Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bourgeois liberals' war on workers

‘Deplorable’ workers are true target of liberals’ fury

 

BY STEVE CLARK 
AND TERRY EVANS

It is tens of millions of workers in the United States, not President Donald Trump, who are the target of today’s relentless liberal press hysteria and efforts by Democratic Party politicians to invalidate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Middle class radicals are cheering in the stands.

These liberal-inspired assaults reached a new crescendo following Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey in early May.

What’s fueling this frenzied crusade? Why can’t the big business media, liberal Democratic Party figures, and even growing numbers of Republican politicians and mouthpieces reconcile themselves to Trump’s election?

The answer is that it’s neither Donald Trump, nor “a Trump presidency,” that sticks in their craw. What these ruling-class voices find irreconcilable are the millions of working people who voted for Trump. As Washington Post columnist Charles Lane complained May 4, “There hasn’t been nearly enough blaming of the people most responsible for [Trump’s] rise: his voters.”

The target isn’t simply working people who are victims of capitalism’s spreading carnage. The target is those (whatever their skin color or mother tongue) determined to find some way to say “no” to the never-ending assaults and indignities inflicted by the propertied ruling families on workers and farmers today.

These workers are drawn to the prospect of “draining the swamp” — cleaning out the growing federal bureaucracy of those who’ve found themselves a comfortable berth, as they contrive new ways to “nudge” and “regulate” us.

That’s why Trump won the 2016 election.

That’s shown, among other things, by the fact that in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and others, Trump won the votes of workers — most of them Caucasian — who had cast ballots for Obama in more than 200 U.S. counties in 2008 and 2012. These workers were looking for a change from government as usual, from capitalism’s mounting blows over the prior eight years and more (as were many workers who just stayed home on election day).

But Trump is a billionaire capitalist politician. Like those who came before him, he aims to serve the needs of the U.S. rulers abroad (arguably doing better so far than his two predecessors in advancing imperialism’s class interests), and at home (still very much a work in progress, from the standpoint of both exploiters’ parties).

Capitalists fear working people 
The capitalists’ fear of working people didn’t begin in 2016. It’s been growing as the capitalist crisis deepens, and as more and more workers are open to the necessity of deep-going change. This includes growing openness by working people to explanations and proposals of Socialist Workers Party members who knock on their doors campaigning for communism, who fight alongside them at work and on picket lines, or who join them in protests against cop brutality or for a woman’s right to choose abortion.

Increasing numbers of workers are beginning to sense there is nothing the bosses can do to respond to the stagnation of capitalist production and trade apart from taking more of it out on us. A broad social crisis is unfolding, as a significant section of the working class has been pushed out of the workforce and working people confront deteriorating access to health care, an epidemic of drug addiction, and, for the first time in decades, falling life expectancy.

That’s why Democratic and Republican politicians alike are taking steps to curtail the political rights working people use, and will need to use more in months and years ahead. The rulers are disenfranchising more and more workers by strengthening and expanding the bureaucratic and “regulatory” apparatuses of the capitalist government and state.

From the outset of Barack Obama’s primary bid in 2007, he and his Democratic administration demonstrated the same anti-working-class attitudes that led Hillary Clinton last year to demean those planning to vote for Trump, not for her, as “deplorables.” They are “offensive, hateful, and mean-spirited,” Clinton said.

What’s more, those on Obama’s own “deplorables” list aren’t just Caucasian workers who, as he said in 2008, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” In his sights are also millions of workers who are Black. African-Americans, Obama said that same year, need to “replace the video game or the remote control with a book once in a while.” And they should stop feeding their children “cold Popeyes” for breakfast. (See box.)

Both parties of the employing class are in the midst of crises and makeovers. Neither will ever be the same as they were prior to the 2016 elections.

More workers sense the accuracy of a political cartoon run during the election campaign. It depicted two neighbors with signs on their lawns reading, “He’s worse” and “She’s worse.”

Even if liberals now were somehow able to get Trump impeached, as the Washington Post recently acknowledged, there is no reason Trump supporters “would suddenly be satisfied again with the old Republican and Democratic parties.”

