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Nancy Pelosi and Her Struggle to ‘Preserve’ the American Bourgeoisie
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Nancy Pelosi and Her Struggle to ‘Preserve’ the American Bourgeoisie

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The Majority Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in the United States Congress, has cultivated for years her image as a champion of the people. To understand what she claims to stand for amid the established institutions of American politics, versus whom she actually allies herself with, is to explore her deep-seated class contradictions. We should inform ourselves of a class history of the Majority Speaker of the House, in order to understand her class origins which are part of ‘climbing up the ladder’, as the saying goes, to the heights of the established American bourgeois class. We should also understand that such a class has as its baggage all its pseudo-intellectual and cultural refinements created to add luster to its actual vulgar class heritage.  

The majority of American politicians, who are also part of that class, have had to manipulate and use sly political coercion among the American working class and the unemployed, poverty classes to get voted  into political offices. The rungs of the political ladder can begin with being a mayor of a town, to the higher offices of Congress, and with a high degree of funding, financial emoluments, actual corruption, and contributions from various corporations, not excluding the continual backing of a naïve population -- which then they can even aspire to becoming a Senator.  Thus they can wrap themselves in a metaphorical toga, not unlike those Roman senators of in ancient history, as being a ‘voice’ for the common people, even as they live out their own lives in lavish material splendor.  Thus the ruse goes both ways, in both parties, regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat.

Nancy Pelosi has a political pedigree rooted in her family history, so the class roots of her political convictions at first seem easy to detect. Pelosi was born in Baltimore in 1940 to an Italian-American family, with both of her parents having an Italian roots. At the time of her birth, Nancy Pelosi's father was a Democratic Congressman from Maryland and he eventually became Mayor of Baltimore.  The future Majority Leader of the House was also destined to have a mother active in politics, organizing Democratic women and teaching her daughter the value of  networking. As all this political information is a matter of  public record, it can also be established that Nancy Pelosi was involved with politics from an early age.

While I could give further information on her political background, that would diverge from our purpose here -- concerning her current political intentions. In terms of her class income, the Majority Speaker of the House's net worth is $58.7 million to $72.1 million, the primary source being from her U.S. congressional salary.[i]  However, her net worth is much more complicated than initially meets the reader’s eye, when we are studying her class interests.

These are some of the eye-opening statistics matter-of-factly reflecting Nancy Pelosi's bourgeois class interests:

“With over a half-century of experience as a civil servant, Pelosi had unpaid roles until she was elected to Congress in 1987. The financial disclosures provided to Congress reveals a broad range of potential values for Pelosi and her husband’s combined net worth. Reporting assets with a range of values from $20.3 million and $89.1 million — and debts of $17 million to $79.1 million — the couple could be anywhere from nearly $60 million in debt to over $70 million in the black. But congressional news site Roll Call pegs her net worth at $16 million — With over a half-century of experience as a civil servant, Pelosi had unpaid roles until she was elected to Congress in 1987. The financial disclosures provided to Congress reveals a broad range of potential values for Pelosi and her husband’s combined net worth. Reporting assets with a range of values from $20.3 million and $89.1 million — and debts of $17 million to $79.1 million — the couple could be anywhere from nearly $60 million in debt to over $70 million in the black.But congressional news site Roll Call pegs her net worth at $16 million — good for the 30th-richest member of the 115th Congress.”[ii]

However, the substantial wealth of the new Majority Speaker of the House does not end with the monetary facts mentioned above. It is also reported from the same source that “Pelosi’s past annual salary as minority leader was $193,400. This time, in her resumed role as speaker, she’ll get a raise to $223,500. The majority of her wealth is attributed to the success of her venture capitalist and real estate tycoon husband of 55 years, Paul Pelosi. His firm, Financial Leasing Services, has a track record of wise investments in companies like Facebook, Apple and Disney. Among the couple’s shared properties are an estate and vineyard in Northern California’s stunning wine country estimated to be between $5 million and $25 million, and the couple sold their California ski home for $1.53 million in 2016.”[iii]

So as not to be one who calls attention to a politician’s income, when I myself have lived off the financial input of others as a landlord and property-owner, it would be fair to state that being on the very lowest end of the property class, I understand the hypocrisy of preaching equality while taking from the proletariat, whose labor I have manipulated in order to secure a middle class way of life in America. The only decent response I can give is what Friedrick Engels has influenced me to understand: one can use one’s monetary class interest to forward the political interests of the proletariat if one chooses to do so, as Engels himself did with the funds he received from his inheritance of his father’s large textile factory in Salford, England.      

