I’ve been pretty rough here this last week on the Republicans. It’s laziness on my part, and it’s probably mean to be kicking these poor folks when they’re so down. It’s just that they’re so nakedly transparent in their hypocrisy and decent into delusion. It’s hard to resist. The Democrats, by contrast, can be more sly and stealth in their duplicity. They cultivate an image of being “Friends of Labor,” making them something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This can make them very dangerous. A few things come to mind:
- Democratic presidents have acted repeatedly to attack labor and break strikes. Franklin Roosevelt, much lauded for his supposed friendship with labor, threatened to unleash federal troops against striking coal miners in 1943. Truman seized the coal mines against striking workers in 1945. Kennedy used the Taft-Hartley Act against shipping workers. Carter used the National Railway Labor Act against striking railroad workers and invoked Taft-Hartley against coal miners. Clinton ordered striking Soo Line Railroad employees back to work. Obama intervened against striking Verizon workers in 2016. State, county and municipal workers routinely find themselves in conflict with Democratic governors and mayors who are supposedly their “friendly allies.”
- The so-called “Great Recession” in 2008-09 began under Bush’s watch and Republicans largely took the blame. What’s often overlooked is that the seeds of the crash were planted back during the Clinton Administration by the economic policies of Larry Summers and others. It took a number of years for the consequences of these policies to play out.
- It was the Democratic Party under Truman that got us into the Korean War.
- And it was the Democratic Party under Johnson that escalated the Vietnam War on the pretext of having been attacked at the Gulf of Tonkin — an attack which did not actually occur.
- By contrast, it was Nixon — a Republican — who withdrew the U.S. from Vietnam and ended the draft.
- Obama vastly expanded the use of drones in places like Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia — as much as 10 times more than Bush — that included civilian casualties and the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
I could go on but you get the idea. Despite all this, many liberals and workers give Democrats a pass figuring at least we’re better off with the lesser of two evils. Problem is, we always end up with an evil! Surely we can do better, which is why I support calls for creation of a Labor Party.
All comments are welcome. I only ask that we remain civil and respectful of one another. If you clicked over from Facebook, please comment here rather than back there.
“The Democratic Party carries out the policies and the needs of the American capitalist class; this defines its basic character. If we are going to talk about independent political action, we have to begin to define it as independent of this party and the class it serves. In other words, stop talking about independent political action and start talking about independent working-class political action.”Jack Barnes
Can a government that advances the interests of the working class and oppressed be established through support to one of the two parties of big business in the United States? Is hacking the “lesser evil” of the Democratic or Republican candidates sometimes a necessary electoral tactic by labor to slow down or defeat the right wing?
In the three debates printed here Marxist leaders explain why the answer is “no.” And how working people — as they learn through growing struggle that they are part of a class with interests opposed to those of the employers — will build a mass political party of their own to stop the bosses’ march toward fascism and war.