Saint Mueller 
On May 16, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special prosecutor, tasked with investigating alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Moscow. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Rosenstein said.

The liberal press and top figures in both capitalist parties responded with fawning tribute to Mueller, practically elevating him to sainthood. But this former U.S. top cop built his reputation working for the capitalist ruling families to make their federal police agency more effective and virulent in spying and disruption.

The campaign against Trump has relied on classic frame-up techniques, slapping together lurid allegations and innuendos, in hopes some will stick.

Workers, including those targeted by the bosses for union or political activity, are all too familiar with this kind of witch-hunting. Vanguard working-class fighters, including members and leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, have been railroaded to prison, beaten up, or threatened with deportation when such inquisitions pick up speed.

All this is reinforced by endless lewd and vulgar “comedy” on late-night talk shows slurring Trump, including demeaning, anti-women comments about his daughter Ivanka and wife Melania. Morning “news” shows pick right up where the foul-mouthed “comics” left off.

Disenfranchising working class 
Political servants of the U.S. propertied families — especially the liberal think tank, university, foundation, nongovernment organizations and other middle-class and professional meritocrats who buttress bourgeois rule — are finding more ways for the government to dilute workers’ use of the franchise.

There is no better example right now than the U.S. rulers’ new special prosecutor.

In Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo on Comey’s conduct, Rosenstein recounts how the former FBI director baldly usurped the authority of the Justice Department and refused to acknowledge it.

“At most,” Rosenstein says, Comey “should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings. … The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.”

Republicans had urged Lynch to step aside from the investigation, after former President Bill Clinton flagrantly maneuvered to compromise her by walking onto her plane as it waited on the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport in June 2016. Rather than telling Clinton to take a hike, Lynch proceeded to talk for 30 minutes with the husband of a candidate under investigation by the “Justice Department” that she herself was in charge of.

The working class has no stake in who heads up the cop agencies and other government bodies that serve the interests of the capitalist class. These are their tools to defend the rule of the propertied ruling families. But workers have plenty of experience with FBI frame-ups and disruption of struggles against exploitation, racism and imperialist war.

In his investigation into the Trump campaign, former FBI head Mueller has the power to compel witnesses to testify, and to impanel a grand jury, which meets behind closed doors interrogating individuals with no right to counsel alongside them. He won’t be responsible to any elected body.

Nothing new 
Liberals have always been the first to move against workers’ rights, and then, when the employing class finds it necessary, capitalist rulers turn to the thugs of the ultra-right to carry their assault on workers to the end.

The McCarthyite witch-hunt in the 1950s was set up under the administration of Democrat Harry Truman.

It was the Democratic administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that initiated the FBI’s assault on class-struggle-minded union militants and opponents of Washington’s entry into the Second World War, leading to the frame-up and imprisonment of 18 leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and the Midwest Teamsters union under the notorious Smith “Gag” act.

Today the middle-class left and liberal groups increasingly blame workers — most of whom they consider ignorant, racist, xenophobic, and dangerous — for derailing what they consider “progressive politics.”

Many are circulating posters and bumper stickers saying “Impeach Trump,” while some furtively post flyers reading “Kill Trump.” Many celebrate the breaking up of meetings in Berkeley, California, and Middlebury, Vermont, closing down political space so necessary for workers and workers’ organizations to organize and act under conditions of capitalist rule.

And when a witch-hunt against working people opens up in bourgeois politics, it rapidly bumps into the communist vanguard.

It is the two Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, for example, who dealt a blow to workers’ rights when they defeated the extension of the Socialist Workers Party’s exemption from campaign disclosure laws last month.

That action by these liberal federal “regulators” gave a freer hand to government and right-wing spying and harassment of the SWP and other workers’ organization

http://themilitant.com/2017/8122/812203.html

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

....The Trump administration’s bill, like Obamacare, is not based on providing health care for all who need it, but pressuring more people to purchase health insurance, with rising premiums and deductibles for plans that offer less and less coverage. All these moves aim to maximize the superprofits of insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical companies....

