Like all elections, Obama’s, Clinton’s and McCain’s three-ring circus helps capitalists disguise the class nature of their dictatorship. The illusion is that voters, mainly workers, get to choose the nation’s leaders. In reality, a ruling class — led by powerful financiers — hand-picks, bankrolls and directs each of the candidates.
Sometimes, as with Clinton and Dole in 1996, the race reflects major divisions over policy between factions of U.S. capitalists, usually the main wing which advocates long-range imperialist investment abroad vs. the isolationists who oppose costly foreign profit wars, wanting to concentrate on immediate domestic profits. But this year, the front-runners all promote the main, imperialist wing’s agenda for a domestic police state and ever-expanding war. Campaign 2008 boils down to which candidate can most effectively mobilize the nation for the imperialists’ needs. In Texas recently, Obama and Clinton debated their relative fitness to be commander-in-chief.
The war-making billionaires have high hopes for Obama and Clinton. Both are luring more black and Latino, female and young workers to express patriotic loyalty to the rulers, more so this year to gain support for wider war. Both want health plans that maintain drug and insurance profits, racist plans which will fall most heavily on lower-income black and Latino families who can least afford to pay anything into such schemes. Both advocate “national service” — mandatory drafting of all youth for two years, many of whom (especially black and Latino youth) will serve that time in the military. Both will make workers will pay heavily for the rulers’ domestic and global aims. But both promise to impose wartime economic discipline on reluctant capitalists, eliminating tax cuts on the rich in order to rein in the excesses of the corporations and CEOs in the drive to pay for the racist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But, if the imperialists fail to sell the Democrats’ plans for war taxes and regulation, they can fall back on Nazi goose-stepping militarist McCain. All three candidates get their main funding from the sector of U.S. finance capital that has the greatest interest in broadening the U.S. war machine’s field of operation. [See page 7.] Taking no chances, imperialist Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs backs all three contenders.
YES, VIRGINIA (AND TEXAS AND OHIO), THERE IS A RULING CLASS
The New York Times (2/10) proclaimed that the 2008 campaign proves that a king-making elite does not exist: “This season’s primaries have made the idea of a political establishment, whether Republican or Democratic, hard to take seriously.” Even harder to take seriously is the Times’ denial, given the candidates’ backers and advisers:
• Zbigniew Brzezinski headlines Obama’s cast of counselors. Brzezinski has served as director of the elite, banker-backed Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission. He helped Carter frame his infamous 1979 Doctrine, which vowed permanent occupation of Mid-East oilfields.
• Clinton’s handlers, mainly war criminals from husband Bill’s days, including Madeleine Albright and William Perry, have formed their own think-tank, the Center for a New American Security. Clinton’s CNAS has now joined with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to study U.S. military readiness for challenges from Iran, Pakistan, China and beyond. Hillary’s “peacenik” supporters at Carnegie take “generous financial support” from the A-list of U.S. imperialism: BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, the Rockefellers, Shell and the Pentagon.
• One-time “maverick” McCain now has Establishment CFR pundit Max Boot in his corner pushing for a U.S. Foreign Legion. Boot joins McCain advisors Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft (Bush, Sr.’s National Security Advisor) and Colin Powell.C
RULING CLASS’S TOP
THINK-TANKS DICTATE POLICY
The dominant faction of U.S. imperialists is determined to control the policy of whoever wins in November. The CFR and the Brookings Institution “are undertaking an ambitious initiative to develop a nonpartisan blueprint for the next U.S. president, one which can be used as the foundation for the new administration’s Middle-East policy.” (CFR website) The CFR team has representation from all three camps: Sandy Berger (Clinton), Brzezinski (Obama), and Scowcroft (McCain). Not coincidentally, all three candidates have — in the CFR’s Foreign Affairs journal — pledged to vastly enlarge the U.S. Army. It is these think-tank policy-makers, bankers and heads of the largest corporations who form the ruling class that runs the country, no matter who sits in the White House.
As popular interest in the elections heightens, it is crucial to expose the candidates’ class allegiance. They all defend a racist profit system that systematically and brutally exploits workers, often through war, and is long overdue for extinction. But the working class cannot just vote away its tormentors. Capitalism’s destruction can only be achieved through the long-term, painstaking building of a revolutionary communist party — PLP — that will ultimately put an armed working class in power.