--Eugene Debs, June 16, 1918
Working class people, especially progressives, must come to understand that our interests are not being served by hitching our political wagons to either the Democratic or the Republican Party. The Republicrats represent a capitalist system that has given rise to class division, the unequal distribution of wealth, private ownership, and a system of wage slavery that does not serve democracy, but plutocracy. It condemns workers to being the property of their employers. Capitalism is the opposite of Democracy. We are only deceiving ourselvesfalling into an old trapby casting our votes in a system that not only excludes the majority of us, but also treats us with utter contempt.
Whichever party we choose represents a system that favors plutocratsthose of wealth and privilege. It is a system of their creation, for their sole benefit. In that system we are the servants of power and they are its masters. The vast majority of us, probably ninety percent of the population, is not served by this party. We will always be servile; we will never have representation in this system. Our only rational alternative is to form a new party that represents the silent, repressed majority. We are making a serious mistake by thinking that we can reform a system that was created to serve people of wealth and means. It is a system that operates on capital. Our political enemies have all of the money; we have none. Thus they have access to power; we do not. We cannot possibly compete in this system. We have no alternative but to create a new system in place of the old.
There are some good people working within the system who are making valiant efforts for just causes; but who are themselves victims of a system that eventually overwhelms and consumes them.
A system that treats the large majority of its citizens as property does not serve those people. It does not deserve their support. The people should not be servants to wealth and power. Power belongs to the people; the system must serve the people, not the other way round.
Capitalism allows the small minority to rule and to control the large majority. It is a corrupt process that is incapable of producing justice for the large majority of its citizens. It allows the small minority to wage wars in which the large majority are forced to fight and die, without giving them a voice in the decision making process. When have the people ever been consulted when it comes to war? It is not for them to question why; it is for them to serve and to die. The large majority has no interest in war because it serves the interest of wealth and power, of empirenot their own. The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a trenchant case in point. How many plutocrats do you see over there taking enemy fire? How many plutocrats do you see at home profiting from the spoils of war?
Every time we cast a vote within a corrupt system, thinking we are doing our duty as citizens in a democratic society, we are in fact driving another nail into our own coffin. Each vote cast in such a system makes revolutionary change more difficult and unlikely. We are participants in a system that is rigged to assure our defeat and our continued subservience to wealth and power. It is absurd to call this system a democracy. It is a system of control designed to deceive the silent majority into participation, even as it bilks them of everything they have.
It is clear to me that we must form a new political party that is not founded upon money and wealth. It must be a party that is of and for the people, as well as by the people. Some have proposed that we call it the Constitution Party, the Liberty Party, or the Peace Party. Whatever we chose to call it, it must be a party that genuinely represents and empowers the large majority, the average American, the worker. It must not, it cannot, operate within the current system; or it will be corrupted by it and fail. The new party should have an objective of overhauling the existing system and replacing it with genuine participatory democracy.
The new party must work across the often divisive boundaries of race, sex, class and creed. It must build bridges to like minds and kindred spirits of every ilk in every nation on earth.
We must expect that our efforts will be met with derision and hatred, perhaps even violence. Expect our names to be sullied by the commercial media, as revolutionaries always are. We might even be rounded up by the thought police and imprisoned, as happened to Eugene Debs and others early in the twentieth century. Those in power have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The large majority of us, however, have an interest in social justice and peace. Not until real political power rests in the hands of the common people, the large silent majority, rather than plutocrats and corporatists, can our dreams of a free, peaceful and just society be realized.
The plutocrats who are running the country are free to prey upon us, to treat us with contempt, because they have no fear of us. They are protected by a system that assures their rule. We must make them both fear and respect us. When we evoke a powerful response from our political adversaries we will know that we are on the right track. As long as we remain separate, disjointed, and immobile and disorganized our enemies can afford to ignore us. When we organize and mobilize that will surely change.
Several South American countries have already taken this direction. They have rejected the coercive agenda of empire and charted a course toward equality and peace. We would be wise to follow their example. To be sure, the capitalists in Washington and abroad hope to obliterate them both economically and militarily but their power appears to be growing, not diminishing. Populist movements always trouble plutocracy.
Whatever pretensions they may make, no political party operating within the existing system of capitalism represent the large majority of its citizens. Casting our vote for any party within that system only further stacks the deck against us; it assures our defeat through continued servitude to wealth and power. It gives the appearance of legitimacy to illegitimate power. When we chose to withdraw our support from a corrupt system, we reveal it for the fraud that it is.
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