Ron Paul? No Thanks!

By Comrade Motopu

     Ron Paul is the “anti-war” candidate who is against big government and big corporations and for legalizing pot and helping the little guy isn’t he?

     Any illusions about Paul are shattered with a cursory look at his voting record [1] which is strongly anti-labor, anti-immigrant to the point of xenophobia, in opposition to women’s right to choose, and is for the status quo dressed up in phony platitudes about liberty and freedom. Paul’s economic outlook is essentially in line with the hard right libertarians who see all wealth and all poverty as deserved and stemming from a person’s character. They intentionally ignore the realities of the class system based on exploitation of workers. His views on race and immigration have found resonance with white supremacist militia groups bringing him endorsements from the neo-Nazi Stormfront and ex Klan leader David Duke. [2]

He opposes most taxes and wants to abolish the IRS. Isn’t that “sticking it to the man”?

     Tax revolts are usually presented as being "for the people" but are really a way of letting the rich keep more of the wealth they didn't create. Ron Paul opposes anything that interferes with markets and laissez faire capitalism. He embraces the system in which the rich owners of the means of production extract wealth (surplus value) from the labor of others, a form of theft, but he opposes the redistribution of the wealth extending to the workers who created it. Wages, welfare, etc. represent a small remuneration to people who have to work for a living. They don't come close to repaying the value of the wealth the working class created. When Ron Paul opposes "big government" it is in favor of continued exploitation unfettered by any governmental programs that would ameliorate the worst of the suffering of the laboring class, and against any program that might stop the upward flow of wealth to the owning class.

     His wish to abolish the IRS brought him an 88% ranking, the highest in the House of Reps, and the title “taxpayer’s friend” from the National Taxpayers Union. From their site: “The Fair Tax Act would promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States.” [3]

     The sales tax is inherently regressive because it taxes the richest billionaire and the poorest ghetto inhabitant at the same rate. It adds cost to the purchase of basic necessities, including food in many states. These newly inflated taxes would be a huge burden on the working class and the poor, but have little effect on the top 5% who own the means of production.
    

Mike Davis describes how Proposition 13 in California is a perfect example of a "tax revolt" that helped decimate the working class:

          The famous California tax revolt of the 1970s was racial politics coded as fiscal                               

          populism. As the Latino population soared, white voters, egged on by right-wing

          demagogues, withdrew support from the public sector. In 1978, Proposition

          13 was passed, which  sharply reduced property taxes. California became a

          bad-school state in step with becoming a low-wage state. Overcrowded

          classrooms and dangerous playgrounds are part of a vicious circle, with    

          sweatshop jobs and slum housing. [4]

     Opposing public funding and favoring the private ownership of society has a lot of implications. Companies, corporations, private business, etc. are not democratically structured. If anyone votes for the leaders, it is the richest people with the most stock. When you leave the operation of society to the private sector you guarantee two things:

1. The profit motive will be more important than human need or desire.

2. Democratic processes will be bypassed and decision making kept in
    the hands of a small group of owners.

     If you took away the IRS and all government intervention, and simply left capitalist structures in place, you would in no way get rid of tyranny or free people up to pursue their desires. You would simply leave them open to the kinds of attacks they sustained under capitalism in the 19th century, the kinds of attacks we now associate with Third World countries where governments have been pressured to carry out exactly the kinds of elimination of investment in the public sector supporters of Ron Paul clamor for.

 

By getting the government out of business, don’t we increase freedom for workers and employers?
     Ron Paul and right wing libertarians always claim that libertarians oppose tyranny and instead favor cooperation based on CONTRACTS that people enter into "freely" based on "mutual agreement." Wal-Mart is the largest employer of “free labor” in the US. But who really believes that the Wal-Mart worker enters into a contract with Wal-Mart the employer in an "equal" relationship? Why would a "free" worker agree to what Wal-Mart offers? The worker gets low pay, low benefits, health package offers he can't afford on his pay, horrible scheduling that leaves family or personal responsibilities unmanageable, no ability to unionize, unpaid overtime, and precarity based on firing at will to hire cheaper workers. Smaller businesses are no different. Starbucks and Wal-Mart started as small businesses.

 

Who should I vote for then?

     In general, voting is not the way to bring real change. It may be enticing at times to vote for a lesser of two evils, but Ron Paul doesn’t even rise to that level. In most cases, the voting booth represents a diversion from the actual power organized resistance to exploitation could have. Since the roots of the problem are based in the inherently unfair economic system, the solution has to be radical. Workers have to become conscious of the way the system alienates them, separating them from the fruits of their labor, and from each other. They have to realize that as the creators of all wealth, they don’t have to stand for it. Eliminating production for markets under the system of wage labor  and replacing it with production for human needs and desires through cooperation is the solution. To bring this about, working class consciousness will need to form in the everyday experience of resisting capitalist logic, the logic that sees everything as a commodity, as something to be bought and sold, including human beings.



[1] See: http://www.issues2000.org/TX/Ron_Paul.htm  and

           http://www.vote-smart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=BC031929

 

[2] http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/4/151735/850/188/417817  “According to FEC records, on September 30, 2007, Black donated $500 to Paul's presidential campaign. [FN 2] Paul's campaign is aware of the  contribution, and the fact that it comes from a leader of a white supremacist clearinghouse. But he has not returned the contribution. And his campaign considered blocking the hate site from linking to his  campaign donation page, but so far has decided not to do so.”

[3] "I'll vote for the FairTax if it comes up..." Ron Paul at: http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_presScorecard

[4] Davis, Mike. “UNITED STATES: Californian election: is it just about Schwarzenegger?” Source 01/06/08 online at http://www.greenleft.org.au/2003/556/29438