Being a Marxist, I often hear about the supposed “socialist” achievements of the current United States President, Barack Obama.
Let me be clear, Barack Obama is not a socialist, he is not a Marxist, and he is hardly even a Liberal. I have yet to see a credible political evaluation that puts him anywhere but Center-Right. He has said much to reflect this as well, even from his most recent debate in the election season:
“Governor Romney and I both agree that our corporate tax rate is too high…”
This is our “socialist” President?
When I think Socialist I think natural resources protected and socialized, banks seized, supermarkets re-purposed to serve their communities, corporations dismantled, and imperialist wars ended; in a phrase, social ownership of the means of production.
What do we see when we look at President Obama? An expansion in the US war machine, bankster bailouts, an expansion of the “War on Drugs”, a private health insurance mandate, and now lower corporate tax rates?
Despite all of this we see once working class parties like the CPUSA throw themselves behind Obama as if he was the Marxist messiah.
This is a disappointing display of reformist banter that is unfitting of any party that identifies itself as Marxist or Socialist. Their “lesser of the two evils” nonsense is one of the primary reasons that real revolutionary initiatives remain marginalized by bourgeois apologists parading themselves as “socialists”. I will remind all true Socialists who identify with the CPUSA that when you vote for the “lesser of the two evils” you are still voting for evil.
With all of this said, I contend that Obama and his opponent, Mitt Romney, are simply two sides of the same coin.
Obama represents the ‘left’ side of this coin I call Capital Hegemony. His side is called “Cultural Capitalism” by Slavoj Zizek or “Capitalism with a Smile”. President Obama talks long and hard about green energy, a fair work environment and individual freedom; however, that is all he does, talk. He represents the deliberate attempt from those liberal Bourgeois to justify the subjugation and social excess inherent in Capitalism through a ridiculous ethical framework that is as empty as it is nonsensical.
His opponent, Fmr. Governor Romney, is more blunt and is the ‘right’ side of the coin. A snobby, self-righteous, capitalist from a privileged family, he represents the traditional face of Capitalism; one that does not seek to hide its ugliness with ethical imperatives, tolerance, or any social awareness. Despite his Mormonism, its quite obvious the only god Mitt Romney worships is the Almighty Dollar, further evidenced by how he accumulated his fortune estimated at 280 million USD. Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, ‘restructured’ businesses by smashing unions, firing employees, moving liquid assets to tax havens, and shipping as much of the operation as possible to low-wage nations.
My point is that neither of these men possess any qualities that are revolutionary or admirable beyond “well he seems like a nice guy”. And neither of these men have any intention of empowering the toiling classes beyond getting to the ballot box.
What about ‘third party’ candidates? Candidates like Jill Stein and Stewart Alexander from the Left and Gary Johnson from the Right?
Let’s be honest, none of the ‘third party’ candidates have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning anything beyond some small media attention. This does not mean I don’t think that they have good intentions, ideas, or if they were elected they could do some good. Rather, I am simply acknowledging that the current political system is rigged to exclude any candidates or ideas that mean a separation from the socio-economic norms for discourse.
I think Jill Stein has good ideas about moving our economy towards a cleaner, more sustainable and sufficient system as well as decentralizing much of our political and economic administration; although, she is only more of a center Left reformer. Stewart Alexander also has good ideas about democratizing the workplace, and securing housing, healthcare, and education for the masses, yet his focus on the ballot box and imperative towards ‘reform’ is what really hampers his effectiveness. Gary Johnson is Gary Johnson. I have few good words about a man who would allow private enterprise to squash all social movements other than “at least he isn’t Mitt Romney”.
There is something that can be said about all of these candidates that seems to be true no matter what they say. They lie. They exaggerate. They exacerbate. Whether out of a deliberate and malicious campaign for power or a shameful adaptation to the reality of a Corporate-owned Capitol, politicians don’t keep their promises.
I happen to be in the boat that believes it is not so much the individual malice of the politicians as it is the structure of the system. In a society shaped by private property, is it not surprising that its superstructure systemically excludes revolutionaries and ideas that pose a threat to its hegemony. This electoral biopower ensures that the interests that be, banks and corporations (capitalist class), remain at power. Therefore no matter how good the intentions of a politician may be, his/her politics are forcibly molded to perpetuate the structure, or they are excluded from the superstructure entirely.
The fact of the matter is that in the United States it has become more obvious that ‘change’ is something that remains foreign to electoral politics.
At the risk of alienating some of my anarchist comrades, I will quote Lenin on the matter,
“…democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich.”
And that, comrades, is the essence of our Bourgeois ‘Democracy’. It is a game rigged for the propertied classes that does not have the mechanisms nor the will to serve the interests of the toilers. It is a capitalist creation born of a concession to the working class that creates the illusion that the common person has a say in his existence.
Understand that this illusion represents the most dangerous threat to a revolutionary movement by conning working class peoples into believing that they control the system. The truth is that the system controls them, and it always has.
There is only one solution to this dilemma, vote for nobody. By casting a ballot, one is only reaffirming the illusion that the system can be ‘reformed’ and that it has room for working class input; thus perpetuating this disgusting game that continues to rob the masses of any revolutionary future.
Keep in mind, however, our goal should not be to alienate those who vote. A great majority of people from all classes vote for one reason or another. Many are truly revolutionary individuals who are simply misunderstanding the conditions of the system, or have been misguided. Either way, we should not cast blame and further divide our power.
Let us just maintain our advocacy, reject the ballot, and educate others on the reality of the status quo. When we come across bourgeois apologists wrapped in sheep’s wool, however, its important to be swift and critical in our condemnation.
I believe strongly that all revolutionary groups can unite to destroy the pig state and Capitalism. Marxists, Socialists, and Anarchists of all colors will be instrumental in the movement towards a liberated future; its just time that we realize the ballot box will not be our ally but our enemy.