Workers Vanguard No. 1094
26 August 2016
War Criminals Rally Behind Hawk Clinton
Capitalist Green Party No Alternative
We Need a Revolutionary Workers Party!
Coming off the Democratic National Convention—where retired four-star Marine general John Allen roused the party faithful into jingoistic chants of “USA! USA!”—Hillary Clinton has been racking up endorsements from a veritable rogues’ gallery of U.S. imperialism’s leading warmongers, mass murderers and Dr. Strangeloves. In early August, 50 former top national security advisors to Republican administrations going back to Richard Nixon signed a letter declaring that their party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, “would be the most reckless President in American history.” What moved them to jump ship was not Trump’s flagrant racism, a card the GOP has been playing for decades, albeit somewhat more sotto voce.
Rather, these Republicans lost it when Trump opined that he would not necessarily support the Baltic NATO states if Russia attacked. For more than a decade, the U.S. imperialists have been provoking capitalist Russia, including through a military buildup of NATO forces on its borders. Now the Democrats and many Republicans are seizing on Trump’s stated affinity for Vladimir Putin to portray him as a Manchurian candidate, a puppet for the Russian president. In a 5 August New York Times op-ed piece titled “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton,” Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, put it baldly: “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
In contrast, Morell promotes Clinton’s qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief of U.S. imperialism. He points to her role as an “early advocate of the raid that brought Bin Laden to justice” (i.e., murdered him and threw his body into the sea) and a consistent promoter of a “more aggressive approach” in Syria (i.e., bomb ’em back to the Stone Age). He salutes her willingness to “use force” and “her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all—whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.” No wonder that she has for months been getting the support of several leading neocons who worry that Trump is an “unreliable” loose cannon. In short, Clinton is a proven, gold-plated war hawk.
Donald Trump is a dangerous demagogue, capable of saying and doing just about anything. And there is plenty for working people and the oppressed to fear as he incites a frenzy of “America First” chauvinist reaction among his supporters, who include the race-terrorists of the KKK and other fascists. It is this fear that the Democrats have cynically played on to get black people, immigrants, workers and the now-dejected youthful followers of Bernie Sanders to rally behind Clinton.
In the Democratic primaries, 77 percent of the black vote went to Clinton. Overwhelmingly, black people see the former party of the Confederacy and the Jim Crow South as the only option to defeat Trump. It was heartbreaking to see the mothers of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and others killed at the hands of the cops or racist vigilantes on stage at the Democratic Convention for the coronation of a woman who reviled young black men as “superpredators” and backed her husband’s racist anti-crime bill and the destruction of welfare.
As always the labor misleaders offered their services, with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka also taking the stage to push the whopping lie that Clinton will “protect workplace rights” and “stand up to Wall Street.” The union tops’ allegiance to the Democrats is an old shell game. Their subordination of the interests of the working class to the party of their exploiters has left a trail of broken strikes, busted unions and the ongoing destruction of the livelihood of working people.
Meanwhile, as she tries to court Republicans, Clinton’s attentions are directed not to the traditional base of the Democrats but to wooing Wall Street and the generals, spies and other operatives of U.S. imperialism into her “big tent.” And she has been very successful. As Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford wrote in “Hillary Stuffs Entire U.S. Ruling Class into Her Big, Nasty Tent” (10 August):
“It’s a funky place to be—especially for the traditional Black, brown and labor ‘base’ of the party, now squished into a remote and malodorous corner of the tent, near the latrine, clutching the pages of a party platform that was never meant to bind anyone....
“She is the candidate of the imperial war machine, whose operatives have flocked to her corner in dread of Trump’s willingness to make ‘deals’ with the Russians and Chinese. She is the candidate of multinational corporations, which are perfectly confident she is lying about her stance on TPP and other trade deals. And she is the candidate of the CIA and its fellow global outlaws, who will thrive as never before with a president in the White House who cackles ‘We came, we saw, he died’ when the leader of an African country is murdered by Islamic jihadists supported by the United States.”
If elected, Clinton will have her trigger-happy fingers on the nuclear button. For his part, Ford, like other radical liberals, not to mention a cast of self-proclaimed socialists, looks for refuge in the capitalist Green Party.
