Build the mass movements, target the capitalists!

Bush and Kerry, pro-war servants
of big business


. Below is the text of a Communist Voice Organization leaflet of August 29,2004, which was distributed at the August 29 demonstration in New York City against the Republican National Convention, at the 2004 Labor Day march in Detroit, and elsewhere. (CV #34, August 25, 2004)

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. Bush is hated by workers, activists, and progressive-minded people. They've had enough of the war on Iraq; enough of corporate swindlers like Enron and Halliburton; and enough of police-state measures to stifle dissent and terrorize immigrants. They've had enough of his racist campaign against affirmative action and enough of Bush's Christian right and its holy war on abortion rights and scapegoating of gay marriage.

. The fervor against Bush is directed at the hired gun of the capitalist corporations. This anger pushes people into struggle. But how can we get rid, not just of Bush, but of his policies?

. Many people are voting for Kerry in desperation. Will this be a real alternative to Bush? Kerry and the Democrats say so. But Kerry would keep troops in Iraq, keep the police-state apparatus of the "war on terror", and give more tax breaks to businesses.

. Some are sick of both parties and are voting for Nader. They are willing to defy the abuse from Democratic Party flacks. But it's necessary not just to break from the two big capitalist parties, but from capitalist policies as well. On Iraq, Nader shares with Kerry the idea of replacing a unilateral US occupation with a broader multilateral occupation under the UN. But the UN is dominated by the US and other big imperialist powers. Nader says he hopes to rejuvenate the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, he makes deals with racist Pat Buchanan. He'd regulate business a bit. But he's not for class struggle.

. A real alternative must be based on mass struggles, such as the anti-war movement, the struggle at the workplace, the movements in defense of the immigrants and minorities, etc. The Democrats want to divert everything into campaigning for Kerry. Instead, we must continue mass protests. Let all workers and activists, no matter who they intend to vote for, put every candidate on the hot seat over their stand towards the war in Iraq. Let's expose the anti-immigrant and anti-democratic stands of the candidates. Let's build organizations of class struggle which stand against the capitalists and their political mouthpieces and push forward the mass movements.

. Today the mass struggles are sporadic and often small. The workers' movement is mostly quiet. Yet the mass activity of the workers in all the struggles is essential to have a real alternative to capitalist politics. The California grocery strike showed the workers' willingness to fight, though they were betrayed by the sellout union leadership. And further struggles will be spurred as hard times continue as the capitalists squeeze us more. We need to encourage strikes and other workplace actions. We need to mobilize workers into anti-war actions like the "million worker march" on Oct. 17. As well, the rank and file need to organize themselves against the treachery of the AFL-CIO leaders who have faith in Kerry, but not the workers.

. We must oppose not only Bush and Kerry, but the capitalist class that stands behind them. The closer we look at Bush and Kerry's stands, the more it's clear they are the policies of the capitalist class.


. Bush's occupation of Iraq has been a fiasco. His weapons of mass destruction hoax has been exposed, and the torture scandal has obliterated the myth of a benevolent occupation. The Iraqi masses welcomed the downfall of Hussein but now there is resistance all over the country to the arrogant rule of the US military and the discredited Iraqi governments it rigs up. Over a year after declaring victory, US forces have been forced to retreat from many areas of Iraq.

. This is not just Bush's mess, however. Kerry also supports continuing the occupation indefinitely. Recently he even admitted that had he known there were no WMDs, he still would have voted for the war. His main difference with Bush is that he insists he'd be able to get European imperialist powers like France and Germany involved in sending troops and thereby share the burden of the occupation. That way, not only would US troops slaughter Iraqis and be killed or injured, so would the sons and daughters of the workers of other capitalist powers. Moreover, in an April 30 speech in Fulton, Missouri, Kerry demanded more US troops in Iraq, too. What an alternative!

