Even cable network pundits admitted that the President’s so-called State of the Union Address was a “nationalistic” and jingoistic speech that sounded like a pep rally, full of references to “American exceptionalism” meant to make us all feel good about “our great country” and forget about the realities going on around us – a well-delivered “patriotic” speech, full of feel-good generalities, without anything specific that would actually help the middle class, let alone the starving poor, despite repeated references to “the middle class”, which has been pushed into poverty, while the rich has got richer. It almost sounded like he was trying to prepare us for another war. But, such jingoistic speeches aren’t just for rallying people to support a war. Nationalism is also a cover to hide economic realities.
Why is it, you might ask, that both corporate parties keep talking about the middle class, and yet it’s the middle class that keeps getting poorer, with low and stagnant wages, rising college tuition and rising household debt, while they work harder and harder? Why, despite all this “concern” for the middle class, they’re worse off now that they were before a Democratic president took office, five years ago?
The reason has to do with political clout and representation. What you’ll never hear in your government and “political science” class, or in such speeches, is that policy is the result and consequent of power. If you have the power, you set the policy. What’s taught instead is a vague and abstract notion of “democracy”, reinforced in schools and on media, which meshes all people together and states that since people choose their representatives and president in a free election, the majority gets its interests represented in government. But, we all know, that it’s not the elections that determine which group (or class) of people get to dictate policy, but, rather, who CONTROLS the policy making process DIRECTLY. That class of people are those with the big money and hence the power.
To use an example from other countries under US influence, if you have the presence of US troops and generals, as well as, US money being handed out generously to top hand-picked officials of a foreign government, you can’t expect that government to make policy that’s for the good of the majority of that nation’s population. Naturally, those policies set under those circumstances will benefit those with the money and power, which are US corporations, who exert their power and influence through the US government.
What I just described is one of the ways imperialism operates, but, the domestic situation isn’t all that different, and that’s because power and money is universal and work in similar fashion, everywhere. The middle and lower classes are, in truth, not represented and don’t wield power, as do the top 1%, and will therefore not be helped by either party of the rich. This is why elections are divorced from and don’t produce the desired results.
None of this is taught in government classes or mentioned in speeches because exposing such truth would throw away the entire concept of the fraudulent “democracy” that’s been constructed and is taught and sold to the American people.
So, Obama is about to give his State of the Lies Address. I mean State of the Union Address. The latest poll shows 68% of Americans feel worse off now than 5 years ago and only
31% feel they’re better off.
63% feel the country is on the wrong track and only 28% think it’s going in the right direction. Only 3% feel the state of the union is strong. So, when Obama says tonight that the state of the union is strong, he’ll be going against the opinion of 97% of the population. 81% have caught on to the fact that the economy works for the rich, as opposed to 13% who think it works for the poor. Guess who thinks it works for the poor? Mostly, the rich, of course. So, when he talks about the economic recovery, many should be able to see how hollow his words are.
But, the ruling class knows that they can’t hide such things for too long and that’s why they’ve hired him: to put a spin on it and say that he cares about it, that he feels our pain. And, indeed, He’s the best person for giving us such bull. That’s what he’s best at and excels at, bar none: giving lip service to a problem that’s on people’s minds and doing everything he can in the opposite direction for the benefit of his Wall Street masters, which end up perpetuating and exacerbating the very problem he tells us he cares about. See how masterfully he does that tonight to brain dead liberals’ enthusiastic applause.
The system – a monopoly capitalist economic system in its advanced phase of imperialism, unleashed upon the people of the world, resulting in 85 individuals owning as much wealth as 3.5 billion people (the equivalent of the population of China, India, the entire continent of Africa and Australia, combined) – will not produce or allow a US president, through its electoral process that would dismantle this abusive, hyper-exploitative and violent system and meet people’s basic needs. That’s a fact whether you like to admit it or not. President after president, they come with loud hoopla and fresh promises they can’t and won’t keep and people continue to suffer and their lot keeps getting worse and people keep dying due to unnecessary wars, disease and poverty, all preventable, all due to greed, all due to unbridled world capitalism in its boldest and most dangerous.
We just went through one of the biggest electoral frauds ever played on us. We were told it’s going to be different this time, as we always are told, because this time, it’s our “first black president”. He came, we (many of us) cheered and applauded and felt proud and patiently waited and all we saw was more wars, more joblessness, higher tuitions, higher debts, more environmental ruin, newer genetically modified produce, more wealth and income inequality and more deaths and destruction overseas.
