Saturday, October 3, 2020

Anger at lack of charges filed in Taylor killing fuels debate – The Militant the absence of working-class leadership from unions, churches and other mass organizations, many protests here have targeted Caucasians, restaurant owners and others, as opposed to demanding the cops be held accountable. The actions have been organized in ways that encouraged indisciplined and violent acts. Groups carrying arms have been allowed to participate, opening the door to retaliation by cops and right-wing groups. 
Vandalism, looting, and attacks on police by protesters have occurred. Downtown Louisville, once a thriving center of restaurants, stores and museums, is a boarded-up, graffiti-scarred ghost town.
There was the potential here to build broad, disciplined protests to involve tens of thousands of working-class people of all races and nationalities who oppose the police killing of Taylor and others. Examples of what was possible started to happen early on, before these actions were hijacked by petty-bourgeois violence mongers and race-baiters who have contempt for working people. But the opening to mobilize the broad social pressure needed to hold the cops and city officials accountable has been badly damaged and squandered.
Middle-class radicals in and around organizations like Black Lives Matter have encouraged race-baiting, confrontations with police, and provocative armed bravado. And they have presented this as revolutionary. 
This narrows the space for increasing an understanding that police brutality is an essential component of the continued rule of the capitalist class and its government. 
The rulers here recognize that the cop killing of Breonna Taylor aroused the attention of tens of thousands. This is reflected in the decision of the city government to settle a civil case brought by Taylor’s family and pay them $12 million and agree to some police-related reforms.
Charges against the cops and other authorities remain possible. A federal investigation continues, including the possibility of charges based on the cops’ violation of Taylor’s constitutional rights. There are many questions about the killing that remain unanswered. The discussion of police brutality and the killing of Breonna Taylor is not over, and the need for the working class to put its stamp on whatever comes next isn’t either.

Anger at lack of charges filed in Taylor killing fuels debate – The Militant

Saturday, September 26, 2020

What do the new accords in the Mideast mean for working people? – The Militant

Three years ago Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes released a statement pointing to the “necessity for the Israeli and Arab governments and leaderships of Palestinian organizations to begin immediate talks to recognize both Israel and an independent Palestinian state.”
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kosova, along with Tel Aviv’s agreement to freeze settlements in the West Bank, confirms the necessity for working people to champion that course.
The accords register the exhaustion of policies pursued for decades by Arab governments that refused publicly to have relations of any kind with Israel and have treated it as a pariah since its founding. These agreements also increase pressure on the Israeli rulers to recognize a contiguous Palestinian state. As the SWP statement says, “It is along this road that working people of all national backgrounds, religious beliefs and political allegiances in Israel and Palestine can use and defend their space to speak, organize and begin redressing the blood-drenched legacy of imperialist domination and capitalist exploitation.”
Israel was founded in 1948 in the wake of World War II and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, 40% of the world’s 16.6 million Jews. Imperialist governments, including in Washington, had turned away boatloads of Jews fleeing the Nazis, who then had little choice but to look to Palestine as a refuge.
In the face of the global rise in acts of Jew-hatred today, talks are needed that “must recognize the right of Jews everywhere to take refuge in Israel,” the SWP statement said, “as well as the unconditional right of the dispossessed Palestinian people to a contiguous, sovereign homeland,” including East Jerusalem.
The establishment of Israel was met by war. The Arab armies that attacked the nascent state were led by reactionary semifeudal and capitalist forces that whipped up Jew-hatred, while Israel’s capitalist rulers sought to terrorize and expel as many Arabs as possible.
The new state emerged victorious at a tremendous cost — with massacres committed by both sides. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from the land and left without a homeland. But there was no peace.
In 1967 the Israeli army seized the Sinai Peninsula, including the Gaza Strip, from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War. The bloodshed continued, including the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1982 and 2006 and fierce battles between the Israeli army and Hamas in Gaza in 2012 and 2014. Skirmishes there continue today.
The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza sparked resistance from Palestinian youth during two uprisings in 1987 and 2000, winning solidarity inside Israel.
Arab governments across the Middle East refused to accept the existence of the Jewish state and won support from within the United Nations and the European Union for their boycott of Israel.
Even in Jordan and Egypt, after governments there signed peace treaties with Tel Aviv, unions and academic and cultural groups refused to have anything to do with their Israeli counterparts.
The agreements brokered by the Donald Trump administration have deepened a behind-the-scenes shift begun over the last 15 years, with unofficial trade, security and diplomatic collaboration between the Israeli government and the Sunni-led capitalist regimes in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Those ties were driven by their rulers’ seeking room amid the deepening world capitalist economic crisis and by their common opposition to the rise of the Iranian rulers’ military and political power.

