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Cynicism and American Politics

Discussion in 'Anarchism and radical activism' started by outlaw squaw, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. outlaw squaw

    outlaw squawActive Member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    I decided to re-post this one to see what people think
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    Cynicism and American Politics

    When Bill Maher, the comedian turned political commmentator, was recently asked on CNN if he thought Sarah Palin has a future as a presidential candidate he opined, “I don’t know about a presidential candidate, but I would never put anything past this stupid country.” When angry callers asked Maher to clarify what he meant by his statement they were met with the curt response: “I don’t need to clarify, it is!”

    Sadly Maher’s sentiment finds echoes among many who identify themselves as “liberal” and “progressive.” Paradoxically it is a view that is utterly reactionary, unscientific, and elitist to its core. After all, like everyone else in the mainstream media, Bill is no Marxist. As he once put it, “Of course Capitalism is good, I am not a Communist.”
    Cynicism is a very useful tool for those in power. Although it inherently expresses a sense of dissatisfaction, it offers nothing as a way out. The charade of the two-party system has done a lot of damage to American workers’ perception of politics in general, and created a situation where cynicism and apparent apathy is widespread. Just listen to a little bit of the late, great, George Carlin and you’ll see just how deep-rooted it has become.
    The two-corporate-party setup in the US tends to churn up a lot of political confusion. The lack of a fundamental difference between the two parties reduces much of the political discussion to extremely petty issues.
    Gore Vidal expressed this quite well when he said: “We only have one political party in the US, and that is the property party, which essentially is corporate America, which has two right wings, one called Republican and one called Democrat. I can’t say I like either of them.” We couldn’t have said it better - no wonder most American workers are alienated from politics!
    When the elections roll around, the decision as to which politician to support often boils down to their personality traits rather than their platform. Incredibly, polls show that Americans have consistently elected the presidential candidates that they would rather have a beer with since Reagan. In the case of Sarah Palin this is all too true. Being the first woman and “regular hockey mom” to come so close to the Presidency, she is of serious symbolic importance to many women, who rightly are disgusted by the glass ceiling for women under this system.
    The same is true of Barack Obama. What he symbolizes for millions of poor and working class Americans, and especially minorities, is extraordinary and cannot be underestimated. If the mainstream narrative is to be believed, his Presidency ushers in a “post-racial” era in US politics. But has there really been any fundamental stray from the policies of Bush? The fact is, despite the color of Obama’s skin, he and the Democratic Party represent the very same people behind the Bush presidency.
    One major reason for the current apathy is that millions of people feel that they have nothing to vote “for.” After all, as Michael Moore once put it, the lesser evil is still evil! Many people have given up on simply voting “against” the “other” party.
    What is needed in the US is a party that represents working people. Such a party could be the political expression of the labor movement to combat the attacks of both the Republicans and Democrats. Such a party would go far in combatting the cynical and apathetic attitudes of many toward politics, as there would finally be a force led by workers in the interests of workers, particularly the most exploited sections of society, minorities, immigrants and women.
    What excuse would anyone have to be apathetic or cynical if such a party existed? Of course, many mass labor parties around the world have had time to develop a strong bureaucratic crust on top, which acts against the interests of the workers they are supposed to represent, but their power is increasingly being challenged by the rank and file. An American mass party of Labor would be forged in flames that most careerists and bureaucrats are terrified of, the flames of struggle!
    A Labor Party would drastically change the dynamics of American politics. American workers would quickly reclaim the militant traditions of labor battles that once shook the country. This may seem like ancient history to some, especially those like Bill Maher, but history has a funny tendency of repeating itself on an even higher level than before.
    Folks like Bill Maher, while being astute commentarists on the absurdities of the system, have no faith in or even the remotest conception of the potential power of the working class to change society. Once American workers have a mass political party of their own, Maher and co. will have to find other things to joke about.


    Written by Mark Rahman
     

  2. Rabbit

    RabbitExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 26, 2009
     
    Interesting thought. I love Bill Maher (especially after seeing Religulous) and I have to say that anyone who really knows about politics tends to agree.
     
  3. Vegetarian Barbarian

    Vegetarian BarbarianExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 19, 2009
     
    Its a joke in itself if you honestly think that the mass majority of american workers would get together and have a party that will do what they wanted. Between watching sports and drinking beer all day, america is doomed.
     
  4. outlaw squaw

    outlaw squawActive Member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    I think the article provides good reasons why american workers are alienated from politics and offers a way out
     
  5. outlaw squaw

    outlaw squawActive Member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    I sort of liked Religulous, but I also agree with the author of the article, people like Maher excessively express dissatisfaction, but offer nothing as a way out
     
  6. Rabbit

    RabbitExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 26, 2009
     
    I've watched Bill Maher's show a couple of times. He does offer some constructive thoughts, but yes, it is mostly rather cynical about the system.

    I thought Religulous was good because it wasn't Michael Moore. It wasn't so horribly biased towards one opinion. It was certainly anti-religious, but I felt that it was reasonable. Maher also shows respect for the people he disagrees with, and I think he deserves credit for that.
     
  7. outlaw squaw

    outlaw squawActive Member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    Can't argue with that
     
  8. Vegetarian Barbarian

    Vegetarian BarbarianExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Oct 19, 2009
     
    The way out is there, but the effort is not
     
  9. outlaw squaw

    outlaw squawActive Member Forum Member


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    Oct 12, 2009
     
    I am not sure what exactly you mean. blame it on my second language shortcomings. Which effort? is not where? what I see is massive apathy , the reasons are obvious, political arena is confusing and the working class dudes are alienated from it due to lack of time to follow or think about whats going on there. There are some people who try to break through that apathy by spending their time and putting their effort. They offer to register a Worker's Party for those who have no time to think because they have to struggle to make their living most of the time, in order to explain to them whats going on and why and what we can do about it. And to protect their interests too. So those people provide us with reasons why they want to have such a party and why such a party is necessary. You agree with them or disagree with them? If you agree, explain to everyone you know the necessity of such a party, or even better once you have enough followers, go and register it yourself. All you need is to send a letter to the secretary of your state with the names and addresses of the party officials, party's name ( Worker's Party) and constitution or bylaws (representing the working class and protecting its interests) and Voila. Once every state has a party, choose a leader and go for elections. The only reason why such party might never win is people's apathy. So, don't be the part of it, and kick the others out of it, use your foot if necessary, wake them up.
     
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