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Newsletter (in English)

Got some change?

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| Categories: Statements, USA

Will the Democrats in the USA deliver on promises of change?

After seven years of George Bush, virtually the entire US population has deemed the Bush regime a catastrophic failure. Leading up to the presidential elections in November 2008, Democrats and Republicans have been distancing themselves from the unpopular president. The Democratic Party has best harnessed the frustration of the American people, lining up an almost sure electoral victory for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

The two candidates

The two main Democratic candidates, Clinton and Obama, have been running almost identical populist, anti-war campaigns that make many promises to the working class. Many voters have already forgotten the legacy of the last Democratic, President Bill Clinton, with his cuts to welfare, his strong support for NAFTA which ruined thousands of American livelihoods, and his failure to press for a universal health care system.

The legacy of the younger Bush presidency will be of the failure of the imperialist Iraq war, the financial sector crisis which could lead to an economic recession, and the desire for “change” that presents itself in the Democratic primaries. Bu these problems will not end when Hillary or Barack becomes president.

On the surface, the two presidential candidates provide some vague hope to “unify” the ruling and working classes. To a society supposedly built on “equality” and “the middle class”, the ascendance of a Black man and a woman to the foreground of presidential hopefuls satisfies millions of Americans without a class conciousness. Progressives of all ages have lined up behind the these ruling class politicians. Especially for a new generation of youths who have turned to the Democratic Party for answers, their hopes remain tied to bourgeois politicians who don’t want the fundamental change that is needed.

Much of the media coverage during the last few months has dealt with the minute policy differences between Obama and Clinton. Obama uses Clinton’s support for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 to hurt Clinton’s credibility, while Obama’s “lack of experience” in bourgeois politics has been attacked. This lack of debate has not served the American populace; rather it has worked to obscure their right-wing policy records and their failure as senators to build up a serious opposition Bush. The biggest firms in Wall Street have hedged their bets and support the Clinton and Obama campaigns, knowing that once one of these candidates wins in November they will yet again have an open door into the White House.

Barack Obama keeps inching towards victory, mostly because his stump speeches electrify the youth and workers. By appealing to patriotism and unity, his campaign has convinced many people of the possibility of reconciling the interests of the workers and the elite in America. His appeal as a Black President who downplays racism serves to pacify antiracist.. Nonetheless, African-American households in the United States still earn only 62% as much as white households, and Black people are more than three times as likely be impoverished.

The other candidates

The reason that a Democratic president won’t change much is that America’s democracy doesn’t serve the interests of the people but rather of large corporations like Halliburton or Goldman Sachs.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain will likely win his Party’s nomination. At the age of 72, McCain continues the same xenophobic conservatism that President Bush heralds – it wouldn’t bother him if the occupation of Iraq lasts “ten thousand years”. His campaign for president has little chance of victory, especially if the “Obamania” continues to sweep the US.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader recently announced his fourth bid for the presidency, hoping to find support with millions of those disillusioned by American capitalist democracy. Unfortunately, Nader is yet another bourgeois candidate who doesn’t represent the working class. In trying to promote a fairer version of capitalism, Nader denies its fundamental flaws and goes so far as to attack immigrant workers as part of the problem.

The perspective

In a society where two capitalist parties control policy, the idea of “a lesser of two evils” pervades the entire campaign. The failure to withdraw from the failed imperialist war in Iraq, a possible economic recession, and the downfall of American hegemony in the world gives millions of Americans the feeling that they are not represented by the bourgeois political system.

The trade union bureaucracy continues to pump millions of dollars from workers’ paychecks into the Democrats’ campaigns, only to see this party betray the interests of the working class. Rather than wasting money on pro-business Democrats, workers need to mobilize their own political voice. The Democrats’ promises to Big Business will be evident in the case of their victory: the Iraq War will not end rapidly, and millions will remain without health care.

Workers and progressives need to encourage the struggle for an independent working class party committed to a socialist and internationalist future in order to end to the stronghold of Wall Street over the United States of America.

by Scott, Chapel Hill (USA), March 2, 2008

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