Not excited about our political choices

by S. Arutchelvan

Democrats – Republicans

I was not excited when Biden became President of the United States. There is no feeling of excitement and thrill. Not because of the Covid pandemic but that’s just how I feel. Maybe I was a bit excited when Obama first became President because he was the first Black President in U.S. history. Then when he acted no differently from the previous Republican party president Bush, I started to become cynical. Bush took his country to war in Afghanistan and Iraq while Obama who became the president to stop these wars, went into Libya to start yet another war and another regime change expedition. So, let it be the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, their policies are almost the same. This is not surprising given that they are sponsored by the same class.
The power is still in the hands of those who sponsor these parties, namely the rich and the capitalist class. So there is nothing very exciting about power changing hands between the two factions as they both support the neoliberal capitalist system. Perhaps people were more stirred up to see the Capitol Building raided by thousands of pro-Trump supporters as these actions exposed many things, not least the naked truth about the Americans’ double standards in dealing with white and black demonstrators. It also laid bare the fragility of the United States’ democratic and election system which was previously hailed by them as the world’s leading democracy


I was equally indifferent when Muhyiddin Yassin and the PN took power from the PH government that was led by Mahathir. No excitement. The only excitement was perhaps watching the media circus gather in front of the Palace gates as in reality there was nothing to be enthusiastic about in the real sense. Maybe I was a little bit more excited when PH took over after 60 years of UMNO rule but that excitement eroded day by day as the PH Government did not seem to have much policy change compared to the previous government and was very slow to carry out reform. So after 22 months of empty hope under the ruling PH Coalition of Hope there is nothing much to look forward to or be excited about with claims of another change of Government looming.

So I was not excited when Anwar Ibrahim said he that had enough and formidable numbers to rule or when Shafie Apdal said that he had enough support to be PM. I was also not excited when Mahathir wanted to be the Prime Minister for the third time. All these numbers they were throwing around did not get me excited. Perhaps the only numbers which had an impact on me and kept me worried were those released by Director General of Health Noor Hisham.

Democracy – Money – Power

Perhaps I would have been more excited and happy if someone like Bernie Sanders became President of the United States. His election funding came from a different source – crowd funding by ordinary people and not the corporate sector. Perhaps he would have brought up new ideas that will help the majority of the working people get out of poverty. However, it is impossible for individuals who do not have the money to win the elections because in truth, the election is a contest between two big tycoons.

In the same sense, when people ask why a principled party like PSM has difficulty winning the General Election, the answer is the same. PSM is not run by big towkays who contribute to the campaigning process and buying votes. The General Election is therefore a race or competition between the two richest, most heavily sponsored parties.

As long as the people are trapped in this structure of democracy and money politics, the only victors in the elections will be the ruling capitalist classes regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Although Trump is a billionaire, he has a very high level of support among the dispossessed working class who are won over to his rhetoric. But the ruling power rests with the capitalist faction that support the Republican party. People in America are given a choice between Coke and Pepsi. So people can change their taste but not the ruling class.

Does this mean that change will not happen? Today the Covid pandemic challenges our given norms. Climate change emergencies are a threat to the way the world has been governed over the years. But change is likely only when there is a huge uprising of ordinary people who want to change the old system to a new one. The world has seen revolutionary systems change such as from slavery to the feudal system, and its collapse and replacement with a new system. We have seen Empires and Kings fall to the might of the masses. Change will and can happen when a party supported and sponsored by the common people can one day defeat a party supported by the capitalist and wealthy class. These will be exciting times for the majority of people in the world.

Deputy Chairperson
Parti Sosialis Malaysia


This article is translated from Malay. For the original version please click here.

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