Palestinian misleaderships’ course

But the Palestinian misleaderships’ course of refusing to recognize the existence of Israel, while enriching themselves with funds from international aid, is a dead end for the Palestinian people. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are more discredited then ever.
A “Day of Rage,” backed by the Palestinian Authority to protest the accords between the governments of the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, fell flat, Haaretz reported Sept. 16.
Some 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs. While facing discrimination in jobs, housing and education, they work side by side with Jewish citizens and join together in battles for unions and better wages and work conditions. Speaking both Hebrew and Arabic, many Palestinian citizens of Israel are positioned to play key roles as trade expands with the UAE, Bahrain and other Arab countries.
In myriad small but significant ways, Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza have been showing their desire for a course different from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank have been crossing into Israel, bypassing checkpoints through holes in the border fence — with the tacit approval of Israeli officials. They’re picked up by relatives or friends who are Israeli citizens to go to the beaches near Tel Aviv or visit the zoo and other attractions.
Currently thousands of Gaza residents have permits that allow them to travel to work in Israel every week. Despite calling for the destruction of Israel, the Islamist group Hamas, seeking to quell discontent in Gaza, is trying to convince the Israeli government to grant 100,000 more permits.
“It is incumbent on the Palestinian Authority leadership to transcend whatever feelings and to see if an opportunity has risen,” Sari Nusseibeh, a professor who once served as the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative in Jerusalem, said. “Why not ask, for instance, the UAE to push for the kind of solution that the Palestinians have always asked for.”
The starting point for working people, the Socialist Workers Party 2017 statement noted, must be “the class interests and solidarity of workers and toiling farmers across the Middle East — be they Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian or otherwise, and whatever their religious or other beliefs — as well as working people in the United States and around the world.”
That’s even more true today as “working people organize and act together to advance our demands and struggles against capitalist governments and ruling classes that exploit and oppress us.”

What do the new accords in the Mideast mean for working people? – The Militant

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ginsburg: U.S. Constitution passé

....The anti-Trump frenzy is also reflected in press coverage of the composition and character of the U.S. Supreme Court. Liberal commentators flew into a panic when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was diagnosed with cancer, sparking speculation that the 85-year-old would have to leave the  court. They fear this would open the door for "arch-reactionary" Trump to nominate yet another justice in his image. Liberals view the court, and Ginsburg, as the agent for adopting political policies they favor but are unable to get through Congress, not as a court that makes rulings based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

*   *   *

Supreme Court justice:

U.S. Constitution passé

Workers should defend protections won in struggle



The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is passé, so says U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, considered the most senior member of the court's liberal wing. According to this view, a constitution that gives the capitalists' government more power and "flexibility" to bestow numerous promises of rights and entitlements is better than the current Constitution and Bill of Rights, which are built around protections against the capitalist state.

"I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," Ginsburg told a local television station when she was in Egypt at the end of January. "I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights."

The liberal justice, also pointed to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedom and the European Convention on Human Rights as better models than the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Amendments won in struggle

The Bill of Rights of 1791 along with the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution—which abolished slavery, recognized "equal protection of the laws," and voting rights—were won as a result of massive, bloody struggles by and in the interests of workers and farmers, including the revolutionary war for independence, Shay's rebellion in 1786, the 1861-65 Civil War and related struggles that followed it.

