By James Thompson
As we close in on August 2, 2011 I am reminded of the drama associated with the election of George W. Bush. After the election closed, it dragged on and on and finally a packed Supreme Court ruled in favor of the short, plump dictator for the wealthy. This little demagogue resembled another short, plump dictator for the wealthy in Germany even though he lacked the oratorical skills of the German.
Now we face another crisis point in global capitalism in which red faced Republican demagogues are playing chicken with some of the most important programs in our limited social safety network to include social security, Medicare, Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, and public education as well as a host of other government funded public programs.
The question many people are asking is “Why would the Republicans risk political disaster by attempting to destroy some of the most popular social programs ever created in this nation?”
The answer is fairly simple. This struggle over the debt ceiling dramatizes the class struggle in ways not seen in this country since the Great Depression.
Republicans are merely following the dictates of their superiors, i.e. the captains of U.S. industry, the ultra wealthy capitalist class. They know that even if they lose the election, they will be well compensated for their heroic efforts to fight for the interests of the wealthy.
Republicans are on the front lines of the class struggle and doing a magnificent job of upholding the interests of the wealthy. They are saying “Who needs the working class in the U.S.? We can get cheap labor in other parts of the world. Why pay all these benefits to people we don’t need and educate their children to boot? Why provide them and their elderly and children with health care?” We must remember that the U.S. Government is of the wealthy people, by the wealthy people and for the wealthy people. With profits threatening to shrink, why should the wealthy class continue to throw bones to the poor? Why should the wealthy strengthen the position of the class with which they are struggling?
It is quite a drama for the world to see. Many people in other parts of the world are laughing so hard at the antics of our government that it is hard for them to keep from choking.
Who do the Republicans have to count on for support in their valiant efforts to defend the wealthy from the demands of the working class? It certainly is not the people of the U.S. The people support the continuation of funding of social programs by an 80 to 20 margin. So, they must turn to their only allies, the Democrats. Some people may want to blame the Republicans for the current mess, but it is also the Democrats who have participated in the creation of this nightmare for working people.
For many years working people have watched the coordinated effort of Republicans and Democrats to erode our social safety net. We are not stupid, as the ruling class thinks we are. We can see when Republicans block progressive legislation by filibuster and the use of many constitutionally condoned maneuvers. Similarly, we can see when craven Democrats do not use similar maneuvers to block legislation that is not in the interest of working people. We also see a President who fails to veto right wing legislation and leaves working people at the mercy of the wealthy. This is a President who was elected by a mass movement of working people which included all racial groups. Once in office, he turned his back on working people and has thrown many working class leaders under the bus to serve his well heeled masters. Current negotiations have broken down, but recently President Obama and his right wing sidekick, John Boehner, were licking their chops over the prospect of cutting $3 trillion from the government budget. More tax breaks for the wealthy, including tax incentives for offshoring more jobs, were under serious consideration. Who knows what sort of Frankenstein will emerge when the servants of the high and mighty finally decide what they can get away with without too much fuss and muss?
So, we working class people are not stupid. We can see that elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, merely serve their masters once in office and forget about the needs of their constituents.
We know that Democrats and the President could block the funding of the endless wars started by George W. Bush and enlarged by Barack Obama. We know that they could also end the tax cuts for the wealthy. We know they could reduce the funding for the prison industrial complex and provide rehabilitation instead of indentured servitude for the incarcerated. We know they could decrease the military budget. We know they could save education, health care, social security and other governmental services for all the people. In fact, we know they could expand services for working people and this would strengthen our economy and reduce the risk of war.
But we also see that they are not doing what they were elected to do. They are “just following orders” from the masters who only care about increasing their own profits.
What can working people do? We must act in a concerted, unified way to not only oppose the draconian budget cuts but to push for more progressive legislation to support the interests of the working class. We must engage in struggle at all levels available to us. We must demand progressive legislation to support jobs, and an end to the countless wars. We must demand that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. We must demand that funding for prisons be reduced and funding for rehabilitation of the incarcerated be increased. We must demand that health and education be fully funded and their funding must be expanded to prepare for our future. We must demand that there be full funding for cultural programs and the arts. We must demand full funding for all governmental services.
These are short term goals and we must fight for them.
We must also realize that the only way to end the devastation of the class war, which is a huge burden on all sectors of the population, is to implement socialism. Only with socialism can we secure our future and the future of our children. As long as we wait on politicians who are bought and paid for by the wealthy to uphold the interests of the working people, we will be sorely disappointed. With the implementation of socialism, the working class can become the ruling class. This is the only way to save humanity from the inevitable devastation that capitalism will bring to us. Unopposed, endless wars will lead to countless more lives lost and could lead to the end of humanity and all living things on this planet.
It is time for working people in this country to step up to the plate and fight for our rights. We must learn from the heroic efforts of people in other countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, UK and many others. Failure to act responsibly and in solidarity with workers in other countries is merely complicity with the ongoing destruction fostered by the very wealthy at the expense of working people. Will working people continue to beg the wealthy for handouts or will we start to fight back and demand our share of the wealth we create? Only the working class can answer this question.
Will the working class demand a “deal” for workers and their interests or will they settle for “no deal?”