Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party: A Class Perspective
The problem isn’t that Bernie went against everything he had said about why he was running during his campaign and endorsed someone who’s the epitome of a pro Wall Street, pro big business, corrupt neoconservative politician. The problem is that he was never really against any of what Clinton represents; he was never against capitalism, which by definition, creates wealth for a few at the expense of many, by funneling the nation’s and even the world’s wealth into a few hands, leaving the majority poorer than ever. Bernie was never against an economic system that, by nature and by necessity, creates the income and wealth inequality that he was stressing and all the injustices and atrocities, including endless wars and police brutality, that go along with it.
What makes capitalism unlike any other socioeconomic system is how it can commodify just about everything, and as long as it can do that, and as long as the motive, the means, the opportunity and the demand exists, some will try and profit from just about anything, no matter how unethical, outrageous, inhuman or destructive it is, including the production and sale of illicit drugs or some new concoction pushed by giant drug companies or newer and more effective killing machines or the body organs of the poor and desperate or their underage daughters to use as sex slaves in what’s known as “sex trades” and much more. Capitalism creates abject poverty and therefore fertile grounds for such abuses and atrocities, not to mention reason for killer cops to shoot and kill innocent people whose lives are wasted, whether they stay alive on the streets or in prison or killed to keep capitalism alive.
What giant corporations like Monsanto or GE or Exxon-Mobile or Goldman Sachs or McDonnel Douglas and others do are no less outrageous, inhuman, destructive or unethical. It’s just that they do it on much larger scale with outcomes that aren’t as readily visible or graspable, from poisoning rivers and lakes with industrial byproducts or endangering the lives of workers with inadequate safety measures and contributing to global warming, among others. While some practices like child or slave labor is illegal in advanced capitalist countries, it’s still legal here in the US to wage war to sell weapons or to gain strategic and geopolitical advantage or to push food to children that’s bad for them and makes them sick or to overthrow governments or to commit military coups against democratically elected governments or to give weapons to a state committing genocide. It still warrants no prison time for bankers who defraud borrowers or CEO’s of oil giants for spilling oil in the ocean or for causing man-made earthquakes through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) or for contributing to climate change.
Capitalism even commodifies women. Capitalism may not be the first socioeconomic system that encourages or exacerbates sexism, but it is the most effective in degrading women and presenting them as sex objects and tools that can be bought and used for pleasure, just like a pack of cigarettes. I would argue that no other social and economic system engenders or incites as much hatred against and belittles and insults women as does capitalism.
Capitalism has also the unique ability to strip humanity and human empathy out of otherwise normal human beings and turn them into monsters, individuals who not only don’t care what their actions do to other people, but who actually take pride in being “good” and “smart” investors, who are focused strictly on maximizing profits, irregardless of the consequences of their actions and don’t let unimportant things like the lives and livelihood of others get in the way of their business decisions. If doing business with apartheid Israel that’s committing genocide against Palestinians is profitable, they’ll do it. If hiring death squads to murder local farmers in Central America is profitable, they’ll do that. If destroying the environment is the result of their “free enterprises”, so be it. Economic recessions and periods of high unemployment are considered “good investment opportunity” for them. So are wars that kill over a million people at a time, such as in Iraq, which Clinton called just that: “good investment opportunity”.
Greedy and ruthless business people are looked up to and rewarded with lucrative positions and opportunities. These people aren’t born heartless assholes. They’re trained to be that way by the system. You can’t have a system that encourages and in fact functions on greed and expect or ask individuals not to be greedy. They say “you are what you eat”. What’s even truer than that is that you are what you think, what you say and what you do.
Capitalism will by nature create different classes of people with vastly different interests and income and wealth levels. To maintain the capitalist rule, its proponents will always come together, make alliances and unite against the working class, as did Sanders and Clinton. Bernie was never with us. That’s why he ended up as nothing more than the sheepdog for someone who is the epitome of everything that’s wrong and that his supporters wanted to change. He was the wrong leader for a much needed campaign for change, which he pretended to lead and opportunistically and disingenuously called his “political revolution”, knowing that that was what his supporters wanted and that he couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver. The fact that he could ally himself with Clinton shows that he was no different. And he really, fundamentally and economically, isn’t any different. That’s what’s important to understand. Capitalism can’t be fair or just or democratic. So how can we expect one of its proponents not to unite with Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, which is clearly a criminal organization and an enemy of all humanity?
Trump is not the issue. He’s an excuse and a distraction. The problem is the two corporate parties and their dance together every four years, leaving people at the mercy and in the tight grip of a government that’s owned and run by giant multinational corporations and their big shareholders. Capitalism is the problem, which both Sanders and Clinton line up to defend and protect and would fight us for, with everything they have. That’s what makes them strategic partners. They would even, ultimately, ally themselves with Trump, if they felt they had to, to protect the system.
We’re led to believe that if we don’t vote for a Democrat, any Democrat, no matter how similar his or her positions are to Republicans, we will all die. This is like an abusive husband telling his wife that if she leaves him, she’ll have it much worse and so she stays and the abuse continues.
Isn’t it time to think deeper and more fundamentally? Isn’t it time to put our focus on the capitalist system rather than individual pro-capitalist politicians, who we hope will win in capitalist elections to give us the change we want and need, if and when elected to lead the very capitalist system that’s the problem in the first place?