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Workers Vanguard No. 1090

20 May 2016
The closing date for news in this issue is 17 May.

Workers Vanguard

No to the Capitalist Democrats and Republicans!

Down With Racist Attacks on Voting Rights!

This presidential election will likely pit all-around bigot Donald Trump against arch-warmonger Hillary Clinton. The bourgeoisie’s top two contenders are feared and loathed by many, and the election has already been marked by escalating attacks on voting rights. Since the last presidential election, new or tougher voter ID laws will be in place in 15 states by November. In all, 33 states have laws on the books requiring voters to provide a government-issued photo ID, disenfranchising over 13 percent of adults: the poor, the elderly, students and, above all, black people and other minorities. According to Zoltan L. Hajnal, author of a study on voter ID laws, “We’re finding typically that strict voter ID laws double or triple the gap in turnout between whites and nonwhites” (New York Times, 1 May).

The assault on the right to vote has mainly been carried out by Republican governors and legislators in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” Everyone knows this is a lie: the real motive is suppressing the vote of black people and others who are likely to support the Democrats. For their part, the Democrats posture as defenders of the franchise, particularly in contested swing states, as they cynically exploit fears of the openly racist Republicans to mobilize black voters. However, in the blue state Rhode Island, it was the Democratic legislature that instituted a voter ID law in 2011.

In office, the Democrats carry out massive assaults on black people, workers and the oppressed. Bill Clinton ended “welfare as we know it” and escalated the “war on drugs,” sending more people to federal prison than under Reagan and Bush Sr. combined. Barack Obama bailed out Wall Street on the backs of working people and shredded democratic rights, as well as attacking the unions, deporting record numbers of immigrants and ordering murderous drone strikes against civilians in South Asia, the Near East and Africa. We oppose on principle voting for any party that represents the capitalist class enemy, including both the Democrats and Republicans.

For the mass of the population, even the most basic democratic rights were won through bitter struggle. For black people, this struggle has been bitter indeed. A bloody Civil War was necessary to smash slavery and give former slaves the rights of citizens, including the right to vote and to hold office. But the promise of black equality during Radical Reconstruction was betrayed as the Northern capitalists forged an alliance with the former slaveowners to exploit the former slaves. The freedmen were forced into sharecropping and tenant farming in the South, and the system of Jim Crow segregation emerged, with the Democratic Party as its architect. Through legal restrictions backed up by Klan terror, black people were effectively deprived of the right to vote. (read on)

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About the ICL




V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek, Korean and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!