The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

What Voting Rights?

Jul 19, 2021

This year, the Republican Party has changed voting and election laws in about a dozen states by making it harder to vote early or by mail. Some of these measures include banning or restricting drop boxes and shortening early or absentee voting periods.

These restrictions are obviously aimed at discouraging some poor and working people from voting. The Republicans’ political calculation is that this will undercut the Democrats and make it easier for the Republicans to win close elections.

Don’t look to the courts to stop these restrictions. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of keeping voting restrictions that affect working people and the poor, which it did again in its latest decision in early July.

Don’t count on the Democrats to stop these latest restrictions, either. Sure, Biden made a big speech vowing to fight for voting rights, and the Democrats in Texas temporarily stopped the Texas state government from passing new voting restrictions by flying to Washington. But these were little more than a big show. Because the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress by a small margin, but they still didn’t get a federal law passed that they claim would beef up the old Voting Rights Act ... because some of their own members wouldn’t vote for it.

Some defenders of the right to vote! Even in states that the Democrats control, millions of working people have to wait in line for hours to vote—because of the lack of polling stations due to all the cutbacks to government services that Democrats impose, in order to pay for big tax breaks to Big Business and the rich.

The fact is that the only rights that working people have are those we are ready to fight for. The only way black people got the right to vote was through a massive movement that swept through the entire country and lasted decades. The only way that women got the right to vote was through a movement that lasted almost a century!

And today, over 20 million immigrants in this country still don’t have the right to vote. They make up an important part of the workforce. They help produce and make society run. But they don’t have even minimal political rights.

And the same goes for over five million former prisoners, who overwhelmingly come out of the working class.

This may be a democracy, but it is only for the rich. It is their government, run by both their parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. And an election won’t change that. The only way working people will get their full rights will be to organize together to fight to throw the whole bunch out.