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Vol. 76/No. 39      October 29, 2012

‘Either will do what rulers
tell them in foreign policy’:
SWP vice pres. candidate speaks on Biden-Ryan debate

TORONTO—“The debate between my opponents, U.S. vice president Joseph Biden and Paul Ryan, helps confirm that whether the Democratic or Republican ticket wins, it won’t make much difference for working people,” Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for vice president, said at a campaign meeting here Oct. 13. The televised debate was broadcast two days earlier.

“On Foreign Policy, Rivals Differing in Style but Often Similar in Substance,” headlined a New York Times article on the debate. “From Libya and Iran to Afghanistan and Syria,” Times reporter Mark Landler wrote, the two campaigns differed “in nuance rather than substance.”

“When Mr. Biden said that the United States could not afford another land war in the Middle East, Mr. Ryan nodded in assent,” Landler continued. “Challenged by Mr. Biden, Mr. Ryan ruled out sending ground troops to Syria.”

“Both Biden and Ryan said that Washington’s goal in Iran was to impose sanctions that would punish working people there,” DeLuca said.

“These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. Period,” Biden boasted in the debate.

“They agreed that the U.S. course in the deepening civil war in Syria is to replace the Assad regime with forces that would stabilize the area and act in conformity with U.S. interests,” DeLuca said.

Biden challenged what the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Ryan mean when they say the U.S. government could do “so much more” in Syria. “What more would they do other than put American boots on the ground?” Biden said.

Ryan quickly retorted: “Well, we agree with the same red line, actually, they [the Obama administration] do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons,” he said. “They’re right about that.”

“The biggest shift in U.S. military policy—transferring military might and stepping up diplomatic intrigue to the East, to target China and maintain U.S. domination over the South China Sea—was not even mentioned in the debate,” DeLuca said. “Whoever wins the White House will drive forward along these lines.”

And neither camp raised their shared hatred for the Cuban Revolution and continuing efforts by Cuban workers and peasants to defend and advance it.

“Prior to the debate, it was Ryan who backtracked from a position against the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which he had called ‘failed policy,’” DeLuca pointed out. “Ryan is from Wisconsin, and advocated opening up trade with Cuba to benefit farmers there.

“After he was nominated for vice president, Ryan suddenly became ‘educated’ by fellow Republicans from Florida,” DeLuca added, “who he said taught him about the ‘Castro brothers.’

“Obama just sent Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to Latin America to deepen military ties in what he called ‘the family of the Americas,’” she said.

“One of the U.S. rulers’ biggest challenges for more than 50 years has been the example of the Cuban Revolution, which shows how workers and farmers in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere can fight to overthrow capitalism and replace it with working people in power,” DeLuca said. “Through their revolution, workers and farmers in Cuba gained the power and the self-confidence to make the material and cultural needs of humanity, not private profit, the priority. This is the example the U.S. rulers and both their parties fear.”

“The bottom line on the foreign policy of the two capitalist parties,” she said, “is that regardless of what they say now, they would both jump to do whatever the propertied class tells them to.”

No answer on jobs

“Biden and Ryan didn’t show any deeper differences on domestic policy either,” DeLuca said.

“Neither put forward any proposal to get workers jobs now, when millions are out of work,” she said. “We call for a massive public works program.

“Another example is on Medicare,” continued DeLuca. “They both propose ‘two-tier’ plans, chipping away at coverage for current retirees and hitting younger workers even harder.

“We know what plans like this mean on the job, how they divide workers working next to each other, one with wages slashed to half of the other and no benefits,” she added.

“Most of the commentary in the big business press focused on Biden’s smile—or smirk depending on the party bias of the publication,” DeLuca said.

Two people in the audience asked DeLuca to comment on the exchange in the debate on a woman’s right to choose abortion. “I appreciated Biden’s support for a woman’s right to choose, despite his personal views,” one said.

The debate moderator, ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, asked the candidates, who are both Catholics, “to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal view on abortion.”

“I’m pro-life,” Ryan said, “not simply because of my Catholic faith … but it’s also because of reason and science.”

“I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this,” Ryan said, “but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

Biden said he too accepted the church’s position on abortion. “Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment,” he said. “I accept it in my personal life.”

But then he added, “I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here. … I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women, they can’t control their body.”

“Democrats say they support women’s rights, but you have to look at the record,” DeLuca answered. “Under Obama there have been four more years of chipping away at abortion access. Mississippi is on the verge of losing its last abortion clinic.”

You can vote for a Republican or Democrat based on hope they might stick the knife in slower on one or another issue, but you’re still voting to get stabbed.

“Abortion rights were won by the mobilization of millions, not by politicians nor the Supreme Court,” DeLuca said. “And that’s how they will be defended.”

“Our campaign is about winning people to a revolutionary, fighting perspective,” DeLuca ended. “And you don’t have to be registered to vote in the U.S. to be a part of this.”
Related articles:
‘Put millions to work building what we need’: Socialist candidate talks with N. Carolina youth
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