Despite overwhelming bipartisan agreement on the U.S. rulers’ efforts to advance their imperialist interests amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the bosses’ two main parties — the Democrats and Republicans — remain embroiled in deep division and crisis.
The capitalist rulers can’t depend on either of these parties to provide a stable government and advance a self-confident course to defend their class interests against working people at home or their rivals abroad.
Neither party offers any way to reverse today’s growing “stagflation” — economic stagnation coupled with soaring inflation — nor reverse the long-term decline in capitalist profit rates. To do so would require a significantly deeper assault on the wages and living standards of working people and their families.
Some commentators use Moscow’s war on Ukraine to call for a deepening offensive against the working class. “Western leaders must prepare the public for a war economy,” headlined a Financial Times article by Martin Sandbu May 1. Hard hit by inflation? You “need to adapt,” Sandbu tells the well-heeled readers the paper speaks to, and make working people accept a less comfortable future. He urges the U.S. and other governments to openly tell workers that the sanctions their rulers impose on Russia will entail belt-tightening here at home. At the same time working people in Russia bear the brunt of these sanctions, regardless of who the U.S. government says they target.
Neither party offers a confident course for Washington, the world’s dominant imperialist power, to hang on to its place at the top of the capitalist world order. This would require decisive steps to combat growing competition from the rising capitalist class in China; as well as take on the Russian rulers’ efforts to reimpose control over the former Soviet republics, starting with its war to reconquer Ukraine; and the myriad of other challenges Washington faces from the Middle East to Latin America.
The U.S. rulers mistakenly believed they had won the Cold War after the Soviet Union came apart in 1991. They were certain they could now do as they wished anywhere without fear of serious opposition.
They embarked on what became a series of bloody wars — in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and more — all of which Washington failed to decisively win. Each one spawned further disorder and heralded new conflicts to come, the opening guns of World War III. The only way this can be stopped is for working people to organize and fight to take political power into our own hands. That is what the Socialist Workers Party exists to do.
Capitalist parties at war with each other
The only road the Democrats see to win the midterm elections is to double-down on their yearslong witch hunt of Donald Trump, hoping to get him indicted as an “insurrectionist” and barred from running again in 2024. As a New York grand jury probe into the former president seems to be falling apart, Democrats have opened a new one in Georgia. Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, launched a special grand jury investigation May 2 into allegations that Trump and others tried to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.
At the same time, as confidence in Biden continues to slide, Hillary Clinton has stepped up public appearances in preparation for 2024. Sharp differences continue between the Clinton wing of the Democrats and the socialist reform wing around Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and others.
The Republicans aren’t in better shape, with sharp divisions between those who see no alternative but to continue riding the horse of Donald Trump, and those who think he’s the kiss of death.
Both wings of the Republican Party try to advance their electoral chances by taking advantage of workers’ widespread disgust with liberals’ efforts to impose “woke” policies in schools. These include critical race theory, which treats everyone who is Caucasian as irredeemably “racist,” and mandatory course work on “gender identity” in all schools.
At the heart of the capitalist rulers’ crisis is their fear that working people will find ways to push back against years of stagnant wages and grueling working conditions, amid current price hikes, rising household debts, blows to young workers forming a family, and the lingering effects of pandemic lockdowns.
The rulers fear growing numbers of us will recognize that both of their parties have nothing to offer and will join together to build our own political party, a labor party, to fight for what we need.
“On the job and on all political questions workers need to organize independently of the bosses and their parties who try to advance exploitation of workers and farmers in everything they do,” Ellie García, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate from California, told the Militant.
“SWP candidates champion the struggles of workers and our unions for better wages and conditions and build solidarity. Everything we do is aimed at strengthening working people and advancing our class consciousness, so we can build a movement to take political power into our own hands.”
Assaults on Trump and Republicans by Democrats all too frequently take the form of attacks on political rights working people have a vital stake in defending.
In a direct assault on First Amendment protections of free speech, President Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced the establishment of a “Disinformation Governance Board” April 27, claiming it’s needed to provide “security” for the midterm elections. Its actual purpose is to police the media and expose what Democrats call “fake news” from their opponents.
The board is an extension of the kind of censorship practiced by Facebook and other capitalist media.
Heading the board will be “disinformation expert” Nina Janokowicz. Days later a video emerged of Janokowicz targeting “disinformation” she says was spread by Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers.