Break Out of the Straight Jacket

Do Not Let the Rich Silence Our Voice

September 13, 2011

How many times have people been told that "Even though none of the candidates are any good, you just have to vote for the 'lesser evil?'" This tired refrain is really an admission of the complete bankruptcy of the current political process.

The issue involves much more than simply whether or not one pulls a lever for a Democrat or a Republican. The line of "lesser evil" aims at making people forget about the deeds of the government, at silencing the voice of the people and preventing people from expressing their own political aims and interests.

To begin with, just who is the "lesser evil?" 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 Democrats to carry through the reactionary agenda of the capitalist class. Let us not forget that it is the Obama administration which is privatizing government services; which is calling for more cuts to Medicare and Medicaid even while trillions of taxpayers' dollars are being turned over to the Pentagon arms merchants, the Wall Street bankers and other big capitalists; which continues to arbitrarily hold prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in violation of the Geneva convention and other international laws; which launched the war in Libya and is escalating U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the Philippines, which is stepping up threats and pressure against against Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, etc., etc.

The line of the "lesser evil" 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.

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. Over the last several years, nation-wide movements have emerged to defend social programs such as social security and public education. People are not only resisting but taking the initiative into their hands and coming out to demand that health care be recognized as a right 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. This is the starting point. The real issue facing the working class and people is 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.