Politics Socialism

You Are Not A Capitalist

There is a gaping wound where the heart of American politics should be.

I’m not talking about the much maligned “political divide” between “left” and “right” (which presupposes, erroneously, that America even has a “left” of any kind other than theoretical). No, I’m talking about the pervasive and all-encompassing reality of class struggle that effortlessly spans this divide and is, in fact, the reason for which the divide was manufactured in the first place.

Like the title says, you are not a capitalist.

I don’t make that assertion only because you managed to get this far without closing the tab, but because you (probably) don’t even know what a capitalist is.

A capitalist is a wealthy person who uses money to invest in trade and industry for profit.

It is not simply someone who subscribes to the absurd notion that capitalism is good, actually. It is a social class to which you can objectively be determined to either belong or not, and the vast majority of people in America (and obviously the vast majority of people outside America) are not capitalists. And unless you’re Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, that includes you.

Incidentally, if you are Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, please invest 100 billion dollars into my uh… crypto startup? Sure, let’s go with that. I pinky promise not to redistribute it!)

So yes, the missing piece in the heart of American politics is this reality of class conflict. If you aren’t a capitalist (and you probably aren’t), and you are employed, then you work for a capitalist, either directly (in the private sector) or indirectly (in the public sector under a government which is controlled by corporations). Invested with nearly all material power, the capitalist class controls your life like an eldritch horror, making you suffer almost by accident, utterly unconscious of their impact on your life, and on the lives of everyone else.

Why should this tiny minority of wealthy elites get to control who lives in comfort and who must struggle to make ends meet? Who owns their home and who has to rent it? Who can afford food and shelter and who must starve in the street? Who can receive healthcare and who is doomed to suffer and die?

They shouldn’t. This isn’t a controversial opinion. If everyone on “both sides” of the supposed US political divide took the time to calm down and think about it for five minutes, there would be near-unanimous agreement that these people are detrimental to society.

Every effort to pit urban workers against rural workers, or white workers against black and brown workers, or domestic workers against foreign workers, or white collar workers against blue collar workers is constructed and maintained specifically to divide the working class so that we cannot muster a critical mass against them.

The reality is that all kinds of workers are more similar than we are different. All of us own little other than our own labor, and while the whims of the capitalists’ markets may offer substantially higher pay and better lives to some of us than to others, we must not therefore become each other’s enemies. That is precisely what the capitalists want. Dividing us serves their interests.

Instead, those of us who have plenty have a duty and an obligation to help as we are able to ameliorate the inequalities of capitalist hegemony, and we all have a duty and an obligation to work together to build the political projects which will one day free everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the tyranny of capitalism.

So no, you’re not a capitalist. And you shouldn’t be.