The ruling capitalist families face a deepening political crisis today. Neither of the parties they’ve relied on for decades can provide them with political stability. Both Democrats and Republicans are locked in relentless battles for turf and control, and both are torn by internal dissent.
Neither have any solutions to reverse the stagnation that marks the world capitalist economy, nor prevent the bosses from pushing the effects of that crisis onto the backs of workers and farmers — unemployment, soaring prices, diminishing real wages, growing debts — all of which make it increasingly difficult for young workers to move from their parents’ home, get a place of their own, and start families.
Democrats have no solution to the sharply counterposed political perspectives of the party majority and its growing socialist reform wing, with the threat of a split into two competing parties. Similar frictions exist between supporters of former President Donald Trump and determined “Never Trumpers” among the Republicans. Trump himself has denigrated party opponents like Florida Gov. Ronald DeSantis, mocking him for refusing to admit he got the coronavirus vaccine booster.
Neither of the two parties has a way to confidently defend Washington’s domination of the imperialist world order in the face of conflicts with their imperialist rivals and with the regimes in Beijing and Moscow.
The World Bank issued a forecast of shrinking economic growth rates worldwide Jan. 11. Demands by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and imperialist rulers for debt repayment and austerity measures are aimed at making working people pay for the spreading crisis. They perpetuate the crushing conditions millions of the world’s toilers already face in the semicolonial world. These conditions are exacerbated by the continued spread of coronavirus and deeply uneven access to vaccines.
Last month jobs growth in the U.S. was its slowest in a year, while official inflation — which ignores the most devastating price hikes hitting working people like food, gas and housing — hit 7%, a 40-year high. This comes on top of a decadeslong offensive by the employers that has weakened our unions, driven down wages and made work more unsafe. Far-ranging discussion about what we can do to defend our interests is taking place among workers today, alongside a number of strike battles. While there is no reason to expect a labor upsurge in the coming months, this discussion will continue.
Contempt for working people
The capitalist rulers and all their political backers look at the working class with deeply held contempt. Anyone who opposes or stands in the way of Democrats getting what they want on “voting reforms” is a modern-day George Wallace and wants to reimpose Jim Crow segregation, President Joseph Biden declared Jan. 11.
Because Republicans threaten “American democracy,” wrote Jonathan Stevenson and Steven Simon in the Jan. 13 New York Times, “we need to think the unthinkable.” Authorities — including U.S. “military institutions,” they say — must start preparing for civil war that could break out by 2024.
At the same time, Trump continues to insist the 2020 vote was stolen from him and to urge state governments controlled by Republican majorities loyal to him to impose new restrictions to strengthen his hand in the future.
Biden demagogically claims Democrats’ push for “voting rights” are critical to prevent “election subversion.” But he doesn’t have the votes in his divided party to get them passed. The cornerstone of his plan would be to replace U.S. constitutional guarantees of the states’ control over voting measures with federal government control. Democrats hope to use the presidency to tilt the 2024 election in their favor. They motivate these measures by absurd claims that all the gains of the mighty Black-led working-class movement that overthrew Jim Crow are being overturned.
All of these far-reaching partisan moves by the bosses’ parties have their biggest impact on working people and our political rights. Every time the politicians in Washington and their black-robed backers on the Supreme Court stake out new assaults on each other, they have the greatest effect on us. In every attack the rulers make, working people should look at ourselves as potential defendants in their criminal “justice” system.
Norms that have guided the functioning of the United States capitalist government for over two centuries — the constitutional republic — are being targeted as both parties seek a road to deal blows to the other and impose their control. When Biden and the Democrats failed to get sufficient votes to ram through their voting bills, they schemed for a way to abolish the Senate filibuster, which has been in place for almost 200 years. It currently requires a 60% majority to bring a bill to the floor.
Other “reforms” pushed by Democrats would transform the functioning of the U.S. government. These include changing the Senate as a chamber formed by two senators from each state — which defends representation from rural and farming areas from being disenfranchised by larger urban majorities — into one that mirrors the House of Representatives. These governmental institutions were the product of the capitalist class coming to power. But the Constitution and republican form of government they carved out contain space for the working class to organize and fight, and their destruction today by either ruling-class party for partisan interest would make it more difficult for us.
From relentless rounds of gerrymandering by both parties to the Democrats’ proposed reforms today, the voting and election reforms pushed by both Democrats and Republicans are simply moves to strengthen their hand against their opponents. The one thing they both agree on is moves to make it more and more difficult for working-class parties like the Socialist Workers Party to get on the ballot and get a hearing. The Democratic Party-controlled government in Sen. Charles Schumer’s New York has tripled the signatures required for “third parties” to get ballot status.
Socialist Workers Party campaign
Support for the Biden presidency has been plunging, fueling media speculation that he will be replaced on the Democratic ticket in 2024. Conjecture that Hillary Clinton will seek the Democrat’s nomination opens the prospects of a second Clinton vs. Trump election. “Never before have the presidential candidates of both major capitalist parties evoked such political distrust, disgust, and aversion among working people,” Socialist Workers Party leader Steve Clark wrote about that 2016 election in The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People.
One recognition of this fact was a column by Michelle Cottle in the Jan. 18 New York Times. She bemoans the undeniable fact that “the public” overwhelmingly believes the Democrats and Republicans are “all a bunch of corrupt, self-serving, money-grubbing, power-hungry crooks.”
In the 2022 elections the Socialist Workers Party will field candidates across the country to present a course to unify and organize working people to fight for our own class interests against the bosses and their fractured parties. As they join union picket lines and reach out to fellow working people in cities and rural areas, SWP campaigners will explain why workers need to build our own party, a labor party, to lead the fight to replace the rule of the capitalist class with a workers and farmers government.
And they will champion all efforts by working people to defend our political rights and the political space we need to organize.