South Africa's Bill of Rights, which is four times longer than the U.S. Bill of Rights, begins by saying it "affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom" and guarantees the "full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms."

Among the more than 35 categories containing scores of highly detailed rights, so highly lauded by Justice Ginsburg, are the rights to "life," "freedom of artistic creativity," "fair labour practices," "sufficient food and water" and "access to adequate housing."

These rights, the South African law says, may be limited "to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society" or if a state of emergency is declared.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees rights subject "to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Compare those descriptions to the preamble to the Bill of Rights, which notes that the amendments to the Constitution were made "in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers."

Succinct, clear and to the point. No worthless promises from the capitalist rulers to ensure "human dignity," much less caveats about "reasonable limits."

The last thing working people need is to depend on the capitalist state to "give us rights." We need it to leave us alone so we can organize independently and with as little interference as possible, until the working class and our allies are strong enough to wrest power and establish a new social order based on solidarity and the needs of the great majority of toiling humanity.

There are useful examples from the early history of the United States. The words "equal rights to life, liberty and property" were popular among bourgeois opponents of monarchial tyranny and feudal reaction in the late 18th century and were included in the constitution of the antislavery New York Manumission Society. In drafting the Declaration of Independence, however, these words were altered by slaveholder Thomas Jefferson to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The exploitation of wage and slave labor is predicated on dispossession and denial of property for the toiling majority.

We don't need any government involved in our "pursuit of happiness." We have as much use for that as so-called rights to "artistic freedom" or "adequate food and water" championed in Ginsburg's model constitution, while in the real world people go hungry. No, we'll work to take care of those things ourselves despite their rule—and we find "happiness" in fighting to replace it.

The fact is, the U.S. capitalist rulers are constantly working to undermine the Bill of Rights. The right to a "speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury" has become the right to plea bargain and go to jail—unless you want to risk a 10-fold harsher sentence. The right "against unreasonable searches and seizures" has become "stop and frisk" anywhere, anytime. "Equal protection of the laws" is today further from reality than at any time in nearly half a century. And President Barack Obama now asserts the Constitution does not protect citizens accused of being "terrorists" from being assassinated on his orders.

New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak put forward views similar to Ginsburg in a Jan. 6 article that reports on a study soon to be published in the New York University Law Review.

Liptak says the U.S. Constitution is "out of step with the rest of the world" is "terse and old" and "guarantees relatively few rights." He calls the "right to bear arms" an idiosyncrasy and favorably quotes University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson bemoaning that "the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today."

That difficulty, including the separation of powers and restrictive rules for approving amendments, was built into the Constitution as a result of the heterogeneous alliance of merchants and slave owners that made up the first U.S. governments, their suspicions of each other and their fears of the laboring classes.

"Our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes," Obama complained in a Feb. 6 interview with NBC's Today Show.

As long as we're under capitalist rule, we'll stick with the current Constitution—especially the Bill of Rights and 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Anything that helps to provide some protection from the state and slows down the ability of the rulers to impose their will is better than any dependency on the repressive state and false promises of the enemy class.

*   *   *

Scalia's death prompts debate on

Supreme Court, Bill of Rights



The Feb. 13 death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sparked a partisan debate on nominating his replacement and a broader debate about the role of the court and the place of the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution that defend equal protection under the law.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders urged President Barack Obama to nominate a liberal replacement rapidly. Republicans demanded Obama decline to make a nomination, leaving it to the next president in 2017.

Scalia was hated by most liberals and leftists for his socially conservative views, but more importantly because he argued the court should base its rulings strictly on the Constitution, rejecting "outcome-driven" decisions that amount to decreeing laws from the bench.

But it's in the interest of the working class that the court uphold the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments won in struggle that are protections of the people against the government.

In his dissent on last year's ruling legalizing gay marriage, Scalia pointed to the narrowness of the class background of the justices, writing they are "only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School."

