The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fear of working class rife among Democrats and Republicans

SWP: What is ‘deplorable’ is capitalist crisis, not working class



Half of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s supporters are a “basket of deplorables. … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Sept. 9. “They are irredeemable, but thankfully they’re not America.”

Democratic Party leaders and liberal pundits defended Clinton, saying she was accurate — in fact, understated.

Considering Caucasian workers backward bigots is a widely held proposition among liberals and the left. They look at those who come to Trump rallies and see danger.

Trump — who also has no proposals to advance the interests of working people as they face “slow burn” depression conditions and worse to come — takes advantage of workers’ search for an alternative to capitalist politics-as-usual and the Clintons’ lack of credibility. But much of what he offers is rightist demagogy, aimed at dividing the working class.

He moved to capitalize on the angry reaction of many workers to Clinton’s contemptuous remark, declaring himself the representative of the “deplorables.”

“What is deplorable is what working people face in the U.S. and around the world,” Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy, the only candidate representing the interests of the working class in the election, told the Militant Sept. 19. “When I campaign door to door with supporters, workers tell us about the reality they face — joblessness, low wages, speedup on the job and more dangerous conditions. They tell us of social problems like opiate and heroin addiction ravaging their communities.”

Kennedy said her experience — and that of hundreds of campaign supporters talking to workers about the SWP and its program on their doorsteps — shows opposition to racist attacks and a desire to build unity among workers of all nationalities against attacks by the bosses and the government.

“The capitalist rulers are afraid of the working class. They portray the majority, workers who are Caucasian, as reactionary to divide and discourage us,” Kennedy said. “But it’s not working. The mass movement that overthrew Jim Crow segregation, as well as recent protests against police killings, inspired millions of workers of all races and strengthened the working class.

“If this wasn’t true, how could you explain the speed and breadth of Confederate flags being taken down at statehouses all across the South over the past year?” she said.

“We meet workers of all races and nationalities who are attracted to the SWP’s confidence that working people are capable of fighting for unity, organizing the unorganized, and opposing the bosses and their government’s wars,” Kennedy said. “By doing this we will become strong enough to displace the capitalist dictatorship and build a new society run by workers and farmers based on values of solidarity and dignity.”

In a Sept. 15 Financial Times article, Edward Luce interviews people in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, especially Caucasian workers who say they’re leaning toward voting for Trump. Hazleton was built by workers from all across Europe who emigrated for jobs and made a living mining anthracite coal and in other factory jobs that have since shut down. The town began to shrink.

But it began to grow again, as the Latino population, largely Dominican, grew from 4 percent in 2000 to nearly half today. In 2006 then Mayor Louis Barletta gained nationwide notoriety trying to demonize the newcomers.

Much has changed in 10 years. “A striking thing about Hazleton’s Trump supporters is their reluctance to copy their candidate’s derogatory language about Hispanics,” Luce writes.

“Every time I see a Dominican they greet me and they smile,” Karen Ezak, 73, who favors Trump, told Luce. “I have never had a problem with them. They’ve brought life back to the schools and churches.”

Members of the Socialist Workers Party knocked on doors in a working-class area in Hazleton Sept. 18.

“I’m a full-time office worker, but I need a second job,” Dottie Pisano, 52, told the socialists. “I don’t live a flashy life. But I can’t make it month to month with one job. And if you get sick, forget about it — you have to move in with your folks.” She doesn’t like Trump but leans toward him, saying, “I refuse to vote for that woman,” meaning Clinton.

Pisano’s neighbor Angela Carrasco, in her 20s, at home on parental leave caring for her month-old son Johnny, was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in Hazleton. Like many in the town she works for the big Amazon distribution center.

“There was a lot of discrimination against Dominican immigrants in the past,” Carrasco said, “but it’s much less now.”

Writing off large numbers of workers who are Caucasian, the Clinton campaign is counting on votes from African-Americans and Latinos, as well as those of women. But leaders of Clinton’s campaign are worried about lack of enthusiasm among Blacks.

“The Clinton campaign has refocused its efforts to a big turnout push directed at black and young voters,” the New York Times reported Sept. 18. “Younger black voters, in particular have expressed misgivings about Mrs. Clinton because of some of the policies of her husband’s administration,” including the 1994 crime bill, which imposed tougher sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and Clinton’s moves to “end welfare as we know it,” which resulted in deeper poverty, insecurity and social crisis for millions of working-class women and children.

“I will consider it a personal insult — an insult to my legacy — if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” President Barack Obama, revealing some panic and a meritocratic contempt for Black workers, told the Congressional Black Caucus Sept. 17.

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