Once Again: Opportunism of US Left Exposed

An Analysis of the US 2016 Elections Campaign

 

By Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 14 August 2016, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

 

The ABC of Revolutionary Marxism is the independence of the working class from the capitalist class and unity of the class in struggle. For this reason in a conflict between two imperialist camps, revolutionary socialists not only do not support any capitalist camp, but take the position of revolutionary defeat for both camps.

 

This is the only position that in time of imperialist wars can keep the unity and the independence of the international working class. Otherwise workers kill workers for the benefits of the capitalist class. The same principle applies when it comes to elections, i.e. no support for any capitalist imperialist party.

 

Critical support for a reformist, namely a workers’ party (albeit under bourgeois control), could be considered if it is a mass party and in opposition to the attacks on the workers and the oppressed or against imperialist wars. In countries where such a party does not exist and there is a motion to the left, revolutionaries may call upon workers to forge a party armed with a transitional program. This is the application of the Leninist united front tactic. While chances are that this party will not begin as a revolutionary party, revolutionaries still will not call for a formation of a reformist party. The character of such a party will be formed in the course of the struggle, including electoral struggles. Revolutionaries would fight for its leadership and for its revolutionary character.

 

Based on this Leninist united front tactic, from the very beginning of the Presidential election campaign in the US, the RICT said that the working class should oppose the Republican and the Democratic party, including under Sanders, as both parties are capitalist imperialist parties that represent the class enemy of the working class and the oppressed in the US and the rest of the world. What then should be done? We called upon our class brothers and sisters to struggle for the formation of a labor party based on the transitional program, which can be used as a bridge between the existing level of the workers’ consciousness and the socialist revolutionary consciousness.

 

Regardless of his empty phrases about socialism (by which he meant a welfare capitalist state) and what he believed he was doing, the apparent outcome of Sanders’ (a bourgeois liberal falsely claiming to be a socialist) campaign was to bring votes for Clinton.

 

 

 

Why did this happen?

 

 

 

After the last eight years of economic insecurity and the bailing out of big capital, responsible for the capitalist crisis, what characterizes the situation is the strong feeling of most Americans that they have had enough with the close relations of big capital and government and that they want a different social reality. Many of them were not afraid any more of the word “socialism,” even though they did not know how to achieve a socialist society.

 

Many workers and youth hoped Sanders will lead the struggle for socialism. Such feelings could have been translated into the formation of a labor party opposing the twin capitalist parties. Instead, Sanders opposed the formation of a labor party and loyally served the Democratic Party establishment that was active in sabotaging his chances to win the elections. The left tailed him instead of exposing him. By tailing Sanders the left tailed the Democratic Party and acted as an obstacle for the creation of a working class independent party.

 

The Communist Party supported Sanders and when he endorsed Clinton, as he promised all along, these reformists endorsed Clinton as well. This position reflects its strategy of subordinating the working class to the ruling class. Soviet Stalinism is dead but the Stalinist policies are still alive in the so-called Communist Parties. This disastrous strategy is known as the “popular front.” A policy that led to huge defeats of the working class in the 1930s and the 1940s. To cover up for this betrayal the CPUSA is calling Trump a fascist that can be defeated by the unity of all democratic forces including Clinton.

 

While Trump is a right wing racist and a demagogue, if he gets elected his regime will still not be fascism. Fascism usually can become a substantial force only in a (pre-)revolutionary situation where the working class struggle rises dramatically. However when the working class lack revolutionary leadership, the workers become demoralized because of the betrayals of the reformist and the centrist leadership. Fascism comes to power by mobilizing the middle classes and a section of the workers in the streets and its service to the capitalist class is to forcefully smash all working class organizations.

 

It is impossible to defeat fascism by casting a vote. The fascists must be smashed by the working class and its allies. Clinton and company are allies of big capital and racist cops, not of the working class and the oppressed. If there was a real danger of fascism the last thing Clinton and elk would like to see is a revolutionary mobilization of the working class smashing the fascist movement.

 

The fighters of the International Brigades who fought fascism in Spain in 1936-39 were persecuted by the so-called “democrats” as Roosevelt denounced the fighters of the Lincoln Brigade upon returning to the US.

 

 

 

“Communist” Party supports Clinton

 

 

 

Some reporters caught the irony of a so-called Communist party supporting a party of the big capital. According to the USA News:

 

The leader of America’s most prominent communist party credits Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with helping usher socialism into the political mainstream, but says it’s essential to back Hillary Clinton if she defeats Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.” (1)

 

John Bachtell, national chairman of the Communist Party USA, says he cast a ballot for Sanders in the Illinois primary in March, but that the self-styled democratic socialist’s loyal backers should temper their criticism of Clinton as a warmongering Wall Street puppet.

