While all the results of the 2022 elections will not be known for weeks, the Democrats held on to the Senate while Republicans have won the House, both by the slimmest of margins. Neither of these parties are capable of providing the capitalist rulers with a decisive majority and self-confident course in their drive to put the social, economic and moral crisis on the backs of working people.
Without a substantial majority, Democrats will continue to find it difficult to get their partisan projects through Congress. They will continue to rely heavily on executive orders issued by the White House. This situation narrows their ability to push anti-constitutional “reforms,” like packing the U.S. Supreme Court, eliminating the electoral college and more.
Under capitalist exploitation, government gridlock is most often better for working people. The less that the Democrats or Republicans can do, the less they can do to us.
One thing is certain, President Joseph Biden’s war against Donald Trump; his administration’s effort to refurbish the FBI, the rulers’ political police; and attacks on the tens of millions he calls “MAGA Republicans” will continue. Democrats of all stripes and growing numbers of No-more-Trump Republicans are determined to ensure the former president can never hold office again. As Trump announces he’ll run in 2024, the Justice Department is weighing whether to file charges against him over the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol or over his possession of material the FBI seized in its armed raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate.
With no end in sight to the capitalist political and economic crisis, the rulers’ and their middle-class backers, especially in the Democratic Party, are determined to find ways to sideline working people. Turning Trump into a criminal is one way to nullify the voice of tens of millions. Another is the Democrats’ attacks on constitutional freedoms. This poses a danger for working people.
Assault on constitutional freedoms
One example is unfolding in the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, which is being conducted alongside a Democrat-led propaganda barrage against the danger of spreading fascist gangs. But there is no growth of a fascist movement today.
Rhodes is charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 melee at the Capitol last year. Sedition and conspiracy laws make advocating ideas a crime, discarding the protection of free speech in the Constitution. These laws have been used by the capitalist rulers for more than two centuries against abolitionists, opponents of Washington’s wars, union militants and leaders of the Socialist Workers Party.
Defense lawyers called Greg McWhirter, a former Oath Keeper leader now known to have been an undercover snitch for the FBI, to testify Nov. 8. As he set out for the courthouse, he suffered a heart attack and, authorities say, it is unlikely he’ll be able to testify any time soon. But if Rhodes was conspiring to overthrow the government, the FBI would surely have known about it from McWhirter or other covert agents it employed. Or it could have used the agents to try and entrap Rhodes, as the FBI has done many times against others.
Democrats’ use of the FBI and its dirty tricks against political opponents like Trump, or Rhodes, means the same and worse will be done to the working class, our unions and their vanguard. In addition, the New York Times advocates banning the Oath Keepers entirely by using state laws that outlaw groups they call paramilitary. But the Times editors complain that the Supreme Court may prevent this because Trump-appointed justices are concerned with “the Constitution’s guarantee of the right of free association and free speech.”
The increasingly harsh measures taken by bosses to defend their profits has led to an increase in the number of strikes and other workers’ battles. Current examples include the courageous fight by school workers in Ontario to defend their right to strike and stirrings of resistance in the U.S. rail unions against both the bosses and their backers in the White House.
The rulers increasingly fear the future, sensing that more workers will recognize that neither the Democrats nor Republicans defend us.
As a result the fissures that wrack both of the bosses’ main parties will deepen. With Trump-backed candidates losing in a number of key races and the former president announcing his 2024 campaign Nov. 14, recriminations and divisions within the Republicans are growing.
Democrats’ gains in the election were cheered by organizations of the middle-class left. “The People Reject the Program of the Right,” the Party For Socialism and Liberation said in a special Nov. 11 post-election statement. Democrats could have won more, the PSL wrote, if they “had pushed through the Build Back Better social program.” The integration of the PSL and similar groups into the left of capitalist politics will deepen.
SWP — a working-class alternative
Socialist Workers Party candidates got a wide hearing for their working-class program and activities among workers and farmers.
They built support for union strike struggles; pointed to the stakes for workers in defending constitutional freedoms; spoke out against Biden’s use of anti-union laws to block rail workers from fighting for what they need; discussed how to advance the struggle for women’s emancipation after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision; and joined actions in solidarity with working people in Iran, against Moscow’s murderous war in Ukraine, and to demand the U.S. rulers immediately end their brutal economic war on Cuba’s socialist revolution.
Everywhere SWP candidates explained that the roots of the social breakdowns and wars workers confront lie in the rule of the capitalist class. They presented a course for workers to use our unions to fight attacks by the bosses and their government and the need for workers to form our own party, a labor party based on our unions.
It’s along that road that we can build a movement to lead millions to take political power from the capitalist class and establish a workers and farmers government. And it’s that course the SWP continues to advance and looks to recruit to.