I have always believed that American politics is berserk. My reason for this is that, according to my definition, since everyone in the American political spectrum supports capitalism, American politics can hardly qualify to be even called politics.
Ever since I was a kid, I have defined politics as a struggle between capitalism and socialism. In my world, even the great social change that shook America in the 1960s did not qualify as a serious political movement, because it never tried to challenge the fundamentally capitalist nature of American society.
Only when I read Howard Zinn’s remarkable book, A Peoples History of the United States, did I gain a full awareness of the immense struggle, the unending struggle, that ordinary people have always conducted in the United States against the governing elites, who have controlled the nation since the first colonies were established.
It is only a short step from this attitude of mine to the belief that American politics is irrevocably corrupt. The fact that a recent governor of Illinois has been given a long prison sentence for his corruption is so unsurprising that it passed with hardly a ripple on the smooth surface of their political system..
All this is by way of deploring the loss of Dennis Kucinich in a Democratic primary that was forced on him by the so-called re-districting or jerrymandering of the electoral district in which he has been such a distinguished member of the House of Representatives since 1996, and a failed candidate for President on a couple of occasions. Since his candidature on both occasions seemed the only serious one to challenge the verities of capitalism, it came as no surprise to me that he garnered only one per cent of the vote.
He has now bitten the dust because a right-wing governor of Ohio, determined to get rid of Kucinich, jerrymandered the district in which he was elected in such a way as to force him out of office, virtually. Another fairly progressive member, Marcy Kaptur (she was featured in Michael Moore’s film, Capitalism, a Love Story) was forced into a race against Kucinich, in which all the indications were that she would have the advantage. This is how it turned out, unfortunately, and that means the end of one of the only two members of Congress who could have been called a socialist (the other is Senator Bernie Sanders, the redoubtable Democrat from Vermont).
Here is what John Nichols wrote in Common Dreams yesterday about the loss of Kucinich:
“A Congress without Dennis Kucinich will be a lesser branch. It's not just that the loss of the former leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus will rob the House of its most consistent critic of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and one its steadiest critics of corporate power.
“Kucinich has since he arrived on the Hill in 1997 been one of a handful of absolutely engaged members. When issues have arisen, be it domestic or international, low profile or high, Kucinich has been at the ready - often with the first statement, the strongest demand and the boldest plan.”
That this voice for sanity in the insane world of US politics should have been forced out of office by a reactionary governor manipulating the boundaries of his constituency so as to get rid of him, may be terrible. But it simply confirms my belief in the corruption of the US political system.
Meanwhile, under the Harper government, we are making giant strides towards adopting the worst features of the US system. Woe is me!