[Marxism] No to “Any program But Bush’s program!”

andrew pollack acpollack2 at juno.com
Thu Nov 4 17:51:21 MST 2004

No to “Any program But Bush’s program!”
In a contribution to another list Fred Feldman advocates that
revolutionaries “should reject the role of loyal left opposition to ABB.”
 I couldn’t agree more.  Already the Democrats, and their friends in the
antiwar and other movements, are wringing their hands about how to
reposition the Democrats: most are advocating a move to the right, some
(mostly the ABBers who should have been building the movements all these
months) to the left.  It can’t be done, and it’s none of our concern.  
Bush is already signaling that he’s going to step up the drive to
privatize and gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Just as we are
not for a nicer occupation in Iraq – even under UN auspices – we are not
for the domestic program the Dems are going to come up with as an
“alternative,”  When Bush rams through legislation for private saving
accounts (PSAs) for health care and Social Security, the Democrats are
going to argue for “better” PSAs with higher payouts or some such
nonsense, or they’ll propose slightly higher tax rates (including on
workers of course) to fund these programs, and with slightly younger
retirement ages (say 70 instead of the Republicans’ 75 or whatever they
come up with), etc., etc.
Our job is not to argue with these Democrats about how far to go in
cutting workers’ health and retirement benefits.  Our job is to put
forward a pro-worker program: 
*to demand universal, free single-payer health care; 
*to demand universal Social Security coverage at higher rates for all
workers – including the undocumented;
*to demand 100% protection for existing benefit levels in every union
contract pension plan, and to demand a transition to a Social Security
system with benefit levels equal to at least the average union pension
plan; and
* for ALL of this to be paid 100% by the bosses.  
And finally our job is to build a Labor Party which will launch mass
campaigns for these demands, starting with mass educational campaigns and
moving quickly on to mass agitation and action.
(I quote below some of the best of Fred’s post for those on other lists.)
“The answer to this situation is not more votes for the next Kerry or a
civil war to crush the atavistic Red States.   It is the need for more
class struggle, yes, by students, Blacks, Chicanos, immigrants.  In the
absence or very low level of the working-class struggle as today, most
workers retreat.  They turn inward to their families and communities.
Yes, they can fear change.  Religion -- never absent, I might add, under
capitalist (that is, pre-communist) conditions – gets stronger.  
“Farrell Dobbs, who led a great historic strike in 1934, voted for Hoover
in 1932. Stupid man! Well, ignorant man, maybe. Ignorance is the normal
condition of the oppressed and exploited in class society. Dobbs was just
a man with little or no class-struggle experience
“Let's ask ourselves as we fume at the American workers for voting
conservative rather than liberal, as is supposedly their class duty: How
would a referendum on gay marriage have gone over in October 1917 in
Russia? What if Castro had made the major tactical mistake of proposing a
referendum on gay marriage in Cuba in 1959.  I'm actually amazed at the
kind of questions American workers have to absorb and think about -- this
is a revolutionary advance taking place even today. And they will absorb
it, and apply it, and learn to use it to unite and deepen their struggles
as they have learned many  other things.  Learning about these things
under capitalism is a result of the long delay in and the setbacks to the
socialist revolution.
“[In] bourgeois elections
 reaction tends to win the all-important ones.
“I think the class struggle IN ALL ITS FORMS is the way forward.  I think
revolutionaries should reject the role of loyal left opposition to ABB in
one way or another, which I think is reflected in all the WHY DIDN'T THEY
And I say that without more class struggle, the conditions always favor
the growth of ignorance and prejudice.”  

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