Tuesday, February 07, 2012

How the Two Party System Works

[Shays Rebellion - the 1786 uprising of the not-rich that spooked the ownership class into convening the constitutional convention the next year.]

I was walking the dog today amid the big three and four story houses that line Vicente Canyon where I live now.  At the top of the hill overlooking everything was one house much bigger than the others, with an even more commanding view, on a much bigger lot.  I wondered if I was seeing the physical representation of the bourgeoisie on the pinnacle and the petit bourgeoisie in the mere three and four story houses.  

I mentioned the big house to a woman walking her dog in the opposite direction.  She told me that the owner had applied to the city for a permit to build a helicopter landing facility there.  I asked what happened.  She said the city had turned the helicopter down because the neighbors had objected to the noise.  She clearly was one of the objecting neighbors and just as clearly her objection was not only to the noise but also to the hubris of the very rich guy having a helicopter in her neighborhood.  Had there been such a thing as a silent helicopter, she would have objected anyway.

Which made me wonder.  If the richest rule, as the left insists they do, why were the merely rich neighbors able to prevail against the much richer helicopter guy before the city authorities?  It occurred to me that I was seeing the two party system in action.  The Democrats are rich and favor professionals and small businesses - because they own them.  The Republicans are very rich and favor corporations and big businesses - also because they own them.  

Down below, in the rest of Berkeley were the great majority of the people, people who are not rich.   Elections are when the rich vie with the very rich to see which can fool the greater number of the not-rich, into supporting them.  It is no alliance because neither party of the rich ever reciprocates by supporting the not-rich.  It is not a political alliance proposed by the parties of the rich -- it is straight-up fraud.

An example from history is that England had a two party system, the Whigs and the  Tories, since at least the end of the English Civil War and the Restoration in 1660.  And until the founding of the Labour party in 1905, 245 years later, no one in either party made any pretense of representing the common people (ironic, considering they were in the House of Commons).  Hard-fought elections and endless appeals to the good of the people of England were all just empty chatter, a quarter millennium of it.  Though both parties canvassed the middle class for votes and contended fiercely, both Whigs and Tories represented the interests of the wealthy and aristocratic and no one else.

Similarly, from the end of the American Civil War until the New Deal, both Republicans and Democrats were pro-business, anti-labor parties.  Both were unabashedly parties of the rich.  And that was in the self-consciously democratic United States.  That era has come again.

This is the only analysis which can explain why 75 senators, 37 of them Democrats, voted yesterday to make it impossible for airline employees to unionize.  It is the only analysis which explains how a supposedly deadlocked Congress was somehow able to join together to prevent the extension of unemployment compensation eligibility last month.  It is the only analysis which explains how a supposedly deadlocked Congress was able last year to pass an extension of the 2003 Bush-Obama tax cuts for those with incomes over $250,000.  It is the only analysis which explains why Mr. 'Hope and Change' signed it into law.

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