Aug 11, 2003
The voters of California are being given a chance to dump a sitting governor, Democrat Gray Davis, in a special recall election slated for October 8.
Of course working people have many reasons to get rid of Davis. In the budget that Davis just guided through, the cuts in social spending are enormous. Over two billion dollars is being cut from primary and secondary education which will result in an actual cut in funding per student of nearly $200. Funding for the community college system, often the only gateway to higher education for the working class, is also slashed – while students' fees are practically doubled. And Davis says education is his "priority"!
Billions more are being slashed from almost every social program: public health, MediCal, workers' rehab programs, the state's Supplementary Program for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), work training programs for poor children, etc. Along with these cuts come layoffs, starting with thousands of school teachers, public health workers and professionals and clerical workers.
At the same time, Davis is also increasing taxes and fees, starting with the tripling of the vehicle license fee.
So, yes, Davis should be dumped. But not just him. For Davis's policies could only have been carried out with the support not only of the rest of the Democratic Party, but the Republicans as well. The Republicans are not in office, so they have had the luxury of slightly distancing themselves from these cuts and tax increases. But nothing could have been done without an agreement between the two parties – which shows how completely both parties represent the interests of the ruling class, that is the big corporations and the rich. Even in the midst of the recall, they agreed on how to cut programs which serve the population.
If Davis is dumped in October, what are the alternatives? There may be several hundred candidates running, including a few celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzeneger. But the recall election is dominated by the same Republican and Democratic parties. They both need to be dumped. So what if there were no governor – we'd be better off without any of them.
Working people can refuse to fall into the trap laid by the Tweedledee-Tweedledum twins, the Republicans and Democrats, the two big parties of the bosses, and refuse to vote for any of their candidates, including those, who like Schwartzeneger, pretend to be supposed outsiders.
What this election really shows is the glaring lack of any alternatives that represent the interests of the vast majority of working people. What workers need are candidates that come from the working class, represent its own interests and voice its opposition to all the government policies that serve the bosses. The working class needs its own political party.
That party may not exist today, but workers can lay the groundwork to begin to build it – and to change the situation right now.
Working people can direct some of that outrage that politicians want to divert back into another election into fighting for what we need where we are, that is to oppose the demands for sacrifices, cutbacks and concessions, whether it comes from the politicians or the boss, the government or the company. That will transform the situation right now.