Stay in the streets!

The Republican and Democratic parties in this election appear to be arguing over the size of the government. Republicans say it must be shrunk to balance the budget. Democrats counter that mean Republicans want to cut especially those programs meant to help those in need — whose numbers increase as the economy sheds jobs.

Looking at the question this way is totally misleading. It is not the size of the government that is the problem. It is the social class that controls the government and uses it for its own interests.

Seen this way, the difference between the two parties becomes narrow indeed. Both serve the interests of the tiny fraction of 1% who control all the productive wealth of this country and much of the world. No matter which party is in office, the powerful government positions are held by people who have run huge corporations and banks or served them in the courts.

Look at all the cabinets of the past 50 years. How many cabinet secretaries, Democrat or Republican, have risen in politics by being bankers, industrialists and corporate lawyers? And how many by clerking in stores, picking crops, working in hospitals, sewing garments or building labor unions?

The Democrats claim to represent the “middle class,” by which they mean workers with stable jobs — a shrinking category. They appear to reject the outright racism and snobbery of the Republicans and are much more popular with workers and people who suffer oppression based on such things as skin color, gender or sexual identity, or country of birth.

But when the housing bubble burst and the banks demanded the government bail them out with trillions of dollars, the current Democratic administration opened the doors of the Treasury. The bankers were not being evicted, losing their jobs and medical care, or forced to survive on food pantries. They’re bankers. The bailouts were to save their fortunes.

We live in a period when capitalism is failing. This economic system has divided society between the 99%, who own little beyond their own personal property, and the 1%, who own everything else. The bosses have no answer for the dilemma they have created: The more productive labor becomes, the more jobs are eliminated and the more people fall into poverty.

Workers World is for socialism — where the workers, not the billionaires, own the means of production. This will take a titanic struggle by the masses of people who have nothing to lose but their chains. One of those chains is the two-party political system that promises everything but delivers little more than wars, jails and taxes.

Jobs, health care, decent housing, schools instead of jails, stopping war and oppression — these struggles will be won in the streets, not at the ballot box.

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