The Two Parties are Parties of the Billionaires

August 19, 2016

In the last several local elections the officialdom of the labor aristocracy has on several occasions endorsed Republican Party candidates for state offices in Illinois. 

These endorsements were supported in each case with the claim that, “These are the more responsible capitalist politicians, ones who recognize the need to live cooperatively with the workers.”

But just as with the Democratic Party, it is the biggest commodity speculators, billionaire and multi-millionaire contributors who control the purse-strings and call the shots in the Republican Party. 

These are the people who “make” their millions and billions of dollars by exploiting the labor of the working class. These are the people who, through downsizing and restructuring are imposing two-tier and three-tier wage systems in order to slash the wages of younger workers and to undermine the standard of wages and benefits achieved by the older generation of workers. These are the people who, by relocating factories and contracting out, are working to replace higher-paid unionized workers with non-union workers. These are the people who have cut back on the workforce in order to maximize the amount of labor they can sweat out of each individual worker. 

How could the Republican Party, a party of swindling blood-suckers, ever be a “friend of labor”? 

As the permanent crisis of capitalism intensifies, a question on the minds of people everywhere is: what politics guides the trade union movement? 

And it is exactly this line of pretending the interests of business are anything other than to maximize profits by exploiting the workers, this line of subordinating the trade union movement to a politics that claims to be both “pro-business” and “pro-labor,” which is placed in the forefront by the officialdom of the labor aristocracy and which threatens to drag the workers’ movement backwards. 

There can never be cooperation and reconciliation between the working class and the capitalist class. The path for the workers is not to surrender their class interests by remaining under the tutelage of the capitalist parties. Rather it is to organize its own political party, independent of and in opposition to both the Republicans and Democrats. 

Today as more and more people are seriously looking into the question of how to build up the workers’ own independent political party and political movement, the  social-democratic “left-wing” of the labor aristocracy has stepped up its propaganda about the need for “workers to find their own candidates” and to “build an alternative.”

The so-called “alternative” provided by social-democracy begins with renouncing the struggle for social ownership of the means of production; that is, it starts from the aim of preserving and defending the capitalist system.  At most, social-democracy demands that “workers get a fair share of what they contribute to profits and productivity.” But just what is the workers’ “fair share?”  Experience shows that there is no limit to the amount of concessions these “labor leaders” are willing to accept.  

On the basis of the economic program of “fair share,” social-democracy conceives, at most, of a “Labor Party” which will “lead” the workers within the limits set by the capitalist economic and political system.  Thus the maximum political program of social democracy – like the labor aristocracy as a whole – calls for laws protecting the right to organize unions and demanding “equality of opportunity.” The minimum (and actual) program of social-democracy is to advertise the Democratic Party as “pro-worker” and even to seek out Republican “friends of labor.” This entire politics straight-jackets the workers’ movement, turning it into a reactive force which only responds to the agenda set by the bourgeoisie. 

Thus, for example, just as the line of the labor aristocracy leads it to accept wage and other economic concessions in the name of being “pragmatic,” so too, in politics, social-democracy by accepting the line of “fiscal restraint” is led to make endless concessions to the monopolies’ program of slashing social investments.

So too, social democracy denies that the workers can only eliminate their exploitation and guarantee that everyone is paid wages commensurate with society’s level of development as well as with the quality and quantity of work performed by abolishing the system of wage-slavery altogether.

Social-democracy gives rise to these glaring contradictions precisely because its political goals place it on a razor’s edge. Social-democracy arises from the labor aristocracy and as such is part of the social prop of the bourgeoisie within the working class movement. In other words, its entire existence is dependent on monopoly capital and it is sworn to defend the capitalist system. As the candidacy of Bernie Sanders showed, the labor aristocracy and social-democracy, are in fact, part of the entrenched hierarchy of the Democratic Party. Thus the immediate aim of social-democracy is to give a “left” cover to the Democratic Party while its fundamental aims are to create illusions in the capitalist system and fight against socialism and the independent working class movement.

Social-democracy, by creating illusions in capitalist politics, seeks to de-politicize and demobilize the workers, seeks to stop the discussion which life itself constantly generates amongst the workers. On one side, social-democracy proclaims the need for a political “alternative” while on the other side, it says this task must be assigned to the distant future. 

Yet despite the all-sided pressure against it, the working class is continuously involved in activity and struggle – from daily economic struggles against exploitation to political protests and active discussion over all the problems facing society. But as with all human activity, to succeed the class struggle of the workers must be guided by a definite aim. One does not just randomly go about dismantling her/his car but rather, sets the aim of fixing it and then proceeds to step by step accomplish that goal. It is the same in politics. When the workers’ movement is informed with consciousness of its class aims, and organized on that basis, it can unfold its manifold struggles and activities in a systematic way, merging together many streams of the struggle and consciously working out the decisive tactics for organizing their own political party, independent of and in opposition to both the Republicans and Democrats.