It is true, like any place in the world,  money speaks in the United States. This is the country professing with so much froth and glamour about being an American with democratic values, about being in the country that offers the most possibility for prosperity. One can only smile at this dark side of American history. For in reality, Nancy Pelosi does not represent the vital interests of the American people, those people being the American working class, but rather, she aspires in a flawed and reactionary rationalization to declare how she advocates being the champion of the American middle class, a class which she had been born into, but which she is no longer economically a part of in her climb up the rungs of the American imperial ladder. 

In an emotional and charged-up speech before Congress on January 3, 2019, Nancy Pelosi made what she considered stirring remarks about the class she wants to champion, giving neither adulation nor salutation to the American proletariat, when she stated: “We must be champions of the middle class, and all those who aspire to it – because the middle class is the backbone of democracy. It has been so since the birth of democracy itself. Aristotle said, 'It is manifest that the best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class…in which the middle class is large and stronger than all of the other classes.' We must fight for the middle class in a way that is fair and fiscally sound – protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We must also face the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis – a crisis manifested in natural disasters of epic proportions.”[iv]

It is very interesting how she quoted Aristotle who was actually part of the rising professional class of so-called Athenian democracy, his father being a doctor. Aristotle never knew economic hardship like the ordinary Athenians who were back-breaking laborers in Athens -- freemen, or slaves under the yoke of the aristocracy, and if more fortunate, then famers.  Under the sway of Plato, whom Aristotle would study with, he would later come to develop his own philosophy of empiricism, a theory that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. Therefore,, it is not through factual evidence in understanding social and economic factors of human social life that Aristotle founded his philosophy. I believe he would have rejected what is today understood as actual economic and social class disparity, facts found in the core of materialist philosophy or historical materialism economics. Aristotle choose instead through merely hypothetical philosophical constructs, to see and judge the actions of others. In essence, Aristotle gave credence to sensory, subjective observation on how people lived and felt about their lives.   

Nancy Pelosi has chosen to ignore the hard reality of the materialist way of life of ordinary people. Therefore, let us remind ourselves, when Nancy Pelosi addressed members of Congress with her ‘weighty words’ taken from Aristotle, she cloaked her class allegiance with the American middle class, which in fact is dying out by the political and economic strangulation of the American oligarchy -- represented in the Trump regime and among other obscenely wealthy Americans, whose party affiliation is ultimately of no consequence.  For the oligarchs and the  super-rich Americans are tied together by class interests, when the final class struggle account is settled.  Hence, the rise of fascism in America is wedded to the oligarchs, the wealthy minority and those Americans whose living wage depends on the American Military industrial complex.  

As the Majority Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi spoke of her struggle to want to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the middle class, but never did she mention her unfailing support for the American working class, nor how she would implement better working conditions, a healthier living wage and safer working conditions for American workers--- instead she tragically threw in a sop to the congressional audience by stating “Countless families – even sick little children, the little lobbyists – bravely came forward to tell their stories. And they made the difference. Countless families – even sick little children, the little lobbyists – bravely came forward to tell their stories. And they made the difference.”[v]— while not giving any concrete solutions for bettering the lives of the American people who work daily shifts as manual laborers, service workers, migrant farm workers, enlisted personal in the armed forces and federal workers—but then it would be naïve not to understand her actual class interests.  As Marx would so succinctly state about those in such those class ranks Nancy Pelosi wishes to throw a lifeline to who have less than her --- “In addition, the working class is also recruited from the higher strata of society; a mass of small business men [and women] and of people living upon the interest of their capital is precipitated into the ranks of the working class, and they will have nothing else to do than to stretch out their arms alongside of the arms of the workers. And so we have this burgeoning forest of outstretched arms, begging for work, and this forest grows ever thicker, while the arms themselves grow every leaner… It is evident how the small manufacturers and thereby increasing the number of candidates for the proletariat – all this requires no further elucidation.”[vi]

With the American middle class  dying under the strangulating tentacles of Trump’s oligarch clutches, including those masses of American proletariat who barely make a living wage and suffer innumerable emotional and financial trauma—Nancy Pelosi, armed with a quote from Aristotle, reaches out with her wealthy out- stretched arms to offer those “Countless families – even sick little children” the opportunity to be a part of her struggle to retain an imperial, capitalist way of life forever and a day.

Author: Luis Lázaro Tijerina