HOW TO EVALUATE A POLITICIAN
by John Spritzler
April 14, 2018
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/how-to-evaluate-a-politician
The reason so many people got snookered by Bernie Sanders is because they were not evaluating him the way we need to evaluate a politician. Let me provide some historical background on this.
During the pre-Civil War years of the American slave South, there were a substantial number of white pro-slavery Southerners who advocated and sincerely fought for improvements in the material well-being of the slaves. Their motive was to make the system of slavery more secure, and in particular to make it harder for world opinion to criticize it. These reformers were totally opposed to the abolitionists! They were totally PRO-SLAVERY! [Read about this in Roll Jordan Roll, in the section titled "In the Name of Humanity and the Cause of Reform" (at the 7% mark in the e-book version)]
REFORM OR ABOLITION?
Had we been alive at this time of slavery, we should have evaluated the reformers as being pro-slavery because they were opposed to abolition of slavery and this was evident from the simple fact that they did not advocate abolition. Our evaluation of these reformers would not have been based on how nice their proposed reforms were, or whether they were getting money secretly or otherwise from slave-owners, or what their voting record (if they had one) was. No! All that was required to see that they were the enemy was to see that they did not advocate abolition of the slave system.
Similarly, FDR famously declared that his New Deal was intended to save the capitalist system. The fact that FDR never opposed the wage-slavery system, i.e., class inequality, was--by itself!--sufficient to show that he was not a real friend of ordinary people.
FDR's true aim became more clear when he aggressively attacked the End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign that aimed to let the many workers who had lost their jobs in the Depression use the property of bankrupted businesses to start producing for their own needs instead of for profit. This campaign had grown enormously large, so large that it managed to overthrow the Democratic Party leadership by making the Socialist Upton Sinclair its nominee for Governor in 1934. FDR invented and employed the dirty tricks we take for granted today to prevent Sinclair (the Democratic Party candidate!) from winning the election and to ensure that the Republican Party would win it.
We are currently living in a dictatorship of the rich, in a system of wage slavery. Most Americans are simply the "hired hands" of the rich; the rich make us work for the benefit of the rich, the rich make us obey the rich on the job, and the rich pit us against each other with all kinds of divide-and-rule to prevent us from removing the rich from power and abolishing the wage-slavery system.
When an FDR or a Bernie Sanders-type politician comes along, the way to evaluate him/her is simple: Ask: Does this politician call for abolition of the wage-slavery class inequality system? Or does he/she call for reform of the wage-slavery system of class inequality? In other words: Does the politician call for removing the rich from power to abolish class inequality with no rich and no poor? Or does the politician call for merely reforming the system of class inequality, reforming the wage-slavery system, allowing the billionaires to remain billionaires in a system in which money is power?
If a politician is not advocating abolition of wage-slavery, i.e., abolition of class inequality, then he or she is acting as the enemy. (The politician may be a decent person whom we can persuade to stop acting as the enemy, and of course we should try to do this by being friendly and respectful to the politician on a personal level, but not after it becomes clear the politician is not going to be persuaded.) We should no more support such a politician than the anti-slavery abolitionists should have supported the defenders of slavery back in the days of chattel slavery whether they were advocating better material conditions for slaves or not.
If a politician, for example, advocates "taking money out of elections" but does not advocate taking the billions of dollars out of the hands of the billionaires to have no rich and no poor, then it should be obvious to us that this politician is advocating keeping the system of class inequality with some rich and some poor. It should be obvious to us that this politician is against what we are for: abolition of class inequality, which is a necessary condition for having genuine democracy because otherwise the richest people will remain the most powerful people no matter what silly laws are passed to "take money out of elections."* And the rich will continue to do the terrible things we see them do today to maintain their wealth and power and privilege, as I discuss here.
It is not necessary to examine how nice or not the politician's reform proposal is. Nor is it necessary to investigate who is funding the politician, or how the politician has voted in the past as a legislator. All that is necessary is to see if the politician is for reform or for abolition.
Of course there will come a time (I hope) when the movement for abolition of wage-slavery has grown much larger than it is now, and when this happens there will be politicians who say they are for abolition but whose real aim is to prevent the abolitionist movement from succeeding. At this time the way to evaluate a politician will still be fairly simple: Ask: Does this politician strengthen the abolitionist movement (help it gain clarity about who its real friends are and who its real foes are, for example) or not? But right now all we need to do is ask: Does this politician advocate abolishing the wage-slavery class inequality system, or merely reforming it to make it stronger?
But What If No Politician Calls for Abolishing the Wage-Slavery System?
So what! So what if no politician calls for abolishing the wage-slavery system of class inequality. Elections are not the way we're going to abolish class inequality in the first place, not any more than elections were the way that slavery was abolished. The ruling plutocracy only holds elections to control us (as I discuss here.)
For more about how to abolish the wage-slavery system and what to replace it with, go here .
* As an insightful cartoon expresses it, a corporate CEO explains to the Board of Directors, "These new regulations will fundamentally change the way we get around them."