It has become necessary to dupe a majority of its people about socialism. For most people the question of the meaning of socialism is raised simply by the claim that ‘socialism’ had already been achieved and failed or is still the aim of various political parties. Socialism is not a change of masters who will rule ‘in the name of the people’ and make generous concessions to them. If so they could be displace ‘democratically’ by another set of saviors, likewise ruling ‘in the name of the people’.
We are living under a system which is more and more clearly revealed as the enemy of humanity. It has vast productive potential, but only means poverty and oppression for most people. It imposes draconian cuts in living standards and brings misery to the working people. Capitalism is responsible for the thoughtless destruction of the environment. Its armaments industry monopolizes most of the world’s research and development and cynically profits from war. The root cause of all this is capitalism’s guiding principle, the quest for profit, which takes precedence over any human interest. Before capitalism there existed oppression but only capitalism as a system undercuts the future of humanity as such. Capitalism cannot be reformed. It has undergone many changes in its history, but these have simply meant finding new ways to exploit the laboring people. The only solution is to destroy it and build a new social system.
According to many, we live in a “democracy” because we get to choose whether the Democrats or Republicans are going to run the country; but what this really boils down to is that we get to choose which section of the ruling class is going to run the government. Don’t forget that Trump and Biden are part and parcel of the boss system. There is no need to limit ones choice to the reactionary Republicans or the hypocritical Democrats. Most progressive, liberal and leftist have one hand tied behind their backs because of the de facto strategy of not rocking Biden’s boat in fear of the worse evil of the far-right President Trump, “authoritarian populism,” as some consider it to be. The ominous cries of ‘fascism is around the corner’ are being used to panic progressives into support a right-ward leaning Biden. The liberals are asking white workers to vote for a party which has done nothing to solve the problem of increasing insecure employment due to new technology. They are asking African-Americans to vote for continued police brutality, prolonging ghetto life with all its miseries, and continued high unemployment. They are asking everyone to vote for a war candidate – one fully committed to the maintenance of American overseas dominance. The forward looking social movements cannot afford to be captured and smothered by the Democratic Party.
Little has changed since 1908 when Eugene Debs pointed out that:
“The Republican and Democratic parties are financed from the same source and maintained for the same purpose, and that is to serve Big Interests, and if the Democratic Party secures complete control of Congress, it will be just as subservient to Big Interests as the Republican Party has been…”
The Fat Cats in Wall St must be purring with satisfaction. At the Democratic Party convention the liberals were treated like liberals always treated: they were given a few phrases in the platform and then sent packing, leaving the bipartisan Republican allies the stage. The beauty of bipartisanship where institutions, political parties and think tanks, all share a consensual view that identifies the “national interest” and “public good” with the needs of investors, bankers and shareholders, and hence of maximum corporate profit, is that the ruling class can get on with the business of enriching itself without too much party bickering. Bipartisan politics means the two parties working together to screw the people.
What we want is an effective socialist party, a party of the workers, white, black and brown, male and female, gay or straight, young and old, native born or newcomer. If we are to build it, however, we must start laying the basis for it now. This is the time for a new force which can bring together workers and which exposes the enemies of social progress.