The justices are all Catholic or Jewish, he pointed out. "Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. … Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a long-serving liberal Supreme Court justice, has raised other concerns about what is called judicial activism concerning the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that decriminalized abortion. "It's not that the judgment was wrong, but it moved too far too fast," cutting short the political fight needed, she told a Columbia Law School symposium in 2012. She has also criticized the court for not basing the decision on the 14th Amendment's guarantee to every person of equal protection of the laws, a conquest of the revolutionary struggle that ended slavery.

Liberal supporters of judicial activism and the "living Constitution" say the court should prioritize achieving an outcome they view as positive and progressive, and then find some justification.

Scalia took the opposite approach, insisting on applying the Constitution and its amendments strictly, as limits on government abuse.

For example, in Kyllo v. U.S. in 2001, he wrote that the government violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure when it used thermal imaging technology without a warrant to detect marijuana cultivation inside a suspect's house.

When the court struck down a St. Paul, Minnesota, "hate-crime" law against racist speech in 1992, Scalia wrote, "Burning a cross in someone's front yard is reprehensible. But St. Paul has sufficient means at its disposal to prevent such behavior without adding the First Amendment to the fire."

*   *   *

Saturday, September 12, 2020

What is the political road forward for workers in 2020 – The Militant


Biden refuses to say ‘antifa’

In an Aug. 31 speech in Pittsburgh, Biden finally said something about wanton destruction in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere, saying, “Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting.”
But he blamed the violence on Trump, never mentioning antifa and similar middle-class radicals who have hijacked what started as mass political protests against police brutality and turned them into small forays of anti-political destruction.
The violence is spearheaded by mostly Caucasian, middle-class radicals and antifa. They are aided by meritocratic Black Lives Matter leaders, who think the violence will force the rulers to give them a seat at their table.
Black Lives Matter leaders organize predominantly Caucasian marchers to target Caucasian neighborhoods, shouting “Wake up motherf—-ers,” demanding that the “white privileged” renounce their privilege and fork over cash.
Trump wins a hearing when he says that the antifa-type violence is most rampant in cities run by the Democratic Party. He points to Portland, where the Democratic mayor — who had made excuses for the antifa violence — fled his own home, after so-called protesters set fire to the complex where he lived.
Biden’s supporters are nervous about how he’ll do in debates with Trump, with some calling for him to refuse to participate.
The liberal media runs articles claiming Trump will refuse to leave the White House, regardless of the outcome of the vote. David Brooks’ piece in the Sept. 4 New York Times was headlined, “What Will You Do If Trump Doesn’t Leave?” He says there’ll  have to be a uprising.
The article could have been titled, “What Will You Do If the Democrats Lose, but Refuse to Recognize the Results?”

What is the political road forward for workers in 2020 – The Militant

Violent course of antifa, Black Lives Matter threat to working class – The Militant

....As protests against cop brutality exploded earlier this year, Black Lives Matter became a widespread sentiment that millions of working people identified with this fight. But increasingly actions organized by Black Lives Matter leaders have targeted working people. This includes actions marked by silencing, shaming and intimidating passersby — one sure sign they have nothing in common with anyone building a the broadest possible working-class movement.
An Aug. 24 march in Washington, D.C., called to protest the police shooting of Blake degenerated as some participants surrounded diners at restaurants, accusing them of enjoying “white privilege.” A video shows dozens chanting, “White silence is violence” as they crowded around one diner, Lauren Victor, showering her with abuse when she declined to raise her fist as they demanded. In fact, Victor had previously joined protests against cop brutality.
During the same action, marchers chanted, “Fire, fire, gentrifier — Black people used to live here,” as they have done in New York and elsewhere. Such calls have nothing to do with solving the chronic housing crisis and everything to do with fueling violent and poisonous resentment.
From St. Louis to Chicago, Portland and Washington, D.C., the homes of mayors and other public officials have become the targets of the violence these forces carry out. In the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, more than 100 people gathered outside the home of Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb during an online village board meeting Aug. 25. They pounded on the windows, tore up the mayor’s yard and vandalized his house.
As they glorify violence, the embittered middle-class forces of antifa rail against “the elite,” elevate small group action above political struggle and remain deeply alienated from the working class. They have much in common with fascist groups they claim to oppose. Others have traveled this road previously, like Italian Socialist Party leader Benito Mussolini who went on to lead fascist forces to power in 1922....

