[Marxism] Parliamentary cretinism department

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 10 07:36:33 MDT 2011


Does It Matter Which Party Wins?
by: Sam Webb, CPUSA Chairman
August 9 2011

It is obvious that there is a growing feeling of frustration and 
even anger among supporters of the Democratic Party with its 
performance over the past two years.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, speaking for the labor movement, 
strongly expressed this unhappiness in some recent speeches.

I am also disappointed with some aspects of the Obama 
administration's domestic and foreign policy.

But I don't forget that this administration governs in a very 
hostile political environment in which the right is laboring 
overtime to wreck its initiatives at every step of the way.

In addition, there are the structural pressures of governing in a 
capitalist economy and state.

Then there are conservative pressures coming from congressional 
Democrats and members of the administration.

However, everything can't be explained away by the objective 
context. The president and his administration can be faulted for a 
number of policy decisions.

But the main question from a strategic point of view is this: Does 
it make any difference, from the standpoint of the class and 
democratic struggles, which party gains political ascendency?

Some – not the labor movement or other mass organizations of the 
American people – say no, it doesn't.

Some even go a step further and say a Democratic victory creates 
popular illusions, which in turn weaken the people's struggles. 
And the only way out of this vise is to form a third party now.

Communists don't agree with either one of these views. In our 
view, the differences between the two parties of capitalism are of 
consequence to class and democratic struggles.

Neither party is anti-capitalist, but they aren't identical 
either. Differences exist at the levels of policy and social 
composition. Despite the many frustrations of the past two years, 
the election of Barack Obama was historic and gave space to 
struggle for a people's agenda.

If, on the other hand, the Republicans had been victorious in 2008 
the character of class and democratic struggles would have 
unfolded very differently. Our movement would have been on the 
defensive from Day One, the Democrats would be running for cover, 
and the Republicans would have an unfettered hand in their efforts 
to liquidate the welfare state, roll back the rights revolution of 
the 1930s and 1960s, and crush the people's movement - labor in 
the first place.

As for the wisdom of a third party, we have always advocated the 
formation of an independent people's party at the core of which 
are the working class and labor, racially and nationally oppressed 
people, women, youth, immigrants, seniors, gay and straight, etc. 
It is essential for any deep-going social change. But its 
realization depends on more than our desire, more than our 
political-ideological attitude. Millions who have to be at the 
core of this party still operate under the umbrella of the 
Democratic Party, albeit in an increasingly independent fashion.

Moreover, to separate ourselves at this moment from these forces 
would be contrary to our strategic policy of building maximum 
unity against rightwing extremism now and in next year's election.

Now that doesn't mean that we give up our advocacy of an 
independent people's party, but we also understand that its 
formation is dictated by concrete political realities and 
strategic necessities. Nor does it mean that we push the mute 
button when the Obama administration takes positions that we don't 
agree with. Just as we show no hesitation in supporting, and 
fighting for, the administration's progressive initiatives, we 
should have no compunction about taking issue with the 
administration when it takes positions with which we don't agree.

Which is what we have done.

When someone says we are not critical of the administration, what 
they usually mean is that our criticism isn't as sweeping and 
categorical as they would like.

We make criticisms, but we do it in a certain context and with a 
certain strategic objective in mind. We are keen to the fact that 
the agenda of the far right is to bring this administration and 
country to its knees, with a heavy dose of racism, lies and 
economic sabotage, setting the stage for a full-blown return to 
power of the most reactionary, racist, anti-labor, anti-women, 
homophobic and militarist grouping in U.S. politics.

We want no part of that. We don't have any illusions about the 
Democratic Party, but we don't have any illusions about the 
Republican Party either.

Furthermore, we are also aware of the undeniable fact that no 
other party besides the Democratic Party stands a chance of 
beating the GOP next year.

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