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“We are preparing the ground for a different kind of society… We are coming to dismantle racist, sexist, violent, utterly bankrupt system of capitalism, this police state. We cannot, and will not, stop until we overthrow it and replace it with a world based instead on solidarity, genuine democracy, and equality – a socialist world.” — Kshama Sawant
Sawant’s list of grievances — bankruptcy, racism, sexism, violence, and a police state — are all products of government, not of capitalism. Our government is not only bankrupt but, by some estimates, has well over $100 trillion in “unfunded liabilities” (i.e., debt).
Slavery and the Jim Crow laws could not have existed without government. Slave owners were able to socialize the costs of suppressing slave revolts and of recapturing runaway slaves by conscripting Southern men into militias and slave patrols. With the Fugitive Slave Acts, they were also able to conscript Northerners in their slave patrols as well. People who refused were subject to large fines and prison. So much for the South’s commitment to “states’ rights.”
Private bus and trolley companies in the South fought against Jim Crow laws requiring African Americans to sit in the back of vehicles. Presumably, the company owners were no less bigoted than was the “average” Southern white at the time. However, the laws cost them money. First, because they alienated black customers, and second because they meant that more seats were left empty than they would otherwise have been. If, for example, all the “black” seats were full, no more black passengers could get on the bus even if there were “white” seats available. Similarly, if all the “white” seats were full, no white person could (or, maybe, would) get on even if there were “black” seats available.
Women were denied equal rights and the vote by law, not by capitalists.
Government-condoned violence was common in the Jim Crow south, where police officers were, not uncommonly, also members of the KKK. Paternalistic government programs and policies generated more violence with welfare laws that encouraged family break up, bad public schools that failed to teach inner-city children the basics, minimum wage laws that denied young minority men and women employment opportunities, and a war on drugs that created jobs in illegal markets — jobs that often lead to death or imprisonment.
The police state of which Sawant complains is a product of an explosion of laws, revenue-hungry cities that use their police forces as profit centers, and the federal government’s War on Drugs.
Her solution to all these government-caused problems? More government. More laws, more regulations, more central control, more policing, mandated and enforced “solidarity,” and equality imposed at the point of a bayonet.Published in