Violent course of antifa, Black Lives Matter threat to working class – The Militant

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Was ‘Militant’ wrong on Israel-UAE pact? – The Militant

....Pacts between different ruling classes can start things in motion that will alter the terrain on which working people organize and fight.
This pact further opens the breach in what had been a common front of Arab regimes that held Israel up to be a pariah nation. It reflects developments in the region that do make it more likely other Arab governments will follow suit.
This was furthered Aug. 29 when UAE rulers scrapped their longstanding economic and trade boycott of Israel.
Days after the deal was signed, the Sudanese government refused to deny holding talks over normalizing its relations with Jerusalem. Talks between Israel and the governments of Bahrain and Oman are on the agenda, Israeli officials said.
As Galinsky explains, one of the pressures pushing these developments is that these governments and the rulers in Israel “share an interest in defending themselves against the expanding military and political influence” of the Iranian rulers in the region.
Bourgeois Arab regimes are among the main financial and political patrons of the Palestinian National Authority that rules in the West Bank and of Hamas in Gaza. These new developments can help draw both these organizations and the Israeli government into discussions over mutual recognition.
The continuing refusal of the PNA and Hamas to enter talks with the Israeli government sets back the dispossessed Palestinian people’s aspirations for a sovereign homeland. Such talks can lead to mutual recognition of Israel and a Palestinian state. This can bring an end to the deadly cycle of terror attacks and bloody reprisals. It will open the door to Palestinian efforts to fight for a contiguous country.
And, most importantly, it will open the door to struggles for “the class interests and solidarity of workers and toiling farmers across the Middle East — be they Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian or otherwise,” as Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes said in a 2017 statement quoted by Galinsky.
That statement says the SWP is “for whatever helps working people organize and act together to advance our demands and struggles against the capitalist governments and ruling classes that exploit and oppress us.”

Was ‘Militant’ wrong on Israel-UAE pact? – The Militant

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialist Alliance approached the 1984 elections from a completely different standpoint than the other groups on the U.S. left.



How left responded to '84 elections
Socialist Workers Party called for break with capitalist politics


A significant feature of the 1984 presidential elections was the fact that most organizations and publications that consider themselves socialist or communist backed capitalist candidate Walter Mondale. Some groups did so openly, while others did so under the slogan "Defeat Reagan." The Socialist Workers Party ran the only campaign calling for independent working-class political action in the elections, putting forward the socialist perspective of struggle to replace the capitalist U.S. government with a workers and farmers government.

A review of the positions put forward by some left groups on the elections is useful in highlighting a few key lessons of this campaign.

The Guardian, a radical newsweekly published in New York, departed from past practice and for the first time in a presidential campaign openly urged a vote for the Democrats. In endorsing Mondale, the August 8 Guardian argued that, "A defeat for the reactionaries in November can offer" an important breathing space to the left and progressive forces in the U.S. and, perhaps more importantly, to the liberation movements and anti-imperialist countries around the world."

When Mondale came out just a few weeks later endorsing the U.S. invasion of Grenada and threatening to "quarantine" Nicaragua, the Guardian squirmed a bit, but didn't back down one inch from urging a big vote for Mondale .

Workers World Party
The Workers World Party campaigned vigorously for capitalist candidate Jesse Jackson. When Jackson lost the Democratic Party nomination to Mondale, Workers World decided to step up its own campaign of Larry Holmes for president and Gloria La Riva for vice-president, rather than endorse Mondale.

This represented no break from capitalist politics, however. The September 6 issue of the party's paper Workers World, reporting on Jackson's endorsement of Mondale, insisted that it had been correct to support Jackson's Democratic Party campaign and that the task was now to "build an even stronger independent working class movement to carry on the legacy of the Rainbow Coalition." According to the paper, "The candidacy of Jesse Jackson, particularly during the Democratic primaries, was objectively an independent campaign that exposed and challenged the racist structure and rules of the anti-poor, anti-worker bourgeois Democratic Party."

