“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
The country’s biggest banks have
been stealing vast sums of public
resources—and its all “legal.”
The front page of the Wall Street Journal reported July 31 that more than 5,000 bankers each received $1 million or more in bonuses at the close of 2008. This is an amazing fact! It is a clear demonstration of the criminal character of capitalism and the U.S. government.
While families were being forced from their homes, and factories and stores were being shuttered forever—consigning millions more to unemployment and poverty—the pigs on Wall Street were ambling up to the government-sponsored feeding trough.
Crime pays—for capitalist bankers
The U.S. government, during the Bush administration and now under the current administration, bailed out the biggest bankers to the tune of $9.5 trillion in direct cash subsidies and loan guarantees. The AIG insurance executives, who received $170 billion from taxpayers, received $165 million in bonuses in December 2008 and more since.
Meanwhile, more than 20 million people in the United States have lost their jobs or are severely underemployed. The skyrocketing loss of jobs and the closing down of whole factories, retail chains and offices is the direct result of the capitalist economic crisis, which was precipitated by the collapse of some of the biggest banks and financial institutions.
While the government rushed to provide direct assistance to the richest bankers, it has done virtually nothing for the nearly 9 million families who are either in foreclosure or seriously delinquent in their mortgage payments and thus at risk of losing their homes.
The White House and Congress have continued to drain the national treasury and siphon money directly into the pockets of the biggest capitalists who were responsible for the economic crisis.
This is looting on a grand scale. The politicians, with very few exceptions, function as the bagmen for these Wall Street criminals. U.S. capitalism is a bankrupt system. Although rarely described in such words, it is indeed a sanctified form of organized corruption.
An invaluable lesson from real life
For years, people have been told that the problem in the U.S. government is that it was led by Republicans, by neoconservatives, by George Bush. But Bush is now gone. The Democrats control the White House. They control the House of Representatives by a wide margin. They even have 60 seats in the U.S. Senate, which allows them to defeat any Republican effort at a filibuster. Thus, any legislation the Democrats desire can be passed in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, even if every single Republican voted “no”!
In short, it is not possible to have a more favorable alignment for the Democratic Party within the various branches of government, and yet this Democratic-led government has done nothing to curtail the power and domination over society by the biggest capitalist bankers. It has rather continued to funnel trillions of dollars directly into the pockets of the capitalists.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Democratic Party is incapable and unwilling to defend the interests of working people against the bankers and corporate criminals who have driven the economy into the ground. The existing political system has been exposed by this unfolding, real-life crisis.
The only remedy available to working people is to smash the death grip of the modern-day capitalist class over society and its political system, and especially over its economic institutions. Every worker in this country was taught that the current form of the U.S. government was the byproduct of a revolution. Revolution is upheld as something righteous—as long as it happened 200 years ago! We were taught that when the governing authority and the then-existing ruling power was identified as a source of oppression, the people of this country rose up—and engaged in revolutionary action.
The Declaration of Independence, which every school child in this country has been taught, served as both a proclamation of intent and as a historical justification for revolution. That Declaration had both progressive and reactionary features. The point here is not to assess the class character of the document, but rather to note its historic justification for revolution: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.”
It is noteworthy that such language about people’s inherent right to revolution was omitted from the U.S. Constitution when it was adopted 11 years later in 1787. Having consolidated power for themselves through an armed revolution, the U.S. capitalist class feared a second revolution from the enslaved people in the South and the small farmers who were being ruined by debt.
We are building a new movement for a new revolution. This struggle will undoubtedly produce a “Declaration” that speaks to the needs and possibilities of today. It will proclaim that the next revolution intends to liberate society, and its factories, its offices, its land, transport, and all of its natural resources from the oppressive domination of the biggest capitalist bankers and industrialists. Then, and only then, will we be able to create a government that is genuinely of, by, and for more than 150 million working people and their families, who constitute the vast majority in society.
Labor creates the wealth of society. It is time for laboring people to take control.