Attack on Medicaid entitlement

Trump’s health care proposals included steep cuts to Medicaid, enacted as an entitlement program in 1965, a result of the massive Black-led proletarian struggle that eliminated Jim Crow segregation. It provides medical care for workers with the lowest incomes and the disabled. It currently covers more than 70 million people.

During the election campaign Trump promised not to cut Medicaid, but his administration’s final proposal involves the biggest structural alterations to the program since it was created. Block grants would replace federal matching funds. States for the first time could impose work requirements, drug tests, or place a cap on the number of years a person could be covered by Medicaid.

Some of these proposed attacks were the result of demands made on Trump by members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of some 35 conservative House members, many elected pledged to the Tea Party.

More importantly, a number of Republicans felt pressured to oppose the attacks on Medicaid in the bill, at a time when the carnage being visited on working people by the crisis of capitalism is deepening. Medicaid covers health care for one in five people in the U.S., including four of 10 children, nearly half of all births, and the cost of care for two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

Medicaid is widespread and popular. Two-thirds of everyone in the country — over 215 million people — either are covered by the program or have family or friends who are.

“I was not willing to gamble with the care of my constituents,” Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican from New Jersey said, reflecting fear of the political price he would pay if he voted for the bill.

Many Republicans opposed the bill because they said its cuts would deepen the opioid epidemic ravaging their districts.

Workers are facing rising “deaths of despair” from deteriorating health care compounded by the unavailability of full-time work, a report issued March 23, by two Princeton University economists says. The study describes rising mortality of Caucasian men and women ages 45 through 54, from suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths. In 2015 overuse of opioids killed more than 30,000 people in the U.S. 

Full article:

http://www.themilitant.com/2017/8114/811402.html

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Which class rules: communist response to climate change hysteria

Petty bourgeois political hopelessness in the face of capitalist crisis, carnage, and supposed "passivity" of the working class is seen (deflected and distorted) in the lurid, hysterical tenor of any discussion of man-made climate change in the bourgeois press and its middle class offshoots.

A communist perspective has a different tone entirely, and that is all to the good.

Jay
4/29/17

***

Working class must lead fight to defend 
environment, labor

 
Thousands will join the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington, D.C., April 29, seeking to protest the increasing perils to life and limb, pollution of the soil, water and skies.

How the destruction of the environment is a consequence of the rule of the capitalist class and the governments that serve them — Democratic and Republican alike — is addressed in this excerpt from “The Stewardship of Nature Also Falls to the Working Class: In Defense of Land and Labor.” The statement was adopted by the July 2007 convention of the Socialist Workers Party and printed in New International no. 14. It explains how the fight to prevent the profit-driven rulers’ destruction of the environment is bound up with the fight by working people for political power.

An excerpt from the book is printed below. Copyright © 2008 by New International. Reprinted by permission.

How social labor is organized to transform nature — to whose benefit, to what social and economic ends — depends on the class relations of production. It depends on which class rules, which class holds state power. A 1993 talk by Jack Barnes published in Capitalism’s World Disorder addressed this fundamental point. “Environmental pollution is a social question, a class question,” Barnes observed.

Workers must not fall into accepting the common view—that is, the bourgeois view — that the environment …is a “scientific” question, a “natural” question, that somehow hovers above classes and outside the class struggle. That is how many middle-class opponents of nuclear energy, and of nuclear weapons, for example, often present those questions. Many who call themselves environmentalists say the problem is “consumerism,” or industrial development per se. But the workers movement has to explain the source of ecological destruction and why the answer lies along the revolutionary line of march of the working class….

The working class must also reject all forms of fake science, exaggerations, catastrophism, and crankism. There is a decades-long record of such frenzied prophecies — the impending exhaustion of fossil fuels and other natural resources, the “limits to growth,” and so on. These originate in sections of the bourgeoisie and are then picked up and propagated by petty-bourgeois reformers. They feed into the conspiracy nostrums that are floated in the working class and labor movement, taking workers’ eyes off the true source of such social ills: the capitalists and their profit system….

