As political crisis of US rulers deepens, Socialist Workers Party speaks out

By Terry Evans
January 2, 2023
Ilona Gersh, right, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Chicago, discusses fight of rail workers and the need for solidarity with co-workers at Alpha Baking Company Dec. 18.
Militant/Lisa RottachIlona Gersh, right, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Chicago, discusses fight of rail workers and the need for solidarity with co-workers at Alpha Baking Company Dec. 18.

Following the 2022 elections, working people face both a deepening crisis in the capitalist economy — a slowdown in hiring at the same time prices continue to rise — and attacks on living conditions and constitutional freedoms by the capitalist rulers and their two political parties, the Democrats and Republicans.

The Socialist Workers Party is organizing to build solidarity with workers in battle against boss and government attacks, from the rail yards nationwide to strikes by Case New Holland workers in Wisconsin and Iowa and miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. The party fields candidates posing the need for workers to build our own party, a labor party based on our unions.

Factional conflicts between — and within — the Democratic and Republican parties have been heating up since they both faced losses in the November elections. Republicans failed in an effort to retake the Senate and the Democrats lost the House, yielding a bitterly divided government with challenges adopting legislation.

Assault on constitutional freedoms

For years Democrats of all stripes have agreed on making Trump the issue in politics. This has dominated their action since Joseph Biden won the presidency. They’ve smeared the 74 million people who voted for Trump as “semi-fascists” who are “dangerous” and “a threat to the country.” They believe working people are “deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton famously called them, who must be kept  by any means necessary from influencing politics.

They’ve spent years organizing witch hunt hearings in Congress on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, sending the FBI — the capitalist rulers’ political police — on raids on Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago and the homes and offices of his political allies. They’ve sent informers into groups of Trump supporters and framed them up on “seditious conspiracy” charges. They’ve enlisted the help of allies at Twitter, Google and other social media outlets for wide-ranging spy operations on cellphone users.

Even if Trump isn’t on the ballot in 2024, Democratic Party officials told NBC, they will tie Trump around the neck of whoever the Republican nominee is.

On Dec. 19 the Democrat-run Jan. 6 Committee recommended Biden’s Justice Department charge Trump with “insurrection,” conspiracy to “defraud” the United States and other crimes.

This has nothing to do with Trump’s continuing claims the 2020 election was stolen, which have little basis. The Democrats’ relentless campaign is purely partisan, aimed at barring Trump from running again and, if possible, sending him to prison.

These assaults are a deadly danger to political liberties crucial for working people and our struggles. Defending and extending constitutional freedoms is at the center of the class struggle today.

No matter who the Democrats currently target, it is working people, our unions and the working-class vanguard that will be targeted tomorrow.

While they’re united on witch hunting Trump — and on voting to impose a contract on rail workers and on denying them the right to strike — the Democrats remain deeply divided on what politics the party should advance. Socialist Democrats and associated left-liberals push radical reforms of capitalism. Nancy Pelosi, Clinton and traditional party leaders disagree with this course. Heading toward 2024 these differences will deepen, threatening to tear the party apart.

Republicans’ crisis

A number of Republican leaders, from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to the editors of the Wall Street Journal, are pressing for the party to break once and for all from Trump. They argue he was the reason the party didn’t win a sweeping victory in 2022, despite Biden’s unpopularity.

Several piled further disapproval on Trump after he chose to meet Nov. 24 with Kanye West, who had recently made a series of Jew-hating outbursts.

His antisemitic attacks undermine solidarity within the working class and have been met with revulsion from broad layers of working people and the oppressed.

Many Republican leaders claim they can win back the presidency by being a “Trump party,” a champion of “the little person,” but without the former president as their candidate. “We are the party of working men and women,” Cruz claimed Dec. 5.

But far from presenting a road forward for the struggles of workers and farmers, Republicans seek to be the voice of the politics of resentment, turning real challenges workers face into tools to foment divisions in the working class.

They do sometimes touch a nerve when they speak out demagogically against one or another of the anti-working-class proposals of the Democrats, like claims parents have no right to a say on what their kids are taught.

But their real sentiments were captured by former Ronald Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan, who said Republicans now include “a whole rising wave of scrappy, comparatively less sophisticated voters who felt they’d been ignored.” This says a lot more about their contempt for working people — something they share with Democrats.

Socialist Workers Party campaign

While the faction-ridden Democrats and Republicans vie for who can best represent the interests of the capitalist ruling class, the Socialist Workers Party has launched the campaign of Ilona Gersh for mayor of Chicago, with more to come across the country.

Gersh explains that politics “is not liberal vs. conservative, but class vs. class. Workers face not only the economic breakdowns of capitalism, but a growing social and moral crisis.”

She advances a course for our unions to fight for jobs and against the scourge of soaring prices. “To combat unemployment, shorten the workweek with no cut in take-home pay. For cost-of-living raises to protect wages from inflation, as well as for pensions, unemployment benefits and Social Security. For workers control of conditions and safety on the job.

“Fight for conditions that allow young workers to begin families and provide for them, including jobs, medical care, child care, affordable housing and income supplements as needed to make it possible to keep a job and have enough time off to be part of union struggles,” she says.

“Workers need our own foreign policy, one that starts from the interests of the toilers at home and internationally. Defend Ukraine’s sovereignty! Support protests in Iran! Defend Cuba’s socialist revolution!”

The SWP says we need a labor party, based on our unions. A labor party would be an instrument to advance working-class struggles, and point the road for working people to take political power into our own hands and establish a workers and farmers government.