Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Break With The Democrats! For A Workers Party!

Since the Democrats have ignominiously and through no effort of their own, “re-taken” both the Senate and the House, and the AFL-CIO has claimed “a victory for working family friendly candidates (AFL-CIO Press Release, Nov 8 2006)” it seems appropriate to have a comment on the necessity of class independence for the proletariat. Class independence does not mean shunning or refusing to work with other classes, such as poor peasants, the unemployed, the lumpen proletariat, intellectuals, or even liberals struggling to preserve bourgeois democratic freedoms. Class independence does mean that the working class has its own platform and program, classically when workers have created their own parties this platform has been some form of socialism (German Social Democrats, early British Labor, French Syndicalists and Socialists, Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Bolshevik)etc.). Class independence entails that action and thought be carried out independently of any force other than the workers or intellectuals attached to them, such as Karl Marx. They do not rely on any bourgeois or other ruling class force or party to carry out their program for them. They create their own theory and critique through knowledge of the world class struggle (with the assistance of intellectuals). This means that they do not appeal, plead, call, ask, beseech, or strongly demand that some other class force, such as the Democratic Party carry out reforms on their behalf. If reforms are to be granted, they should be granted because the proletariat demanded and forced the hand of the ruling class to act. This is preserving one’s class independence.

When Marxists present the idea of class independence, breaking labor, Blacks, oppressed women, and other minorities away from the Democratic Party’s deathlike embrace, many people respond in disbelief, reject the idea as impossible, or dismiss the idea saying “the Democrats are not that bad, and anyway they are friends of labor!” Friends of labor indeed! What follows are some talking points, facts, and instances where the Democrat “fiends of labor” have betrayed or stabbed their supporters in the back, enjoy and please add more!

-“Welfare Reform” which threw millions of unemployed, under employed, suffering minorities, working but poor mothers with children, and indigent out on the street and even required many to “pay back” that which they received from the state, a form of debt peonage. This program was fully supported by Democrat President Clinton and most legislators. Insult was added to injury when the use of phrases like “return to dignity” were used to prettify the slashing of welfare benefits. Most egregious, Democrats turned a blind eye to the constant racist attacks and stereotypes such as the “Welfare Queen.”

A common misunderstanding among the working class is that welfare or public assistance somehow negatively affects them. Far from it. By eliminating public assistance programs people are forced into the labor market, contributing to the growing Reserve Army of Labor used for times of acute capitalist labor demand. These job seekers are forced to compete for scarce jobs, especially in the low skill and low wage markets thus driving down wages. By receiving public assistance, workers are better able to stay off the market and keep competition against their compatriots lower.

-Labor bureaucrats and the dems: At this page one can see how the labor bureaucracy that today misleads the American labor movement in both the AFL-CIO and the “Change to Win” coalition put their faith in the Democratic party to carry out the policies of labor. A quick review of what they ask for is minimal indeed!

-Now governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, Democrat, while Attorney General imprisoned Transit Workers Union President Roger Toussaint for several days, imposed millions of dollars in fines on the TWU and the Amalgamated Transport Workers Union through the treacherous use of the injunction-labors ancient foe. He as well as Hillary Clinton supported the anti-labor Taylor Law that forbids public employees from striking.

-Black Democrats often pose as both friends of labor and of Black people but they often are neither. The Democrats have no real interest in helping African-Americans win new gains and protect themselves from racist cop violence:
From Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick has been cutting and threatening to cut thousands of unionized jobs in the city of Detroit. The last thing Detroit needs is fewer jobs! Ray Nagin supported non-union/below union scale wage recognition in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1970’s a New Jersey teachers strike was baited and attacked as racist by a Black mayor. Black Democrats channel the wholly righteous community rage at the police into meaningless review boards meant as a prop for the police and state machinery. Both Jesse Jackson and Ray Naginhave used anti-Mexican anti-immigrant scapegoating and chauvinism to rally people to their cause around the governments, including Democrats, racist atrocity around Hurricane Katrina.

-But certainly white Democrats are the worst: Clinton, during his first campaign for President, cynically and with racist vengeance flew home to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a retarded black death row inmate. Though posing as a liberal and speaking against “illegal war” now, Senator Byrd of West Virginia used to support segregation in the South. Jimmy Carter spoke about peoples desire for "ethnic purity" during his campaign for president, a nod to the white supremacist and segregationist tendencies. A Democrat has led every major U.S. war of the century, since the bourgeoisie recognizes them as “more credible covers for imperialism”: WWI-Wilson, WWII-Roosevelt/Truman, Korea-Truman, Vietnam-Kennedy/Johnson. But people still try to promote the Democrats as peaceful.

Forge a revolutionary workers party!

There are certainly more examples but this was meant to stimulate debate and thinking. Feel free to add more, I will gladly add them to the text.


Renegade Eye said...

One of the reasons we don't have a labor party is going back to WWII, the Stalinist CP, joined the Roosevelt coalition.

Nicholas said...

Yes and other reasons as well. The tradition of "clean trade unionism" meaning with no politics-meaning giving the political field to the bourgeoisie or close collaboration with the bosses from the AFL and Gompers. Many of the CIO leaders were not very commited to a labor party though they would give lip service to it. In fact John L. Lewis, CIO leader, was a Republican.

The CIO leaders in the 30's were interested in using the workers voting strength to pressure Rooseveldt. In 1936, Lewis, Dubinsky and Hillman came up with Labor's Non-Partizan League as a meand to channel votes from socialists and communists back into the Democratic Party. Same is true for the establishment of the American Labor Party.

This is great, (see Art Preis, Labor's Giant Step, p. 73-78) you have AFL leaders, CIO leaders, Fusionist Republicans, La Guardia, George Meany, right wing Socialists, New Deal Democrats and the Stalinst CP all together in an "unholy alliance and played a decisive part in this 'People Front' (refering to the CP) for the betrayal of labor's independent political action program (Preis, p. 77)."

LeftyHenry said...

Stalinist CP? eh? Stalinism doesn't exsist and the reason we don't have a labor party is because there are 50 trot parties which split from each other for things as idiotic as namesake.

great blog nicholas, looking forward to more entries.

Renegade Eye said...

I agree too many Trotskyists groups, that belong under a single umbrella.

What is this Stalinism doesn't exist?

Nicholas said...

Here when we are talking about Stalinist CP we mean during the 1930's the time most likely a labor party was to come into being.

Sorry guys, this is not Monty Python and the Life of Brian, Spliters! We're the People's Front of Judea! The Popular Front, ideed, where is he... he's over there...spliter!

Real groups have real disagreements. The Spartacists were unjustly kicked out of the degenerating SWP which has abandoned almost every Marxist position there is. Other groups have formed and reformed over policies, alliances, personalities etc. Yes there is a lot of sectarianism, a lot, but it is important to have factional battles to see what positon will fly and what works. It would be nice to have more people involved in even more parties... more ideas more people thinking. But to want unity before anybody agrees on all the positions is premature.

Anyway the main enemy is the Democratic Party, not the Trotskyists, Maoists, Anarchists or Stalinists but Democrats.

How's that?
Thanks Ren and Left!

Renegade Eye said...

Seasons Greetings

Renegade Eye said...

I've been drifting toward the "In Defense of Marxism" (WIL) group. The national office is near my house.

Renegade Eye said...

I posted about Orwell in the Spanish Civil War.

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