Workers Vanguard No. 1099
4 November 2016
WikiLeaks Reveals Truths
Democrats Go Ballistic
WikiLeaks’ exposure of the inner workings of the American capitalist ruling class has injected a bit of truth into the coming elections. In the last several months, hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have shined a spotlight on the threadbare pretenses of the Democrats as the “lesser evil.” No less than the other major party of the bourgeoisie, the Republicans, they are a corrupt political machine that represents the interests of big business tycoons and the banks. The leaks underscore that, on top of rigging the primary process to try to ensure another reign of the Clinton dynasty, the Democratic Party is steeped in cronyism, corporate sycophancy and public deceit.
The dangerous demagogue and billionaire Donald Trump and his right-wing supporters like fascist David Duke have cynically welcomed the leaks for exposing government corruption. Meanwhile, scrambling to distract from their own machinations, the Democrats and the compliant liberal media have all but branded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as Moscow’s agent, invoking the spectre that Russia is sabotaging American “democracy.”
The delightfully entertaining email dumps confirm the fraud of capitalist democracy, which is simply democracy for the profit-driven rulers, the bourgeoisie. As V.I. Lenin, leader of the October 1917 Russian Revolution explained, capitalist governments are “instruments for the oppression of workers by the bourgeoisie, institutions of a hostile class, of the exploiting minority.” The working people “never decide important questions under bourgeois democracy, which are decided by the stock exchange and the banks” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, 1918).
In 2008, Barack Obama, still pushing his “hope and change” ruse, had practically his entire cabinet mapped out by Wall Street financiers. WikiLeaks revealed a list of recommendations for cabinet level positions made by then-Citigroup banking executive Michael Froman, a longtime Obama consigliere and now U.S. trade representative, most of which were adopted.
Clinton’s permanent love affair with Wall Street is demonstrated in leaked transcripts of her lavishly paid 2013 speeches to finance plutocrats. She reassured the banksters that a politician needs “both a public and a private position”—the “private” being secret deals and the “public” being lies to her constituents. In excerpts of a discussion with the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Clinton expressed a touching concern for wealthy people who experience “bias” for leading “successful and/or complicated lives.”
This summer, the trove of hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) prompted the resignation of DNC chair and Clinton crony Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The emails revealed a party ploy to undermine Bernie Sanders and steal the thunder from his “political revolution” jingle, which was creating a youthful fan base of Sandernistas along with some not insignificant labor union support.
In one email from March, a DNC official noted that while Clinton already ripped off “important elements of Bernie’s ideas and rhetoric,” she should throw a bone to Sanders’s “self-righteous ideologues” at the convention: “We want them to go home happy and enthusiastic in working their asses off for Hillary.” Certainly Sanders is doing his share to achieve that. From the get-go, Sanders made it clear he would never break loyalty, either to the Democrats or to the economic system of the “billionaire class.”
Clinton’s attempt to present a populist face with slogans like “Wall Street must work for Main Street” is hogwash. As a former six-year board member of Wal-Mart, she couldn’t bring herself to support even Sanders’s modest push for a $15 federal minimum wage. But her loyal supporters in the trade-union bureaucracy, which acts to bind the workers to the capitalist order, were unfazed. In other WikiLeaks revelations, one Hillary toady, American Federation of Teachers top Randi Weingarten, is captured devising strategies to punish unions who refused to back Clinton to the hilt. For example, Weingarten wrote, “we will go after” the National Nurses United “and there [sic] high and mighty sanctimonious conduct.”
Dr. Strangelove in a Pantsuit
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has promised to pull more skeletons out of the closet before Election Day. Unable to deny the current revelations and in a panic to cover up future ones, the Democrats are claiming that both Assange and Donald Trump are agents of an evil empire and that the Russian government is responsible for hacking the emails. Resurrected Cold Warriors from the New York Times have been especially fervent in promoting this Russia-bashing, as exhibited by their August 31 headline: “How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets.” Meanwhile, MSNBC (or, as rad-lib journalist Jeffrey St. Clair aptly calls it, MSDNC) host Joy Reid railed on Twitter against “authoritarian, communist Russia.”
Capitalist counterrevolution in 1991-92 destroyed the Soviet Union, a degenerated workers state. The imperialist rulers had long fought to overturn the collectivized economy issuing from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Today, Washington’s demonization of the Vladimir Putin regime—which has committed numerous atrocities, not least the murderous colonial occupation of Chechnya—is in the service of the imperialist drive to curtail capitalist Russia’s strength as a nuclear-armed regional power and potential rival.
