‘US bosses’ 2-party system
provides illusion of choice’
SWP pres. candidate starts Pacific tour in Australia
James Harris, front right, Socialist Workers candidate for U.S. president, at campaign event in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 8. “Only way for workers to advance is to fight, build organizations based on our own strength, and gain confidence over time on road to taking political power.”
BY LINDA HARRIS
AND RON POULSEN
SYDNEY—“Workers have much more in common internationally than we have with the ruling classes in our respective countries,” James Harris, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, said at a campaign event here Sept. 8.
Joanne Kuniansky, Communist League candidate for mayor of Canterbury, joined Harris on the platform.
“We are in the midst of a deep economic crisis, more worldwide than ever before,” Harris continued. “Large parts of the world from China and India to Brazil are now integrated into the capitalist system whereas in the 1930s, most people in these countries were subsistence farmers.
“Our politics start with the world,” he explained. “International issues such as defending the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot as well as striking South African miners against government repression are important for the working class to take on and understand as our own.”
“It is becoming clearer that Australia is not immune to the international crisis,” Kuniansky said, pointing to recent reports on “the Chinese economy slowing down, the fall in iron ore prices by more than 25 percent in the last month, major investment projects in the mining industry put on hold, and growing plant closures and layoffs in manufacturing and retail.
“None of the capitalist parties have any solutions to this crisis of their system, except to keep going after our wages and working conditions,” she said.
“As the crisis deepens the rulers will drive more and more against their competitors around the world. This is what leads to war,” Harris said. “You can see this logic beginning to unfold in the current redeployment of the U.S. military against China.”
Kuniansky added that Australia’s rulers are deepening their military ties with Washington, with U.S. Marines now stationed in Darwin and an expanding U.S. use of air and navy bases across northern Australia.
“What is missing from the news here about the U.S. elections is the working class. But there are no issues that float above classes,” Harris explained. “In the U.S. there is a housing crisis from two different class outlooks: for the rulers there is too much housing; for us there is not enough.”
For several in attendance this was their first campaign event. A lively discussion followed the presentations focused on abortion rights, police brutality, the weakness of unions today and the rulers’ use of the two-party system.
During Harris’ tour in Sydney, he and Kuniansky were interviewed by Radio 2SER, a community station. Reporting on its Aug. 28 mayoral candidates debate, the Canterbury-Bankstown Express, a district weekly, summed up Kuniansky’s platform as “looking to a future not based on profits but on human needs.”
On Sept. 7 Harris met with workers from Pharmapak, a pharmaceutical plant in north Sydney.
One worker from the Philippines said the company never gave them information about the dangers of the drugs they are working with. Harris responded that workers have to organize together to defend themselves.
Kuniansky came back to this at the campaign event, pointing to the example of a recent fight by construction workers in Melbourne against Grocon, a large building company, over the right to elect their own safety officers on the job. Cops attacked the union picket line and capitalist media vilified union officials.
“These workers are using union power to try to have more control over their dangerous working conditions,” she said.
“The working class is the class that produces all the wealth and controls none of it,” Harris added. “The only way for working people to advance is by building organizations based on our own strength, fighting and gaining confidence over time on the road to taking political power.”
Obama, Romney conventions
“The Republican and Democratic Party conventions were just shows to put their candidates in the best light,” Harris told the Militant from New Zealand, following the tour in Australia. “They don’t actually nominate their candidate or decide anything.
“If you have any illusion about that, you can look at what happened at the Democratic convention on the party platform, where the drafters left out reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But the platform can’t go against settled positions of the U.S. ruling class,” Harris said. “The chair called for a revote three times to put the reference to Jerusalem back in. Three times it failed, and he just declared it passed.
“Both candidates claimed they had the formula to ‘fix’ the economy. But it can’t be ‘stimulated’ or prodded by government policy,” he said. “It’s not a fiscal problem, or question of the right tax scheme or government regulation. Their problem is a historic crisis of capital accumulation, of declining production and trade. For this they have no solution, no plan aside from the one thing they agree on: to go after the working class.
“Romney said Obama is responsible for the mess,” Harris said. “Obama said Romney would be worse. You pick the lesser evil.
“The Democrats and Republicans represent the rulers’ two-party system, which serves to give the illusion that we have a choice and say in the direction of the capitalist government.”
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