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Vol. 81/No. 12      March 27, 2017

(front page)

Two-party system of capitalist rule in US racked with growing instability

During his election campaign and in his first speech to Congress, President Donald Trump promised a $1 trillion public works program to repair deteriorating infrastructure and create jobs. His repeated insistence on the reality of the carnage the capitalist economic crisis has meant for working people — in the face of claims by Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton that the economy was in swell shape — was a key reason many workers voted for him. But two months into his administration, little has been done.

Instead, Trump has issued a flurry of executive orders, including many that foster dangerous divisions among working people. They include a moratorium on visas for residents of six mostly Muslim nations, threats to step up the pace of deportations, and instructions to government agencies to reduce red-tape and environmental regulations. He has pledged billions to the Pentagon for new weaponry and to press more workers into the military. And he’s moving to bury Obamacare — no great shakes for working people — but hasn’t offered anything to replace it.

For all of his demagogy and all the anti-Trump hysteria from liberals and the middle-class left, much of what his administration has been doing is an extension of what previous administrations set in motion. The anti-working-class deportations are following patterns set by the Barack Obama administration. U.S. wars continue in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The slow-burning capitalist economic depression grinding down on working people has had political reflection in an unprecedented blow to the stability of the capitalist two-party system in the U.S.

Politicians from the crisis-ridden Democratic Party, including Bernie Sanders, have no alternate program. Instead, they concentrate on obstructing Trump. They headline charges that his administration is in cahoots with Moscow. When pressed for evidence, many point to the FBI, as if that was where workers should look for the truth!

A headline in the New York Times captured the spirit, calling the Democrats “The New Party of No.” They’re in shambles, and the party’s left wing is determined to take over.

In an interview with the London Guardian printed March 10, Sanders outlined his plans to salvage the Democratic Party by seizing control and refurbishing its image as a “pro-worker” party.

Sanders complains that Trump is trying “to undermine American democracy in the sense of making wild attacks against the media, that virtually everything that the mainstream media says is a lie.” He says that, unlike normal Republicans like George W. Bush, Trump operates “outside of mainstream American political values” and “is a pathological liar.”

The “liberal elite” that has had control of the Democratic Party — Sanders names the Clintons and Barack Obama as examples — paved the way for Trump, he said, because they “moved very far away from the needs of the middle class and working families of this country.”

“My job,” Sanders said, is to get “more and more people to run for office, to participate.”

This defense of “American democracy,” the “mainstream media” and the “intelligence community” is revealing. The bourgeois media is a key part of obscuring that what exists in the United States is the dictatorship of capital. No matter who is president, no matter which of the two capitalist parties holds a majority in Congress, the decisions they make serve the interests of the propertied rulers.

Millions were unhappy that their choice was Trump or Clinton. Those who chose Trump saw a “lesser evil” who recognized the disaster they’re living in and seemed to offer a way out. More and more workers are beginning to see that neither party defends their interests.

“The two party system will never defend the interests of the workers,” said Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York, who is in Canada extending solidarity to steelworkers on strike at the CEZ refinery in Salaberry de Valleyfield, Quebec. “They are both parties of the capitalist class.”

Join May Day protests
“The Socialist Workers Party is opposed to the ban on refugees and visitors from the six majority-Muslim nations. Government requirements for political or religious tests for people to come to the U.S. are an attack on the rights of all workers,” Hart said. “We call on workers and our unions to join the upcoming nationwide protests being called for May Day and to demand amnesty for the 11 million undocumented workers living in the U.S. today.

“The only way we can unite the working class is by opposing the attempts by the bosses to divide us with their deportations, immigration sweeps and efforts to pit workers with jobs against those who can’t get one,” he said.

Trump claimed credit when the Labor Department announced official unemployment had dropped to 4.7 percent in February. “Not a bad way to start day 50 of the administration,” Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer said.

During the election campaign Trump won interest from working people when he said the official unemployment rate was “phony” because the government manipulates the figures. When asked why the latest figures can be trusted, Spicer said the president told him to say, “They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”

That will be a hard sell to working people no matter who they voted for. They are living the reality — miners who have seen jobs dry up in Kentucky and West Virginia, the almost one in five workers who are stuck on part-time because they can’t get full-time jobs, the more than 1.7 million workers who wanted to work but have given up looking and are not included in official unemployment figures, and more.
Related articles:
Is the economic carnage working people face now the ‘new normal’?
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