Recent reports in the New York Times are verifying what most of us already knew: millions of people in the United States, likely the vast majority, are fed up with politics and politicians. They are sick of the perceived drama, disfunction, unkept promises, conflict, and outright ineffectiveness of political institutions on all levels.
This phenomenon seems even more extreme when we focus on young people. They’re fed up, too. The corporate media is focusing on this as a problem for Biden, who desperately needs their votes next year to re-win the presidency, yet risks losing them at least partly because of his shameless support for Israeli genocide in Palestine.
But as these reports and our real experiences show us, people aren’t fed up with politics because they’re apathetic, or because they just don’t care. In fact, events of the last few years have shown us that plenty of people care a lot. When George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, millions poured into the streets demanding justice and expressing their outrage, despite the dangers of Covid-19. Just this September, during United Nations Climate Week, there were mass marches in New York and other cities demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels. And in the past month there have been massive and passionate protests demanding an end to Israel’s brutality in Palestine. Young people particularly have been a huge part of these and other movements for change.
But millions in the U.S. (and billions worldwide) are turned off because of what we call bourgeois democracy, a democracy in name only but in reality dominated by the capitalist One Percent who shape our world. They’re turned off because the two parties that manage our bourgeois democracy in the U.S. don’t speak to their needs, problems and concerns. And they’re turned off because, at a time when revolutionary change is becoming more and more a necessity, politicians offer more of the status quo. So when people want change, justice, or equality, and all they see is Democrats and Republicans – the very parties that have overseen the immiseration and suffering of the working class – people are rightly sick of them both.
So if the vast majority of working people are fed up with the bourgeois democracy of the capitalist class and their Democrats and Republicans, we shouldn’t ask why. Those parties and their politics simply don’t represent us.
We need our own politics and political organizations that address our concerns and our needs, not the needs of the One Percent.