The US presidential election is a circus, and the sooner we realise that power lies elsewhere the better

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Posted Nov 8 2016 by Dave Darby of

As Adam Curtis recently explained, governments are no longer for deciding how we live, or for building a better society – they have slowly morphed into institutions for managing the affairs of the finance sector. If they manage those affairs well, they will be rewarded financially, and if they don’t, they will be punished financially. The Syrizas of this world are few and far between, only surface in times of real crisis, and are soon herded back into the fold.

Here’s a video of Julian Assange talking with John Pilger about the most recent Wikileaks revelations about Clinton’s emails:

..and here are two of the most important points that came from that conversation:

  1. The US government works with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar like a hand in a glove, and yet ISIS are funded and supplied with weapons by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Not shady organisations and businesses within those countries – but governments. Why do the US want to help ISIS? With Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Saudi Arabia signed the world’s biggest arms deal with US weapons corporations (that are ultimately owned by financial institutions), and pumped enormous amounts of money into the Clinton Foundation. See here.
  2. Instructions on who should comprise Obama’s cabinet came from the finance sector – mainly from Citigroup – and the same will happen with Clinton’s cabinet. See here.

Trump won’t allow Wall Street to choose his cabinet, may not be interested in dodgy deals with Middle Eastern countries, will talk with Russia, is against TTIP and is opposed by the corporate and financial establishment. I find the video below interesting, in which communist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, says he would vote for Trump if he were American, because Clinton represents the greater danger to democracy and freedom; because Trump could kick-start real change (although maybe not in the way he intends); and because Clinton is ‘a cold warrior, connected to banks, pretending to be socially progressive’.

I see his point, but but for me, Trump is indefensible because he’s an oaf – his ‘locker-room’ conversation about sexually assaulting women was not as offensive as his suggestion that it’s how men talk to each other. We do not. I have conversations with men all the time, and if any one of them ever talked to me like that, it would be our last conversation. He’s not fit for high office, and there’s no telling what damage he’d do. However, Clinton isn’t a credible alternative, because it’s very, very clear what damage she’d do – she’d hand even more power to the corporate / finance sector and prolong war in the Middle East (risking much wider violence) in order to direct money to her supporters and further her ambition.

In the Guardian yesterday, Paul Mason said: ‘The first thing we have to make is a rhetorical break with neoliberalism: the doctrine of austerity, inequality, privatisation, financial corruption, asset bubbles and technocratic hubris. It is entirely possible to construct a humane pro-business version of capitalism without these things.’ But how on earth can we have capitalism without those things – especially inequality? Capitalism concentrates wealth – that’s what it’s for. To suggest that we might change that assumes that we have the power to do so. We don’t, and I’m amazed that someone like Mason thinks that we do.

The election is a circus, a distraction, a contest between two cartoonishly bad characters. It’s not unreasonable for Americans to decide not to vote – I’d say that it was the sensible decision in the circumstances. The lower the turnout, the more likely it is that we might come up with a better way to choose the people taking high office – and maybe even to direct power away from the finance sector and towards that office. And that’s the only way we’ll change things. If we want democracy we have to take power from the finance sector, and to do that we can’t rely on institutions like the Democratic Party, the Clinton family, the EU, TTIP, CETA, the Labour Party or any other party. We have to start talking about building something different, or stop whining and accept our servitude.