 

The most important thing is keeping our eye on this extreme right-wing danger and really hoping that all political organizations and democratic forces will unite together to try to defeat that,” he says.

 

Whoever emerges from the primary fight, there will be a very broad coalition to try to get them elected,” he says. “We support independence from the Democratic Party and work with forces laying the groundwork for a third party, but it’s not realistic in this election.” (2)

 

In the real world a vote for Clinton is a vote for imperialist wars and support for the very rich capitalists, as her records have proven. As a U.S. Senator, Clinton voted for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the Patriot Act re-authorization, for new “free trade”, the Wall Street bailouts (TARP), the 2006 border fence legislation. As Secretary of State she supported the military interventions in Libya and Syria that fueled the humanitarian crisis in the region.

 

A clear indication why this support for an imperialist party is in opposition to the unity and the independence of the international working class are the many mass demonstrations which have taken place in the last years against Obama, Clinton and their military interventions in the Middle East. While for the American Stalinists, Clinton is part of the anti-fascist camp, in the eyes of the workers and oppressed in many countries she is a bloody imperialist. Exactly for this reason the Stalinist who destroyed the Third International cannot re-form an international to this very day.

 

 

 

Socialist Alternative / CWI: Support for the petit-bourgeois Green Party

 

 

 

The right-centrist “Socialist Alternative” (the US section of the CWI led by Peter Taaffe) supported Sanders and now, that he backs Clinton, has switched to the Green Party. The Green party is a pro-capitalist, petit-bourgeois progressive party that raises many supportable demands, but at the same time spreads illusions in the nature of US imperialism that it can become, without a socialist revolution, a progressive force. The Green Party’s nature is comparable with the development of Green parties in Europe in their earlier stages, i.e. they represent progressive sectors of the middle class but are not based on organized support amongst the working class and the oppressed.

 

Socialist Alternative called for support for the Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders and even created a website to mobilize support for him (www.movement4bernie.org). Today, after Sanders aligned himself with the candidate of the US establishment Hillary Clinton, Socialist Alternative jumps wagon and support another non-working class force – Jill Stein and her Green Party.

 

The ISO (International Socialist Organization) also threw themselves behind Sanders and now, as he supports Clinton, they also support the Green Party with Kaine on the Presidential ticket. But this party is not a reformist workers’ party. Unlike bourgeois workers’ parties (Social Democracy and the Stalinists), the Greens forbid affiliation with trade unions. The party’s right wing has dominated it from its beginning. The worldwide green movement has shown its real nature by joining, in Germany or France, the Social Democrats in austerity and pro-war governments.

 

In 2000, the US Green Party received almost 3 million votes for Ralph Nader a consumer supporter of capitalism. When Nader’s magazine workers tried to form a union in 1984, he fired them. Nevertheless the ISO and Socialist Alternative continued to support him. Days before Sanders announced his support for Clinton, Jill Stein called on him to lead the Green party.

 

John Reed, the author of the “10 days that shook world“, described how one group of so-called socialists was chained to another similar group and at the end they were all chained to the capitalists and the big landlords except the Bolsheviks under Lenin. It is the same story with the Middle class socialists of today.

 

 

 

What is the result of the Popular Front politics of those who claim to be socialists?

 

 

 

Many of the people who supported Sanders will not vote for Clinton. While some of them will vote for her, some will not vote at all, others will vote for the Green party and some of them will vote for Trump. It is still more likely that Clinton will win with a slight majority but it is not guaranteed. One thing is clear by calling to vote for Sanders and for Clinton instead of fighting to organize a labor party the middle class left has pushed a significant section of the population into the hands of Trump as he presents himself as an anti-establishment candidate.

 

Now the only option that is meaningful for the working class in the US is not to vote for both parties nor for the Green Party and move to organize a workers party based on the most oppressed layers of the working class in particular the blacks.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

1) http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-31/communist-party-leader-voted-for-sanders-will-back-clinton

 

2) ibid

 

3) For our analysis of Sanders and the Socialist Alternative’s support for him see Yossi Schwarz: Why Not to Vote for the Democratic Party in the Forthcoming US Elections or at any other time, 2.3.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/no-vote-sanders/

 

 

 

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About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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