But, it’ll be different next time because next time, it’ll be our “first” woman president.
I have often written about the fraudulent nature of elections and the futility of voting as a way of changing the policies and priorities from serving the 1% to meeting the needs of the 99%. Following is an explanation as to why I think that.
First, let me say that I’m not against all elections and under all circumstances. But, do I think elections have the potential or ability to dramatically and fundamentally change things and set the country on a different course in this country? No, I don’t. I think not only they don’t and are meant or set up not to, but they’re actually a way of preventing and avoiding real change? Such deception by offering a fake as a replacement for what’s actually needed is nothing new. Often, when people collect signatures and put a progressive proposition on the ballot that some corporations are against, the latter introduce an alternative that is advertised as better, but which in fact, doesn’t accomplish what the original one intended. The fake is the means for avoiding and thwarting the real. By presenting elections as the way to achieve change – how often do we hear: if you’re not happy with the current policies, vote; when do we hear: protest? – they’re avoiding and distracting from what could actually bring about real change, namely, a grass roots movement by an informed population exerting direct pressure from below, rather than voting for politicians who ultimately depend on corporations to get elected and are under their order and influence, once elected. Remember, Dr. King didn’t run for office, which he very well could have, especially when he had millions of supporters. The ruling class would have loved for him to do that. If he had, not only he wouldn’t be on FBI’s kill list and spied on and followed and plotted against, but would have the Secret Service’s protection, too. But, unlike Obama, he wasn’t in it for his own ambition and personal gain. He knew what the job description for heading US imperialism was and he didn’t want it. Instead, he wanted real change, and that’s why he was leading marches rather than taking campaign contributions from corporations which he would then have to return the favor. Even Ralph Nader, who periodically runs or used to run, never tried to organize street protests and marches, though I’m sure he’s not against them. That’s a significant difference.
After 8 years of George W. Bush, when the majority wanted a change, every candidate was promising it, including the Republicans. And, it wasn’t just Bush who continued corporatist and anti-worker policies, Clinton before him was not much different and neither were those before him, with some variations, and certainly not Obama, after him. The fact is, there is great consistency and continuity in policies of the US government and the reason is that while the particular president and his party may change, the class that they represent doesn’t. If you want to know if you can achieve change by voting, just ask unions of this country who support and vote for Democrats every election cycle and get disappointed every single time. As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, each time. A politician does not walk into a vacuum to bring with him his new plans and program. He’s like a manager of a company who gets hired to maximize profits for the company, except that in this case, he works for the entire class.
Had the ruling class not offered people the fake means for having a voice, people would eventually find their own way and we all know what that way might be. But, elections in capitalist countries are not only meant as a means of public deception. The ruling class does pick and choose between competing views within the system, but it’s all within the system. So, elections are fake as far as the working class is concerned. For the ruling class, elections are a way of evaluating their options and picking the ones that best suit their needs at any given time. So, in that respect and for them, the elections are very much real and serve a purpose, in addition to being a tool for public deception.
Not only does the ruling class have all holes covered to make sure there is no systemic change, elections are also conditional: they will count and tabulate the results and stand by them, as long as they know they won’t lose their power. Once they realize it might not go as planned, the mask will come off and all pretense of “democracy” and respect for “rule of law” and “the Constitution” will get cast aside and they will roll out the tanks and the helicopters. They take their power seriously and are not about to give it up easily.
Since the system is set up to maintain the status quo and keep the ruling class in power, elections under these circumstances can only give them legitimacy and “mandate” to go on with their anti-working-class policies. However, if by some rare chance and in the unlikely event, we get a candidate with a revolutionary program who can garner enough votes to have any chance, sure. why not? We can vote. And, when the government dismisses him or her and nullifies the election results, it might help create a movement. But, as I said, that’s very unlikely, and remember what the job title and description is: heading US imperialism. Those who supported Obama in 2008, didn’t just make a mistake about the person, though all signs were there that he wasn’t a progressive, but also about the system and what was possible within that system.
I believe our focus must be on exposing their elections that are influenced and decided by big money. When we participate in them, it seems hypocritical of us to try to expose them and point to what really works, while at the same time taking part in them.
