BY MAURICE WILLIAMS
In keeping with its long history of class collaboration, the Communist Party USA (CP) has come out early and vocally in favor of the Democratic Party in the November presidential and Congressional elections.
"Ridding the U.S. Congress of the fascist-like wing of the Republican Party and its criminal Contract On America is the greatest challenge our people and our country face," wrote Gus Hall, national chair of the CP, in a recent pamphlet. An article by CP leader Jarvis Tyner in the June issue of Political Affairs, the party's theoretical journal, expanded on this assertion.
From beginning to end, the CP's position is a dead end for working people. For starters, it tries to rope workers into a nationalist framework of what's good for "our country." In a seven-page article, Tyner breathes not a word about the struggles of working people around the world, nor the war preparations the Clinton administration has spearheaded - from the bombing of Iraq in the first days of his presidency to the military intervention in Yugoslavia and the stepped-up economic war against Cuba today.
While subordinating the interests of working people in other countries to support for "democratic" imperialism, the CP also advocates collaboration with the capitalists at home. Tyner declares that if Republican candidates win this year's elections, "their neo-fascist program, `The Contract With America,' will be on the fast track to total implementation."
Tyner stated that this year the Communist Party is "not planning to run a presidential ticket," and rapped Ralph Nader, the pro-capitalist presidential candidate of the Green Party, for "running the wrong campaign, for the wrong office, in the wrong states and in the wrong year."
In drumming up support for U.S. president William Clinton, Tyner applauds the "most outstanding effort" of the trade union officialdom to register voters. He lauds the AFL-CIO officials' "Union Summer," linking it with the union bureaucracy's plans to raise $35 million to garner backing for Democratic Party politicians. This alleged defender of the working people refrained from suggesting the unions mobilize support for any labor struggles taking place such as the McDonnell Douglas strike by 6,700 Machinists in St. Louis.
Tyner calls on Blacks and Latinos to "help guarantee Clinton's re-election and a defeat of the right in Congress." He admonishes Clinton that he "needs to remember" that "winning candidates should [have] a strong position against racism and right-wing extremism." Meanwhile, the Clinton administration sat on its hands for 18 months while more than 70 Black churches were torched throughout the South. He also helped open attacks on affirmative action and voting rights by proposing a "review" of these gains of the civil rights movement.
Clinton has expressed his "support" for Latinos by escalating a crackdown on immigrant workers with police raids in plants throughout the country. A New York Times article described these raids as the "Immigration and Naturalization Service's newly declared war."
Clinton leads shift to right
Tyner and Hall warn of the "fascist danger" of the direction of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and "the Gang of 73 right-wing freshmen." In reality, Gingrich and his cohorts have fallen out of the spotlight in recent months, largely unable to carry through their frontal assault on the social wage working people have won over decades.
Clinton himself has been the point man in the bipartisan move to the right of bourgeois politics, especially in going after democratic rights more so than the Republican administrations that preceded him.
The Democratic president, for instance, signed a broad "antiterrorism" bill into law April 24 that permits the government to deport immigrants accused of terrorism without presenting any evidence. The president had proposed expanding the wiretapping powers of federal agents, but this provision was excluded from the bill by Congress.
Clinton's new law also limits appeals by death row inmates which will lead to a step-up in executions and convictions of Blacks and other working people is expected from this law. This is consistent with Clinton's decision during his 1992 campaign to demonstratively return to Arkansas and witness the execution of a mentally disabled man, Ricky Rector.
While the Clinton administration has led the bipartisan effort in pounding away at democratic rights, Tyner decries the "hypocrisy" of the Republicans. Citing a concern for children, the president signed a bill on May 17 commonly known as "Megan's Law," which requires local notification about persons convicted of a sex offense after their release from prison. The law adds years to a person's sentence without the right to trial and jury.
At the same time, Washington maintains a six-year economic blockade that has starved hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq, and continues to chip away at welfare, Medicare, and Social Security benefits.
"Advocating a vote for Clinton and Democrats for Congress" is "not a pro-Clinton or pro-Democratic Party movement," Tyner intones. But, he adds, "the `lesser of two evils' phenomenon unfortunately, is built into U.S. capitalist politics."
A similar approach is being taken by the Committees of Correspondence (CoC), a centrist regroupment of Stalinists, Trotskyists, and other petty-bourgeois radicals, dominated by forces that split from the CP several years ago. At its second national convention, held in New York July 12-14 and attended by 150 people, delegates debated endorsement of Clinton.
A small number of delegates at that gathering said they would leave the CoC if a formal endorsement of Clinton was adopted. This group favored endorsing Ralph Nader instead. Another delegate declared that "the best kept secret of the convention" was that the vast majority of members were going to support and vote for Clinton. By the end, the resolution adopted did not endorse the Democratic candidate, allowing differences over which bourgeois candidate to support.
Revolutionary leader Malcolm X exposed the electoralist lesser-evil scam of the capitalist parties. Commenting on the victory of Democrat Lyndon Johnson - with the CP's support -
over Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race, Malcolm said, "The shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf."
Malcolm added, "Those who claim to be enemies of the system were on their hands and knees waiting for Johnson to get elected - because he is supposed to be a man of peace. And at that moment he had troops invading the Congo and South Vietnam! He even has troops in areas where other imperialists have already withdrawn."
The Communist Party likewise backed President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, taking this counterrevolutionary stance so far as to condemn a 1943 strike by coal miners as a "disruption of the war effort and provocation. [Mine Workers union president John Lewis] wants to throw the country into a home-front war against the President, not against Hitler," as their paper editorialized. In a speech last October, CP chair Hall bragged that "the Communist Party played a key role in rallying the American people for the Second Front" in World War II.
Elections and the class struggle
"Elections in the capitalist system do not operate outside the class struggle," Tyner sermonizes. "During election years, the conflict between the two main contending classes shifts to the voting booths. This is where the interests of the working class and the capitalist class will come into sharp conflict in 1996."
Tyner, a member of the National Board of the Communist Party USA, is trying to justify class collaboration, not class struggle.
"The action of the masses - a big strike, for instance - is more important than parliamentary activity at all times," wrote V.I. Lenin in his pamphlet, "Left-Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder. Lenin, a central leader of the Russian revolution, wrote the pamphlet in 1920 to explain how the communist vanguard became steeled in long years of struggle against opportunism and social chauvinism.
"To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and oppress the people through parliament - this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics," Lenin explained in State and Revolution.
"Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich - that is the democracy of capitalist society," the revolutionary leader stated.
Lenin insisted, however, that this does not mean communists must not make use of parliament. "The Bolsheviks made better use of it than probably any other party in the world," he said. "Participation in parliamentary elections and in the struggle on the platform of parliament is obligatory for the party of the revolutionary proletariat precisely for the purpose of educating" the working class.
The Communist Party USA does nothing but miseducate and betray the working class with its pro-Clinton stance. Working people need a voice in the elections independent from the capitalist rulers. The only candidates providing one in this campaign are those on the Socialist Workers ticket.