The Obama-Clinton battle in the Democratic Party primaries has spread the illusion that positive change results from voting to reform the profit system rather than from militant, revolutionary struggle to smash the bosses’ dictatorship. High voter turnouts for Barack Obama’s surprise victory in Iowa and Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire comeback signal a dangerous development for the working class.
Liberals push the myth that Obama and Clinton mark a decline in racism and an advance in women’s rights in the U.S. Obama is “fashioning a positive change in the very character of the nation,’’ gushed NY Times’ black columnist Bob Herbert. (1/12/08) A Times article the next day said, “Whoever wins the nomination….the victory will be a benchmark moment for the American promise of equality.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Obama and Clinton, in fact, will intensify the oppression of workers — male and female, black, Latin, Asian, Arab and white. Illinois Senator Obama didn’t lift a finger when thousands of mostly black workers were laid off in Chicago’s Cook County hospitals, simultaneously slashing healthcare for a mostly black and Latino patient population. And Clinton voted for war in Iraq and for the military “option” against Iran.
Both Democratic front-runners represent a U.S. capitalist class seriously challenged by rivals from Iran to China. In the coming period, U.S. bosses will need millions of troops to kill and die in their expanding racist wars. They need to transform a debt-ridden, declining economy into a wartime one by slashing workers’ living standards and creating a police state. Obama and Clinton are vying, not to promote equality, but to become the chief executor of the rulers’ deadly plans.
Obama Lures Youth to Fight and Die in Wider Wars
Contrary to Obama’s capitalist-fed worshippers at the Times, racism, the rulers’ main tool for splitting and weakening the working class, remains rampant in the U.S. By every measure and in every area — income, unemployment, education, housing, health, arrests, imprisonment, deportation — black and Latin workers suffer the most, and this super-exploitation worsens conditions for all workers, under every Democratic and Republican presidency. Obama’s role is to mask that reality with the falsehood of “equal opportunity.” He follows in the footsteps of ruling-class protégés Colin Powell and Condi Rice.
As Obama lures young people to the system, one job he can attempt for the rulers (win or lose) is to help reverse the 58% plunge in black military enlistment since 2000. “Man-of-the-people” Obama turns out to be a tool of the top U.S. imperialist financiers. He “has raised nearly $100 million in campaign contributions, nearly as much as the Hillary Clinton money machine. Three of his four largest groups of bankrollers are executives of Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Chase.” (NY Daily News, 1/11/08)
Clinton Team Drips With Serbian, Iraqi Blood
“Pioneer” Clinton aims to be the first woman to lead U.S. imperialism in war. She has constantly lobbied in the Senate to increase the size of U.S. forces. Her campaign advisors include a host of war criminals from her husband’s administration — Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and General Wesley Clark, who all helped orchestrate Clinton’s terror bombing of Serbia and softening-up of Iraq with missiles and starvation-inducing sanctions.
Opportunistically seizing on people’s disgust with the Bush regime, Obama and Clinton babble about “change.” But the change they have in mind is bad for workers. They want changes like those called for by the Clinton-appointed 1999 Hart-Rudman commission. It demanded a huge revamping of the state apparatus with vastly broadened police powers to put the nation on a war footing. It sought a government that could enforce the sacrifice of workers’ blood and bosses’ profits needed in global conflicts to preserve U.S. supremacy. Bush failed at this; Obama and Clinton hope to lead that effort.
Voting Never Solved Anything: Only Red Revolution Can
The best changes for workers in the last century — establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Russian and Chinese revolutions of 1917 and 1949 — did not occur in a voting booth. They grew from class-based armed struggle in the streets after years and decades of painstaking organizing in workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and the army and navy. Our Party’s long-term goal is to repeat those true working-class triumphs while correcting the political errors that led to their reversal.