The Worker, March 19, 2017
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625
The last federal election campaign kicked up a lot of dirt about Trump not being allied strongly with traditional (“establishment”) Republican ideas. This served as an attempt to create illusions in the political system and promote the trifle that the Republican party, or at least its more libertarian and protectionist elements, could be a political force sympathetic to the interests of the workers. This meant recycling the old stuff and nonsense of depicting the workers as racist and “backwards,” even while allegedly appealing to them. This stunt was empty and fell on deaf ears. However nothing drives the nails in the coffin of this vulgar propaganda more soundly than the budget proposals being debated in Washington today. Once again, the entire discussion starts from the assumption that – first, last, and always – the profits of the capitalists must be protected.
In the first place, this was a pivot borrowed directly from the capitalist politician playbook. The most famous version being borrowed from the workers’ experience with the so-called “left-wing” of the Democratic Party – which routinely promises to make the rich pay for the needed social investments, even while continuing to shift the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the workers through an increasingly regressive tax system, privatization, and directly reducing the public expenditure earmarked to guarantee economic rights.
If Trump and his party were opponents of the way Obama, and Democratic Party governors and mayors, etc. were spending public monies (as they claim) then he/they would have started by cutting out the trillions that were given to the capitalists in the form of fat contracts, research and development grants, infrastructure investments and over-grown interest payments on the debt. The lives and well-being of the people must come first!!
Of course, it goes without saying that they are not and never could have been real opponents of any of that. They are just as earnest as Obama and his party about doling out public monies to the rich and assisting the capitalists in their pitiless pursuit of more profits. They will do nothing to remedy the bitter fact that the workers foot 75% of the yearly tax bill either.
Today, business as usual goes on in Washington. The traditional budget debate is being played out as always within the narrow confines of a pre-set agenda. Thus, for example, the issue of mass unemployment is reduced to a squabble over privileges or “opportunities” because the inability of capitalism to guarantee jobs for all is taken as an immutable law. So too, the alleged “need” to cut the deficit by slashing social programs is presented as an unquestionable axiom and the people are left to “debate” which programs should be cut.
One of the main aims of this pre-set agenda is to create artificial divisions amongst the people, to fragment the people into various “special interest groups” and to polarize the political atmosphere on the basis of artificial lines and dead-end debates. No space is allowed in which the real interests, aspirations, and program of the people can be developed and presented.
Today, as the crisis of capitalism intensifies and monopoly capital imposes its anti-social agenda on the whole country, the need is for the workers and people to break out of the confines of bourgeois politics and develop the new politics which starts from the workers’ own aims and agenda.
The capitalist politicians must be held accountable for what they did with all the immense resources of the country instead of using them to assign adequate funds to legitimate institutions such as public education. We all know the budget is wasted on government expenditures for surplus goods, mixed government-private enterprises, spending on free research and development for private industry, and outright subsidies to particular industries and conglomerates. However that’s something that the political spokesmen of both parties will always want to evade discussion about and liability for.
Workers need only look at the income side of the ledger to know that the public treasury can more than afford to make the needed social investments to rule out any discussion of any need to cut investments in any of its public responsibilities – whether that be public health, universal public education, or income support for the poor and most vulnerable.
Bankruptcy of Capitalist Politics
As the spectacle of bourgeois politics in 2017 continues to unfold it is only further revealing the all-around bankruptcy and degeneration of the old, capitalist politics. The problem is that the two big parties, the mass media and the entire political process and political system are dominated by the monopoly capitalist class.
And today, when the capitalist system is in all-sided crisis, the program of the monopolies is to shift the entire burden onto the backs of the people. Today the program of big capital and both its political parties is the program of “free market economics” and “increasing the international competitiveness of U.S. capital” – that is the program of increasing the exploitation of the workers to the maximum. Today the program of big capital is the program of denying any governmental or social responsibility for the well-being of the people, of withdrawing all social investments and putting the public treasury and the resources of the country entirely at the disposal of big business. It is a program of defending and increasing the privilege of a few by attacking the working class and especially its most vulnerable sections such as women and immigrant workers. It is a program of inciting racism and intensifying the system of discrimination. It is a program of preparing and launching new imperialist wars. The program of monopoly capital is a thoroughly reactionary, anti-social program which has thrown our country backwards.
The anti-social agenda being imposed by the two parties is the product of monopoly capitalism in crisis and decay. The government is putting the entire country at the disposal of the billionaire capitalists while insisting that it has no responsibility to guarantee the rights of the people.
Furthermore, such political discussion and analysis as appears in the bourgeois press 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 capitalist class starts from the unspoken assumption that the bulk of the government’s budget must go to the military arms merchants and to the Wall Street bankers. Similarly, the workers are threatened that if they don’t accept wage cuts, they will lose their jobs. Again, the assumption is that the profits of the capitalists must be protected.
