The Spark

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

Editorial:
Elections
– A Pox on Both Your Houses!

Nov 8, 2010

The Democrats, in the words of Barack Obama, “took a shellacking” in the elections – just like the Republicans “took a shellacking” in 2008.

And for the same reason. People, especially working people, were fed up, fed up with politicians, fed up with politics as usual. In 2010, as in 2008, voters told the exit pollsters that “the country is headed in the wrong direction.”

Yes, it is, because the country continues to head in the same wrong direction it was already going. And working people are paying a horrible price for it.

In the face of rapidly worsening unemployment, Bush grabbed our tax money and gave it to the bankers, to the big oil companies and to the military contractors.

Unemployment grew worse, and Obama stole more of our tax money, gave it to the bankers, to the big auto companies and to the military contractors.

Putting money in the pockets of the very wealthy did not rev up the engine of the economy. But it did push up company profits. It did rev up new speculation – driving up prices today on the gasoline our cars gobble and the food we need.

Two deadly wars continue – Iraq and Afghanistan – but you never would have known it from the election campaign. The two parties tacitly agreed to keep the wars out of the election. But blood continues to be spilt. Whole areas of the two countries continue to be razed. More children are forced onto the streets, selling themselves in order to survive. More U.S. troops – rotating into the wars three, four and five times – come home as near zombies or ticking time bombs. A trillion dollars and counting has been spent on destroying other countries – dollars that could have been spent on meeting human needs.

Workers had no clear way to express themselves in this election. Some tried to figure out which was the lesser evil. Some tried to vote AGAINST, against whoever was in office.

But the biggest part of the working class expressed itself by not voting. Those who count these things say that nearly two-thirds of the voting age population did NOT vote this year at all. Among workers, that NO-vote was even higher. By their actions – staying away from the polls – workers said, “A pox on both your houses.”

The elections are over, good riddance.

We can’t change our situation in the ballot box anyway. Try to remember a politician who seemed to “give” something to working people – and you will discover a politician who was boxed in by popular movements: workers’ strikes and demonstrations, the black population’s resistance, struggles carried out by women, movements against wars, the movements of poor farmers, those of sharecroppers and former slaves.

Today, we see just the hints of struggles. Not very big, yet. But more than yesterday. We hear about workers here or there who refuse to give up any more concessions. We run into parents protesting loud enough that a bureaucrat backs off on plans to close their kids’ school. We hear about bus riders who tear up a city council meeting because service has been cut off at night or on the weekend.

It’s not much. BUT, it’s in this direction we have to go.