Reigning in the Plutocrats
This article seeks to identify why elected officials refuse to work for the betterment of the citizenry, comprised nearly entirely of proletarians with united class interests, but for bourgeois interests. I will identify the main mechanisms of permeation of bourgeois interests in officials and solutions to be enacted for the strengthening of proletarian voices. I will ignore the concept of ideology (Althusser), cultural hegemony (Gramsci), and superstructure (Marx), and I will focus on purely material reforms in structure. Obviously, a law upheld by repressive state apparatuses, like private property “rights,” uphold capital — I will not be proposing changes to laws, but rather structural reforms in how a legislative branch should run in transition. These reforms seek the achievement of a leftist society.
I will assume the political structure of elected-representative democracy as the best form of government and taxation in a capitalist economy to be necessary for transition, as explained by Marx. The state, as traditionally known as an instrument of class rule, exists to uphold capitalist relations of production in a class society. Yet, the state is crucial to transitioning to a leftist society. We must wrest the state from bourgeoise hands and use it as an expression and means to proletarian interests. To reiterate my earlier point, these reforms are to deal with structure. To begin, we must first see what the people themselves think of their elected officials and government in general.
Support for the U.S. government, as seen above, has been in sharp decline. Obviously, the fluctuations above represent whether the government has been serving the interests of its citizens (most of which are manufactured). The government has even made individuals aggravated at its rampant flaws. The Pew Research Center found that in August of 2020, 81% of Americans identified their feelings toward government as ‘angry’ or ‘frustrated.’
You would think that an angry population would have officials working night and day to sate the interests of those that give them power, no? But, we see nothing of the sort. In fact, elected officials seem to be doing the opposite. They mysteriously become millionaires in office, while those that have chosen them as representatives suffer and are swept under the rug. How can the representatives of the people sit on riches while the poor starve on the streets? First, I will identify the mechanisms by which the bourgeoise influences the state as an institution and how to combat this. We live in a plutocracy, not a democracy.
The most obvious reform to the system is banning all forms of political bribery, especially lobbying. Lobbying is the process of paying a representative to support whatever the interests of the lobbier are in government, in order to further the lobbier’s goals. In 2020, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that $3.5 billion was spent on lobbying alone.
A fine example of lobbying working against every American’s interests would be lobbying against climate change policies, especially those that attack fossil fuel industries. In 2019, the 5 largest “publicly-owned” companies spent $200 million on hindering climate referendums and the proper democratic process for the betterment of all.
One of the most widely lobbied-for acts was the TCJA. Eight of the 10 largest companies (by revenue) lobbied for the implementation of the TCJA (Walmart, Amazon, Exxon Mobil, Apple, CVS, Berkshire Hathaway, McKesson, and AT&T). The TCJA decreased the top corporate tax rate by 14%, dropping from 35% to 21%, set to expire in 2025.
The Marxist already understands that capitalism requires the exploitation of the agents of labor in the production process. Taxation at least provides social services en masse and should be heavily encouraged and strips the rich of the surplus they have appropriated. As seen above, bourgeoise interests cannot be allowed to affect officials that represent the proletariat. Elected officials choose money over the people they represent.
Secret Donors & PACs
A Political Action Committee (PAC) is an organization that raises money to campaign for or against a candidate. A SuperPAC is an organization that doesn’t pay a candidate but acts separately, doing things like advertisement campaigns and mailing letters. PACs and SuperPACs vary in purpose, some representing bourgeois interests (business), proletarian interests (labor), and other issues not specific to a class. PACs allow donors to hide behind a mask. PACs and SuperPACs allow shady individuals to hide and still influence members of the legislative body. In fact, it even seems worse, as at least lobbiers must disclose their names and objectives. In 2020, SuperPACs spent $2.1 billion furthering the goals of their cause, whether for the benefit of the proletariat or not. In 93% of races in the House of Representatives and 94% of senate races, the candidate that spent the most money won. Clearly, money is a major factor in elections. We must know the individuals and corporations who are spending egregious amounts to influence the outcomes of our elections to guarantee that bourgeois actors aren’t acting away from the public eye. Also, despite some PACs and SuperPACs supporting proletarian interests, they are a terrible way to influence elections. It is clear that in the event of a real left-wing candidate running, capitalist PACs and SuperPACs would race to fund all sorts of reactionary ads and the like to hinder progress for the proletariat. PACs and SuperPACs must be abolished before a left-wing party can take shape.
Skewed Democratic Process
There are many specific reforms necessary for the proletariat to truly be represented. Democratic processes that give unfair advantages to certain individuals are as follows:
Gerrymandering is the manipulation of district boundaries to favor a certain party. We must redraw and correct the districts for proper progress based on the principle of equality for all. No proletarian is greater than another. If this continues, I do not doubt that left-wing districts will be tampered with.
- Disenfranchisement of Prisoners
I wrote an article on this subject already. You can access it here.
- Single-choice Voting
Single-choice voting does not allow for the growth of new political parties. You cannot and will not see the growth of left-wing parties without a change, as voters cannot choose the party that best lies with their interests, but the party that is the ‘lesser of two evils.’ This allows bourgeoisie parties, Democrats and Republicans, to hold power in a love-hate relationship.
Now that we have properly established the structures in our system that make it serve the interests of the bourgeoisie, we must propose structural changes to our democracy for functionality.
The following structural changes can fix the issues plaguing the current system:
- Impose an imperative mandate upon all legislators
- Make lobbying a capital offense for treason
- Abolish PACs SuperPACs
- Redraw election districts
- Enfranchise prisoners
- Ranked-choice voting system
- Elections every six months
These specific reforms will wrest control of electoral systems from the bourgeois and into the hands of the proletariat. No more will plutocrats rule the state. Please note that this is purposely distinct from major law changes in say, rights to private property. With these reforms enacted, the beauty of democracy can shine in the darkness propounded by capitalism.