There is a lot of talk across the United States about the attack on voter rights. In many states across the country, restrictive voter ID laws have been passed under the guise of protecting American democracy from fraud. Polling locations in many states were reduced in not only quantity but also quality, with fewer hours and less days open. Millions of age-eligible Americans cannot vote due to a targeted and destructive justice system, with several states making it impossible for felons to ever vote in an election. For the vast majority of America’s history, voting rights have been restricted and barricaded to all those that were not white, wealthy men. Just because our current system is better than what it was, does not mean the system will ever be good.
America’s founders intended voting to always be left to those they considered worthy of it. It was only natural, in their eyes, to reserve the right to vote to only white, land owning men because the society they perpetuated meant that only white wealthy men could possibly be properly educated. It took hundreds of years of fighting against inaccessible education standards for women, minorities, and the poor for the ruling elites to allow for their participation in the system. Even then, the capitalist class must be assured of their dominance and retaining of power. To do so, they have continually perpetuated a system that maximizes voter apathy and makes it difficult for the working class to stay civically engaged. This is not only done by closing polling locations, making voter ID laws, and restricting felons from the right to vote. It is also done by one of the inherent aspects of capitalism; wage slavery.
Wage slavery, the idea that because of the worker’s need to survive off of a meagerly portioned out salary they are, for all intents and purposes, a slave. General thought of slavery usually goes back to the days of chattel slavery in America. While without any doubt a much more vicious form of slavery, wage slavery is still very real. Workers in a capitalist system are considered wage slaves due to the necessity of work and wages for their survival. Despite the implied “freedom” workers have by pursuing different jobs and opportunities, the capitalist system maximizes risk on the end of the worker’s. Does one really have the freedom to choose their treatment by an employer when they risk losing the source of income to provide for themselves and their family? The capitalists stand to lose very little, especially in a poorly organized country like the USA, due to the ease they can replace an employee.
Wage slavery’s effect on politics is easy to surmise. Do the risk of losing their employment, workers are apprehensive to lobby publicly or privately for what they believe in. This alienation from civic participation contributes to the working class apathy we see. There is too much risk for the laborer in a capitalist system to enact genuine change, and the choices they do have in elections can never satisfy what the working people need in turn. The capitalist class will, as long as capitalism exists, work to make democracy the playground of those who can afford to participate.
By SoFlo Socialist