The U.S. capitalist rulers face a political crisis today. Neither of their historical political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are capable of ruling with stability, and both are wracked by internal divisions that could lead to splits.
This forces the two party leaderships to wage relentless war against each other, seeking a grip on power. Ultimately, this means a war to try and silence the working class, as they both try to put the deepening crisis of their capitalist system onto our backs. Working people need to find a way to unite and defend our class interests.
This places a special premium on the working class fighting to defend our political rights and the space to conduct political battles on our own behalf.
Since before Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, the Democrats have campaigned nonstop to paint him as a criminal, outside the pale of normal bourgeois political dispute, bar him from office and demonize his working-class supporters. This drive reached a fever pitch for the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building.
The liberals’ witch hunt against Trump is at the heart of their election campaign strategy in 2022 as they desperately try to hold onto control of at least the House of Representatives as the Joseph Biden presidency becomes less and less popular. And they dream of barring Trump from ever running for president again, fearing he would likely win.
Their drive against him is one part of the liberals’ broader effort to deal blows to the Constitution and longstanding norms of capitalist politics in order to gain control of Congress and advance their program.
Whenever rival capitalist parties treat their policy differences with each other as crimes, they set a precedent that threatens political space and rights working people need.
The capitalist rulers and their liberal politicians have become more openly contemptuous of working people and more fearful about what is building up among the workers, farmers and small shopkeepers who are being hit harder and harder by the unfolding crisis of the capitalist system today. Their growing concern about rising working-class struggles fuels their hatred towards those Hillary Clinton famously called “deplorables” and branded as “irredeemable.”
The liberals are determined to stifle workers’ ability to support Trump, or capitalist rivals of a similar ilk, who campaign for “change” from business as usual in Washington, saying they’ll provide jobs, halt Washington’s endless wars abroad and stand up to the “woke” crusade enforced by liberals who believe they must dictate what working people can say and how we behave.
Most importantly, they fear workers will break from the capitalist rulers’ two-party shell game and form their own party, a labor party, to fight to take political power into their own hands. That’s why the Democratic Party-run legislature in New York cut the ballot requirements for the two big bosses’ parties while tripling the signatures needed by working-class parties like the Socialist Workers Party.
Typical of the liberals’ anti-working-class scorn was singer and comedian Bette Midler’s Dec. 20 outburst against working people from West Virginia. She erupted in anger at West Virginia’s Democratic Party Senator Joseph Manchin’s resistance to some of Biden’s legislative program. Echoing Clinton, Midler called the working people who elected Manchin “poor, illiterate and strung out.”
The liberals’ anti-working class angst leads them to target any part of the Constitution that provides an avenue for workers to put their stamp on politics, however indirectly. This is what is behind their hysterical campaign to get rid of the Electoral College and change the number of senators allocated to each state to be proportionate to the population.
They used the anniversary of what the Washington Post insists on calling the Jan. 6 “insurrection” to step up even further their demands for such changes to “save democracy.”
Aiming to ‘charge Trump’
For years Democrats were unable to get a majority in their show trial efforts to impeach Trump while he was president. Now their goal is to use their majority in the House to get the special Select Committee’s “probe” into the Jan. 6 riot to cook up charges that can used to convict Trump of something and bar him from running in 2024. They say they will find “evidence” before the November election — over 10 months from now — fearful their party will go down to defeat and lose control over both the House and the Senate.
Of course, Trump did call on his supporters to do whatever they could to overturn the election results, which he insists were rigged. But he offered no evidence that there was voting fraud on a sufficient scale that would change the election outcome.
Representative Elizabeth Cheney, a bitter Republican foe of Trump and vice chair of the Select Committee, said it was investigating whether the former president “through action or inaction,” had “obstructed or impeded Congress,” a felony crime.
In a thinly veiled threat against the former president, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would lay charges against “all Jan. 6 perpetrators,” whether “they were present that day or otherwise criminally responsible.”
Both Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have stepped up their part in the campaign to get Trump. At a Jan. 6 ceremony to mark the anniversary of the riot, Biden said “those who incited the mob” were the “real plotters.” Harris compared the Capitol building intrusion to the 1941 bombardment of Pearl Harbor.
Biden organized a special press conference Jan. 11 to announce he was joining with other Democrats to push for a special, one-time end to the filibuster — or talking a bill to death — in the Senate, a tradition that extends back to the beginning of the institution, first used in 1789.
“Sadly, the United State Senate, designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body, has been rendered a shell of its former self,” Biden told the press in Atlanta. He pointed to the Jan. 6 “insurrection” as a “dreadful day when a dagger was literally held at the throat of American democracy,” necessitating changing the Senate’s historical norms.
At issue are two bills backed by the liberals they say are critical as a defense against creeping Jim Crow resegregation and disenfranchisement of African Americans. For example, Democrats are proposing federally mandating same-day voter registration and counting mail-in ballots up to seven days after an election.
In fact these are purely partisan measures aimed at making Democratic Party victories more likely.
New spy, disruption outfits
In an ominous threat to political rights, Matthew G. Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, told the Senate Judiciary Committee Jan. 11 that the Capitol riot showed the FBI hadn’t been aggressive enough in fighting “domestic extremists.” He said his department is forming a new “domestic terrorism unit” to spy on and target political groups. He said it would “augment” the FBI and other already existing political police outfits.
Jill Sanborn, head of the FBI’s national security branch, said the spy agency has “elevated” its targeting of anti-government extremism.
As the experience of the Socialist Workers Party, unionists, Black rights fighters, opponents of Washington’s wars and others with FBI spying and disruption shows, these outfits will be used to target working people and our struggles against capitalist oppression and exploitation.