Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Defining question for radicals in the US is a matter of our relationship to the Democratic Party"

It is time for working and oppressed people to stand up to the political crisis in the United States and reject the twin parties of capitalism. Eleven years of war and domestic surveillance, on top of five years of economic crisis, have not led the Democratic or Republican Parties to reconsider their unbridled enthusiasm for monopoly finance capitalism. On the contrary, our entire political system continues to erode toward reactionary authoritarianism.

On electoral action, the defining question for radicals in the US is a matter of our relationship to the Democratic Party. Many share the illusion that the Democratic Party is, or once was, a Party for working people. Revolutionary Unity rejects both conjectures. The Democratic Party is run by a handful of well connected political bosses who raise the lions share of the money they need to operate from the wealthiest individuals and lobbying interests in the United States. Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Democratic Party only made just enough concessions to a rebellious labor movement to keep industrial peace and ward off the rising appeal of communism. Both Democrats and Republican rise and fall on the basis of working class votes, but rather than appealing to us, they only compete to serve the most powerful elements of our ruling class. Without a credible alternative party, there is no way to hold the capitalist parties accountable with our votes.

The entire electoral system is designed to exclude grassroots participation. Democrats and Republicans have a lock down on ballot access, media access, and the vast resources that are necessary to mount a competitive political campaign. This is partly due to historic reasons, as legislatures clamped down on political dissent during the early 20th century. It is also due to bankers, capitalists, and other wealthy interests realizing that control over the state is crucial to periodically bail out their unstable economic system and defend sprawling inequality.

Revolutionary Unity holds no illusions that substantive left-wing change can be enacted by even the most well intentioned and competent presidential candidate, or local and state representatives, without mass movements driving the demands for change in our workplaces, universities, and the streets. Voting for candidates with clever policy ideas for the management of capitalism is a dead end. The entire state apparatus is designed to serve only the largest property owners. The persistence of the neo-liberal era through our current economic crisis demonstrates that all victories can be reversed the moment we are unprepared to defend them. So long as society allows the concentration of wealth, power will also be concentrated with the sole objective of exploiting us and the Earth.

Revolutionary Unity supports anti-capitalist candidates running under the restrictive rules of the system as a way to engage and educate people regarding the systemic failures of capitalism that lead us to our present crises. While our votes may be symbolic, we recognize that all protest is symbolic, and ultimately a vital precursor to more militant action.

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