Since Bush stole the election in 2000, we have witnessed tax cuts for the rich, massive layoffs, cutbacks in social programs, and war on Afghanistan and Iraq. More money and troops are being shipped into Iraq every day. The bloody occupation has brought about the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians and hundreds of American troops.
Bush and his neo-conservative friends want to drive down our living standards, get rid of many of our basic rights, and help their corporate allies maintain global domination. Indeed, behind most aspects of the Bush agenda one can see the interests of American big business. Lower wages for workers translates to more profits for the bosses. Energy deregulation results in more profits for the energy bandits and blackouts for us. They take away our civil rights to try to limit our ability to fight back.
How Can We Fight Back?
Without struggle, there can be no progress. Mass movements of ordinary people have won many victories in America. Everything from the right to vote to a shorter workweek, higher wages, and the breakdown of legal segregation were won through mass struggles. We can defeat the agenda of big business if we use militant tactics to defend our rights, jobs, and social services.
We can’t depend on the promises of moneybag politicians to improve our lives. The corporations and their representatives in government will hand over nothing without a fight. Strikes, like those by grocery workers in southern California or clerical workers at the University of Minnesota (see p.10), demonstrations, walkouts, and sit-ins are needed for the bosses to get scared enough to grant concessions.
Struggles against Bush and the bosses need to be linked up to be effective. The fight against layoffs needs to be connected to the struggles for higher wages and better working conditions. The attacks on civil liberties contained in the Patriot Act affect all of us, especially immigrants; so unions and community groups need to help in the fight to repeal the Patriot Act. The budget cuts on the local level are connected to the billions that the federal government is spending on the occupation of Iraq. The fight against the recent attack on women’s abortion rights must also be linked to these other struggles.
Movements against the occupation of Iraq, layoffs, budget cuts, and attacks on our rights are all facing the same enemies: the bosses, their representatives in government, and corporate domination of society. We can support each other’s struggles by honoring picket lines, organizing strike support efforts, struggling for immigrants’ and women’s rights, and fighting for the creation of social programs to raise living standards and cut unemployment.
As Bush and his buddies have implemented their agenda, the Democrats have not waged a serious battle against any of these policies. The Democrats are tied to the same corporate money and interests as the Republicans. So we can’t expect them to struggle for us (see p.5). Many of Bush’s policies are continuations and accelerations of Clinton’s policies. Remember welfare reform? How about the war on Yugoslavia?
The bosses have two parties; we need our own. We need a party that involves unions, the anti-war movement, community groups, immigrant rights organizations, young people, and environmentalists. We need a party whose elected representatives are accountable to the people that elected them and who receive no more than the average wage of a skilled worker.
We need a party that fights for our needs, not corporate greed. We need a party that fights for free quality education, free affordable healthcare, extended public works programs to provide jobs, and an end to the occupation of Iraq. We need a party that fights in the workplace and the streets for better wages, better conditions, and rights for immigrants and women.
Even if we do win a few victories, that will not be enough. The bosses will try to take back any gains that we win. Victories are often temporary. Look at what they are doing in America to our civil rights: people can be detained without trial; houses can be searched without warrants; and our library records can be searched by the government. What ever happened to the Bill of Rights?
In Europe, struggles of the labor movement and their workers’ parties had won welfare states with many social services, including pension plans, free education, and basic healthcare coverage for all. However, European big business is now attacking and rolling back these gains.
In order to win permanent victories for working people, we need to stop at nothing to break the grip the corporations have on our lives. We need to build an organization of workers and youth, nationally and internationally, that fights against the root cause of our problems. War, poverty, racism, sexism, and environmental destruction are caused by a system that is only concerned with profits for the rich, not the well-being of the people. Capitalism has resulted in the mess we’re faced with today. That’s why we need a workers’ party with a socialist program.
Justice #37, November 2004-January 2004