Clinton has made it clear to neocons and militarists that she is ready for a war with Russia, for instance by calling for a no-fly zone in Syria. Trump’s less bellicose stance toward Putin seems rational in comparison. Journalist and filmmaker John Pilger recently noted: “Trump is loathed by those with power in the United States for reasons that have little to do with his obnoxious behaviour and opinions. To the invisible government in Washington, the unpredictable Trump is an obstacle to America’s design for the 21st century” (johnpilger.com, 27 October). In fact, Trump, with his venomous racist and sexist outbursts, is a gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats, as he drives black, Latino and women voters into the arms of the widely despised Clinton.
As for Clinton’s claims that Russia is trying to “influence the outcome of the election” in favor of Trump, it is Washington that virtually copyrighted “regime change.” The blood-soaked U.S. rulers have a long history of “influencing” elections in other countries, or simply organizing coups or direct military intervention, from the Bay of Pigs and Allende’s Chile to Libya and backing and bankrolling the 2014 fascist-spearheaded coup in Ukraine.
Imperialist Lies and Retribution
Assange first appeared on the American rulers’ hit list for releasing a massive leak of files documenting torture and civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq back in 2010. Since then, he has been witchhunted and threatened with arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been confined as a de facto prisoner for four years since Ecuador granted him political asylum. Sweden’s request for extradition on bogus sexual assault allegations is in the direct service of sending him to the U.S. so he can be jailed, likely on espionage charges (see “Hands Off Julian Assange!” WV No. 1010, 12 October 2012). Undoubtedly under pressure from the U.S., the government of Ecuador recently cut off Assange’s internet, claiming that it did not want to facilitate a “major impact” on the presidential election. Happily, it seems that this maneuver is not affecting the planned WikiLeaks releases.
To get a sense of Assange’s potential fate, one need only consider the situation of Chelsea Manning. Over six years ago, Manning, a former army private, gave WikiLeaks the notorious “Collateral Murder” video showing the gunning down of Reuters reporters and Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military, along with numerous military logs and diplomatic cables. Subjected to the torture of solitary confinement, she now languishes in prison with a 35-year sentence. In September, Assange bravely said he would turn himself in to U.S. authorities if Obama granted clemency to Manning. Unlikely. The Obama administration used the 1917 Espionage Act against leakers and whistle-blowers more than all prior administrations combined. As for Clinton, her venom against Assange was captured in her quip: “Can’t we just drone this guy?”
By unmasking the bourgeoisie’s lies and intrigues, courageous individuals like Assange, Manning and Edward Snowden have carried out a service to workers and the oppressed throughout the world. Early on, liberals celebrated WikiLeaks’ revelations about Bush-era war crimes and spying. Then, when the media seized on the spurious rape accusations to smear Assange, many jumped ship. Now, under the “Dump Trump” hype (read “Vote Hillary”), more liberals have thrown Assange under the bus in the fear that negative publicity about Clinton will lead to a Trump victory. Assange made his political proclivities clear, aptly declaring that the major party candidates amount to a choice between “cholera or gonorrhea.”
The Fraud of
Deception, manipulation and dishonesty are the normal workings of a political system whose purpose is to protect the profits and rule of a tiny class from the masses of the population they exploit. American history teems with examples of fabrications and manipulation used to coerce a reluctant populace to go to war and to justify repressive measures. For his part, Assange hopes his releases will bring about a degree of government “transparency.” But asking the executive committee of the ruling class to be transparent to the masses is like asking the fox to announce his intentions to the chickens. Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky explained that secret diplomacy is “a necessary tool for a propertied minority which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests.”
Elections under bourgeois democracy allow the oppressed masses to “choose” who will subjugate them during the next few years. Regardless of who becomes the next Commander-in-Chief, the government is not “ours,” but part of the machine to maintain capitalist class rule. Because they sometimes use kinder words, the Democrats are often more effective at carrying out attacks on the working class and the oppressed than Republicans. As Gore Vidal, the late great American author remarked:
“There is only one party in the United States, the Property party…and it has two wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently (nervous laugh on that)—and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”
—“State of the Union” (1975)
Every exposure of the rulers’ deceits is of value to the working class, but it is going to take more than leaks and whistles to fundamentally change this rotten society. The manifold discontent engendered by endless war, racial oppression, economic misery and state repression needs to be directed against the capitalist class enemy, with the social power of the multiracial proletariat mobilized on behalf of all the exploited and oppressed. For such a struggle to go forward to victory, it is necessary to build a revolutionary workers party to lead a socialist revolution that breaks the power of the bourgeoisie and establishes workers rule.