Most people living in a deep seeded misconception that democracy and capitalism are harmonious if not mutually required. The Bernie Sanders bid for the presidency has caused us to questioned one of these while trying to strengthen the other. Regardless of what his presidency might accomplish, “for the first time since the end of the Cold — and perhaps since the beginning of the Cold War — large numbers of Americans have begun to ask questions about capitalism.” This economic concept that we have been taught is “not questionable” is beginning to be examined. All I can say is please don’t stop regardless whether Bernie should fail in his bid.
The article in the link below from Salon.com by Andrew O’Hehir examines this in much more detail. Sanders focus on the overwhelming issue of inequality has inevitably lead us to the very foundation of our economy, capitalism itself. Finally, as O’Hehir says “the neoliberal policy prescriptions of tax cuts, deregulation, privatization and fiscal austerity ha(ving) been understood as the natural order of things — and as the oxygen necessary to nourish democracy around the world — the Western world’s entire leadership caste has been startled to encounter a resurgence of systematic nonbelief.” As I read, I can’t help but feel an “ABOUT TIME” audibly slipping from my mouth. A lot has been written about this, for years, but until Bernie, the media avoided it as if it were mere myth. Even now it continues to be hard to find real unbiased discussion of where capitalism fits with democracy. The media and political powers don’t want that conversation to become center stage. O’Hehir says it well “To the bankers and politicians, it feels almost as if a crusty old Vermonter had come close to stealing a major-party presidential nomination on a platform of Flat-Earthism, or by professing that the moon landing was a fake.”
With the Republican Party representing the 1% and the Democratic Party focusing on the top 10%, protecting the economic status quo is priority number 1 and they seldom get to any others. There is no hoping for the Republican Party, but the Democrats used to be the party of the working man or the family man. The party of the people, unions, etc. Obviously that has changed, “the Democratic Party has spent the last few decades prostrating itself before the temple of Big Money — a process greatly accelerated under the husband of its current frontrunner — and renouncing any semblance of class-based politics or egalitarian economics.” Bernie frequently says it is not about him, but he has been the catalyst for discussions most of us never thought would take place. Again O’Hehir accurately says ” The Sanders campaign was an attempt to seize power in the Democratic Party, largely from outside, and renounce its allegiance to capitalism and its subservience to the entire package of economic, ideological and military imperialism sometimes called the ‘Washington consensus.’ The true danger that campaign presented to the American political establishment lay not so much in Bernie Sanders himself — an unlikely candidate, and a less likely nominee — as in the heretical ideas it embodied, which may now prove difficult to contain.”
There is a lot in this article. Read it in entirety and you will probably be thinking, as I am, we must keep the discussion front and center until everyone begins to question the role, definition and limits for what we call “capitalism”.