November 29, 20016
By Cheikh Amma Diop
Since the selection of Donald Trump for POTUS, we have heard racist, fascist, neoliberal propaganda on steroids. Recently it’s been revealed that Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has suggested it might be a good idea to only allow “property owners” to vote as once was the case in the U.S. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. The reality is that votes mean very little in a capitalist society. In fact, the U.S. remains a racist oligarchy known for its brutal economic inequality. In September 2014, Perspectives on Politics, a journal published by Cambridge University press, carried a research article entitled, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” They authors concluded that,
“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, THE PREFERENCES OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN APPEAR TO HAVE ONLY A MINUSCULE, NEAR-ZERO, STATISTICALLY NON-SIGNIFICANT IMPACT UPON PUBLIC POLICY (emphasis mine).
Furthermore, the preferences of economic elites (as measured by our proxy, the preferences of “affluent” citizens) have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do. To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; THEY FAIRLY OFTEN GET THE POLICIES THEY FAVOR, BUT ONLY BECAUSE THOSE POLICIES HAPPEN ALSO TO BE PREFERRED BY THE ECONOMICALLY-ELITE CITIZENS WHO WIELD THE ACTUAL INFLUENCE.
IN THE UNITED STATES, OUR FINDINGS INDICATE, THE MAJORITY DOES NOT RULE—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes (emphasis mine). When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.
Capitalists, not the masses who are not capitalists and are forced to work for the capitalists, are the holders of power and are the true “property owners” in america. We giddily call ourselves property owners when we “buy” houses and the associated land even though we are indebted for at least one generation before the property becomes ours, this being true as long as we can pay the taxes and don’t seriously challenge the status quo. The holdings of real property owners, the capitalists, are so vast as to stagger the imagination. Just check the current and historical economic inequality figures in the U.S. Capitalism is a hyper-elitist, super club that ruthlessly holds on to its wealth, power and privilege. They work to ensure their membership remains very small and predominately European.
Trump and his potential and actual appointees have threatened to privatize social security and medicare, denied climate change, accused Afrikans protesting state-sanctioned police violence with “instigating police killings,” threatened to tear up the Iran nuclear deal, ban muslims from entering the u.s., deporting millions of Mexicans and others from central America, and other unconstitutional proposals. Such ideas indicate a capitalist desire to retract some of the modest changes pushed for by the downtrodden masses over the past century or so; changes that have made life a bit more bearable in a heartless capitalist system but have left the fundamental essence of capitalism unscathed. Some of these changes put a little money in our pockets (overtime pay, paid time off, paid holidays) and provided very modest social support when needed (medicare, social security, employer provided health care, labor laws, public education). The capitalists, however, want to recoup the funding for these very modest programs. The challenge is how to do so without sparking mass outrage in the general populace generally and middle-aged white men in particular.
The capitalists are frantically trying to hold onto their front line soldiers in the face of an ongoing economic recession and the recent ascension of rival, non-european economic powers. Capitalist attempts to prevent their ominous economic decline by military attacks on rising powers in western Asia, imposing boycotts on non-compliant nations, bribes, proposing international trade deals, mass surveillance, espionage, rolling back financial and banking regulations and so on have failed. Now, even their always-faithful core supporters, middle-aged “white men (MAW),” are threatening to abandon the capitalist ship because they feel left behind, marginalized and hopeless regarding their economic future.
Even the overhyped propaganda powers of the corporate media have been unable to turn the tide of discontent among MAW. Distrust of the corporate media is at an all time high. And, to make matters worse for the capitalists, the recent emergence of rival, non-European media organizations has successfully challenged the mass media monopoly of American and European capitalists. Media outlets like RT (Russia), PressTV (Iran), TeleSur (Venezuela) and al-Jeezera (Qatar) are providing alternative reporting regarding global news, reporting that, in many instances, is contrary to that provided by American corporate media.
Enter Trump and his team with vociferous, fascist, racist, neo-libertarian propaganda like we haven’t seen in some time. This propaganda is a desperate attempt to maintain “party” discipline among their core supporters and nothing more. This is not the only tactic in their playbook by any means, however, it’s clear that American and European capitalists are running out of hegemonic options.
Middle-aged “white” men and their families will be even more enraged when they realize that the capitalists are working them like the slaves they are.
Voices of Fire