The Spark

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

Editorial:
Elections 2006:
When your only choice is between arsenic and strychnine, don’t drink

Oct 30, 2006

Elections are supposed to allow the population to express itself on the record of those who held office – or so the politicians tell us.

So, what kind of record have the Republicans made over the last six years, when they held the presidency, the Congress and the majority of state governors?

Responsible for the disaster of two wars, one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq.

Responsible for shifting more money from the federal and state budgets into the pockets of the wealthy and of the corporations they own.

Responsible for the reduction of public services for the population.

Responsible for the reduction in public supported medical care.

Responsible for the restriction of unemployment benefits, disability payments and other social programs.

Pandering to a reactionary political base, they have further restricted women’s access to abortion and to birth control.

They have maneuvered to shift funding for public schools to private schools.

They have carried out a demagogic campaign against immigrants, designed to hide their own responsibility for the rotten situation the whole working class faces today.

In short, the Republicans stand for everything the working class should oppose.

It’s almost enough to make you vote for the Democrats – until you look at the Democrats’ record!

Oh, yes, the Democrats criticize the Republicans. But every time it really counted, they handed their votes over to support these same measures. Sometimes, the vast majority of the Democrats even voted with the Republicans – as they did on the wars, or as Senate Democrats did over this xenophobic, symbolic wall at the border.

They let the nominations pass for two super-reactionary judges to the Supreme Court, when they could have easily blocked them, opening the door to much bigger restrictions on abortion and more attacks on union rights.

At every level – federal, state and local – the Democrats voted to restrict funding for education, social programs and public services. They pretended they had no other choice given the budget deficit, a deficit they helped create by giving so many tax breaks to the wealthy.

They smiled in our faces, then stabbed us in the back.

The records of both parties show they competed with each other to serve the interests of the wealthy classes – by attacking us.

When neither party serves the interest of working people, who can workers vote for?

No one!

If someone told you to choose between strychnine and arsenic, would you gulp down the one you thought was the least worse? Not unless you wanted to commit suicide, you wouldn’t.

Choose between Democrats and Republicans? Not unless you’re ready to commit political suicide.

When we vote for either party, we tell them we approve of the job they did. But the job both did was to attack us. Voting for either party only encourages them to continue.

In some cities and states, candidates are on the ballot who make it clear they take the workers’ side on every issue and in every conflict. Where we can vote for such candidates, we can register a vote against the record of both big parties.

Other places, there are no such candidates. But regardless of who is on the ballot, we can refuse to vote for the two big parties that represent only one class, the capitalist class. Refusing to vote for either Democrat or Republican – this is the only way not to throw our votes away.