US rulers face political crisis as workers seek road forward

By Terry Evans
August 8, 2022

The U.S. capitalist rulers face a political crisis. Plunging support for President Joseph Biden in the polls; continued anti-Trump hysteria by liberals, the middle-class left and Never-Trump Republicans; as well as deepening divisions tearing at both the Democratic and Republican parties, are some of the symptoms.

The two-party shell game has served the capitalist rulers well for decades, but it is shattering today fueled by their growing fear of the working class, as we begin to push back against the bosses’ drive to put the economic and social crisis of the capitalist system on our backs.

With no accomplishments to run on in November’s election, and Biden’s tanking support, Democrats are desperately ramping up their stage-managed congressional “hearings,” seeking to pillory former President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in 2021. They claim this was nothing less than a failed attempt at insurrection. It comes on top of more than six years of trying to topple Trump on utterly spurious charges of being an agent of Russia.

Democrats want to make Trump the issue in 2022, while Never-Trump Republicans share the desire to prevent him from having an influence in their party and making another presidential run in 2024.

The partisan hearings make no pretense at being an objective investigation. Testimony is chosen selectively by the Democrats’ hand-picked committee where hearsay evidence is perfectly fine and no cross-examination of witnesses is allowed.

This frame-up committee has interrogated over 1,000 witnesses so far, selectively choosing those whose testimony, has “the best facts to tell a clean, one-sided story,” a former Justice Department special task force member told the New York Times July 25.

Anyone who has the nerve to refuse to talk to the committee faces the wrath of the liberals. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who declined to appear when subpoenaed last fall, was charged and found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress July 22 and now faces jail time and fines.

The last people jailed for contempt of Congress were the Hollywood 10 — film writers, directors and producers who refused to “name names” when subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.

These kinds of star chamber proceedings and trampling on constitutional rights are a real danger for the working class — which is the real target of the capitalist rulers.

The atmosphere of hysteria whipped up by organizers of the hearing, who claim “our way of life” is threatened, was bound to have dangerous repercussions. On July 21 David Jakubonis attacked Trump supporter and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin as he was speaking at a campaign event, lunging toward his neck with a sharpened martial arts weapon near Rochester, New York. Jakubonis shouted, “You’re done.” Zeldin was able to hold off the attack. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arraigned Jakubonis on a felony, but then released him on his own recognizance! He was later jailed on federal charges.

Roots of the rulers’ political crisis

U.S. imperialism faces a multisided crisis today. It confronts mounting challenges from rival powers — including Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Beijing’s growing economic and military clout and the Iranian rulers’ drive to get nuclear weapons.

Despite its relative decline, there is no replacement for the U.S. rulers at head of the imperialist world order. U.S. bosses also face the crisis of their system at home. More working people are looking for ways to defend ourselves from sky-high prices, job cuts, speedup, rising interest rates and attacks by employers on our wages, working conditions and prospects of retirement. Rents have shot up a whopping 14.1% this year.

More workers are living paycheck to paycheck; more farmers face bankruptcy and loss of their farms; more young workers are unable to move out of their parents’ homes; birth rates are falling; deaths from drug overdoses are at a record high; and violent crime is rising. The number of workers in the workforce remains below pre-pandemic levels and is even lower for women, many driven back into the home because there is no affordable child care.

No wing of the Democratic or Republican parties — from Trump to the democratic socialists on the left of the Democrats — have a way out of this capitalist crisis. They all present different claims of what they will try to do for you, or, more likely, to you.

The Democrats are turning on each other. Sen. Joseph Manchin has “doomed humanity,” claimed former Obama official John Podesta, after the West Virginia senator refused to sign on to yet another repackaged version of Biden’s spending and climate change legislation.

“It’s time for executive Beast Mode,” wrote Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse July 14, demanding the White House throw the Constitution overboard and declare a “national emergency” to justify issuing a raft of executive orders that bypass debate and votes in Congress. The concentration of power in the hands of the executive branch is a danger to the labor movement, making it easier for the rulers to launch wars and go after working people’s rights.

Biden’s presidency has also come in for shrill denunciation from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said he doesn’t “get moving” but instead gives fellow Democrats “‘why we can’t’ lists!!”

Some Democrats just want to dump Biden and be done with it. “Quit, Joe, Quit!” was the headline on a Washington Post opinion piece by longtime party operative Steven Isenberg July 24.

In the Republican Party, the rift between Trump and the Never-Trumpers grows wider and more irreconcilable.

The one thing all the wings of capitalist politics can agree on is that the real problem is what Hillary Clinton in 2016 famously called the “deplorables.”

The capitalist rulers and the meritocratic middle-class layers that hang onto their coattails have deep-rooted scorn, as well as a growing fear, of the working class.

We need our own party, a labor party

Workers attracted to Trump were disgusted at having been turned into cannon fodder in the rulers’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deteriorating working and living conditions they faced and the fact that none of the politicians in Washington cared about their problems or their lives. Millions of workers turned out to hear Trump present himself as an outsider who claimed he would drain the Washington swamp and bring back jobs.

As workers face a growing crisis imposed by capitalism in decay, and more attacks from the bosses and their crisis-ridden parties, they are looking for an alternative. Only the Socialist Workers Party and its candidates offer a course toward independent working-class political action. They start from the capacities of working people to join together to defend our own interests. The SWP says workers need to organize and use our unions to fight today and to form our own party, a labor party, that can speak for all the exploited and oppressed, and lead millions in revolutionary struggle to take political power into our own hands.