings of the same party – the Business Party – and there’s very little to choose between them. During election campaigns, significant policy differences are downplayed or ignored completely – largely because they don’t exist – and which wing wins depends on which has succeeded in attracting the most investment from sections of the capitalist class, spent the most money, and delivered the most effective PR/advertising campaign.

The presidential candidate debates are intended to promote the idea that leaders are crucially significant and that workers should vote for them and not for what they and their parties represent, in denial of the real experience which points to the leaders' impotence in face of the inexorable demands of capitalism.

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