Democratic Socialists
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has always supported Democratic candidates. This is in line with its outlook of accepting the framework of U.S. imperialism and seeking merely to reform it.

Declaring that ''We are Americans and democratic socialists and Democrats," the DSA endorsed the Mondale-Ferraro ticket saying, "They.... have the potential to create a liberal and humane administration infinitely superior to Ronald Reagan's on every count."

Advising the Democratic Party on how to win the election, Michael Harrington, a central leader of the DSA, pointed to the example of Harry Truman, who as Democratic president ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Writing in the May-June issue of Democratic Left, the DSA newsletter, Harrington said: "Think of Truman again. He is not my hero ... but we can sure learn from him. He talked tough facts in 1948. He talked to workers and blacks and farmers; he mobilized . . . . And he won. And we can win in 1984, but only if we are at least as much a bunch of hell raisers as he and his friends."

Communist Party
The Communist Party (CP) ran its own candidates, Gus Hall and Angela Davis, for president and vice-president. While not formally endorsing the Democratic ticket, the clear message of the Hall-Davis campaign was to defeat Reagan by electing Mondale. This is not a new position for the CP; it has backed liberal capitalist candidates for half a century.
"For the period of the 1984 elections," Gus Hall told a CP central committee meeting last June, "all our creative energies must be focused on defeating Reaganism." "The reality," Hall was quoted as saying in the June 21 Daily World, the CP paper, "is that the electable candidate against Reagan is the lesser evil." He explained that the CP should only criticize Mondale if it would help strengthen the Democratic campaign. "Our party will express its differences and criticisms of the Democratic candidate when we think that will add to the struggle against Reaganism."

As the polls began to more and more confirm that Reagan had a strong lead over Mondale, the CP campaign took on a shrill pitch. It argued that U.S. capitalism is rapidly moving toward fascism under Reagan and that unity of all "anti-Reagan" forces was desperately needed to prevent another Republican term in office.

An editorial titled "Fascist odor" in the October 6 issue of the People's World, the CP's West Coast weekly, conveyed this view: "We do not use the term 'fascism' lightly. It is not just the normal, oppressive, exploitative, and brutal rule of capital that has characterized this system since its advent 200 years ago. It is rule by a special sector of that capital, the very sector which put Ronald Reagan in the White House and in whose interests he presently serves. It can happen here. It is a clear and present danger, and good reason to make sure the Oval Office has a new resident after Nov. 6."

The U.S. capitalist class will certainly prove capable of attempting to impose fascist rule, but that is not what is happening today.

The CP portrays Reagan as representing a "fascist" wing in order to cover up the fact that there is bipartisan support for the employers' policies of war, racism, and attacks on democratic rights. Mondale would have driven this antilabor offensive forward had he been elected, just as Reagan has done. Both represent the same fundamental class interests - the opposite of the interests of workers and working farmers. The U.S. rulers will step up their assault on working people here and abroad. Big class battles are going to erupt. But the best way to prepare working people for these battles is to tell them the unvarnished truth about the Republican and Democratic parties. The CP candidates have done the opposite. Let's take a few examples.

Fight against imperialist war
Throughout the campaign, Hall and Davis argued that nuclear war could well be the result of another four years of Reagan, while the world would be safer with Mondale in office.

As part of prettifying the imperialist policies of the Democrats, the CP- endorsed their call for a bilateral freeze on nuclear weapons production in the United States and the Soviet Union. This stance blurs the real source of war - U.S. imperialism and its twin parties - and implies the Soviet Union shares some responsibility for the nuclear arms buildup, for which Washington alone is to blame.

