Before and after the Election .  .  .

For Real Change,
the Working Class Needs
its Own Movement!

Editorial of the Summer-Winter 2008 issue of Struggle magazine


. The November election is fast approaching. The media, giving the viewpoint of the rich, presents elections as the only way for the working people to change society. We are offered two candidates, both of whose campaigns are largely paid for by the wealthy. As the financial structure of capitalism totters, both candidates and their political parties are offering hundreds of billions of workers' tax dollars to bail out the rich, who are the cause of the crisis in the first place.

. John McCain, the Republican, openly stands for more of the Bush program of war and plunder abroad, repression and plunder of the workers and poor at home. Barack Obama, the Democrat, rides in as the new knight in shining armor, promising change, a new beginning. As the first African American to be nominated for President by one of the two major parties, he has aroused a lot of excitement among the people, who are sick and tired of the Bush nightmare and of the endemic racism of American society. The long struggle of Blacks and other progressive people against racism has created a situation where an African American can be the favored candidate for President.

. But, sadly, Obama too stands for the same service to the wealthy, the same disregard for the interests and needs of the working people, including Blacks, as Bush and McCain. The only changes Obama actually offers are a Black man in the highest office and a slight adjustment in tactics in foreign policy to combine more diplomacy with active military force within an explicitly imperialist program of American domination of the world. Such changes as the working class needs in this time of aggressive war abroad and, at home, mortgage foreclosures, lay-offs and plant closings, wage-slashing, wholesale deportations of immigrant workers, brutal police killings of Blacks and other minorities, etc., are not offered by either of these capitalist candidates.

. For any real, significant change, the working class desperately needs its own independent movement, one that breaks with both capitalist political parties, with the opportunist minority leaders and sold-out union bureaucrats, and battles the rich on every front. Only such a movement would deserve the name "change." There are hints of the potential for such a movement in the anger at the financial bail-out, in the anti-war protests, the bitter American Axle auto workers' strike, the Black protests against the murders of Sean Bell and others, the protests against the brutalization of the immigrants, and elsewhere. We understand that many progressive people will vote for Obama with high hopes, but Struggle calls on activists to look carefully at the bourgeois nature of the two candidates' programs and to build active protests and struggles of the masses.

. Here's what the candidates offer in foreign policy:

. Thus McCain and Obama agree to continue the imperialist drive for U.S. world domination. Obama would bring a slight shift towards diplomacy and cooperation with other big powers, but the aim would be the same. He assured the wealthy corporation executives in a 2007 article in Foreign Affairs: "I will not hesitate to use force, military if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests, whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened." Far from protecting the American people, either candidate would be an imperialist President, squandering the lives of workers at home and abroad in wars and adventures to gain the highest profits for the capitalists (these are the "vital interests" -- of the rich!).

. Here's what the candidates offer in domestic affairs:

. In short, all across the board, beneath the hype the actual programs of McCain and Obama are shockingly similar. Both candidates are in fact running for Bush's third term. There is no "new beginning"; this is just another Republican-Democrat contest, in which the interests of the workers and the poor of all ethnicities are being trampled underfoot. This sad truth will become more and more evident after one of them is elected, especially as the economic crisis inevitably deepens. But this truth demands, ever more strongly, that the workers and poor build our own movement, in our own interests, independent from and against the two capitalist political parties and their defenders among the working people.

By Tim Hall

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