Bush and Kerry back war and big business

Workers! Mobilize for class struggle!

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. Below is the text of the Communist Voice Organization leaflet of October 5,2004, which was distributed at the Million Worker March in Washington DC on October 17 as well as prior to the march in order to inform workers about it.

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. Workers are rallying in Washington, DC on October 17 at the Million Worker March to raise their collective fist against the big business onslaught. The capitalists want fatter profits. That's why they lay us off, privatize, outsource jobs and slash wages, benefits and social programs. That's why they wage wars for oil and empire. That's why they suppress protests and strikes. Bush has been the capitalist point man in crushing workers here and around the world. He's the president of imperialist war, profiteering and bigotry.

. But just getting rid of Bush won't stop the capitalists. Kerry doesn't stand for the workers' interests either. He'd keep the Iraq war going and voted for the repressive Patriot Act. He'd continue business deregulation and touts his own corporate tax breaks. Kerry's differences with Bush are over how to best carry out the big business agenda.

. To hell with the capitalist parties. The only salvation workers have is a militant struggle against the exploiters and their political flunkeys. But the leadership of the AFL-CIO unions is not up to the task. They cringe before the capitalist assault. National AFL-CIO president John Sweeney condemns the Oct. 17 march, and the vast majority of union leaders are boycotting it. They say they're too busy campaigning for Kerry. And they are horrified that the march organizers voice an agenda of worker demands rather than just accept whatever Kerry offers.

. The union activists who initiated the Oct. 17 march speak of building a struggle independent of Bush and Kerry against the Iraq war and for a living wage, health care, etc. But they believe that the pro-capitalist union officials will, with a bit of prodding, be the leaders of this struggle. While the Oct. 17 organizers have gotten a few national union leaderships (e. g. , SEIU, NEA and APWU) to endorse the Oct. 17 demo. , they ignore that these union officials are also big Kerry backers and oppose an independent and militant movement.

. But we need to get rid not only of Bush, but the capitalist class policies behind Bush. So we must not hide the divisions in the labor movement between the pro-Kerry union leadership and the interests of the rank and file workers. If we are to build an independent working class movement, we must encourage new organizations of struggle among the rank and file in the workplaces, communities and unions. We must help workers see the need for revolutionary political organization that can consistently stand up to the capitalists and their political parties.

. The need for an independent workers movement is clear when we look at how both Bush and Kerry are tools of the corporate billionaires.

Bush and Kerry support long occupation of Iraq

. Bush has sent over 1,000 US workers' sons and daughters to their death in Iraq, slaughtered countless more Iraqi workers and brought a new reign of torture to replace Hussein's. And for what? So the US capitalists can insure control of Middle East oil. Longtime CIA agent Iyad Allawi, the latest US-installed puppet, has no support in the country, there's staggering unemployment and basic services are a shambles. As the horrors of the occupation have mounted, the resistance of the Iraqi masses has become more entrenched.

. Kerry voted to give Bush the authority to launch the Iraq war and said he would do so again even without evidence of WMDs. He's already indicated he'd have troops there at least through his first four-year term. He has twisted himself into a pretzel trying to take every side of the issue, but in the end his only real difference with Bush is he insists he'd be able to get European imperialist powers to share the burden of the occupation. So Iraq would remain under imperialism, but under Kerry working class youth from Germany, France, etc. could join in the carnage. Meanwhile the liberal "doves" of the Democratic Party like Dennis Kucinich and the Congressional Black Caucus have given up criticizing Kerry's warmongering.

"War on terror" and the US world empire

. Bush sees Iraq as part of his "war on terror" when it's really about securing Middle East oil and replacing a once-friendly tyrant, Hussein, with imperialist dictate, torture and ruin. The war on terror is really about US world domination. It's used to support pro-US reactionary regimes in Colombia, the Philippines, etc. against the masses fighting oppression. And it's used to crush or threaten rival reactionaries like the Taliban and bin Laden, the ayatollahs running Iran or the state-capitalist rulers of North Korea.

. Kerry's says he'd have a stronger "war on terror. " He too favors forcibly imposing US imperialism's will on the world. Thus, he clamors for more troops, denounces Bush for withdrawing troops from Asia and Europe and backs universal national service, which could be a precursor to the military draft.

Israel and the Palestinians

. The war on terror is also used to justify backing the murderous Sharon regime in Israel against the Palestinian people. Neither Bush nor Kerry cares that the Israeli-occupied Palestinians territories are little more than prison camps, because Israel is the main watchdog for US Middle East interests. No matter what atrocity Israeli leaders carry out, Bush keeps the massive US aid to Israel flowing. When Sharon began building a 425-mile wall to isolate the Palestinians and annex a lot more of their land, Bush did nothing. As for Kerry, this July he declared the wall "a legitimate act of self-defense. "

. Both Bush and Kerry oppose self-determination for the Palestinians. They hope eventually Israeli pressure will force the Palestinians to accept an untenable "mini-state" militarily and economically dominated by Israel. But justice demands that there be a single state encompassing Israel and the occupied territories where Jews and Arabs have equal rights and to which Palestinian refugees could return.

Bush and Kerry back free-trade capitalism

. Behind imperialism is economic exploitation. Both Bush and Kerry support the international capitalist organizations and treaties like the WTO and NAFTA. These agreements aim at privatizing the public sector and eliminating labor and environmental laws as restrictions to "free trade. " Kerry says he'd fix the free-trade agreements by enforcing labor and environmental standards. But when questioned in the Aug. 2 issue of Business Week, Kerry began backtracking. He said he'd merely "appoint a commission" to study the issue. And Kerry promised he'd act like Clinton, who promised to enforce labor/environmental standards and didn't.

