Trump’s rise was presented as a ‘rise against the elites’. But who exactly would be considered ‘elite’ in our society? Would it not be that social class that owns the means of producing wealth, and uses that surplus produced by the working class to fund and support candidates for both the Republican and Democrat parties alike? Would it not be not only those funded by PACs and Super-PACs (corporations) but also those corporate sharks that fund PACs and Super-PACs to begin with?
So then, we can say that our society is divided into to two social classes (with some in-between). On the one hand is working and middle classes consisting of the proletariat. What is the proletariat? According to Engels, “The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor – hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the [21st] century.”
But this here, the proletariat, is the ‘common man’ Trump has declared himself to represent. How can this be so? Trump is of that other class, one of two in our society, the class of the bourgeoisie. Who are the bourgeoisie? According to Engels, Trump would be a part of “The class of big capitalists, who, in all civilized countries, are already in almost exclusive possession of all the means of subsistence and of the instruments (machines, factories) and materials necessary for the production of the means of subsistence. This is the bourgeois class, or the bourgeoisie.” In essence, this class lives off of, nay, expropriates VAST fortunes (billions on Trump’s case) off the labor of others, off the weal and woe of the proletariat.
The interests of the bourgeoisie are wholly separate from the interests of the overwhelming majority of our society, from the interests of the ‘common man’ which, according to Engels is “The class of the wholly propertyless, who are obliged to sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to get, in exchange, the means of subsistence for their support. This is called the class of proletarians, or the proletariat.”
What would be a true rise ‘against the elites’? It would be a movement for the liberation of the proletariat from the exploitation it suffers under the bourgeoisie. It would be directly mobilizing the masses and seizing the means of production from the capitalist class, a declaration that workers are entitled to all they produce and that no one can live off the labor of another. In electoral politics, it would be a candidate NOT funded by exploited labor. The closest thing we have ever had to such a thing was the Sanders campaign, but even that was limited in scope. The idea of a true representative of the ‘common man’ coming to power in this country without the approval of the bourgeois class is utopian.
Under a market economy, it would mean the establishment of market socialism. It would mean that workers would democratically elect members to the board of directors (who would in turn receive no more than a workman’s wage) to decide what is produced, how much is produced, etc. But here is an even bigger difference, under such a system it would be declared that profits are the unpaid wages of the working class. Instead of money produced by 100,000 going to a couple people on the top who did nothing but ‘own’ the means of producing subsistence in our society, to go into their own pockets and to fund politicians who maintain the capitalist system, it would go back to the workers who PRODUCED it in the first place. That would be socialism.
But we can go further than this as well, to abolish markets altogether and thereby all forms of exploitation. To produce according to human needs and not the blind pursuit of profit. We could get rid of the state and the exchange value of commodities (money). But the establishment of workplace democracy and the abolition of bourgeois right to fund politicians and one of the two parties that prioritize their interests above all, would be a necessary step towards this transition.
But now that we have identified who the ‘elites’ in our society are, tell me, how can the election of a self-funded billionaire capitalist to the highest seat in the land be a ‘rise against the elites’? Wouldn’t it be better said to be a ‘rise of the elites’?
Politics are not supposed to be entertainment, it is quite literally a matter of life or death.