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Sanders vs. Trump: One Good Conspiracy Theory Deserves Another.

We have spent the last seven years listening to Shithead Trump explain things with reference to a conspiracy theory which blames everything and anything on an invented group of bad guys known as the Deep State.

What I didn’t realize until I read Bernie’s book, It’s OK To Be Angry About Capitalism, is that we have an equally false conspiracy theory floating around on our side, a theory which blames everything and anything on a group of ‘uber-capitalists’ who are doing as much or more to harm the average American as George Soros and his Commie-Pinko friends have ever done.

According to Bernie, capitalism has created a ‘billionaire class’ in the United States whose control of so much wealth robs everyone else of the basic freedoms which everyone should enjoy. Among other things, freedom means:

a. Being able to go to a doctor or a hospital and not having to pay so much that you wind up broke.

b. Being able to pay your rent without having to borrow money from a payday lender who charges exorbitant interest rates.

c. Being able to quit working when you’re 70 years old because you have a decent pension.

d. Not having to work 80 hours a week because you can’t find a job which pays a decent wage.

e. Not having to go back to work immediately after giving birth because you don’t get paid family leave.

Bernie lists a bunch of other freedoms that most Americans don’t enjoy because of the greed and rapaciousness of the uber-capitalist class. He sums it up like this: “While an exceptionally wealthy few wallow in affluence and become exponentially richer with each passing day, the majority of Americans live lives of quiet desperation.” [P. 97]

In order to control what Bernie calls ‘unfettered capitalism,’ the political system which supports it must be confronted so that everyone is guaranteed certain ‘economic rights.’ These ‘rights’ would give everyone good and affordable health care, good education, decent and affordable housing, a secure retirement, a clean environment, and a secure, well-paying, and meaningful job. [P. 165]

This last guarantee, the ‘meaningful’ job, is the one that really shows how far from reality Bernie has situated his argument, and if anything, it’s just a riff on what Marx said about capitalism more than 150 years ago. Because Marx, who never actually worked in any factory or other productive enterprise for one day during his entire life, was enamored with the idea that when socialism replaced capitalism, the proletariat would finally have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor and celebrate the dignity of their work.

Between my college years, while my classmates were selling ice cream at the beach for a dime for each dixie cup, I would get factory jobs paying three or four dollars an hour which was the ongoing union wage. One summer I worked in a plant unionized by the Teamsters, another summer I worked in a factory organized by the Steelworkers, and between my last semester in college and my first semester in graduate school, I worked in a shingle mill and was a member of the UAW.

Every other guy working on those factory lines was illiterate and had dropped out of school by the ninth grade. Every one of my workmates hated the noise, the dirt and the grime of these jobs, and everyone of them knew that they were stuck in these shithole factories for their entire working lives.

I don’t care what Bernie thinks or what he claims to have learned from the one, part-time job he had as a copy editor in some local newspaper, but I can tell you there’s absolutely no dignity in the work which is done by members of the so-called working class. Or as one guy on my factory shift once said to me, “The working class can kiss my ass. I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.”

The reason this country has no organized, opposition to capitalism is not because, pace Bernie, the uber capitalists have wiped the opposition out. It’s because the United States is the only Western country which granted universal suffrage to everyone (or at least all males) before the Industrial Revolution actually occurred. [Thanks Eric Foner.]

In other words, because every free male could vote, regardless of class status, every household had a stake in the system, as opposed to countries like England and France where socialist-style unions became the vehicles not just for better wages and benefits, but for any degree of participation within the political system itself.

Sorry Bernie, but for all your talk about how your Presidential campaigns have raised the consciousness of Americans to demand what is rightfully theirs, you might want to take a brief leave from the Senate and go get a real job.

Right now, there’s a company in Swanton, VT called Vermont Precision Tools, looking to hire a full-time machine operator. Know what it’s like to operate a tooling machine?

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