. The AFL-CIO leadership doesn't like NAFTA and similar free-trade agreements. But they pretend that if a few words about labor rights are added to the agreements, the capitalists will no longer ravage the workers. And they ignore that Kerry isn't even serious about amending the free-trade pacts

. The union officials often present protectionist measures as the answer to free-trade: they try to help this or that capitalist here stave off foreign competition. But just because a US company makes more profits doesn't mean that jobs and wages will be safeguarded. Greater profits allows the capitalists to automate and replace workers with machines. And if helping the bosses make more profits is supposed to save the workers, how is it that millions of workers have made concessions to their employers only to see their jobs eliminated anyway? Protectionist campaigns against "unfair" foreign companies inevitably divert workers from the fight against their own employers and promote chauvinist attitudes that undermine international class solidarity. The workers should not rally behind free-trade or protectionism, but rely on their class struggle.

Bipartisan deregulation

. Kerry wants to follow in Clinton's foot steps on the economy. But Clinton deregulated several industries including energy. Bush Jr. finished the job, resulting in the Californian blackouts and the Enron scandal. In Business Week Kerry explained his Clinton-style economics saying "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. " Is it any wonder that Kerry has also promised "lower corporate tax rates" and hails Clinton's budget-balancing, which was done by slashing welfare and other social programs? Clinton's policies helped the gap between the CEOs and workers grow enormously. And the Clinton "boom", like all capitalist booms, created the conditions for a crash and the long recession under Bush.

What about Nader?

. Some activists fed up with the Bush-Kerry choice see Nader as the alternative. But Nader shares with Kerry the idea of a multinational imperialist coalition taking over Iraq. He says he hopes to revive the Democratic Party. And he claims his program will appeal to conservative Republicans too. So while he ventures outside the two main parties, he takes much of their policies with him. Meanwhile, he makes deals with racist Pat Buchanan. True, he'd regulate business a bit. But he's not for the class struggle.

Build an independent working class movement!

. Bush and Kerry squabble. But no matter who 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. Nader is not the answer either.

. The only real alternative is building up a trend of workers' struggle and political independence from the capitalist parties. Whether or not you vote for Kerry or Nader, we call on you to mobilize your coworkers to participate in the protests against the Iraqi occupation and the capitalist offensive here. We call on you to raise your voice against not only Bush, but also denounce Kerry's pro-war, pro-business policies. We say to you, let's build up our own struggle and organizations that will encourage our fighting capacity.

. Building an independent workers' movement is a task of the rank and file workers themselves. The leadership of the AFL-CIO is not fit for the task. Workers are being decimated with layoffs, job and benefit cuts and overwork. The AFL-CIO officials capitulate to this. They dress up sellout contracts as great victories. They fear strikes and militancy. They don't trust the workers, but pro-capitalist politicians like Kerry.

. There can't be an independent workers movement unless the workers can break free from the grip of the union bureaucrats. But some left-wing activists in the unions have hopes that with a little push, the AFL-CIO labor traitors will mobilize the workers for a powerful struggle. This tends to undermine independence from the capitalist parties. For example, some Oct. 17 organizers rightly denounced AFL-CIO president John Sweeney for opposing the march and relying on Democratic party promises to the workers. But they don't call attention to the fact that the few national union officials endorsing the march are Kerry enthusiasts. Rather, they create the impression these pro-Kerry leaders are helping build an independent workers' struggle. Indeed, many if not all of the Oct. 17 organizers' widely circulated calls for the march don't mention Kerry.

. A really independent workers movement won't be built hand in hand with the AFL-CIO hierarchy, but without and against them. This is a protracted struggle. It won't have the glitz of capitalist campaign rallies and won't be promoted by the corporate nightly news. It will require courage and persistence. But there's no easy path for the workers struggle under capitalist rule.

. Workers need real class organization to carry out their own agenda and not simply be a pawn for one or another section of the bourgeoisie.

. At the anti-war actions we must demand an immediate end to the US occupation of Iraq. We must oppose both Bush's unilateral US occupation and Kerry's multilateral occupation with the UN and/or NATO. We should target the root cause of war, the system of imperialism itself. War is not mainly the result of mistaken judgements by this or that politician. "Our" capitalists are world bullies because because it's impossible to maintain their system of global economic and political domination without military invasions and threats, and arming tyrants.

. The Iraqi workers are our ally against imperialism. We must support their anti-occupation struggle and efforts to form militant trade unions, unemployed organizations, women's rights groups, and political organizations. The workers' movement is the future of Iraq. It's the alternative to occupation and the Iraqi oppressors, be they aligned with the US or their ex-Baathist and religious fundamentalist rivals.

. We need to step up the fight against job cuts, overwork, and wage and benefit cuts. We should get organized for collective actions against our employers and support other workers who wage strikes and protests. Rank-and-file workers should devise their own demands and methods of mass action and not settle for the back-room deals of the sellout union hacks.

. We must fight the growing political repression. Oppose the Bush administration's Patriot Act. Stand up against persecution of the Arab community and immigrants of various nationalities under the guise of anti-terrorism. Kerry and Edwards voted for the Patriot Act. It's up to the workers to counter the chauvinism and racism of the bourgeoisie and build solidarity between workers of all backgrounds.

. The independent workers' movement will be forged in the fires of struggle, not in the headquarters of the Democratic Party. Whether you feel a need to vote for Kerry or Nader or reject them all, help build a real struggle for these and other demands. For the stronger the workers struggle gets, the more it will face the wrath of the capitalist politicians. The more it will clarify why we say:

To hell with Bush and Kerry!
Build the independent working class movement!


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May 1, 2005.
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