The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie

BY: M. Siddique| March 17, 2020
The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie


The nearly complete process of selecting the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party has been, as such periods of concentrated activities often are, revealing of the solidarity of the ruling class and the ferocity with which they defend their interests. When various public opinion polls reported the popularity of Senator Sanders’ “socialistic” proposals, there ensued panic and scrambling to generate fear among voters that Sanders is not electable because of his espousal of socialism.

The “charm” of the bourgeoisie was on full display as they weaponized “socialism” against Sanders, invoking Castro’s authoritarianism and lamenting the loss of “beautiful and luxurious” Havana under Batista’s rule; in reality, the city was famous for gambling and prostitution serving American mobs, politicians, and the oligarchy. Not a word about crushing poverty, literacy, and crime that was the lot of the common people.

Nor is there much discussion of socialism, even in the liberal media. At least Anand Giridharadas, in “The Billionaire Election,” points to the expanding income gap as the source of contention between Bernie Democrats and their establishment counterparts. Sanders’ policies promote the redistribution of resources, through taxation, to bring about some semblance of fairness, especially in health care, social security, and child care. On a few occasions, he made feeble attempts to describe his vision of democratic socialism by referring to Scandinavian countries, for which he has admitted his admiration. But he has not called for any fundamental change in the production relations, that is, social ownership of the means of production.

When is it a good time to talk about a socialist USA?  And where is the “venue,” even a virtual one, besides this forum and others associated with it? Surely there will be no discussion of socialism within the Democratic Party.

The anti-socialist bias is so deep that it takes little to mobilize the capitalists into action and everyone else to fall in line and vote for one who unambiguously supports corporate interests. Mr. Biden has no new proposals; the essence of his appeal is that he is associated with Obama’s accomplishments, including the incomplete health care program. So, is it acceptable to corporate Democrats that even with Obamacare, millions have no insurance? Indeed, the opposition to Sanders is entirely driven by the capitalists’ determination to prevent efforts to improve the lives of working people, because that will require taxing the rich and super rich. And corporate Democrats will do whatever is necessary to maintain their hold—including Rep. Jim Clyburn (S.  Carolina) placing his thumb on the “scale.”

Unfortunately, once again, the choice will be between the lesser of two evils. But it must be. The risk of reelecting Trump is not acceptable. (Just to be clear, Sanders would have as much ability to win against Trump as Biden, if not more.)

But as Marx wrote: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.”

Image: Lori Erickson, Creative Commons (BY-NC 2.0).


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