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Millions Who Voted for Romney Would Prefer an Anti-Capitalist Revolution

by John Spritzler

November 13, 2012

About 59 million Americans voted for Romney versus 62 million for Obama. Obama's votes came mainly from people who, despite their disappointment with Obama, saw Romney as the candidate of the party representing wealth and inequality and Obama as the candidate of the party representing the "little guy" (even if not very effectively.) Some of the Romney voters were no doubt wealthy people who thought Romney would best protect their wealth and the capitalist nature of society that makes possible and legitimizes economic inequality. And some may have been people who were at the bottom but who aspired to climb to the top of our unequal society and who wanted to preserve the inequality for that reason. But there aren't that many wealthy people in the United States, and there aren't that many who still take seriously the Horatio Alger "rags to riches" myth anymore. Many Romney voters were very likely people who simply agreed with the Republican Party's economic message broadcast 24/7 on talk radio stations, a message that was aimed not at the few who cherish inequality but the many who dislike selfishness. The message went something like this:

"Forty-seven percent of Americans take from the economy but don't work. It's not because they can't work, just that they're too lazy to work and don't think they should have to work. They get government 'entitlement' payments to live on, welfare or unemployment checks, often in the form of EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards that they can use like a credit card to buy anything at all, even luxuries, while the rest of us have to work for a living. The government pays them to sit home and not work for as much as two years! They have no incentive to find a job. The government gets the money for these entitelment checks by borrowing more money than it can ever pay back and by taxing the people who do work and taxing businessmen who are trying to create jobs but have a hard time with the government taxing them to death. The Democrats get their votes from people who like getting handouts without having to work. The Democrats can only keep giving the handouts by increasing the national debt. But this cannot go on forever. Pretty soon our nation will be bankrupt. Americans have forgotten what made our nation great: self-reliance, entrepreneurship, hard work. Too many Americans expect to receive something for nothing."

Of course this message conveniently ignores some things, such as the fact that when it comes to people unfairly getting something for nothing the Billionaire Class and their cronies in places like Goldman Sachs take the cake, and make the laziest cheating EBT card user look like Mother Theresa in comparison. Also conveniently forgotten is the fact that every business owner in our capitalist system, in order to maximize profits and even just to remain competitive, must do everything possible to replace higher paying jobs with lower paying jobs or eliminate jobs, by either using automation or outsourcing to cheap labor countries, which is the fundamental reason why we have rising unemployment and under-employment and increasingly lower paying jobs. The problem isn't laziness of ordinary people; it's the nature of the capitalist system. But the Democratic Party liberals ignore these things too! They appoint Wall Street Goldman Sachs types to high office, and they advocate ineffectual bandaids such as "stimulating" the economy or "job training" without ever addressing the root of the problem. Given the failure of either party to talk about the real problem--capitalism--it's not surprising that the American public is split just about 50/50 between the two bogus choices that are the only ones they are offered.

For all its dishonesty, the Republican Party message resonates with many good people because it purports to embrace a widely shared and very decent moral principle: Don't be selfish, don't take without giving in return, don't expect others to provide for you when you don't do anything to provide for yourself.

Here's what we must not forget. Here's what is of immense importance!

The millions of people who agree with the Republican message that it's wrong to be selfish do not necessarily agree that economic inequality is a good thing. The problem is that Americans have only heard one point of view that is both against selfishness of the sort that talk radio hosts keep telling their listeners about AND against economic inequality. What point of view is that? It's the Communist point of view, which is correctly rejected by most people as anti-democratic, involving a totalitarian Communist Party dictating what everybody can and cannot do, as in the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European bloc satellites and today's China and Cuba, where "some are more equal than others." In the rare occasions when a caller to talk radio advocates economic equality the host dismisses it as "collectivism" or "socialism" or "communism" and moves on to the next caller.

Most Americans do not know that there is a pro-democratic alternative to Communism, one that champions their opposition to selfishness, champions the principle of equality, and condemns anti-democratic regimes with a central government telling everybody what they can and cannot do. Most Americans have never heard of democratic revolution. They have never been part of a discussion about creating a non-capitalist sharing economy in which everybody who wants to can, with absolute certainty, always find work; in which only those who work (or who are too young or old or unhealthy to be reasonably expected to work) have a right to enjoy the benefits of the economy; in which everybody who enjoys the benefits of the economy does so with equal status according to need, with no rich and no poor; in which products and services that are plentiful are freely available as needed and products and services that are scarce are rationed equitably according to need. Most Americans have never heard of such an economy.

Furthermore, most Americans have never heard about the truly democratic idea that instead of having a central government that makes laws everybody must obey, social and economic order on a large scale can and should be achieved by voluntary federation of local communities, so that the only laws people are required to obey are laws made by local community or workplace assemblies that they can personally attend and have as much say at as anybody else. They have never heard the idea that social and economic order on a large scale is best achieved by local assemblies sending delegates to "higher level" bodies whose purpose is to craft proposals for local assemblies to implement (perhaps with laws) only if they wish, not to enact laws from above that local assemblies must obey. These ideas, that are discussed more fully in Thinking about Revolution, have been excluded from public discourse.

But when Americans who voted for Romney because they don't like freeloading selfishness hear these ideas, many will respond positively. They will agree with the call for equality and freedom from top-down control. And they will agree with these ideas' rejection of freeloading selfishness in denying people who should but don't work any right to enjoy the fruits of the economy. The most rabid talk radio host or Republican Party member would have a hard time characterizing the sharing economy as coddling people who refuse to work, and they would have an equally hard time characterizing voluntary federation as "collectivism" or Communist totalitarianism.

Of course many people who voted for Obama, or who didn't vote at all, would like these ideas too. So let's share these ideas with the American public--the entire public, Democrats and Republicans and others. What are we waiting for?

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