Thus, the monopoly-controlled media works to degrade the consciousness of the people. Along with the Democratic and Republican politicians, the bourgeois press tries to reduce politics to mud-slinging, empty breast-beating and inciting divisions amongst people. Continuous disinformation campaigns are used to hide the aims of the capitalists and mystify the causes of social problems. A blockade of silence is maintained against the working class and popular struggles, against the Workers Party and modern communism. In fact, the monopoly-controlled media tries to defame every section of the people – labelling the youth as “criminals,” the oppressed minorities as “culturally backward,” the workers as “apathetic and selfish,” etc., etc.
To thwart the development of the independent political movement of the workers, the capitalists have rigged the political system, giving the Republican and Democratic parties a monopoly over political affairs. These parties impose the pre-set agenda of monopoly capital on our country. 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 capitalists. Thus, for example, 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.
So too, the capitalists smuggle their attacks on the theories of modern communism into the working class movement itself through the labor aristocracy and opportunism. The labor aristocracy follows the famous dictum of Samuel Gompers who insisted that “the movement is everything, the aim is nothing.” This is the line of unbounded opportunism, the line of surrender to spontaneity.
By renouncing any independent aim for the working class movement, the labor aristocracy liquidates the organization of the workers as a class-for-themselves and leaves their thinking to be dominated by bourgeois ideology. Without basing itself on its own aims and own theory, the workers movement remains enslaved to forces which operate seemingly beyond the control of human beings; each aimless, individual worker remains at the mercy of the capitalist exploiters and the contradictions of capitalism which keep tearing society apart. The workers remain deprived of the capacity to develop their own movement for emancipation on the basis of a conscious plan and organization. The labor aristocracy and opportunism even deny that the interests of the capitalists and the workers are antagonistic, deny the laws of the class struggle, the class character of politics, and the necessity for the workers to come out as an independent class force.
In sum, the entire political and ideological apparatus of the capitalists is used to de-politicize the workers and prevent the development of their self-conscious, independent organization and movement.
One of the most virulent examples of the anti-people propaganda of this apparatus is the propaganda which labels people as politically “apathetic” for not voting. It is the capitalists who have rigged up a political system in which elections are reduced to a contest between Lucifer and the Devil, and it is the political “establishment” which refuses to initiate any serious discussion about the problems facing our country and which is trying to de-politicize the people. In order to cover up and deny the class question, the workers are cursed as “apathetic and apolitical” for refusing to vote for one or the other capitalist exploiter.
Inevitably this comes from the revisionist and opportunist parties which never take up the line of organizing the workers as a class for themselves. The revisionists and opportunists, including those with the most “left” sounding rhetoric, negate the revolutionary character of the working class and cannot see (or intentionally obscure) the actual motion of the class. Hence, the revisionists and opportunists stand enthralled to spontaneity and to the political initiatives of the bourgeoisie.
Marxism-Leninism teaches that the workers’ party is the conscious expression of an unconscious movement. And indeed, the experience of the Workers Party and other activists is that people are extremely drawn to real politics – a politics which starts from the interests of the people and takes up the issue of empowering the people themselves.
The Workers Party pays utmost attention to working out such a concrete program and concrete politics, based on the general aims of the working class movement and the concrete conditions. In the present conditions, when the bourgeois offensive remains in high gear, our Party has formulated the immediate program of economic rights, democratic renewal and a democratic foreign policy.
This program meets the challenge of the bourgeois offensive, mobilizes the people on the basis of the problems which are demanding solution and, at the same time, brings into play the independent and energizing role of the working class and its mission to create the new socialist society. This immediate program aims at overcoming spontaneity and breaking the limitations imposed on the movement, at transforming the movement from being merely “reactive” to being pro-active. It aims to bring the workers and broad sections of people to the social front, arrayed against the bourgeoisie and challenging the foundations of private property in the means of production and the capitalist state. The enunciation and development of this politics is the key thing needed to brings the class to the point of social revolution.
Already, in the economic movement, we can see how many struggles have gone beyond simply resisting concessions and put forward positive demands. So too, in the political movement, trade union activists are trying to break the strangling embrace of the Democratic Party. It is not simply a question of how many times Democratic Party politicians have sold out the workers’ movement and attacked it. Even more fundamentally, trade unionists are seeing that they cannot advance their interests by starting from the framework and needs of monopoly capital.
The workers and people are already resisting the capitalist offensive and looking for the way out, for a genuine alternative. The deepening class contradictions objectively place on the political agenda the absolute necessity to create a new political unity amongst the American people which will enable our country to again take the path of progress.
