Donald Douglas

Cartoonist Ted Rall Calls for ‘Proletarian Dictatorship’ in the U.S.

Posted on October 10 2010 6:00 pm

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Cross-posted from American Power: “Cartoonist Ted Rall Calls for Communist Revolution: ‘I Would Like to See a Completely Leftist Proletariat Dictatorship’.”

Ted Rall’s discusses his new book in an interview at Washington City Paper: Here’s the book: The Anti-American Manifesto.

Washington City Paper: What’s your new book about?

Ted Rall It’s about the desire to replace the two-party system with something better. Understanding the fact that’s not going to happen by marching in the streets, or writing poetic letters to the editor, made it obvious that as it has always been and as it always will be, that if we want to improve our lives we’re going to have to take some radical chances.

WCP: Why do it now, post-Bush/Cheney, or even post-Reagan for that matter?

TR: Obama is why, actually. He’s about the best that the system has to offer. This two-party system, owned by corporations, is not going to give us a president who is less owned by corporations, or who is smarter, or who has more integrity. This is about it, this is as good as it gets. It’s very clear that he’s neither willing nor able to solve the problems that face the country. He’s not willing or able to stimulate the economy, to put people back to work, to stop the widening disparity of wealth, to pass a real health care plan, to get us out of Afghanistan, to get us out of Iraq… if he’s the best that they’ve got, we need better.

WCP: So the situation that we’re in right now—would you blame Bush for it, or would you go back further?

TR: Oh, we’re talking about decades of malfeasance, corruption, and a country that’s intentionally deciding to become a poor one on purpose. It’s really kind of crazy, so it’s not just Bush. Reagan and Clinton bear a lot of the blame for free trade agreements that sent American jobs overseas, for the widening disparity of wealth, for crushing the unions—it goes on and on. You can go back a lot further than that too. In the most recent era I would say that it began with Reagan ….

WCP: I must say that personally I have a little trouble trusting the mob, much like the founding fathers did.

TR: Well, yeah, if the United States proves anything, it’s that democracy doesn’t work. You can look at California’s referendums to prove that. I’m being droll there, but in reality the country is too undereducated to have a functioning democracy. As Toqueville said, you need a well-educated, well-informed electorate in order to make democracy work and we don’t have that. In fact it’s considered geeky or dorky to be an intellectual, and if you are, you’re supposed to pretend that you’re not …

WCP: In your first chapter, you talk about this being late-stage capitalism, but to me it looks vaguely like a return, at least during the Bush years, to early-stage capitalism with less rules, less taxation, and the like. I would have said something like FDR’s New Deal would have starting moving us to a late-stage capitalism. Can you talk about why you think we’re in a late-stage capitalism now?

TR: It’s the classic Marxist model, where the trend toward monopolization has gone to an extreme, to the point where competition has been stifled, and where new generations of young people find their road to advancement cut off and are unable to find work or start new businesses. Capital has frozen. You know the country’s still rich. In 2008, money didn’t go away. We didn’t become poor. The lifeblood of the economy stopped circulating and rich people stopped investing. It’s really quite crazy if you think about it. The thing about American capitalism is that it does everything exactly backwards. When it should be audacious, like now, it’s timid, and when it should be timid, like during the late 1990s, it’s profligate. It’s really an incredibly stupid system (laughs) . The reason I wrote this book is that it’s become obvious to everyone. You couldn’t call for revolution in 1989—well you could call for it, but no one would have cared. I think more people are open to the message now. Someone asked me the other day, ‘well, how are you going to radicalize people?’ and I said ‘you don’t have to radicalize anyone.’ Once you get a pink slip and an eviction notice from a bank that is paying its CEO $40 million a year, you’re radicalized. You don’t to need read Mao’s Little Red Book …

WCP: When you call for revolution, what would you see replacing the current system? Parliamentary democracy?

TR: I’m all the way on the far left, as far as you can get, so I would like to see a completely leftist proletariat dictatorship, but what I want is neither here nor there. I don’t think that what I want is important, or relevant, or realistic to even discuss, because once you unleash the forces of revolution, anything could happen. You could end up with a right wing coup. Who knows where you’re going to end up? You could end up with a Christian theocracy. What the revolution does is create the physical and ideological space for the discussion to take place. Right now, we don’t really know what Americans want, but what we do know is that this system is currently broken, and what we need is to come in with a clean slate, start from scratch and undergo the difficult process that the United States has not undergone for 200 years of figuring out how we really want to live in the year 2011.

The full interview’s at the link.

Rall is an award-winning leftist political cartoonist. Totally mainstream.

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