So, why is it highly unlikely if not impossible for a candidate to change things? Because the ruling class remains in power. Power does have consequences. Regardless of your politics, belief system or ideology, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or “Independent” or “socialist” or a Marxist, you’d have to agree that what determines which class gets to dictate its policies depends on which class has the state power; i.e.: controls the police, the law making, the courts, the media, the economy, the military, etc. If the point is to change policies from benefiting one class (currently the capitalists) to another (workers), and if the policies that are imposed on the society are those of the class in power, then it follows that if the working class wants to set policies, instead of corporations, then, it has to take power from corporations and their owners. Only then can it change the economic system from being based on corporate profiteering to one that meets people’s needs, from one that considers means of production the private property of some wealthy individuals to one where they belong to the entire society, from one that benefits a few at the top to one that benefits all. But, that would not be possible without taking the state power which means disarming the 1% and purging them from all positions of power. It means expelling their politicians, their judges, their generals, and dismantling their armies, their spy agencies and their police, and taking away and nationalizing their corporations, including their mouthpiece, the media, which brainwashes people on their behalf. Without taking the state power and all its organs from them, we can’t make fundamental changes because as long as they remain in power, they will prevent and stop us and will sabotage and thwart our plans and will eventually crush us and we’ll be back where we started.
In short, fundamental change will require taking all levers of power and influence from the 1% and empowering the working class and that means revolution. Elections are not set up for taking state power from one class for another. The latter is a revolution and a revolution is considered an act of war and will be dealt as such because now you’re trying to get from them what really matters and gives them the ability to rule.
It’s with that understanding and within that context that I think we must view elections. If, for example, you can use elections to take power from them, then, fine, try it, but, real change will ultimately require state power and that can only be accomplished through a people’s revolution, which is nothing, but class war – and it is a war – in its most advanced and final stage.
It’s easy to support past struggles, long after their victory, long after police beatings, arrests, long jail sentences and long after all the spilled blood has been washed away and disappeared from public view. You can even feel good about yourself for taking such progressive and tolerant positions – about those past struggles. Slavery? You wouldn’t hesitate for a second to say how horrible it was. Segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings? How could they do those things? Concentration camps for Japanese Americans? That was just so wrong.
But, when it comes to today’s struggles, now that’s different. Those protesters are just a bunch of radicals who don’t appreciate what a good country they live in. They want jobs? There are jobs. They’re just lazy and don’t want to work. They want living wages? How could companies make money if they paid their workers such high salary? “Occupy” streets? Do they realize they’re going against our first black president? Now, that’s racist. We should be proud that we’re past racism, not protest. Some people will never be happy. Those protesters are breaking the law and disturbing the peace and deserve to be jailed.
The movie “Butler”, like others like it, shows sympathy to blacks fighting against racial injustice and for equal rights, in the 50’s and 60’s. It shows how some college students refuse to sit at their designated spots in a restaurant and how ordinary white people taunt, insult, spit at, and physically assault them. The makers of the movie have no problem showing their empathy for those assaulted innocent young men and women. They even admit that they were “fighting for the soul of America”, which is a code word meaning: “Whatever the past was and we agree some parts were ugly, America makes amends and redeems itself”.
At the end, the movie shows the butler, who served the presidents at the White House, all his life, come to understand and empathize with his son who, unlike him, always stood up against injustice and struggled against it. That’s quite a position to take, until you notice, how they choose to end the movie. Both the butler and his rebellious son are thrilled to see America’s soul saved by the election of the first black president. The movie ends by showing the butler in tears as he watches the news of Obama winning the presidency, while an excerpt of Obama’s speech plays in the background, ending in “yes, we can”.
Yes, we can sympathize with past struggles that saved “America’s soul” and made it more perfect. Yes, we can elect a black president that serves white billionaires in much more meaningful and effective way than a black butler ever could at their dinner parties. Yes, we can tell the world: we’re past racism now because the person who orders bombings and assassinations and aids apartheid and does what large corporations want him to do and okays spying on protesters is a black man. Yes, we can.
Whenever working people begin to organize and fight back against corporations whose excessive greed pushes workers into poverty and hunger, their representative government begins to move towards fascism to stem the tide of workers’ resistance. This is as predictable as it getting dark when the sun goes down.