From the Anti-Imperialist News Service
U.S. Military Conducts a Barrage of Airstrikes on Yemen
March 8, 2017 – Earlier this month, the Department of Defense (DoD) reported that it carried out at least 30 airstrikes in Yemen from March 2-3. The drastic rate of bombing was concentrated at the governorates and towns of Abyan, Al Bayda, and Shabwah.
According to the twisted explanations given by the DoD leadership, the gravity of this violation of the sovereignty of the Yemeni people was lessened by the fact that it was carried out in partnership with the Yemen government.
The reason given for carrying out the strikes at this time was, as in the past, to preempt future armed attacks on the soil of the United States considered possible according to its own analysis.
Still repeating the refrain it sang about Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon labels Yemen a “safe haven for terrorism.”
When interviewed about the storm of airstrikes, Navy Captain Jeff Davis described the alleged crimes of the targets as follows. “They've taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terrorist attacks against the United States. We'll continue to work with the goverment of Yemen and our partners on the ground to defeat (the organization) and deny it the ability to operate.”
According to Davis, the number of human targets is estimated to be in the “low thousands” so far. He remained vague as to the actual damages resulting from the bombings.
Like the Grand Inquisitors of old, neither of the two governments believe that the accused have rights. No charges have been filed, no arrest warrants issued, no attorneys provided, no legitimate trial conducted. In fact, no non-religious arguments have even been brought to bear. The process is much like the Medieval judicial practice of “trial by water” in which the victim was weighted down and submerged in water and considered innocent if he or she sank and guilty if he or she survived. With the difference that in the “modern” version enforced by the U.S. monopoly capitalist class, the victim is given no chance of a post-mortem determination of innocence.
This doctrine of Might Makes Right is being imposed on the world by U.S. imperialism, which has declared itself “world policeman” and which is imposing the law of the jungle – the law of terrorism – on the entire world today. The doctrine that any red line prohibiting attacks by one state against another and that respect for the sovereignty of countries were international principles belonging in the past, was first promulgated in the post-cold-war period by President Bill Clinton. His words were that “the main danger to peace and security of the U.S. comes not from inter-state conflicts but from the turmoil arising within countries” and that wherever the U.S. “has the power” it should use it “within or beyond the borders” of any country.
In the Middle East in particular, U.S. imperialism has given itself license to declare some states “safe havens for terrorism.” Some such states are declared “friendly” and sided with in internal conflicts. Other such states are declared “unfriendly” and targeted for regime change.
At any moment the status of a state declared “friendly” can change depending upon whether it goes along with U.S. dictate. The U.S. is relying on its military superiority to militarize every situation in order to assert itself as the “sole superpower.” The extremely aggressive character of the U.S. program comes from the fact that the inherent laws of capitalist-imperialism impel U.S. monopoly capital to stretch its hand everywhere, to strive to grab up economic territory and spheres of influence. Yet the economic power of the U.S. monopolies is in relative decline. Thus, being slated a “friendly” state is not an “achievement” that provides any guarantee against being targeted for regime change, as can be seen most especially with the well known example of Iraq leading up to the U.S. invasion.
The people of Yemen were first labeled an official target in 2001. It was on March 2, 2002 that the Pentagon announced that it was preparing to dispatch troops to Yemen (as well as Georgia and Indonesia.) At least 100 U.S. military advisers were sent to Yemen to “train with, assist and advise” as well as to “accompany” Yemeni troops on combat operations directed against insurgent forces. The arrival of the first U.S. troops under the supervision of the CIA was documented by the press in late April. The Pentagon was also planning more reconnaissance flights over Yemen at that time. At least one drone strike was carried out by the end of 2002. A larger number of airstrikes from drones began in 2010.
Only the Peoples Can Stop the Wars
February 26, 2017 – A look at the Department of Defense website shows that it is still preoccupied with the U.S.-coalition war in Iraq. Recently there have been several detailed reports naming the general vicinity of airstrikes.
Similar reports are found on the U.S. Central Command website.
While demonizing the very people victimized by U.S. aggression in Iraq, the DoD and CENTCOM try to disguise the exploiting aims of U.S. imperialism under the banner of preventing the establishment of an “Islamic caliphate.”
This ultra-chauvinist pretext is used to trample underfoot the entire edifice of international law and to justify martial law and the enforcement of colonial rule.
In the United States, millions of people came into the streets in opposition to this war and to the other fronts of the U.S. government's worldwide war program, which are all links in one chain.
From the start it has been pointed out again and again that the only way to advance the anti-war movement is to orient and organize it as a genuinely proactive movement, independent of and in opposition to both of the parties of war.
As long as the leadership of the anti-war movement remains tied to the Democratic Party, the U.S. government will continue to have a free hand to pursue its imperialist ambitions abroad and build up of police state institutions of repression at home.