. And what of the great anti-war heroes of the Democratic Party like Dennis Kucinich? At the Democratic convention, Kerry's forces made it clear no disagreement with their boy would be allowed. And Kucinich agreed to call off any fight on this and back Kerry's platform. Nor did any other of the great liberals utter a peep against Kerry. Meanwhile, liberals like Congressional Black Caucus members Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan are pushing for reviving the draft under the fraud that if rich kids are drafted the capitalists will hesitate to launch wars.

"War on terror" and defending the US imperialist empire

. For Bush, the Iraq war is just one battle of an endless "war on terrorism". The "war on terrorism" isn't really about fighting terrorism though because one US administration after another has sponsored terrorism and still does. It's really about settling scores with upstart tyrants like Hussein who once had friendly relations with the US but then got in the way of US plans. Also it's a pretext for supporting reactionary regimes in Colombia, the Philippines, etc. against the masses fighting oppression in these countries.

. Kerry does not expose the war on terrorism, but promises to wage it more zealously than Bush. That's why Kerry clamors for more troops for the armed forces, denounces Bush for withdrawing troops from Asia and Europe, and backs universal national service which could serve as a precursor to the military draft.

. Bush uses the "war on terrorism" to justify the doctrine of pre-emptive wars, that is, wars against anyone who might potentially interfere in US world domination. But even the liberal Washington Post, after listening to a Kerry speech, was forced to conclude that "Kerry appeared to outline his own pre-emptive doctrine. " And Kerry tries to outdo Bush in arguing that the US has the right to reshape the world according to its whim. Thus, he stated "America has taken a rare step in human history in arguing that its interests and the world's are one. I fully accept the challenge of moral as well as military leadership that the claim demands. " By "America", of course, Kerry really means those running America, the capitalists and their puppet politicians. Whatever they want, Kerry pledges to forcibly impose it on the world.

Israel and the Palestinians

. Massive support for Israel has long been a cornerstone of US imperialist policy. Israel has turned the Palestinian territories into a virtual prison camp, but that's OK with the US because Israel is the main watchdog for US interests in the Middle East. The Sharon regime continues the decades-long terrorist occupation with a vengeance. Sharon's latest provocation was starting to build a 425-mile wall that, in effect, annexed a good chunk of Palestinian land for Israel. Bush complained, but no matter what Sharon does, Bush continues to send billions to this butcher. Kerry is not to be outdone though. Last year, like Bush, Kerry had a bit of criticism of the wall. But this July he issued a position paper reversing himself stating "The security fence is a legitimate act of self-defense. "

. The American bourgeoisie backs maintaining Israel as a Jewish theocracy because such an Israel will help it oppress the Arab peoples. We must support the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. There should be a single state encompassing Israel and the occupied territories, to which no religion has any special rights. This would be a democratic secular state in which Jewish and Arab workers could live in peace, and in which the Palestinian refugees could return.

Bush and Kerry support deregulation

. Behind imperialism is economic exploitation. Bush's neo-liberal "leave no profit behind" strategy is a program of fevered deregulation of world capitalism. In the US too, it aims to eliminate anything restricting the capitalists' ability to ruin workers and the environment. Bush was an enthusiastic proponent of deregulation of the energy industry, helping fuel the California energy crisis and the Enron scandal.

. But energy deregulation was a bipartisan affair. Clinton was for it, and so was the Democratic former governor of California, Gray Davis. In the Aug. 2 Business Week interview, Kerry declared "I am going to bring Corporate America to the table -- not to lecture but to say: How do we make you more competitive? How do we get out of your way?" So if Kerry gets his way, the workers and poor will continue to get run over by the business tycoons.

"Trickle-down" economics

. Bush promised that if only the capitalists were free to do what they wanted, this would be great for the workers. Instead there's been massive job loss, while the remaining jobs pay lower wages. Kerry mocks Bush's jobs record and touts the Clinton administration as the model. But under Clinton the gap between rich and poor grew rapidly. Corporate CEOs were swimming in money, while workers were still treading water. Yes, there was a "boom" that temporarily lowered unemployment. But, as always under capitalism, that boom has been followed by recession.

