Lesson of US elections: Capitalist politics doesn’t work for ordinary people
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سَيَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ سَنَوَاتٌ خَدَّاعَاتُ يُصَدَّقُ فِيهَا الْكَاذِبُ وَيُكَذَّبُ فِيهَا الصَّادِقُ وَيُؤْتَمَنُ فِيهَا الْخَائِنُ وَيُخَوَّنُ فِيهَا الْأَمِينُ وَيَنْطِقُ فِيهَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ قِيلَ وَمَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ قَالَ الرَّجُلُ التَّافِهُ فِي أَمْرِ الْعَامَّةِ
It is narrated from Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Deceiving years will come when the liar is believed and the honest man disbelieved; when the traitor is trusted, and the trustworthy man is regarded as a traitor; and in those years the Ruwaibidhah will speak” It was said ‘Who are the Ruwaibidhah?’ The Prophet ﷺ replied: “The trivial man/shallow man who speaks in public affairs.” (Ibn Majah) (in another narration, ‘The fuwasiq (minor fasiq) who speaks in public affairs’).
Markets tumbled and liberal commentators looked horrified at the prospect of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.
This election has shown us how broken the American political system is; how divided America is; how shallow political discourse has become; and how this capitalist system is no example for the world.
The system is broken because the votes for Trump appear, like the Brexit vote, to be an ‘anti-politics’ vote – a statement that the political system whether under the Democrats or the traditional Republicans (Trump is not considered one) has not worked for many people in America. Many of the votes for Clinton appear to have been motivated by a fear of Trump and not a support for any positive vision.
The truth is America is not one man or one woman. America is its institutions, operating according to a capitalist system, which over the years have systematically compromised the very principles they claim to uphold.
It is this system and these institutions that produced the choice between Trump and Clinton.
The level of mistrust in American politics matches the levels of mistrust in its economy, which sees Public Debt stand at around $19 trillion and a Budget Deficit of over $500 billion annually!
This election is more proof that capitalism is a ‘sick man’ in decline – but which still has the capability to harm others.
America is divided. We have never seen the world’s leading democracy, so divided – between black and white, men and women, liberal and conservative.
The sad fact of the matter is that the American people have become disillusioned seeing secular democracy and capitalism produce a black president who presided over the shooting of black men – and have come to distrust the promises of a woman who pledges to deliver for women and a white man who pledges to deliver for the white working men! This division is a reflection of the fact they don’t know where to turn for answers. Conservatives see liberal values destroying family values. Liberals see conservatives exploiting racial differences in society.
The shallow political discourse reflects the trivial thinking and commentary within secular capitalist thought.Accusations about Trump’s character – being misogynistic, racist, Islamophobic and unstable – overshadowed his pro-Putin statements and talk of re-negotiating trade agreements, which is what genuinely concerns other countries in the West.
Similarly, accusations about Clinton being dishonest overshadowed her entanglement with capitalist interests and her destructive role as Secretary of State [complicity in the ‘AfPak’ disaster, destabilisation of Libya, support for Bashar al Assad, loyalty to the Zionist occupation of Palestine (aka ‘Israel)].
In summary, the election shows that America and capitalism generally is no example for the world. It speaks volumes about the state of leadership and lack of vision in the world today.
Presidents come and go, policies may be amended, but there will be no real change with this seemingly big change.
America is a capitalist state with a capitalist foreign policy, which believes in its right to colonise other states for its own material benefit. This would never have changed under either Trump or Clinton – the only difference being styles, means and priorities. Bush sent armies to kill in the Muslim world, whereas Obama used drones. Both of them propped-up or destabilised regimes for US corporate interests.
Real change in the world cannot come from having faith in one individual – no matter how good or bad that person is. It will never come from any political party, country or government calling for, implementing or emulating this failed capitalist system, which thrives off the exploitation of others.
It will only come when the world has a genuine alternative to look at.
That can only be when the Muslim world translates its faith in Islam to faith in Islam’s political ideas and restores the Islamic system of governance, under Khilafah – an accountable, just system, not open to manipulation; which puts the poor and needy at the centre of its economic programme; which has the capacity to unite its people as valued citizens regardless of race, even making non-Muslims feeling secure; which will defend its lands from occupation and exploitation.
That kind of state would show the world an example of goodness and hope – and of how politics really should be to look after the affairs of people.
People may belie this and call it shallow – but they are the ones who are shallow.
When capitalism reached its pinnacle, it produced a choice between Trump and Clinton – and when Islam reached its pinnacle it was the system that gave the world leaders the likes Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and ‘Ali – may Allah be pleased with them all.
Chairman, UK Executive Committee, Hizb ut-Tahrir
9 Safar 1438 / 9 November 2016
Dr. Abdul Wahid is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain. He has been published in The Times Higher Educational Supplement and on the websites of Foreign Affairs, Open Democracy and Prospect magazine – and appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera and other broadcast media.
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