There Is an Alternative

May 21, 2018

As the crisis of capitalism deepens, the masses of people are coming out more and more in protests and struggles on many fronts – fighting against the exploitation and oppression imposed on them by the capitalist class.

Facing this crisis, the monopoly capitalists are more and more trying to depoliticize people and degrade their consciousness.

Whenever the capitalists want to launch a new initiative – whether it be a war against another country or the further dismantling of the public sectors of the economy – the people are bombarded with disinformation designed to mystify the causes of social problems and demonize the enemies of capitalism. For example, in order to prepare public opinion for the privatization of Social Security, the capitalists are continuously repeating the Big Lie that “Social Security is going bankrupt.”

Such political discussion and analysis as appears in the monopoly-controlled media always remains within the limits defined by the monopoly capitalist class. People are offered the “choice” of higher taxes or less social spending. But all the while the monopoly-controlled media starts from the unspoken assumption that the bulk of the government’s budget must go to the military arms merchants or the Wall Street bankers. Similarly, the workers are threatened that if they don’t accept wage cuts, they will lose their jobs. Again, the unspoken assumption, is that – first, last and always – the profits of the capitalists must be protected.

The Democrats and Republicans help impose this preset agenda on the people. Of course, the Democrats and Republicans put on a show and play a real con game on the public by pretending to “argue” over the agenda. But both “sides” of the “debate” remain within the limits set by the needs of monopoly capital. Thus, the Republicans demand the all-around privatization of the public schools while the Democrats advertise their program of partial privatization not merely as the “lesser evil” but as a real victory for the people. This pre-set agenda completely excludes the workers and prevents our country from finding solutions to the pressing economic, social and political problems facing the people.

Under the current system of bourgeois democracy, elections are held only to give the appearance of legitimacy, to create the idea that people have given their consent to the rule of capital. Through the two-party monopoly the capitalists have rigged the system to insure that only representatives of big business control the seats of government. The people have no real vote or choice because the right to nominate candidates and run for office has been reserved as a privilege of the rich. What is more, the elected officials are completely unaccountable to the people, who are deprived of any direct role in setting the agenda or in governance.

In fact, behind the facade of democracy, government power is becoming more and more arbitrary. Take, for example, the government’s vast power to tax and spend. Over the last several years, the Democrats and Republicans have advertised their radical cutbacks in social investments and entitlement programs as a virtual “revolution” (read: counter-revolution.) But the people had absolutely no role in the decision to slash income support programs for the poor and most vulnerable or in the government program of privatizing social services. In other words, whenever the time for talk is over and the real interests of capitalism are at stake, the government reveals itself as nothing more nor less than the arbitrary, violent power of monopoly capital.

In order to fortify the capitalist relations based on exploitation of the working class, the monopolists have entrenched a system of political privilege which insures their domination over the state.

While the formal shell of universal franchise exists, the current system of representative democracy does not place sovereignty with the people themselves but rather with the government, which is free to carry out its policies without regard for the will of the people, and which has placed itself above society, unaccountable to the people.

The system of Party government through which the big political parties are given, in law and in fact, a monopoly over the selection and nomination of candidates for office further guards the political power of the capitalist class, undercutting the right to vote and disenfranchising the people from their right to nominate and select government officials as well as from any direct role in governance.

The real political power resides in the Executive branch of government, including the bureaucracy, the police and military forces under the command of the Executive. This executive power, in the manner of the feudal monarchs, acts as an absolute and arbitrary power over the masses of people and is, in reality, the class power of monopoly capital. This class power stands in irreconcilable opposition to democracy – to rule by the people – and relies, in the final analysis, on violence to maintain the system of private property in the means of production and to impose class exploitation and oppression on the workers and broad masses of people.

Thus, while wealth and power accumulate at one pole of the society in the hands of a tiny minority of monopoly capitalists, misery, poverty and powerlessness grow at the other pole amongst the great mass of the society. The working class – the class which has no way to live except to sell its labor-power day in and day out to the capitalist owners – is the special product of modern industry and constitutes the overwhelming majority of the society.

The domination of the capitalist class rests secure only so far and so long as it can maintain competition amongst the workers. But the entire history of the working class shows that it overcomes the competition fostered in its ranks through common organization and collective struggle, coming out as a class for itself to fight for its emancipation. As a class for itself, the working class puts forward its own program, including both immediate and long-range objectives, as the basis for uniting its ranks as well as for leading the whole society out of the crisis of capitalism and onto the path of social progress.

