Aug 25, 2008
The Democratic and Republican conventions are upon us. As usual, they will provide a platform for the top politicians to proclaim how much they represent our interests.
While we face falling living standards, cuts in social programs and the consequences of the wars that the U.S. military is fighting, the conventions themselves are awash in money, privilege and luxury.
It is all paid for by a veritable “Who’s Who” of American capitalism. These include 146 of the biggest companies, and some of the richest people in the country. Among the big corporate sponsors for the Democratic convention are AT&T, ConocoPhillips, Staples, Level 3 Communications, Comcast Cable, Lockheed-Martin, Molson-Coors and Union Pacific. The Republicans have Cargil, Koch, Wells Fargo, US Bank and Waste Management paying for them.
There are 40 companies giving at least a million dollars to both the Democratic and Republican conventions. These include Qwest Communications, which came out of the break-up of AT&T, United Healthcare, one of the biggest health insurance companies, Xcel Energy, the owner of big nuclear power plants, Medtronic, a maker of medical equipment and Eli Lilly, the giant pharmaceutical company.
Obviously, these companies are not just paying for advertising during the convention media circuses or for top executives and political operatives to hobnob during the 400 lavish parties, balls and concerts connected to the conventions. These companies are picking up the tab for an important event for their friends in the Democratic and Republican political apparatuses who in every way possible represent the capitalists’ interests in the government.
The same people take advantage of all the loopholes in the election laws to contribute massively to the campaigns of Obama and McCain.
The total amount of money raised by the Obama candidacy has already approached 337 million dollars. Obama says his campaign depends on small contributions from large numbers of ordinary people. And in fact, it is true, a lot of people have given him their money, just as the unions have. Nonetheless, the bulk of his campaign money comes from millionaires, billionaires and those tied to them. These include partners at major law firms that represent big business, executives who work in Wall Street (Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup), big real estate developers, and the entertainment conglomerates (Time-Warner, Disney, Fox).
So far McCain has raised less: “only” 122 million dollars. But as McCain rises in the polls, he is narrowing the gap. Among his major backers are “Woody” Johnson, the head of the Johnson & Johnson Company, big oilmen such as Robert Mosbacher and John Hess, FedEx chairman Fred Smith, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, and Cisco CEO John Chambers. Major executives at Wellpoint, Pfizer, Bank of America and Travelers Companies have also lined up behind his candidacy.
Finally, the corporations and the wealthy class that controls them funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into supposedly independent political advocacy groups, often times anonymously.
The result is that literally over a billion dollars has already been spent on the presidential campaign alone. All that money is going to assure that, no matter whether a Republican or Democrat wins, the real winners will be the capitalist class. No matter who takes office, they will represent the interests of the capitalist class, and the capitalists know it.
Workers need to prepare for the next administration, no matter who heads it, Obama or McCain.