Bankruptcy of Capitalist Politics

March 19, 2017

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.