Every day as more people become thoroughly fed up with the two-party monopoly of the Democrats and Republicans, the need for building the alternative – building the independent political movement of the working class – becomes even more urgent.

But the independent movement will not arise spontaneously or by magic. It can only be built through energetic work and struggle. The starting point of this work is popularizing the independent class aims and program of the workers.

The Workers Party is involved in the continuous, day-to-day work of uniting people on the basis of the independent program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy and socialism.

We popularize this program on the widest possible basis and initiate repeated actions to mobilize people in the fight for this program. In addition, the Party works in the many spontaneous struggles and on-going movements of the people both to maximize the immediate impact of these struggles and to inform them with the general aims and program of the working class.

The centerpiece of the tactical program of the Workers Party is the struggle to carry out the democratic renewal of the political system and the political process. Today, the American people, who emerged as a nation in the struggle against the absolute power of the feudal kings, again face an entrenched political power which has usurped the sovereignty of the people. Today, the Republican and Democratic parties, creatures created by the economic elite, wield the same arbitrary power as the Kings and Lords of the feudal period, deciding, without regard for the will of the people, such vital questions as war and peace and the direction of the national economy, and dispersing the funds of the public treasury in order to line the pockets of the economic elite. Facing this political situation, the American people must take up the struggle to renew the political system and political process so that the sovereign power – the decision-making power – returns to the people themselves and the people are able to directly participate in governing their affairs.

The program for democratic renewal aims at breaking the monopoly of the capitalist class and its parties over political affairs and empowering the working class and people. In addition to guaranteeing all the democratic rights of the people, the program of democratic renewal demands that the power to nominate candidates be returned to the people and that everyone be guaranteed the equal right to elect and be elected.

This program aims at giving direction and consciousness to the profound disillusionment and political alienation of the people. It exposes the fundamental flaws in the current political process and political system, showing how monopoly capital has rigged the current system to guard its political power. The program of democratic renewal relies on the independent political initiative of the people and brings to the forefront the question of political power.

Democratic renewal puts forward a modern definition of rights which includes recognition of the peoples’ fundamental economic rights (i.e. the right to a livelihood, to health care, etc.) and demands that society guarantees the means necessary for people to exercise all their rights in real life. The program of democratic renewal recognizes that in the final analysis the modern demand for equality – for equal economic, political, and social rights for all human beings – is the demand for the abolition of social classes.

The leading edge of the Party’s day-to-day activity is building “The Worker” as a mass political newspaper of the working class.

By building the workers’ own press, the Workers Party not only breaks the monopoly which the bourgeoisie try to exercise over public opinion, but at the same time unites the workers’ ranks around their independent aims and program. As we deepen and broaden the content of The Worker and other publications and build up a wide distribution network, workers are able to get a more in-depth picture of their movement, grapple with the questions of strategy and tactics as well as build up an organizational scaffolding around which to unfold their independent movement.

Through concrete initiatives, participants use the workers’ press to create space in which people can engage in serious discussion, in which information and facts as well as analysis and solutions are presented. This politicalization process plays an indispensable ideological role in providing class consciousness for the workers and enlightenment for society.

In tactical terms, the Workers Party publications pay constant attention to zeroing in and taking up the immediate tasks which face various collectives such as the workers, the youth and so forth as well as the collective tasks which face the people as a whole. We go far and wide calling on people to join with us in weighing up these collective tasks and in carrying them out.

The Workers Party leads the work of popularizing and elaborating the short-term and long-term program of the working class, taking this program to all sections of the class, as well as to the middle stratum in order to rally it under the leadership of the working class. Elaborating and popularizing the program of the working class involves intensive and extensive theoretical and ideological work. This work is necessary both to continually strengthen the conviction of the workers about the conditions which they must create in order to emancipate themselves, as well as to defeat the attempts of the capitalists to sidetrack the movement.

Uniting the entire working class and rallying the middle stratum behind the program of the working class necessarily requires a struggle against all attempts to create division and competition in the workers’ ranks, as well as a struggle to isolate the forces calling for compromise with and reliance on the capitalist class. In other words, the strategy of the working class is based on directing the main blow against the labor aristocracy and the political forces which work to liquidate the class independence of the workers by maintaining a blockade of silence and disinformation about the struggles of people and creating illusions in the capitalist system and the capitalist political parties.