. Kerry attacks Bush for running up massive deficits to finance huge tax breaks for the rich. Fine. But what would Kerry do to balance the budget? If his model is Clinton, he would slash social programs. It was Clinton who cut deficits by joining forces with Newt Gingrich for "welfare reform" that ravaged the poor. And Kerry isn't opposed to tax cuts for the rich either. He says "Some may be surprised to hear a Democrat calling for lower corporate tax rates. "

Health care

. The health care crisis has been a hot topic for the candidates. There are over 40 million people uninsured. Bush has done nothing to help. He supports tax credits and tax-exempt "health savings accounts". The tax credits for uninsured people would be minuscule compared to cost of decent health coverage. Nor are the uninsured going to have the ability to pour money into a health savings account. Rich people will have a new tax shelter, however. And the plan will encourage employers to drop their health care plans.

. Kerry's plan would provide some of the uninsured relief by extending Medicaid benefits. Beyond that Kerry recommends federal subsidies to health insurance companies and tax credits for employers which allegedly will entice them to provide their employees with health insurance. Kerry's plan is a patchwork and many uninsured will continue to fall through the cracks. It's a far cry from the universal guaranteed coverage of a national health insurance system. But Kerry opposes that because he wants to keep the greedy private health insurance industry thriving.

Build an independent movement of the working class!

. Bush and Kerry may squabble, but they're twins. So no matter which of them is elected, there will be unrelenting imperialist bullying and war. And the workers and poor will continue to be sacrificed on the altar of free-market economics.

. Let's turn the anger against Bush into anger at the exploiters and imperialists who lie behind Bush. Let's use every occasion to denounce the political stands of Bush and Kerry so as to encourage mass struggle. Whether or not you vote for Kerry or the reformist Nader, we say to you we should all participate in the mass movements. No matter who is elected, the warmongering will continue, the conditions of the masses will be under attack, and the various forms of oppression we are struggling against will continue because the bourgeoisie, the class force behind these things, will still be in charge.

. We must continue the demonstrations against the war. No to American occupation, and no to NATO or UN occupation! We must direct the struggle not at the particular form of occupation, but at imperialism itself. We must support, not multilateral imperialists, but Iraqi workers and poor, who are oppressed both by US occupation and its puppet Iraqi government and by religious fundamentalist groups and ex-Baathists. Imperialism is based on the interests of the monopoly capitalists. Lenin showed this in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and US foreign policy confirms this. So to fight war and aggression, we must unite the workers of all countries against the capitalist militarists.

. We must organize at the workplace against the wage and benefits cuts and the miserable working conditions. We should popularize and support every sector of workers rising in struggle, from the immigrant workers who are rising up despite every legal obstacle, to the wildcat strike of truckers on both coasts whose blockades this spring shut down major seaports, to Bay Area longshoremen who are demanding an anti-war struggle. We must oppose the pro-capitalist leaders of the AFL-CIO who try to keep our struggle under wraps and sell out our demands. These leaders are almost as afraid of strikes and militancy as the capitalists themselves. Even when they pass resolutions in support of something good, like opposing the Iraq war -- as SEIU and AFSCME recently did -- they immediately support Democrats like Kerry who want to continue the occupation.

. We must pay special attention to the plight of immigrants, including Arab and other communities who are being persecuted under the "war on terrorism. " The working class will never be free if we allow different sections to be picked off one by one. Can we rely on Kerry to defend their rights when he voted for the police-state Patriot Act, opposes states issuing drivers licenses without checking immigration status, and is out to prove what a super-patriot he is? No way. Let's counter racism and chauvinism by building working class solidarity: unity with workers of all backgrounds and with oppressed communities!

. The independent movement of the working class can only be built in the midst of these and other struggles. To be truly independent means not only to oppose Bush and Kerry, but to join with other workers in a powerful movement. The more the mass struggle advances, the more it will clash with the capitalists and their political parties. This process will help clarify why we say:

To hell with Bush and Kerry and the capitalist parties!

Build the independent movement of the working class! <>


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September 12, 2004.