Elections 2018: Demand Government Meet People’s Needs
The evolution of the political and economic situation in the U.S. over the last two years has given rise to real turmoil and debate in our society.
We know that what is propelling the whole process forward is the underlying antagonism between labor-replacing technology and an economic system based on private property. This antagonism has created a new class, a growing section of workers whose labor is no longer needed. The ruling class will not provide for workers it doesn’t need, and it is unable to provide such basics as food, water, housing, and health care to millions. Meanwhile, the effort to impose full-blown fascism on the country continues to accelerate, as does the drive toward another world war.
This is a critical moment. The situation is changing. A wholesale attack on our democracy and our standard of living has been under way for some time, but the attack has escalated significantly since the 2016 election. The workers were fighting before the presidential election, but the accelerating attack since the election has provoked an escalated response. The response is not simply anti-Trump. People are becoming more aware they have similar needs and interests, and are using the elections to put forth their own programs and to raise what are in fact the demands of the new class. There is also an underlying trend toward political independence and toward formation of a third party. There is greater discussion of whose interests the government serves, and of socialism.
The response of the workers has not simply been around economic issues but also on a moral level – in defense of democracy and human rights, and in opposition to fascism. The response has included a corps of emerging new leaders who are running for office at the local, state and national level. Many of them are ordinary workers pushed into motion by the conditions the workers face. They are running under various labels: as Democrats, as Greens, as democratic socialists and as independents. But the common theme among their campaigns is that they are putting forward the demands of the new class, and they are demanding that the government serve the needs of the people.
While they may be critical of Trump, many of these candidates are clear that Trump is not the main problem, and in many cases they are also critical of the Democratic Party, even though they may be running as Democrats. They are focused on such issues as health care, education, water, skyrocketing rents, homelessness, environmental destruction, immigrant rights, wages that are too low to live on, etc. They are demanding that government must intervene to guarantee that people’s basic needs are met. Many candidates are raising the question of what kind of society are we going to have, and some candidates are openly critical of capitalism and are discussing the need for socialism.
Everything is polarizing based on the changes in the economy. This polarity is expressing itself internationally and nationally, within social classes and within political parties. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are polarizing, and the moment is analogous to the party splits that took place in the pre-Civil War period. A number of “centrist” Democrats are openly separating themselves from the new progressive crop of candidates and are attacking them.
A third party is an absolutely indispensable stage in the revolutionary process. It will serve to further develop the consciousness of the separate interests of the masses of American people against those of corporate interests. It is a necessary and inevitable step toward a workers party and the embryonic form of political class consciousness that a workers party represents.
Ultimately, the workers cannot resolve their problems through the electoral process. On the other hand, the workers are using the electoral process in an attempt to get the government to address their demands. There are real things to be won or lost in these elections. The League fights shoulder to shoulder with all those who are putting forward the demands of the new class in their current struggle.
At the same time, revolutionaries rest on that struggle to develop the consciousness of the workers and show them the historical importance of what they are fighting for. The fight around the demands of the new class will continue in other forms after election day, and certainly there will be more elections in 2019 and 2020. Revolutionaries should be thinking ahead. And we should bear in mind that the threat of fascism means such moments will not be available forever.
September/October 2018 Vol28.Ed5
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011