Break the Political Stranglehold of the Republicans and Democrats

The Working People Must Lead the Way Out of the Crisis

February 10, 2004

The Democratic Presidential primaries are in full-swing.

It is tempting to simply write these games off as a travelling circus of lying, capitalist politicians and sycophant "journalists." But the game they are playing is far too serious.

The Democratic primaries - and the capitalist elections generally - are a real assault, an all-out political campaign, against the working class and people of our country.

The entire process aims at degrading the consciousness, undermining the struggles and demands of the people and thwarting the rising independent political initiatives of the people.

The Democrats, of course, present themselves as the alternative to George Bush and the "special interests" which stand behind Bush and the Republicans.

But the real deeds of the Democrats show, again and again, that they endorse the entire Bush program.

To begin with, look at the war program of the U.S. government. Kerry, Edwards, Clark, Dean, etc. all supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And they continue to do so. True, the TV picks up a few sound bytes in which these candidates "criticize" Bush's handling of the U.S.-Iraqi war. But scratch the surface and one sees that the Democrats only want to strengthen the U.S. occupation. Dean has called for sending thousands more troops to Iraq. Kerry expresses the fear that the Bush administration may "cut and run," withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq too soon. Kerry also wants to expand the U.S. army and deploy at least 40,000 more troops in the "war against terror." Furthermore, all the Democrats insist that the Bush administration needs to send more troops and more war materials to Afghanistan in order to strengthen the U.S. colonial regime in that country. And the list goes on and on - in Palestine and Colombia, in Korea and the Philippines, etc., etc. The Democrats, if anything, are trying to outcompete Bush as a militarist and defender of the world empire of U.S. capitalism.

On the economic front, the Democrats may haggle with Bush over this or that detail but in all the essentials they support the Bush economic program - the program of militarizing the economy, helping the rich rob the public treasury while slashing vital social programs. Every time Bush asks for more money for the military, the Democrats dutifully agree. The Democrats in Congress helped lead the way in pushing through Bush's latest attack on the public schools - the "No Child Left Behind Act." Democratic Governors, along with the Republicans, are in the forefront of slashing funds for Medicaid and public health programs. And let us not forget that it was the Democratic administration of Clinton which - with the support of Kerry, Lieberman and others - passed NAFTA and the so-called welfare-reform which has deprived millions of Americans of jobs and vitally needed income-support programs.

No, the Democrats are no different than the Republicans because both these parties are financed and controlled by the very same billionaires and corporations.

In this year's elections, the Democrats have a specially important role to play on behalf of the capitalists. Their role is to undermine the growing opposition to the Bush program and thwart the growth of a genuinely independent political movement.

The nonstop propaganda about the "lesser evil," "anybody but Bush," etc. aims at forcing the people to surrender their own demands and shut their mouths. Instead of continuing to organize against war and imperialism, activists are told to campaign for the Democrats. Instead of fighting contract battles against rising health premiums or organizing the political struggle for universal, free health care, workers are told to register and vote for the Democrats. Instead of getting to the roots of things and building up our own organizations, people are told to "return to the fold" of the Democratic Party.

Anyone who is willing, even for a minute, to acknowledge reality knows that the current political system and political process is completely monopolized by the rich. The Republicans and Democrats are official government-supported parties, financed by big business and unabashedly devoted to the program of the capitalist class and U.S. imperialism. The big business media monopolizes the political discussion deciding which candidates and which issues get air time. The entire political agenda has been scripted by the monopoly capitalist class.

Our country is at a crossroads. The capitalist political parties have repeatedly and openly declared that they are preparing more wars. They are bankrupting the public treasury, destroying our economy and attacking even the most elementary economic rights of the people. The capitalist government keeps increasing its apparatus of repression and attacking the democratic rights of the people.

What will our future be? Will the capitalist parties lead us into new wars or will the people find the path to peace? Will the capitalists impose more poverty and repression on us or will the people claim their inalienable economic and political rights?

With such urgent and fundamental things at stake, we cannot let the capitalist parties keep monopolizing the political arena. We cannot let the agenda be narrowed and the real demands of the people excluded. We cannot let our voice be silenced or our struggles diverted.

The most important, vital thing about the present situation is that during the last 2 years, the people of our country have begun to create something new - a mass, nationwide oppositional movement. Literally tens of millions of people have started to come into active political life especially in opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the entire "so-called war against terrorism."

We must not let these new struggles - this new awakening - be suppressed. We must not let the capitalists use the elections to return to "politics as usual" in which the people have absolutely no voice and no role to play.

We must channel our energies into strengthening our own independent political movement. This means asserting our own aims and program for society and rallying people in the struggle for peace, economic rights and democratic renewal.

Strengthening our independent political movement means building our own independent newspaper and media, such as "The Worker" and the Anti-Imperialist News Service. It means creating new space in which people can get together to sort out the issues and decide on the strategy and tactics of our struggle. It means strengthening our own mass organizations, including the trade unions, anti-war and anti-imperialist organizations and especially our own political party - the Workers Party.

The capitalist parties offer our country nothing but a future of war, repression and growing poverty.

Only the working class and people themselves can find the way out of the crisis and lead our country onto the road of peace and the emancipation of the people.