Money and Politics

July 20, 2008

The open buying and selling of government is on with great zeal this year.

Official spending by candidates in the elections for President already amounts to over $930 million. So far, candidates in the elections for Congress have officially spent over $458 million. And the elections are nearly 4 months away. (Based on data released by the Federal Elections Commission on July 16 and available from the "Center for Responsive Politics" at opensecrets.org)

As the politicians gleefully roll in the money, the vast majority of people are sharply reminded that they are completely excluded from the political process and governance.

The plain truth is that elections under the present setup are a fraud.

The two political parties –the Republicans and Democrats – have a monopoly over the selection and nomination of candidates for office. The capitalists organize and sponsor both of these parties. In fact, the big capitalists consistently donate to candidates from both parties, including those "competing" for the very same office. Thus they automatically secure a "win-win" situation.

That is why, flowery campaign speeches aside, both the Democrats and the Republicans always stand firmly with the interests of big capital. That is why politicians from both parties embrace the so-called "war on terrorism." That is why Republicans and Democrats alike help the monopoly capitalists loot the public treasury for hundreds of billions of dollars every year, privatize the public infrastructure etc, etc, etc.

While the current system proclaims "political equality," the role of big money tells the true story. The reality is that the very foundation of capitalism is based on vast economic and social inequality. Those with the economic and social privilege pull the strings of government. In fact, the capitalist state arises precisely as an instrument to insure and protect the interests of the capitalists, i.e. the system of private property in the means of production.

Genuine democracy means rule of the majority. It is a system that serves the interests of the vast majority of people and is not bound by the stranglehold of big money. The marginalization of the people can be overcome and the people can be empowered by creating a political system which brings people to the fore as the creators and shapers of their own human and social environment, and in which the entire political process is controlled by the people themselves.

Democratic renewal of the political process requires that the right to nominate and select candidates be returned to the people and that everyone be guaranteed equal right to elect and be elected. The agenda of government must be set by the people themselves. The people must have a direct role in governance through such mechanisms as recall and referendum. Such genuine reforms will open the path for renewing democracy.

In the final analysis, genuine democracy can only be maintained and defended through the abolition of social classes.