[I]f we translate everything commonly thought of as an environmental issue into how to advance the protection of the working class, and how the working class can extend that protection to all, then we can hardly ever go wrong. With that approach, we will increase the possibilities for concrete solidarity in fighting against ecological abuses and outrages.

The labor movement should expose the differential effects of pollution on the working class, including the even more devastating consequences for sections of the working class that are the poorest and most vulnerable, as well as those that are Black, Latino, or foreign born…. The workers movement must take the lead in actively exposing the destruction and dangers produced by capitalism and in organizing opposition to them.

This communist course, Barnes concludes, enables us to explain how “the sources of all wealth — land and labor — are increasingly the victims of the domination of capital. And, most importantly, why the working-class-led struggle for a socialist revolution opens a way forward on this front as well.”

As Cuban Gen. Armando Choy concludes in Our History Is Still Being Written, “Yes, a better world is possible. But only with a socialist revolution.”

In the mid-nineteenth century some 85 percent of energy for human use was produced by burning wood, charcoal, and crop residue. Today some 85 percent of energy supplies comes from fossil fuels — primarily coal, oil, and natural gas. The production and use of these resources in pursuit of profits has always been detrimental not only to the health of the workers involved but simultaneously to the natural environment in which we live and labor.

A transition to other energy sources can and will be neither smooth nor rapid. The dog-eat-dog laws of rival capitals ensure that every “energy policy” implemented by corporations and bourgeois governments will serve the interests of maintaining capitalist rule — not the economic, social, and cultural needs of the earth’s population, nor the health and safety of the workers involved. Communists oppose anti-working-class “solutions” promoted by big business and various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois reformers. We expose and counter their reactionary notion, for instance, that “too large” a population of toilers — as well as too much consumption and too high living standards for many of them — is a threat to a “livable” world.

The capitalist rulers warn workers and farmers throughout the semicolonial world that they must forego the level of economic development and living standards existing in the imperialist countries — development achieved in no small part by superexploiting the toilers and plundering the resources of these very same oppressed peoples. “The ecological consequences are unsustainable!” impatient toilers are scolded. This is another of finance capital’s smokescreens masking the reasons for the widening gap in economic, social, and cultural conditions between earth’s great toiling majority, on the one hand, and, on the other, the bourgeoisie and professional middle classes in the imperialist centers and in the more economically advanced semicolonial countries.

In the United States and other imperialist countries, politicians and other bourgeois voices tell working people “we” must tighten “our” belts in order to stem environmental destruction. They tell us “we” must accept higher prices for fuel and other necessities, including regressive “carbon taxes” on gasoline, home heating oil, and commercial travel. “We” must recycle, turn off the lights, lower the thermostat, go without air conditioning, ride a bike, change our showerhead, join a carpool, flush the toilet less, plant a tree.

But there is no “we” that embraces both working people and those who grow wealthy off the exploitation of our labor: the ruling families and their rentier tagalongs among the middle class and professionals. Such “solutions” not only inaccurately place the blame on individuals and families and promote the sale of “green” and “organic” products and services at premium prices. Above all, they are part of the drive by the capitalist rulers to boost their profit rates at the expense of the working conditions, wages, living conditions, trade union solidarity, and genuine social security of workers and farmers, all of which have been under relentless assault since the mid-1970s.  

Source:
http://themilitant.com/2017/8118/811805.html

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Working class "passivity"

" Wiseacres of the day spoke pontifically about the “passivity” of the working class, never understanding that the seeming docility of the workers at a given time is a relative thing. If workers are more or less holding their own in daily life and expecting that they can get ahead slowly, they won’t tend to radicalize. Things are different when they are losing ground and the future looks precarious to them. Then a change begins to occur in their attitude, which is not always immediately apparent. The tinder of discontent begins to pile up. Any spark can light it, and once lit, the fire can spread rapidly....."