After decades of take backs and cut backs, culminating in the Great Recession that pushed millions more into hunger, there appeared signs of resistance in the US. Immediately, the government began tightening the screws and gave new powers to police and military, most notably, by enacting the NDAA, in order to preempt the formation of a movement, before it could take hold. Wiretapping, eavesdropping and spying was escalated, whistle blowers were punished in an unprecedented way, even journalists were threatened and intimidated, secrecy increased, the president got new powers not given in the Constitution and police activity reached new heights, virtually, turning the country into a police state. And, this is despite the fact that the Occupy Wall Street has lost momentum and has been inactive.
The move towards fascism is on, but the trend is not the work of this or the previous president or any particular Congress. The government does what it needs to, in order to protect the interests and powers of the corporations who collectively are the real rulers, regardless of who got more votes in the latest elections. We must stop putting our hopes in this or that politician: Maybe Obama will be different. Maybe Hillary will be different. Maybe if Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, they’ll listen to us. Such thinking. just shows a lack of understanding as to how the ruling class and their government operate. They have a lock on the elections and complete control over politicians who are carefully vetted and screened before receiving the required financial support for their campaign. Moreover, even if a radical one got through, he or she would be limited by what he or she can do. Politicians elected by corporate support and money have no illusion as to what they can or cannot do. Those with the illusion is the voting public.
Things will therefore not change until people reject the corporate electoral charade and stop chasing this or that politician. It will take organizing and meeting the corporate government at their posts and barracks, street by street, building by building.
Some of people’s commonly held beliefs are based on nothing but lies, told to them all their lives, such as those that falsify the nation’s history to give a sanitized version of it and establish the “country” as benevolent, exceptional and doing good in the world. When taught to kids at young age, such lies become accepted at face value and become part of their mindset and psyche and are therefore hard to unlearn and reject, even in adulthood. When it’s accepted that this is an exceptionally good and benevolent country, operating on the basis of justice, freedom, democracy, and opportunity for all, it then becomes easy to present the objectives of a colonial war as the spread of democracy, or freeing a nation from a brutal dictator, or saving the world of the danger of another.
The existence of such systematic brainwashing by the ruling minority, itself, becomes hard to accept by the general public because it goes against the very set of beliefs they’ve learned and held all their lives. Asking them to abandon and reject those beliefs is like asking them to reject who they are – their identity – and will elicit strong resistance.
When I talk to people about US foreign policy and its objectives and motives, I often get a reaction like: “we’re not all bad; there are also much that’s good about us” (notice the use of the word “we” and “us”), or “we’re not the only ones doing bad things”, and “this is still the best country there is”. It should come as no surprise that some of the most commonly accepted twists on reality have become part of the speech, too, since speech and thought process are closely related and reinforce each other. That’s why the country and its inhabitants are referred to as if “we” are one homogeneous and harmonious people with the same “national interests”, values, opportunities and “national security” needs, which, as a whole, makes “us” unique among all nations in the world, which explains, for example, why “we” need to go to war to protect “our” “national interests”.
As vile as such brainwashing is, it’s quite natural and is to be expected in a class society. When you have a small minority of super wealthy, holding all levers of power, setting policy, deciding election results and controlling all major outlets, they WILL also set and control the public mindset, beliefs and culture, and influence speech.
In selecting whom to promote and help get into office, the ruling billionaires and CEO’s pay attention to such language. Obama was smart enough to understand that back in 2004, when he famously said in his Democratic National Convention speech that “there isn’t a white America and a black America, but the United States of America. There isn’t a red America and a blue America, but the United States of America”. Such speech is meant to obfuscate and hide class differences. Due to the innately unjust and undemocratic nature of the capitalist system, the ruling class of filthy rich has no choice, but to use lies and deception to make the poor majority accept their rule and vote against their own interests, even in the face of the obvious results and inevitable predicament they keep finding themselves in.
It’s quite Ironic, if not impressive, that such inherently undemocratic system should stake a claim on “democracy”. And their justification for that claim? Because there are two, rather than one, capitalist parties for people to choose from, and because a bunch of bought-out millionaire congressmen and congresswomen discuss usually insignificant issues, usually of no consequence and to no affect on the operations and objectives of the military-industrial complex, or, more to the point, on people’s lives. And, when they do enact laws, they’re usually for controlling the masses and to ensure an environment suitable for and amenable to the smooth functioning of the corporations.
If there is one thing to be said about capitalism it’s that image is everything. No wonder, the Pentagon and the CIA have yearly budgets specifically for spreading disinformation, including paying “journalists” to write false articles and “insert” them into major newspapers. You can tell a lot about an economic system that relies on lies, fabrications, deception and “disinformation” for its survival.