Monday, October 17, 2016

Tweedledum-Tweedledee and the Lesser Evil (2)

Recall the exact same chanting at both the Republican and Democratic conventions “USA! USA! USA! USA!”

Workers know they have to fight for what they need. Capitalism can’t provide what’s needed and that’s why we must go on to fight for the workers’ society that can. In Britain, the Labour Party, particularly its left-wing, claims to stand for the workers’ interests and for socialism. Labour claims that socialism can be introduced gradually through a series of reforms using parliamentary means. In the early years of the Labour Party many workers voted for Labour, believing that they could vote in socialism, but the experience of various Labour governments has brought disillusionment. Today no-one believes that Labour will establish a new and better political and economic system. Even Labour politicians themselves ask for votes with the claim that they can make capitalism work better than the Tories. 

The Labour Party represents the interests of the capitalist class and no other class. Many members of the working–class no longer hold any illusion that the Labour Party represents its interests or will bring about any real change in the system. At best, the Labour Party is seen as a “lesser evil” than the Conservative Party. Sincere honest socialists know that Labour is a capitalist party. If they support Labour in elections, even as a “lesser evil”, they are betraying the working class. Even with all sorts of caveats and qualifications for such support amounts to an attempt to promote workers’ illusions about a capitalist party and advance mistaken ideas that if only Labour was more “left-wing” possessing a “left” leadership things would be different. No party, no matter how “left” leaning it may be, can effect fundamental change to the capitalist system. The Socialist Party presents a clear alternative to the capitalist parties.

In the United States, the anybody-but-Trump are selling out the Sanders activists who wanted a real end to the deepening attacks on the people, here and abroad. Trump is a near-fascist so how can you not support Clinton to block reactionary? For sure, Trump is a racist demagogue but Clinton is no alternative. Liberal presidents, as well as dictatorial ones, engage in repressive acts. It is part of the job description. When progressives claim that threatening to violate democratic norms makes Trump a neo-fascist you are deluding people: real fascism would mean far worse subjugation of Muslims and immigrants—plus the crushing of the unions and the termination of all rights to free speech. Parts of the pro-Clinton media are trying to panic people into voting for her out of fear.

The Democrats are a lesser evil only rhetorically. No Democratic president is going to stop the profit-gouging drive against working people abroad or at home. By backing a “lesser evil” rather than fighting for a real alternative, all you are doing is enabling the next war and all the future wars after that. And ensuring that someone just like you will then again say, “Okay, but let’s vote for the Democrat now to end this war, and then tomorrow…”

We aren’t arguing that they are exactly the same, that they are identical but just that the Democrats are no answer to the Republicans. Both parties are inextricably tied to the capitalist system and must defend it at home and abroad but in different ways: good cop and bad cop. The Democrats softer, liberal approach is to pretend they are on the side of beleaguered workers and the exploited and to make some concessions. These are meant to contain and detour workers, not at all to meet their increasingly desperate needs. Capitalism has not escaped a fundamental world economic crisis and so the system can no longer so easily offer sops and all the evidence is that Clinton, any Democratic administration,  is going to roll back past gains just like the Republicans. Given that these policies are the actions of  “friends of the workers” can we blame it when many fellow workers become more and more frustrated, more and more cynical and see no way to fight back. Arguing that the Sanders grassroots are not blind followers of the Democratic machine and will ensure that Hilary Clinton abides by her election promises and will use the elections to stimulate a populist upheaval is all rhetoric. We know it takes mass mobilizations to stop the corporate assault. The old-line Democratic apparatus hated Sanders because he put together an opposition that threatened to turn the Democratic Party is the party of the social movements. But the bureaucrats are ensuring it will now be the “graveyard” for the resistance. What they want is good citizens passively voting to get Clinton elected. Their function is to disarm dissent within the Democratic Party, not encourage it. 

With the Sanders camp now on-side, the next strategy is to reassure the traditional Republican voter, that all is safe in Hillary’s hands with reassurances of her conservatism.  The “anybody-but-Trump” faction having selected the moderate, “electable,” Democrat as its candidate and before you know, they are calculating how to win over swing voters. Party leaders want to discourage militancy, mass protests and strikes. Those activists outside the Party seek to ensure such opposition to capitalism should wait and happen well after the election. Stay calm, make sure “our” side wins in November. If you want the Democrats to win at all costs, then you had damned well do all you can to keep the people passive. Reformists are Judas Goats, helping to lead the working class to the slaughterhouse. Socialists who advocate a vote for Clinton have defiled the fundamental principle of socialism, that the independent working class must emancipate itself and end class collaboration.
Open Discussion
The U.S. Presidential Election
Tuesday, October 18, 8:00 PM
Chiswick Town Hall (Committee Room)
Heathfield Terrace,
London W4 4JN 

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