From Bernie Sanders
to the Greens
Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin succinctly explained that the fraud of bourgeois democracy amounts to deciding “once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people.” In this contest between perhaps the two most despised candidates in U.S. history, we aim to drive home the Marxist understanding of the class nature of the capitalist order, and the need to build a multiracial revolutionary workers party independent of and in opposition to the rule of the capitalist class enemy and all its parties.
In contrast, organizations like Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO), notwithstanding their rare genuflections to Marxism, are busy trying to pump some air into the deflated tire of bourgeois electoralism by channeling discontent into support for the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein. Having spent the last year rallying behind Bernie Sanders and his calls for a “political revolution against the billionaire class,” SAlt wailed that Sanders “walked out on that strategy, and called for a vote for the very establishment we have been fighting against.” In fact, he did exactly what he promised when he launched his campaign: to back the winner of the Democratic primaries. As we wrote in “Break with the Capitalist Democrats and Republicans!” (WV No. 1092, 1 July):
“Many of those who support Sanders believe that his primary bid has launched a ‘movement’ that represents some kind of challenge to the political establishment. In fact, Sanders has done everything to reinforce this establishment by refurbishing its image and reinforcing illusions and confidence in American capitalist democracy. He brought large numbers of disaffected young people ‘into the political process’ (read: Democratic Party)....
“To put it plainly: the pseudo-socialist groups that support Sanders have done their best, within the limits of their forces, to reinforce the ties that bind the working class politically to its class enemies. As revolutionary Marxists, we offer no political support on principle to any party of the bosses—not only the major parties of the U.S. ruling class, the Republicans and Democrats, but also small-time capitalist parties such as the Greens.”
Having led many youth and others down the garden path with Sanders, SAlt is now trying to corral them behind Stein’s campaign as “the clear continuation of our political revolution.” Kshama Sawant, SAlt’s Seattle city council member, argues that Stein “has gone further than Bernie, in particular with her rejection of key aspects of U.S. foreign policy.” That wouldn’t be hard. Sanders argues that the U.S. “should have the strongest military in the world” and has an impeccable record of support to the wars, occupations, drone strikes and other depredations of U.S. imperialism (see “Bernie Sanders: Imperialist Running Dog,” WV No. 1083, 12 February).
And what is the position of Stein’s Green Party? Her election platform calls for cutting in half the U.S. military budget, which is many times more than the combined total of all its imperialist rivals. So Stein is for fewer bombs than Bernie and Hillary but is nonetheless dedicated to preserving an arsenal to enforce the predatory and murderous interests of America’s rulers abroad.
Stein’s program calls to “restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.” You know, the National Guard that occupied Ferguson to put down protests against the cop killing of Michael Brown in 2014; the National Guard that union-busting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had on standby to do the same against black protests in Milwaukee; the National Guard that shot dead four antiwar protesters at Kent State in 1970 after being called in from a nearby deployment against a Teamsters strike; the National Guard that, as the domestic troops enforcing the diktats of America’s capitalist rulers, has the blood of countless striking workers on its hands.
For its part, the ISO has also, and yet again, thrown its support to the Green Party. In particular, the ISO is enthused over “the passage of an amendment to the party platform making the Greens an explicitly anti-capitalist party.” Why would that make any difference to the ISO? They supported the Green Party and even ran their own members as candidates of the party when the Greens openly described themselves as a party of “small business, responsible stakeholder capitalism.” Despite the Green Party’s current proclaimed rejection of the “capitalist system,” the amendment to its program doesn’t change its character as a bourgeois party and is, in fact, “balanced” by also rejecting “state socialism,” raising the all-purpose anti-communist bogeyman of totalitarianism.
The Greens’ vision is of “an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy.” Such a Shangri-La is a pipe dream conjured up by relatively well-heeled and overwhelmingly white middle-class people who live in advanced capitalist countries and have their homes in neighborhoods far removed from the industry required for a modern economy. They are the types that have access to resources for “local sustainability,” with vegetable plots, bike paths and a city council that will raise taxes on such unhealthy habits as smoking and sugary sodas, depriving the poor and working class of some of the few pleasures they have in life.
