Saturday, October 24, 2020

Same Old Same


Our revolution has not yet been made. Unfortunately, a large socialist party remains more a long range aspiration than an immediate realistic possibility. The absence of a viable socialist movement in the U.S. today is an indisputable and depressing fact. For all the weakness of the socialist movement, an administration run by the corrupt Republican Party and a White House staffed by Trump and Pence, what could be more utopian and absurd as even a beginning of a solution to America’s problems. By comparison, socialists are eminently practical and realistic men and women.

The truth is that the ailment afflicting America is not the president who leads it but is capitalism, and the difference between the two parties is that the Democrats will complain of symptoms, while the Republicans outright deny they are sick. Neither can provide the cure. Most of the major problems with America, and the world, can be traced back to capitalism, an economic system in which a society's means of production are primarily controlled by private individuals hoping to make a profit. It is a system that has devastated our planet, created massive income inequality and left us unprepared for crises such as the coronavirus pandemic. The problem with capitalism is that it is built on the need for private enterprises to make money, no matter what. Wealthy Democrats and Republicans cross party-lines with their financing. their campaigns. It is standard practice for corporations to donate to both parties and both candidates. These corporate lobbyist funds are not really contributions. They are investments or bribes with an expected return of access to shape policy. It is a corrupt electoral system that closes down choices, obliges citizens to vote against their conscience and allows money to control people

There have been many attempts before in the United States towards a break-up of the two party system yet none have not been successful. The American presidential elections have once again rendered proof of the paradox of a politically backward working class in a highly developed industrial country. People are taught not to vote FOR what they believe but AGAINST an individual.  An unpopular policy once identified with an individual can be continued by replacing the individual, keeping the policy with modifications.

Nevertheless it would be incorrect to conclude that there are not any tendencies of a left-wing drift of the American workers. No one could fail to notice the enormous discontentment as revealed by the elections, and revealed clearly also in the recent protest movement and demonstrations. Yet they are still harnessed within the usual traditional channels, flowing from one capitalist party to another. There will be a few workers who are urging their fellow-workers to abstain from voting for any candidates whatsoever. Their slogan is the slogan of the World Socialist Party of the United States (WSPUS) in this campaign: BOYCOTT THE ELECTIONS! A party that promises you that a new president or a new term will bring solutions to your problems is deceiving you. The World Socialist Party must push aside all secondary and reformist distinctions, and pose directly the central issue: the class struggle for for socialism. Our success in an election campaign is not to be measured in votes or offices won, but in the extent and the depth to which they have succeeded in bringing the central issue before the attention of our fellow-workers.

Unlike  the platforms, programs, and agitation of the other political parties the WSPUS remain consistent in our case for socialism. Demagogy means the adaptation of policy and propaganda to the prejudices of the audience to which it is hoped to appeal, without regard to the truth or correctness or workability of the given policy and propaganda. Demagogy is thus the exploitation of ignorance. It is in direct contrast to principled politics, which always tells the truth both about what is at present, what will probably be, and about what it proposes as solution. Principled politics, thus, instead of exploiting, combats ignorance; instead of pandering to prejudices and building on them, is the practice of the WSPUS. The demagogy of the other parties is not accidental. All their promises of betterment, of peace, prosperity and security, are necessarily demagogic since none of these is  possible under capitalism. That is why only a program of revolutionary struggle AGAINST capitalism can be anything other than demagogy. Each party in its different way presents a program which revolves within the orbit of capitalism, which presupposes the continued existence of capitalism. It follows there from that each of these parties is basically dedicated, however indirectly, to the maintenance and defense of capitalism. They differ profoundly, it is true, in the ways and means they propose; in their social composition; in the manner and direction of the “appeal” which they make. But these differences drop to insignificance before this basic similarity.

The Republican Party appears, on the whole, in this campaign as the party of open, traditional reaction. Its leaders make clear that what the Republicans propose is a return to the good old Reagan days. The future of capitalism and profits, they would like to believe, lies in real Americanism, in rugged individualism, competition, no government “interference” in business, no compromise with labor. They want to pursue increased profits in their own unhampered way.

The Democratic party differs – in words at any rate. Equally devoted to the preservation of capitalism and the fullest possible capitalist prosperity (i.e., profits), the Democratic politicians believe that the methods of reaction is no longer appropriate to protect profits or to keep the people in order. They advocate an “enlightened” capitalism, tempering harsh exploitation with fine phrases about human rights and public duty, with the aim to pacify people with promises, while oiling the wheels of capitalism. Through such means the Democrats have indeed won the temporary allegiance of a substantial majority of working people. 

Progressive Biden or reaction Trump chorus the liberal media. The difference between Trump and Biden is not between what is reactionary and progressive: they BOTH are unequivocal representatives of the reactionary capitalist class, both sworn to uphold the present social order; they differ only in their versions of the most effective means for guaranteeing success. For the worker, the choice between them is, at the most, no more important than the choice between the assembly line at Ford’s or at Chrysler’s.

All the specious talk that the “main issue” in the campaign is the “judicial tyranny” of the Supreme Court or the “encroachments of the Federal government” or any of a thousand others are entirely subordinate to the basic CLASS issue, to the issue of capitalism versus socialism. It is not the Federal government or the Supreme Court which are the particular enemies, but capitalism as a whole and its entire state apparatus.

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