Oct 25, 2004
This election finally boils down to choosing the "lesser evil" – that is, if we believe all those people, including union leaders, who argue that we need to vote for Kerry in order to get Bush out of office.
Lesser evil? What does that mean? The two parties may use different words, but Kerry and the Democrats are still aligning themselves on Bush's policies. As for Bush's wars – Kerry promises to step them up, sending more troops and more bombs. On tax cuts to the corporations – he promises to give the corporations still more cuts, using Bush's pretext that tax cuts produce jobs. On government spending – Kerry promises to reduce the budget deficit, which is nothing but a code word for cutting the social programs, public services and education that working people need.
The Democrats helped Bush push through his polices over the last three and a half years – sometimes voting in their majority with his proposals, for example, for the war, for new repressive laws and for two of his four tax cuts to the wealthy and the corporations. In other cases, they gave him the votes he needed to get his program through.
The Democrats a lesser evil? That's preposterous. That's like arguing that it's a lesser evil to die from arsenic rather than strychnine. Lesser evil it may be, but you're still dead.
Of course workers cannot vote for Bush and the Republicans, who make it clear they are the workers' enemies. But to vote for the Democrats, just because they pretend to be our friends while carrying out an equally anti-worker policy, is just as big a mistake.
To vote for either party gives that party a blank check to impose more sacrifices on us. With our vote, we give our stamp of approval – in advance – to the attacks the Democrats (or the Republicans) have carried out and will continue to carry out.
The ruling class, which is a small minority of the population, has two parties to choose from – Democrats and Republicans.
And yet there are people who dare tell us that working people can't even have one party of our own! Why not?
The American working class has more than enough forces to build its own party. If Kerry wins this time, it will mainly be due to all those union activists who, despite what Kerry stands for, throw themselves into activity to convince their fellow workers to go vote for him. If Kerry wins, a good part of the price of his victory will have been paid for by the unions' fund raising efforts and, what's much more significant, by all the activities union activists have carried out.
Think about all this effort, all the energy put out by working class militants to campaign for someone who defends the corporations. Put this same energy to work telling the truth about the trap of the two-party system, exposing the policy of both parties, leading political fights for what the workers need. If the energy used today to put Kerry in office were spent to defend the interests of the working class, we would have a workers' party.
The working class of this country has the forces needed to build up its own party. But this party won't come into existence so long as our money, our efforts and our votes are used essentially to put the Democrats (or the Republicans) in office.
A workers' party is not only possible, it is an absolute necessity. Whatever comes out of the November elections, working people will still face attacks. What will count then is what we decide to do – whether we stand up for ourselves, refusing further calls for sacrifices, fighting against the speed-up in our workplaces and the downsizing that has cost so many jobs. What will count is whether we express our anger against these filthy wars, which not only are setting American workers against other peoples in the world and grinding down a new generation of young people sent off as cannon fodder, but are stealing from the population's needs at home. What will count is whether we support those U.S. troops who are expressing their opposition to this war. What will count is whether we mobilize to force government at every level to pay for the things we need: education for our children, public services and social programs.
By fighting for these things, not only can we defend ourselves today; we can also start the process of building a true working class party, one devoted solely to defending the interests of working people and other oppressed people.