Feb 4, 2008
For the first time in history, the Democratic presidential nominee will be either a woman or a black man, Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama. This is supposed to mean that, in the November elections, the Democrats are an agent of “change.”
People have absolutely every reason to want an end to the Bush years. Abroad, the Bush administration prosecuted the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to strengthen the grip of the U.S. oil companies on the Middle East’s oil and all its fabulous riches. At home, the Bush administration rewarded the same big companies that are slashing jobs, wages and benefits, with enormous tax breaks and subsidies. To pay for this, Bush cut spending on social programs for working people, such as education, health care and old age pensions.
To change course would mean to directly take on the very powerful interests that have benefitted so much from the Bush years: big business and the wealthy.
Can workers really believe either Obama or Clinton will do this? Of course not. The same rogues’ gallery of wealthy people and big corporate interests who backed Bush and his disastrous policies to the hilt now shower money on Clinton and Obama. Hillary Clinton has Rupert Murdoch of Fox News hosting campaign fund raising dinners for her. So are the top executives from the big health insurance companies and Wall Street banks and financial companies. In his corner, Obama has multi-billionaire George Soros, the infamous currency and gold speculator. Washington lobbyists for big business and business’s trial lawyers have also swung onto Obama’s side.
This is not a surprise. Just look at what both candidates say they stand for. Obama claims that he wants to bring Congress together. In other words, he says he wants to unite all those politicians who voted for Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the wealthy. He even appeals to the Republicans by saying that he wants to operate in the mold of Ronald Reagan, the very president who attacked all the gains won by the black and anti-war movements – who openly broke strikes, cut Social Security benefits, etc.
On the other hand, Clinton says that she has experience – and she does. As a Senator she has supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the cuts in social spending. And she did the same when she was First Lady in the Clinton White House.
No, the claims by both candidates that they will bring “change,” at least the changes that working people need, are a complete fairy tale.
Of course, the Republicans always have a chance to retake the White House. If they do, they will continue the same kinds of attacks that have led most working people to hate the Bush presidency.
If the Democrats win, they too will try to serve the interests of the wealthy and big business by essentially picking up where the Bush administration left off. Not only that, but the Democrats could be even more effective at doing it than the Republicans. By posing as supposed agents of “change,” either Obama or Clinton could more easily fool a lot of working people into passively sitting back, waiting and not doing anything to oppose new attacks – at least for a while.
No matter what, the only “change” that working people will get to benefit them is what they themselves fight for and win by organizing in their workplaces and neighborhoods. That’s where we have power. And we don’t have to wait until the election to start doing this.