Forums on Independent Politics

September 21, 2004

The Workers Party is encouraging people to use the election period to strengthen a real alternative to the political monopoly of the Republicans and Democrats. As part of this work, the Party is initiating regular forums on the necessity and program of independent politics. Below, we summarize some of the main points presented by Michael Thorburn, editor of "The Worker," in starting these discussions with various groups of activists.

1) The recent demonstrations at the Republican Convention sharply brought home the burning political contradiction of the times. Not only is the government going directly against the interests and will of the American people. Even within the popular opposition there is an impassable gulf between the drive and demands of the people and the political leadership of the movement which remains concentrated in the hands of the Democratic Party.

This political contradiction has been intensifying especially over the last 3 years as the American people have created a new nationwide anti-war movement. Every step of the way - from the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, to the invasion of Iraq, to the ongoing struggles against the many fronts of the government's aggressive foreign policy

- it has been the ordinary people who have come out in struggle and worked to organize themselves. Yet more, every step of the way the people have had to fight against the Democratic Party and its opportunist "left-wing." The Democrats keep trying to liquidate the mass initiatives of the people and suppress the ideological and political development of the anti-war movement.

The experience of the Workers Party shows that large numbers of people are straining to break from the tutelage of the Democrats and find the ways to give an organized and conscious expression to their political demands. This polarization will only continue.

2) The fundamental issue of contemporary American life is giving independent expression to the real aspirations and urgent demands of the workers and people. This is the very starting point and compass of progressive politics.

It is simply the ABC of politics that classes organize political parties to fight for their interests by capturing the political power.

3) Such an independent politics must be in accord with the fundamental interests of the workers and people and provide real solutions to the problems facing them. The immediate program of the Workers Party - the program of economic rights, democratic renewal, and a democratic foreign policy - offers such solutions. The fundamental aim of the Party is socialism.

The work of the Party is to bring this politics to the widest possible section of people, especially to those who are locked out of the present setup. Michael Thorburn gave examples of how the Party's program must be and is being continually concretized in the course of mobilizing people and standing up against the capitalist offensive.

In the course of discussions, the activists confirmed that a new wind is blowing amongst the people and large numbers are demanding change. Several activists gave examples of how Democratic Party politics continually stifles people's initiative and liquidates their struggles. Others spoke about their experiences with the Peace Petition and other campaigns of the Workers Party, underscoring how independent politics releases the initiative of people. In addition, various issues concerning the strategy and tactics of the working class and popular struggles were discussed.

The Workers Party will continue sponsoring such forums on independent politics.