aNewDomain/SkewedNews — How should we apprehend and sort out the confusing collection of candidates running for the job of U.S. President this electoral round? From the ultra-reactionary Donald Trump to the pseudo-left populist Bernie Sanders and everyone in between, it seems we are looking at 37 candidates who sit along an enormous spectrum. Really, they’re just a bucket of crabs.
The sheer number of candidates is unprecedented. Each one of them is engaged in a crazy squabbling scramble to be the one to preside over the nation. But the real goal of each is to be the captain of the mothership — in the interest of capital.
It’s all about the money.
Each candidate is really just running for the position of capitalist steward
All 37 candidates, from Trump to Sanders, promise an approach and program that will lead America into a new and improved future.
But that better tomorrow doesn’t belong to us Americans. For us, all the candidates can offer are different shades of more of the same: lies, oppression, domination, exploitation and ecocide.
More than ever, politics is just a mirror of economics.
What’s worse, all their cures are poison
Politics in general, elections included, always reflect what occurs in the economy. Period.
When we see insanity in the political field, we can usually discern corresponding insanity in the economic field, too.
Financialization has mired the economy in a load of debt, and it has managed to separate currency from value in a wild joyride of speculation.
But now this joyride is coming to an end. Capitalism is quickly sinking into a deepening crisis. This is bigger than the plight of any individual enterprise. The whole system is sinking. Each candidate wants to offer her or his own special medicine as a cure, but all their suggested cures have side effects that are worse than any potential benefit they carry.
Whatever these cures do in an attempt to ease the pain only will make it worse.
And then there’s the crisis of representativity
The candidates who are running right now, from Sanders to Trump, all of them, have one thing in common: They don’t represent us.
Of course we all know that. Most Americans haven’t believed in the farce that is the U.S. presidential election for some time now. That’s why voter turnout is so low by international standards, and it’s why Congress and other political institutions draw single-digit approval ratings in the polls.
So why are all these clowns running for president?
They are not doing it merely for self-enrichment or self-aggrandizement, though surely such selfish goals play a part.
The electoral arena is where the capitalist class as a whole works out its internal differences and then chooses someone to act as its collective representative. The point is to preserve and promote their common interests.
But while each candidate attempts to fill that role, each must also try to handle the conflicting imperatives of all the different concentrations of capital within the class – financial, banking, industrial, commercial – as he or she battles it out over who gets to dominate the future of the economy.
Banking capital would like the whole economy to just be handed over to the banks. Industrial capital wants to suck the last drops of juice from labor exploitation and the natural world first. Finance capital wants to put us all on lockdown while they print more money for themselves.
Some candidates want the cheapest possible workforce, while others see the need to throw the masses a bone so we don’t upset their whole banquet table.
Sure, these fractions of capital are intertwined, tangled as they are in a web of common ownership and interests. But they are simultaneously in conflict,too. So finding someone who can represent them as a whole is proving incredibly difficult. Check out the chart below from the Federal Reserve. Double click to enlarge.
It’s capitalist pandemonium
Thirty-seven candidates and counting: the pandemonium on the capitalists’ own battlefield is a measure of their internal class contradictions.
None of the candidates has an alternative to offer that can encompass all of their interests and solve their common crisis. Most of them are not being seriously considered to serve as the next sapper-firefighter, even while their display of bribes and threats during the electoral process may help douse the fires of mass discontent.
Sanders and Hillary Clinton are hell bent on herding disaffected progressives back into the ring. Autocrat-wannabes like Trump, with antics that include shutting down journalists, never mind the First Amendment, are showing us a little preview of capitalism’s future as it continues its long, hard dive toward all-out fascism.
Whoever wins, we lose
Whoever wins, the future ushered in by the new president will be for a handful of capitalists, not for all of us.
The President of the United States of America’s job description prioritizes one aim over all others: to facilitate the accumulation of capital by the dominant classes, and by any means necessary.
Whoever wins will be tasked with fixing the ailing machine and making sure it doesn’t break down completely.
The only thing the 37 candidates are really disagreeing over is what the best way is to get that job done.
Beware the petite bourgeoisie
The capitalists rely heavily on the petite bourgeoisie, including NGOs, to be their foot soldiers at election time, directing them to corral the masses into the nonthreatening activity. They want to keep everyone busy organizing for them, and voting for them, rather than organizing ourselves to fight against them.
The sellouts and the opportunists (those who try to reconcile fundamentally opposing forces) are always trying to convince us to take sides among the different factions of capital, to ally with one “lesser evil” and its representatives over another.
But allying with one against another never does us any good. All of them are our fundamental enemy. It’s smarter to let them fight it out, while we strengthen our own forces. We can use the contradictions among them to advance our own struggle.
Forget the side debates, like whether Greens for Bernie are betraying their own candidate Jill Stein, or if Hillary is a strategic vote, or how weird Trump’s hair is. It doesn’t matter. And yes, while there are superficial differences among all those petty side issues, they are really not all that qualitatively different.
It doesn’t matter if a candidate is a “good person” or not or had “good hair” or not. All 37 candidates are just running for the job of capitalist steward.
If their intentions were good, they would struggle to overturn capitalism — not to run it, not to fix it.
None has an endgame that doesn’t involve sinking further into economic crisis and corresponding levels of repression and international conquest. Liberals and socialists running a capitalist economy still have to run the capitalist economy, which has its own non-negotiable imperatives.
Thus, historically, left populism always transfers into right populism. It never works the other way around.
So even if Sanders is elected, sooner or later he’ll likely wind up being the next Trump anyway.
We need a new game
We can’t solve our social problems by being drawn into this puppet show. Whoever gets elected will only make things worse. They can’t do otherwise. Capitalism’s crisis, which is global, can’t be solved in the framework of capitalism; it can only be managed and prolonged. Its duration will be defined and determined by the capacity of the working class and the masses to face the situation and provide a genuine alternative.
The only way to get out of this social crisis is to cut the Gordian knot of capitalism, chuck it all and build a new economy on a new basis: one for the masses, by the masses, led by the working class, in our interests.
For aNewDomain and the new SkewedNews, I’m Stephanie McMillan.
Cartoon historic image: GraphicWitness.org, All Rights Reserved; Trump cartoon image: ImageShack.us, All Rights Reserved; All images of candidates: Have run and been credited previously on aNewDomain, all are All Rights Reserved.