With the political season underway, the question of an effective politics is the subtext of the debates and speeches intended to motivate constituencies and movements. This should read as odd: in the U.S., it is the act of getting elected that defines effective politics. But as neoliberalism has crept into every aspect of modern life, elections have become an anti-politics, a way of working against the democratic will.
However, this formulation isn’t complete. For the last half-century, the consolidation of political and economic power has motivated the political establishment’s policy objectives. Electoral politics has been made a game of minimizing democratic tendencies. Programs and policies to consolidate power miraculously slipped past cautionary incrementalism. It is this singular direction that tells the wider story.
Nevertheless, arguments for incrementalism are still used to dampen resistance to this capitalist takeover. Public schools, roads, healthcare, transportation, pensions, housing and on and on have been privatized, power over labor has been handed to capitalists and foreign policy is now run by and for Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil. There was nothing incremental about the structural changes that have taken place.
No popular vote was taken in support of a capitalist revolution, nor in support of any of its major political and economic objectives. Oligarchs funded right-wing think tanks and university economics departments to give intellectual cover to naked power grabs. Trade agreements were used to shift sovereign power to multinational corporations and the oligarchs who own them. […]