"Anybody But..."

January 13, 2004

by Bill Foster

I.

My experience shows that George Bush is one of the most hated people in recent American history.

And with good reason.

Bush is hated because he stands for war, racism, repression and poverty.

Hatred for Bush and his program is certainly an excellent starting point for orienting and activating ourselves in the political struggle.

But it is only a starting point. Everyone must seriously look into and answer the question: where does the Bush program come from? It is not the work of George Bush alone. As with any serious political program, it reflects the interests of a definite class. In fact, Bush himself continually reminds us that he is nothing but a mouthpiece for the big capitalists; Bush's program of war, racism, repression and poverty is the program of the monopoly capitalist class.

Thus the hatred for Bush must be channelled into a program of struggle against the monopoly capitalist class.

We cannot afford to let this struggle be sidetracked; we cannot afford to have soft ears for the Democrats who advertise themselves as an alternative to Bush. Aren't the Democrats financed by the very same corporations that finance the Republicans? Can there be such a thing as monopoly capitalists who don't seek to increase the exploitation of the workers at home or who don't seek to expand their markets and empire abroad? And the political facts show that every step taken by the Bush administration has been supported by the Democratic Party.

The opposition to George Bush must not be diverted into supporting a party which embraces the very same program and very same class interests as Bush himself; the opposition to Bush must be channelled into building up the independent organization and independent political movement of the workers and people.

II.

In order to prevent the growth of such political independence, a chorus of politicians, reaching from the highest echelons of the Democratic Party to the "official left," keeps chanting the slogan: "Anybody but Bush."

This slogan is used to read the riot act to members of the Green Party who advocate running an independent Presidential candidate in

2004. The slogan "Anybody but Bush," is even used to marginalize Democratic Party candidates who are considered "too left" and therefore "unelectable." Of course, the greatest abuse is reserved for those - like the Workers Party - who take a principled stand of opposition to the capitalist parties and in defense of the rights of the people.

The fact is that regardless of the intentions of this or that individual, the objective content of the politics of "Anybody but Bush" is to cover over the dangers which Bush represents and to facilitate the victory of the Bush program.

Obviously a literal interpretation of the slogan "Anybody but Bush" means that any fascist, other than George Bush, is acceptable. And in the real world of American politics, doesn't this slogan mean precisely this? It means support for Clark or Lieberman or Dean or any other Democrat despite the fact that all these politicians support the wars and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped Bush, in the name of the "war on terrorism," loot the treasury of hundreds of billions of dollars, support the U.S.A. Patriot Act, etc., etc.

The line of "Anybody but Bush" not only covers over the deeds of the Democratic Party. It covers over the roots of the Bush program, and, in turn, the gravity of the dangers confronting the American people. The Bush program is the program of the monopoly capitalist class which seeks to shift the whole burden of the crisis of its system onto the backs of the people by turning to fascism and war.

Recognizing the bipartisan character of the Bush program is part of facing up to the need for the American people to create a real political alternative capable of defeating the capitalist program.

But the political opportunists, who insist that any criticism of the Democrats undermines the "historic imperative" of "Anybody but Bush," are really taking aim precisely at the emerging movements for political independence.

During the last 2 years, a new, mass nationwide anti-war and oppositional movement has emerged. This movement marks a new political awakening. People are already denouncing the bipartisan war program of the Republicans and Democrats and looking into root causes. People are trying to take things into their own hands and build a proactive movement capable of fighting for and winning the people's agenda of peace, democratic renewal and economic rights. This movement is the real opposition to the Bush program and it is this struggle which must be strengthened and extended. This is the only way to stop the Bush program and reclaim the future of our country.

The entire election circus, which began earlier than ever this time around, is an attempt to silence the new and return to "politics as usual" in which the Republicans and Democrats completely monopolize the agenda. The line of "Anybody but Bush" is an attempt to carry out a preemptive strike against the anti-war movement and against every manifestation of independent political thought and action.