Rebuff by working people, 2021 losses fuel divisions in Democratic Party

By Terry Evans
November 29, 2021
Deepening capitalist crisis is behind increased labor actions. Striking bakery workers, members of BCTGM Local 374G, picket Kellogg’s cereal plant in East Hempfield, Pennsylvania, Oct. 30.
Militant/Osborne HartDeepening capitalist crisis is behind increased labor actions. Striking bakery workers, members of BCTGM Local 374G, picket Kellogg’s cereal plant in East Hempfield, Pennsylvania, Oct. 30.

Frictions and acrimony roiling the Democratic Party — between so-called moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia, “progressives” like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, and liberals and socialist Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are exacerbated by the party’s 2021 election defeats.

The outcome of the vote registered a clear rejection by workers and farmers of policies backed by the liberals and middle-class socialist wing of the party, like “defund the police,” mandatory school programs teaching that workers are inherently racist, and a variety of “mandates” that order people to get vaccinated.

The main beneficiary of the vote in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere were Republicans who themselves are riven by camps that support or oppose former President Donald Trump.

Despite sharp conflicts between the two main bourgeois parties, on all fundamental questions they act to protect the interests of the ruling capitalist families against those of workers and farmers. Both use the bosses’ two-party setup to prevent workers from organizing our own party, a labor party, to fight in our class interest and organize to take political power into our own hands.

Socialist Workers Party candidates in 2021 found widespread interest among fellow workers in discussing why we need to rebuild and use our unions to fight for the interests of all those oppressed and exploited by capital and to build a labor party based on our unions.

Behind all the hot-button political questions at issue in 2021 stood the economic, social and moral crisis of capitalism today, exacerbated by the pandemic, that pushes bosses to try and solve it on the backs of working people.

Exit polls taken in Virginia on election day showed that working people see the economy as the biggest challenge today. Workers confront spiraling inflation, especially on rent, food, gas and other necessities. Across the country workers at John Deere, Kellogg’s, Warrior Met Coal, St. Vincent hospital in Massachusetts and elsewhere have gone on strike, fighting against boss attacks on wages, health care, as well as demands for unpaid overtime and divisive two-tier wages and benefits.

SWP candidates found great interest in spreading the word about these workers’ battles and building solidarity. It is only when working people see ourselves as a class, with interests sharply counterposed to the bosses and their two parties, that we can make real progress.

In the face of their losses, the liberals hope they can reknit the Democratic Party back together, not on what they’re for — their disagreements are too great for that — but on what they hate. That is to double down on their relentless efforts to demonize former President Donald Trump.

In his Nov. 10 column in the Washington Post, Paul Waldman says everyone must unite against Trump and the “threat he poses to everything we thought our system stood for.”

Liberals say Trump’s unprecedented assault on “democracy” — by which they mean their rule on behalf of the capitalist thieves — extends to the entire Republican Party. An opinion column in the Nov. 12 New York Times headlined “Menace Enters the Republican Mainstream,” argues “threats of violence are becoming commonplace among a significant segment of the Republican Party.”

The liberals are conducting hearings on the Jan. 6 break-in into Congress by a handful of conspiracy mongers and right wingers, as well as some supporters of Trump. The FBI, which has operated as a hired gun for the Democrats since before Trump’s election, has carried out an endless “investigation” into the action, and hundreds have been arrested and prosecuted. At one sentencing hearing the prosecutor told the court, “It is just critical that the court’s sentence convey to future rioters that there will be very, very serious consequences for those who intend to obstruct the rule of law.”

Constitutional rights crucial for the protection of workers and our unions are tossed aside in the anti-Trump witch hunt. The real aim of the attacks are the “deplorable” workers who either voted for Trump or didn’t bother to vote at all.

FBI witch hunt

At the same time, there is little ink given to recent revelations that show that the beginning of the liberals’ assault on Trump and his supporters — the charge that he was a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin — has now been shown conclusively to have been a fraud from the beginning.

This campaign ran for years, involving partisan use of the FBI, arrests and prosecutions, and other assaults on political rights. It was started with what is now known as the “Steele dossier,” a scurrilous concoction of rumor and innuendo dressed up as fact, and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

One of the chief “sources” for the fraud was Igor Danchenko, who has now been indicted for lying to the FBI.

The Socialist Workers Party knows firsthand about FBI dirty tricks. The party sued the FBI in 1973 over decades of spying, harassment and disruption. The victorious suit, and the widespread political campaign the SWP waged alongside it, educated millions on the class character of the capitalist rulers’ political police.

That same FBI has become a hero to today’s liberals in its assaults against Trump and political rights.

‘Voting rights’ scam

Following their defeats in 2021, the Democrats are clamoring for “voting rights.” When they say “voting rights,” they really mean measures that can strengthen the Democrats’ grip on power.

The liberal New York online Gothamist ran an article Nov. 15 entitled, “State Senate Democrat Warns of ‘Five-Alarm Fire’ Threatening Voting Rights.” The article is about how the party in power in Albany needs to resurrect two referenda that were voted down decisively this year. These measures would have allowed voter registration up to the day of the election, as opposed to 10 days before as is the case now, and what the paper calls “no-excuse absentee ballots.” That means absentee ballots for those who aren’t absent.

To prove what they really mean about “voting rights,” last year the Democrats cut petitioning requirements for themselves and the Republicans by 70%, while tripling signatures needed by the SWP and other third parties.