The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bourgeois liberals' war on workers

‘Deplorable’ workers are true target of liberals’ fury



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

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. 

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