Political Crisis

September 2, 2013

Even while the capitalist class advertises the U.S. political system as the model for "democracy" the world over, the masses of people feel alienated and excluded from the political process and political system. In fact, for tens of millions of Americans "politics" is a dirty word. People see that the current political process is dominated by big money; they see that the concerns and needs of the people do not even get on the agenda. People are rejecting, in mass, the Republican and Democratic parties and inevitably the issue of building up a genuine alternative – the independent political movement of the people – is coming to the fore.

Facing this crisis of legitimacy and unable to mobilize people in support of their anti-social agenda, the monopoly capitalists are more and more trying to de-politicize people and degrade their consciousness.

Whenever the capitalists want to launch a new initiative – whether it be a war against another country or the further dismantling of the public sectors of the economy – the people are bombarded with disinformation designed to mystify the causes of social problems and demonize the enemies of capitalism. For example, in order to prepare public opinion for the privatization of Social Security, the capitalists are continuously repeating the big lie that "Social Security is going bankrupt."

Such political discussion and analysis as appears in the monopoly-controlled media always remains within the limits defined by the monopoly capitalist class. People are offered the "choice" of higher taxes or less social spending. But all the while the monopoly-controlled media starts from the unspoken assumption that the bulk of the government’s budget must go to the military arms merchants or the Wall Street bankers. Similarly, the workers are threatened that if they don’t accept wage cuts, they will lose their jobs. Again, the unspoken assumption is that – first, last, and always – the profits of the capitalists must be protected.

The Democrats and Republicans help impose this pre-set agenda on the people. Of course, the Democrats and Republicans put on a show and play a real con game on the public by pretending to "argue" over the agenda. But both "sides" of the "debate" remain within the limits set by the needs of monopoly capital. Thus, the Republicans demand the all-around privatization of the public schools while the Democrats advertise their program of partial privatization not merely as the "lesser evil" but as a real victory for the people. This pre-set agenda completely excludes the workers and prevents our country from finding solutions to the pressing economic, social and political problems facing the people.

Under the current system of bourgeois democracy, elections are held only to give the appearance of legitimacy, to create the idea that the people have given their consent to the rule of capital. Through the two-party monopoly the capitalists have rigged the system to insure that only representatives of big business control the seats of government. The people have no real vote or choice because the right to nominate candidates and run for office has been reserved as a privilege of the rich. What is more, the elected officials are completely unaccountable to the people, who are deprived of any direct role in setting the agenda or in governance.

In fact, behind the facade of democracy, government power is becoming more and more arbitrary. Take, for example, the government’s vast power to tax and spend. Over the last several years, the Democrats and Republicans have advertised their radical cutbacks in social investments and entitlement programs as a virtual "revolution" (read: counter-revolution). But the people had absolutely no role in the decisions to slash income support programs for the poor and most vulnerable or in the government program of privatizing social services. In the same way, the government continues to launch one war after another – in Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Columbia, etc., etc. – but the people are given no say so in these decisions. In other words, whenever the time for talk is over and the real interests of capitalism are at stake, the government reveals itself as nothing more nor less than the arbitrary, violent power of monopoly capital.

Civil liberties and democratic rights are under sharp attack. Through nonstop propaganda about the "war on drugs," "crime," etc., the capitalists create an atmosphere of hysteria and fear. The aura of "crisis" and "emergency" is used to justify the arbitrariness and repression of the state. These days, even the smallest protests or demonstrations of the workers and people are immediately surrounded by the police, curtailed by court injunctions, and presented as an issue of "law and order."