The Program of Economic Rights is the Alternative to the Economic Policy of the Democrats and Republicans
April 16, 2012
In every aspect, Obama's economic program represents the consensus program of the monopoly capitalist class – of the big business interests. It is a program based on shifting an ever-greater burden of exploitation and impoverishment onto the backs of the working people.
Obama's economic program demands that the working people "sacrifice" in order to increase the "global economic competitiveness" of U.S. business. This boils down to nothing more nor less than a program for increasing the rate of profits by imposing more wage and benefit cuts on the workers. Obama wants to "increase productivity" by forcing workers to accept work rule changes and job combinations which result in mass lay-offs, on the one hand, and intense overwork for the remaining workforce on the other.
Obama's budgetary policies are based on precisely the same "trickle-down" and "supply-side" economics which he claims to criticize. When Obama talks of stimulating "economic growth" he is talking about the economic program of turning more of the social capital – more of the monies extracted from the workers through taxes – over to big business. Thus, Obama is continuing to rack up huge budget deficits even while he uses the "demon of the deficit" as an excuse for undermining social programs. He is working to shift the burden of the economic crisis further onto the backs of the working people who are being forced to pay even more in taxes while getting less in return.
Again, on the question of "health care reform," Obama's program is based on protecting the interests of the managed care corporations, while simultaneously relieving other monopoly corporations of a large part of the cost of providing health insurance for their employees by shifting a greater burden of co-premiums, co-payments and taxes onto the workers.
On all fronts – on the question of Free Trade Agreements, on governmental "reform," welfare assistance, labor legislation, the minimum wage, etc., etc., – Obama's economic program starts from the interests of big business and is based on forcing the working people to sacrifice in order to increase the profits and wealth of the capitalists.
The Workers Party's analysis of Obama's program enables us to place ourselves in the forefront of the spontaneously growing opposition to Obama's record of broken promises. This is extremely important work which must be vigorously continued.
The capitalists brought Obama to office because they are well aware of the profound economic polarization, as well as growing political crisis – the widespread disillusionment with the capitalist government and political parties. By disguising his program with populist rhetoric, Obama is trying to divert the growing resistance of the people while stepping up the economic offensive of the capitalist class. All of the forces representing big business interests, including the forces of political opportunism and the "labor lieutenants" of the capitalists who make up the hierarchy of the AFL-CIO, are trying to sell Obama's program to the people and perpetrate the greatest fraud on the workers. They are presenting Obama's big business program of cutting wages, reducing the workers' standard of living and undermining the rights of the people on all fronts as a program which represents the interests of the people.
But, as our work over the last several months shows, the people are not fooled by Obama's empty talk. On the contrary. People are extremely concerned over the deteriorating economic situation and are demanding genuine solutions. In overwhelming numbers, the workers are denouncing Obama for his record of broken promises and his complete failure to do anything to resolve the grave economic problems. Certainly there are some people who have illusions and want to "give Obama more of a chance." But the realities of life itself as well as the work of our Party are helping people cast off such illusions.
The politics of our Party starts not from the interests of big business but from the needs and demands of the people; the politics of our Party exposes Obama's empty rhetoric by looking at his deeds. Our principled politics help to accelerate the class polarization, help the masses cast off illusions, and break the political stranglehold of the Democrats and Republicans. Our Party's politics aim at helping the people take the path of independent struggle – the only path through which they can find solutions to their growing economic problems.
Furthermore, our Party's politics are not content with simply criticizing Obama. Our program provides clarity and class consciousness for the spontaneously developing opposition, and provides a real programmatic alternative.
Our Party's alternative is expressed in our program of Economic Rights.
We say that the starting point, the first priority, of economic life must be to guarantee the well-being of the people. We say that, given the tremendous wealth and productive capacity of our country, everyone must be guaranteed the right to a job, the right to free medical care, to education, to a secure retirement, and so forth.
The program of Economic Rights responds to the urgent needs of the people and points to the necessity for struggle against the privilege and power of the monopoly capitalists which prevents the people from realizing their rights and which are holding back the all-around economic development of our society. The program of Economic Rights irresistibly brings into sharp relief the contradiction between the social character of our society and the capitalist property relations based on private ownership of the means of production. The program of Economic Rights represents the independent program of the working class and enables the workers to keep the initiative in their own hands and to fight for their own agenda and aims.
Our Party's criticism of Obama's economics and our work of popularizing the program of Economic Rights has profound ideological and political significance. This work not only helps to push forward all the immediate economic struggles of the workers and people, but, at the same time, it is strengthening the political and theoretical foundations of the workers' movement.
All our members and friends should pay close attention to studying and mastering the Party's analysis of such problems as "international competitiveness" and "productivity," the deficit and health care crisis, etc., etc., and learn how to elaborate the program of Economic Rights amongst the people. In the course of opposing Obama's big business program, we want to establish and strengthen the leading role of the politics and theory of the Workers Party. This is the way to develop the spontaneous political opposition into a conscious, independent movement.