The CP's support for Mondale led it to downplay the current war against Nicaragua and El Salvador being carried out with the support of Democrats and Republicans alike . It is precisely in such shooting wars that the danger of Washington using its nuclear arsenal is posed. But rather than expose the bipartisan character of the war drive, the CP told working people that voting Reagan out of office was the best way to guarantee peace. As Davis put it in an interview in the July 12 Daily World, "the most immediate priority of all in the peace movement, of all who are threatened by nuclear conflagration, is the defeat of Reagan and his pathologically anti-Communist Administration."

Adaptation to the Democrats on the war question has led the CP to bend also to the chauvinist propaganda campaigns of both capitalist parties. For example, the October 24 Daily World gave favorable coverage to AFL-CIO Pres. Lane Kirkland's recent tour to garner votes for Mondale. The paper quoted uncritically Kirkland's anti-imports patriotic line, reporting that the AFL-CIO bureaucrat attacked Reagan as "a man who appeals to patriotism for the benefit of those business and banking interests who would sell their own country out - people who don't care what flag flies over their plants or shops or ships." The CP has even gone so far as to print issues of the Daily World in red, white, and blue.

Abortion rights
Over the last few months, women's right to legal abortion has come under attack from right-wing groups, the Catholic Church hierarchy, and Democratic and Republican politicians; While claiming she will uphold legal abortion as long as it is the law of the land, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro has emphasized her personal and religious view that abortion is murder. Explaining why she has voted for some Medicaid funding for abortions, Ferraro said, "The cost of putting an unwanted child through the system far outweighs the cost of funding an abortion on demand." This is the line of the racist, population-control forces.

What has been the CP's response to Ferraro's reactionary views on abortion rights? A September 21 column in the Daily World rushed to defend her! "Ms. Ferraro's position on abortions is a principled, democratic position," it said.

SWP campaign
The Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialist Alliance approached the 1984 elections from a completely different standpoint than the other groups on the U.S. left.

The SWP ran 56 candidates for local office in 26 states. Its candidate for president was Mel Mason; for vice-president, Andrea Gonzalez.

The fight against imperialist war was at the center of the Mason-Gonzalez campaign as they visited plant gates, union halls, picket lines, farming areas, and working-class, Black, and Latino neighborhoods across the country. They talked to working people about the gains workers and peasants have won in Nicaragua and Cuba, and stressed the important role the labor movement must play in opposing U.S. intervention in Central· America and the Caribbean.

The socialists called for international working-class solidarity with others fighting for their rights, from the striking British coal miners, to Puerto Ricans demanding independence, to Blacks struggling against South Africa's apartheid, to the workers and farmers of Vietnam and Kampuchea .

Mason and Gonzalez opposed the reactionary anti-imports, protectionist schemes used to falsely label workers in other countries as the source of unemployment in the United States, rather than the U.S, employers ..

The SWP ticket was the only one that consistently defended abortion rights. Mason and Gonzalez demanded repeal of all laws restricting the right to safe, legal abortion. They called for restoring- and expanding - government funds for women who want abortions and cannot afford them.

The socialists explained that the problems of war, attacks on Black and women's rights, farm foreclosures, and union-busting cannot be solved at the ballot box. They explained the need for working people to reject the Democratic and Republican parties- the twin parties of war, exploitation, racism, and sexism. What ·is needed, they said, is independent working-class political action that can organize and mobilize the victims of class exploitation to overturn capitalist rule and establish a workers and farmers government.

Mason and Gonzalez called for a labor party based on a fighting, democratic trade union movement that will champion the interests of workers, farmers, Blacks, Latinos, women, and other ' victims of capitalism. They also called for the formation of an independent Black political party, which would not only be an advance for Blacks, but also help inspire and hasten the development of a labor party. The goal of the labor party, they explained, will be to lead the struggle for a workers and farmers government in the United States that will use the vast resources and technology of this country to aid in eliminating hunger, poverty and disease all over the globe. This government will abolish capitalism in the United States and join the worldwide struggle for socialism.

Peter Thierjung is national secretary of the Young Socialist Alliance and was a youth coordinator of the Mason/Gonzalez campaign .

November 16, 1984
The Militant