Full article here:

http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7916/791649.html

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On French elections

Comment by a comrade on Facebook:

There was no one to vote for in the first round, and there will be nobody to vote for in the second round! Lots will get sucked into "voting against Le Pen." But it's either a working class vote (and there's no genuine workers candidate in any sense of the term), or a vote for capitalism. It's not who you're against, it's what you're for. If Macron wins, it will be Le Pen next time, since there are no capitalist solutions.

And a note:

Unlike Trump, Le Pen has fascist credentials, although she's been moving her party to the center-right. But fascism is not merely an electoral party, it's a mass movement of the middle classes, using lumpen elements as it's battering ram, against the trade unions and workers parties. It's a movement for saving capitalism masked in anti-capitalist rhetoric.

In relationship to the government, fascism conquers peacefully, but in relationship to the working class, Jews and other scapegoated elements it uses intense violence before it comes to power. We're not seeing anything like this in France today.

The working-class fight for the environment and jobs

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Let the Korean people alone!"

SWP in 1950: ‘Stop US Korea War! 
US troops out now!’

 
Below are excerpts from three letters protesting the Korean War by James P. Cannon, then national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, that were featured in the Militant in 1950-51. The letters, written to President Harry Truman and Congress, are from Cannon’s Notebook of an Agitator. The 1950-1953 U.S.-organized, imperialist war against the Korean people took the lives of over 4 million people including 2 million civilians. Copyright © 1958 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

BY JAMES P. CANNON

 
THE MILITANT, July 31, 1950

To the President and Members of the Congress:

Gentlemen:

I disagree with your actions in Korea, and in my capacity as a private citizen I petition you to change your policy fundamentally, as follows:

Withdraw the American troops and let the Korean people alone.

I am setting forth the reasons for this demand in detail in the following paragraphs. But before opening the argument, I beg your permission, gentlemen, to tell you what I think of you. You are a pack of scoundrels. You are traitors to the human race. I hate your rudeness and your brutality. You make me ashamed of my country, which I have always loved, and ashamed of my race, which I used to think was as good as any.

The American intervention in Korea is a brutal imperialist invasion, no different from the French war on Indo-China or the Dutch assault on Indonesia. American boys are being sent 10,000 miles away to kill and be killed, not in order to liberate the Korean people, but to conquer and subjugate them. It is outrageous. It is monstrous.

The whole of the Korean people — save for the few bought-and-paid-for agents of the Rhee puppet regime — are fighting the imperialist invaders. That is why the press dispatches from Korea complain more and more about “infiltration” tactics, increasing activities of “guerrillas,” the “fluid” fighting front, the “sullenness” and “unreliability” of the “natives.”

The Korean people have a mortal hatred of the Wall Street “liberator.” They despise unto death the bestial, corrupt, U.S.-sponsored Syngman Rhee dictatorship that made South Korea a prison camp of misery, torture and exploitation.

The high morale and fearlessness of the North Koreans and the hostility of the South Koreans toward their U.S. “liberators” alike testify to the unity of the entire Korean people in this unflinching opposition to imperialistic domination.

The explosion in Korea on June 25, as events have proved, expressed the profound desire of the Koreans themselves to unify their country, to rid themselves of foreign domination and to win their complete national independence. It is true that the Kremlin seeks to take advantage of this struggle for its own reactionary ends and would sell it tomorrow if it could get another deal with Washington. But the struggle itself has the overwhelming and wholehearted support of the Korean people. It is part of the mighty uprising of the hundreds of millions of colonial people throughout Asia against western imperialism. This is the real truth, the real issue. The colonial slaves don’t want to be slaves any longer.

This is more than a fight for unification and national liberation. It is a civil war. On the one side are the Korean workers, peasants and student youth. On the other are the Korean landlords, usurers, capitalists and their police and political agents. The impoverished and exploited working masses have risen up to drive out the native parasites as well as their foreign protectors.

Whatever the wishes of the Kremlin, a class war has been unfolding in Korea. The North Korean regime, desiring to mobilize popular support, has decreed land reforms and taken nationalization measures in the territories it has won. The establishment of people’s committees has been reported. These reforms, these promises of a better economic and social order have attracted the peasants and workers. This prospect of a new life is what has imbued a starving subject people with the will to fight to the death. This is the “secret weapon” that has wrested two-thirds of South Korea from U.S. imperialism and its native agents and withstood the troops and bombing fleets of mighty Wall Street.

