[Marxism] Labor Party Statement on the US Elections

Jon Flanders jonflanders at jflan.net
Fri Nov 17 14:23:34 MST 2006

The Midterm Elections: A Return to Politics as Usual 

Nobody could have been happier than I was to see the forty Republican
governors and members of Congress get booted out of office this past
election night. The election results of November 7th mark the end of a
long nightmare that began with the "Gingrich Revolution" of 1994. This
election also signals the beginning of the end for the neo-conservative
clique that exploited fear of terrorism to further their ambitions of
global hegemony imposed by military force. In February 2003 (nearly four
years ago!) the Labor Party's statement of opposition against the
impending invasion of Iraq anticipated that "[t]he Bush doctrine of
preemption will not make the world safer for our children. It will not
protect us from real threats to our security. Preemption means permanent
war. And with permanent war comes the loss of civil liberties and
economic well being." Sadly, all that has come to pass. 

As David Olive points out in the Toronto Star, "The neo cons' grand
design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink
America's stature in the world." Already, President Bush has offered up
Donald Rumsfeld as the sacrificial lamb of a chastened administration.
By the end of the year, Olive predicts, the administration will begin
implementing its own version of the "cut and run" strategy. "The only
questions are how rapidly the Americans will leave, and which honeyed
words the Bush administration will use in trying to dress up failure as

Last week's election results have the potential to offer at least a
two-year reprieve from Bush's pre election promises to privatize Social
Security and give more tax cuts to the rich. And it is likely that the
Democratic majority in Congress will undertake real investigations of
fraud and corruption and other forms of malfeasance in war contracting
as well as federal response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes. 

The More Things Change 
The labor movement played a crucial role in this upset. As always, they
provided the ground troops, and untold tens of millions of dollars, that
made the victories possible. More importantly, the passion and
commitment of the activists who worked on the campaigns gave substance
and credibility to a Democratic Party that had long ago run out of any
real ideas. But one doesn't need a crystal ball to predict that nearly
all of the hopes and dreams of the activists who made this incredible
election victory possible will be betrayed before the next round of
cherry blossoms bloom on the National Mall. Past experience should tell
us that the new Congress will do nothing to confront the impact of the
growing concentration of corporate power on the lives and aspirations of
working people. Refreshing as the election results may seem, working
people will soon be reminded that the Democratic Party, as well as the
Republican, remains dominated by corporate interests. 

Although minimum wage and anti-war ballot measures passed in numerous
states, more fundamental challenges to corporate power such as
California's Clean Money and Fair Elections Act (Proposition 89) did not
prevail. "Across the board, the biggest winner on Tuesday in California
was big money," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the
California Nurses Association, which sponsored Proposition 89. This
bi-partisan commitment will continue to bring accelerated globalization,
outsourcing and plant closures, declining real incomes and no end in
sight to a failing health care system. Working people will remain stuck
in the political wilderness with no one to speak for our needs and
aspirations. And we will remain in that wilderness until we find a way
to build a party of our own to confront the corporate power that
continues to control the political agenda of both parties. 

South Carolina Labor Party Founding 

What just might be the most exciting development of this election season
happened on September 23rd. Delegates from nearly every major labor
organization and section of the state came together to build a new kind
of party accountable to the working people of South Carolina. "Our
candidates will pledge to enact and enforce laws that benefit the vast
majority of South Carolinians who work for a living," declares the
statement of Founding Principles. "Unlike other parties, we do not need
permission from corporations and major funders to do what is right for
the people of South Carolina. Unlike other parties, we will be active
before, during and between elections, building solidarity in our
communities and workplaces." 

As exciting as this development is, it is only a beginning. Much hard
work will be required for the South Carolina Labor Party to realize this
promise. The national Labor Party has committed to raise the funds and
resources necessary to give this young state party a fighting chance. We
believe that this local movement can grow into a force alters the nature
of politics in South Carolina. If we are right, it could also point the
way to a national movement to enable working people to take the
political offensive. This election shows that working people are ready
for a new political vision. With adequate resources, the Labor Party
initiative in South Carolina can be a vehicle for crafting and pursuing
that vision. Help give the SCLP a fighting chance. Click here to
contribute to the campaign. 

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