Jamaal Bowman, Democratic rep.-elect: ‘Capitalism is slavery by another name’


U.S. Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman declared in a new interview that “capitalism is slavery by another name” and that it’s up to radicals like himself within the Democratic Party to bring change to the current economic system.

The New York Democratic socialist, who ousted longtime Rep. Eliot Engel in a Democratic primary upset, said Republicans have controlled the messaging surrounding socialism and have made people afraid of it, while Democratic moderates have failed to unite behind socialist Congress members.

“Republicans have been masters of that,” Mr. Bowman told The Root in an interview Monday. “For me, we have to ask ourselves ‘Is this current system of capitalism working for the majority of American people?’

“I believe our current system of capitalism is slavery by another name,” he said. “We’ve moved from physical chattel enslavement and physical racial segregation to a plantation economic system. One that keeps the majority of Americans unemployed, or underemployed and struggling just to survive, while the power elite continues to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, and allow large corporations to pretty much run the world as multinational corporations.

“The pandemic has revealed it,” he continued. “With almost 300,000 dead from the pandemic, disproportionately Black and brown, and Jeff Bezos is the first $200 billionaire. In the next six years, he might become the first trillionaire. That’s slavery by another name. It’s a system that’s not working, so we need a new system.”

Mr. Bowman, a former school principal who is set to be sworn into Congress on Jan. 3, slammed former President Barack Obama’s recent criticism of the “defund the police” movement, saying the center-left approach to issues won’t energize the party in future elections.

“I don’t think Obama is the standard we should be striving towards,” he said. “I think the Squad is more of a standard we should be striving towards because I think the Squad is more responsive to what’s happening today in our streets. I think Obama represents a certain demographic of the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party is a big and diverse tent.

“I think the Squad and myself represent more of what’s happening right now in the party, on the ground, in the streets — particularly with parts of the community that we haven’t always engaged very well,” he added.

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