American imperialism was quite willing to turn northern Korea over to Stalin in return for control over South Korea, which it ruled through the bloody dictatorship of Syngman Rhee. Now Washington is seeking, against the resistance of the Korean people, to reimpose its imperialist puppet rule, to enforce the division of Korea and to maintain it as a colony and military base for future war on the Soviet Union.

There is not an iota of concern for the wishes and rights of the Korean people in this brutal invasion. The attempt to prop up the Syngman Rhee regime by armed force is part of Wall Street’s planned program to dominate and exploit the whole world. Your undeclared war on Korea, Mr. President, is a war of enslavement. That is how the Korean people themselves view it — and no one knows the facts better than they do. They’ve suffered imperialist domination and degradation for half a century and they can recognize its face even when masked with a UN flag. …

THE MILITANT, December 4, 1950

Once more, as at the start of your Korean intervention, I take this means to tell you what I believe is the heartfelt sentiment of the overwhelming majority of humanity, including the American people, today:

Stop your criminal aggression against the Asian people.

Your reckless military adventure in Korea has brought this country into a clash with the 500 millions of China and threatens an “entirely new war” that will engulf millions more of our youth and drain our last resources.

You have permitted MacArthur, with his mad ambition to be the conqueror of all Asia, to deliberately provoke a situation that could mean war on a titanic scale. Now he has turned for a “solution” to the “United Nations and chancelleries of the world.”

But that is precisely where this grave crisis of humankind has been forged — in the UN and the chancelleries. Can we then entrust the further fate of the world to pin-striped diplomats?

Your proposed solution, Mr. President, is a threat to repeat the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by using the atom bomb in Korea.

Take heed, Mr. President, before it is too late! Hear the voice of the people of America and the whole world. They are thundering: Stop the war NOW! Recall your madly ambitious MacArthur! Withdraw the troops from Korea! Let the peoples of Asia alone to settle their own fate!

Who wants this war?

Not the Koreans, whose cities, towns and villages have been reduced by your bombs to charred rubble, and who mourn hundreds of thousands of the slain.

Not the Chinese people, whose dead in the struggle against imperialism and Chiang Kai-shek’s despotism number tens of millions. Not the peoples of Europe, whose fears are reflected today in the warnings to you by their governments. …

THE MILITANT, May 7, 1951

My purpose in addressing you for the third time since the Korean war began is to present three concrete proposals on foreign policy as an alternative to the policies of the Truman administration on the one hand and MacArthur-Taft on the other.

Your differences are merely tactical. My differences with both sides in your so-called “Great Debate” are fundamental. You are preoccupied with the problem of how to conduct a war the American people do not want and never approved. I propose to end the war at once and let the American people themselves decide the life and death questions of foreign policy.

I submit the following three proposals: (1) Withdraw all American troops from Korea. (2) Recognize the Peking government. (3) Let the people vote by referendum on the issue of war and peace.

I have opposed your Korean war from the start. Twice before in open letters I urged you to heed the peoples’ will to stop the war and bring the American soldiers home. American troops have no business in Korea. They are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands for no good purpose. Every day they remain swells the casualties list and inflicts more grief upon parents, wives and children. Every day they remain intensifies the hatred of the Asian people for all things American. Again I urge you: Withdraw the U.S. troops from Korea.

The way to peace in Asia is neither to wage a “limited war,” as you are now doing, nor to expand it by bombing Chinese cities and killing the civilian population. The way to peace in Asia is to get out of Asia and let the peoples of Asia run their own affairs. 
 
 
Related articles:
Socialist Workers Party: ‘US hands off Korea!’
All US troops, warships, fighter bombers out now!
US armada heads to Korea, Washington threatens to act
US THAAD anti-missile battery out of Korea!
 
 
 
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http://themilitant.com/2017/8117/811750.html