Do Not Let the Rich Silence Our Voice!
April 12, 2017
Even though today the Democrats and Republicans are still being presented as the only legitimate political forces, and the demand is put on the people to go along with the entrenched view that no decisive political role can be found for the people, it is also true that the coverage of governance in the media and the events being organized by the Democratic Party to protest Trump’s presidency are both things meant to give the distinct impression that something fundamentally different from usual is going on in Washington. In particular, we have seen how Trump is being portrayed as a political outsider undermining the fabled “good reputation” of the U.S. government and capitalist class in the world. A mountain of significance is made out of this in order to present the people with the sense that anything but Trump must be the lesser of two evils. A more apolitical approach than ever is taken. Everything is treated as a scandal about Trump’s personal antics, which are used to promote a constant crisis atmosphere.
On the one side, the great uproar about Trump coming from the Democratic Party is entirely centered on that party’s expression of outrage at having lost its bid to hold on to the power of the White House. On the other side, the centerpiece of the attacks on the current administration are not based on opposing it for carrying out the same agenda as the former, but rather on the basis that it has promised to undo various cosmetic changes to the system implemented by the Obama administration.
As matters stand, two threads can be found in this whirlwind: 1) the alleged backwardness of the working people is to blame and 2) no matter what happens, the profits of the capitalists must be protected.
In particular, social democracy and modern revisionism work to import this capitalist ideology into the ranks of the working class and popular movements of the people. The aim is to suppress the political independence of the workers. They insist that workers can only be “pragmatic” and participate in political affairs by aligning themselves under the wing of the so-called “progressive” section of the capitalists. They deny that the workers are a class-for-themselves and divide the people into competing pressure groups and interest groups while insisting that people must work “within” the framework – the political limits – already laid down by the capitalists.
However, the government’s reactionary agenda – its slashing of social programs, its aggressive foreign policy, its attacks on people’s democratic rights, etc. – is not merely the work of some of the capitalist politicians. It is the bi-partisan program of both the Democrats and Republicans.
In fact, when various opportunist political groupings try to create hysteria about the “ultra-right” Republicans and promote the Democrats as an “alternative,” they are only making it easier for the capitalist class to push through its reactionary agenda.
This line of the “lesser evil politics” insists that people “stop complaining” and be “pragmatic.” But this really means that we are supposed to shut our mouths, give up our own political aims and agenda and passively accept the tutelage of the admittedly “evil” Democrats and/or Republicans. But complaining – denouncing – the capitalist politicians is an essential part of defending the interests of the people. In particular, denouncing the Democrats (along with the Republicans) is the only way to consistently reject and isolate the reactionary agenda and begin to express our own independent political point of view.
The line of “lesser evil,” seeks to cover over the real cause of the oppression and exploitation of the people and of the government’s reactionary agenda. The problem is not that some politicians are “bad” while others are good. The problem is that both the Democrats and Republicans represent the class interests of monopoly capital. And it is this fact, the fact that monopoly capital controls the political power and is using it to attack the people all along the line, which is the problem. The workers and people can not get very far in their struggle if they ignore the root cause of the problem.
The line of “lesser evil” seeks to keep all the political initiative in the hands of the capitalists. According to this logic, the struggle for progress or retrogression is a struggle between two wings of the capitalists and the role of the workers and people is nothing more than to line up behind one or the other wing. In short, the people have no independent role whatsoever in shaping the society they live in.
This is the real crux of the matter.
Just as the reactionary agenda of the government finds its source in the class interests of the capitalists, so too, the agenda for social progress, enlightenment, and emancipation finds its source in the aspirations and struggles of definite classes – in the struggle of the working class and people.
Large numbers of people reject capitalist politics but still feel marginalized by the entire way the discussion is presented and monopolized.
Thus, it is no wonder that one of the sharpest manifestation of the growing class polarization is the almost universal hatred of the people for the Democratic and Republican parties and the corrupt political process which completely excludes the people. And people are not only fed up with the political status quo, they are continually coming into the public arena and taking actions to advance their own agenda. This is reflected in on-going struggles to demand universal health coverage, in struggles to defend public housing and income support programs, in the growing anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist movements, etc.
All across the country, people are already in motion. At the workplace, workers are continually in struggle against capitalist exploitation – fighting against wage and benefit cuts, against downsizing, restructuring, contracting out, privatization, the substitution of part-time employees for full-time, etc. People are not only resisting but taking the initiative into their hands and coming out to demand that the right to a job or income be recognized and guaranteed for everyone. Ever-wider sections of people are opposing the government’s aggressive foreign policy and war programs. Many struggles are breaking out to defend democratic rights.
What is more, people are expressing their profound alienation from the current political process and demanding a real role in governance – in shaping the society they live in.
The independent movement which is emerging out of present conditions cannot be forced to develop according to some preset ideology. Nor can the movement be left to spontaneity.
The key thing is the enunciation and development of the independent class aims and political program of the workers. The real issue facing the working class and people is to work out the ways to give independent political expression to the interests and aspirations which arise from their own real conditions and on-going struggles.
The Workers Party says that the line of submitting to the “lesser evil” is merely another means for keeping the workers and people sidelined and outside of the political process. We say that it is high time to beat back this blackmail.
We say. “Don’t let the rich and their political parties silence our voice and our struggle.” “Denounce the Democrats and Republicans for their attacks on the people.”
We say that the future of our country depends on the workers and people asserting themselves and taking their rightful place as the active and leading force in our country. The starting point is to come into the political arena on the basis of our own independent aims and program.