Stein also says she stands for beneficial things like free Medicare for all, a living wage, jobs for the unemployed, free education through university, etc. But these promises—which in themselves would only provide limited relief from the all-sided destitution faced by working people and the poor—are hot air. Such concessions will only be wrung from the bourgeoisie through class struggle, mobilizing the social power of the working class whose labor produces the wealth that is stolen by the capitalist exploiters.
For working people to get their hands on that wealth, the capitalists’ power has to be broken. That means a workers party that fights for a workers government to expropriate the capitalist owners and expand the productive forces in order to create an egalitarian socialist society, one devoted to providing for the needs of the many, not the profits of the few. This is counterposed to the program of the Green Party, which is devoted not to increasing but to decreasing production and consumption—purportedly to “save the earth,” not its human inhabitants.
The Third Party Fraud
There have been several third-party candidacies in the history of the U.S. From Robert La Follette’s 1924 presidential bid to Henry Wallace’s 1948 Progressive Party, their purpose has been to corral discontent with the two major parties into another capitalist electoral vehicle with promises of a better deal for the “little guy.” In its call to “Fix Our Broken System,” the Green Party promotes the value of third parties to not only “lure voters to the polls” but “also help to turn one of the major parties out of office.” As an example, they point to Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, whose 1912 election campaign “helped the Democrats wrest the White House from 20 years of unchallenged Republican supremacy.” The winner was Southern Democrat Woodrow Wilson, an arch-segregationist who drove blacks out of federal civil service jobs and was an admirer of the Ku Klux Klan.
Similarly, the Green Party’s statement argues that third parties keep “Americans involved in our democratic process” by providing “an ‘emotional bridge’ for voters who are weary of supporting one major party but are not yet ready to vote for the other.” Here they grotesquely hold up the 1968 presidential campaign of George Wallace. “Segregation forever” Wallace was the former Dixiecrat governor of Alabama who revolted against civil rights legislation. According to the Greens, his American Independent Party campaign “drew support from traditional Southern Democrats who weren’t emotionally prepared to vote as Republicans.” The Southern Democrats crossed that “emotional bridge” and are now a major component of the racist yahoos rallying for Trump.
And it’s not just them. Last summer, former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader heralded Trump as a “breath of fresh air.” Welcoming Trump’s then-refusal to rule out a third party challenge if he lost the GOP nomination, Nader argued: “The two party tyranny that blocks voter choices and dominates the political scene on behalf of big business needs to be broken up and Trump is the one to do it.” Wow—the ticket to breaking the domination of big business is a billionaire real estate mogul!
To all those who bought Sanders’ phony “political revolution,” don’t get fooled again by Stein’s Green Party. The facade of bourgeois democracy is designed to obscure the fact that the capitalist state is an instrument of organized force and violence, consisting at its core of the police, army, courts and prisons. Its purpose is to maintain capitalist rule and profit through the suppression of the working class, the forcible segregation of the majority of black people at the bottom of society and by advancing the interests of U.S. imperialism abroad.
It is a myth that working people and the oppressed can elect a reformed capitalist government that will defend their interests against the robber barons of Wall Street. As communists, we champion the fight for jobs for all at good wages; for decent housing; for quality, fully government-funded health care and education. Our purpose is to link such demands to building a revolutionary working-class party that will inscribe on its banner the defense of immigrant rights and the fight for black freedom as part of the struggle to overthrow this decaying capitalist system. As the Spartacist League/U.S. Declaration of Principles, written at our founding 50 years ago, states:
“The victory of the proletariat on a world scale would place unimagined material abundance at the service of human needs, lay the basis for the elimination of social classes, and eliminate forever the drive for war inherent in the world economic system of capitalism. For the first time mankind will grasp the reins of history and control its own creation, society, resulting in an undreamed-of emancipation of human potential, the limitless expansion of freedom in every area, and a monumental forward surge of civilization. Only then will it be possible to realize the free development of each individual as the condition for the free development of all.”