Sunday, January 20, 2008

So, Kennedy Won

John F. Kennedy won the American presidential elections of 1960 and was inaugurated on this day in 1961. The reaction at the time in The Western Socialist was basically so what?
",,,there was nothing really important about the affair, nothing more vital than a heavyweight boxing match, nothing that should have caused some 60 million workers to be even interested, let alone excited, over the question of whether Mr. Nixon or Mr. Kennedy should lead American capitalism in the four years ahead. There could be no possible benefit for the great majority of the population, regardless of the outcome. Mr. Nixon proclaimed that conditions are really not bad and that he would guarantee more of the same; and that America is really strong vis-a-vis Russia and would continue to be. Mr. Kennedy countered that conditions are not as good as Mr. Nixon would have us believe and that he would see that they improved, i.e., provide more jobs for wage workers and a different type of old-age medical assistance plan than that advocated by Mr. Nixon. He further countered that America should be stronger than it is vis-a-vis Russia and that he would spend more money than Mr. Nixon on armaments.
So despite the "Yankee socialist" tag hung on Mr. Kennedy by certain opponents of Lyndon Johnson in Texas he, like Mr Nixon, had nothing to offer other than a continuation of wage-slavery with the offer of a juicier and bigger carrot for the working-class donkeys who labour for him and his fellow capitalists and a continuation of of the armaments race and the as yet cold war with Russia for the markets and trade routes of the world. There was not an iota of real difference between the two and, strangely enough, there seemed to be a general awareness of this fact.
Yet there was great excitement over issues of little if any importance. "I don't know why, but I do not like Mr. Nixon's face." "Mr. Nixon and Mr. Lodge have more real experience than Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Johnson." "I might be a bigot but I don't like Mr. Kennedy's religion." "If Kennedy gets elected his old man, or even maybe the pope will be running the country." And so forth. The very thought of slaves arguing over which group of masters should control the political machinery by means of which they are kept in slavery would be laughable if it were not tragic. A continuing acceptance of capitalism by the majority can only rest upon the continuing political immaturity of the workers, a failure to recognize their own subject status in society...." (The Western Socialist, No. 7 - 1960)
And as if, nearly fifty years later, socialists need any reminding of such immaturity, there is a new article titled How Voters Think:
But knowing that our members of our class are to be found working at every echelon of capitalist society, whether in the military or police, medicine or playschool, etc., and that emancipation requires majority understanding and action, socialists say WORKERS OF THE WORLD WAKE UP!,
PS The result of the current presidential campaign in the US is already known: they won, you lost.

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