July 26 — The Democratic National Convention has barely begun, and it is already quite clear that a large number of people who had hoped that the Sanders campaign would push the Democratic Party to the left and give people a chance to vote in November for real change are not just disillusioned, they are hopping mad.
They should be.
The familiar stench of capitalist politics drifts over the convention. The commands of big money are being carried out behind the scenes through an opaque alchemy brewed by a tightly controlled political machine.
The Democratic Party, especially since the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, has posed as the party of the people, in contrast to the Republicans. A skeptic might point out that Roosevelt himself was the scion of a rich and powerful political family, and only did what he thought was necessary to placate the masses and save the system in a time of capitalist breakdown and rising class struggle. Yet the popular image of the party remains.
And so it is that the convention, which has so many working-class delegates, a good number of them union activists, people of color and immigrants, and caucuses of LGBTQ people as well as artists and writers with a progressive outlook on social themes, has already, for the most part, been whipped into line to support Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee. But not without the biggest struggle in many, many years, with those in the Sanders camp feeling the nomination was stolen from him.
Clinton is the first woman to be nominated for president by either of the two big U.S. capitalist parties. That’s how backward this country is politically and socially. Since 1918, many women have actually served as heads of state in other countries around the world — guide2womenleaders.com lists 175 of them! Finally, it could happen here. But Clinton is a woman who is trusted by the big money men not to depart from the rules they have imposed on Washington.
Rule number one: She must accept the dictates of the warmongers and send U.S. troops around the world whenever the U.S. transnational corporations and banks demand it to advance their far-flung profit interests. She as well as all the preceding Democratic Party presidents, including Barack Obama, have understood this and have never used their powers to refuse the generals, even making war without getting a declaration of war from Congress — a clear violation of the Constitution.
The flap over Clinton’s emails and Benghazi just underscores the fact that, as secretary of state, she was in the middle of that completely illegal assault on the sovereign state of Libya, which has since been ripped apart by mercenaries serving competing oil cliques.
Rule number two: She must maintain the status quo of rule by the super-rich while trying to placate the masses with minor reforms. This has been standard operating procedure for Democratic administrations, like those of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton especially promised improvements for the masses of Black people and cultivated an image to go with his promises. But in reality he consciously destroyed welfare, the last resort for poor women of color with children, and supported legislation that led to the highest level of mass incarceration in the world — with a disproportionately high percentage of Black people behind bars. Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor is greater than it has ever been.
One thing the elections have shown, even at this early stage, is that a large section of the population is fed up with the status quo and looking to change things. The Sanders movement appealed to workers and low-income youths based on their class interests.
The Trump campaign is stirring up fear and anger to reinforce racism and xenophobia. Trump and his ilk want to turn them against anyone but the super-rich, who really run the show and are the cause of rising economic insecurity.
The capitalist system is in a growing crisis, as technology displaces workers and thereby undercuts the very market they need to realize their profits. And the bosses always try to solve their problems on the backs of the workers.
The argument is already being made strenuously by the Democrats to support Clinton because the alternative, Trump, would be unthinkable. But it is a false argument. Yes, Trump is an openly racist agitator in comparison with Clinton, but voting for the Democrats will neither stop the racist police violence nor advance the struggle for urgently needed social change. That has to happen in the streets, in the workplaces, everywhere that the masses of people can be engaged to fight in their own defense against the exploiters and the masters of war.
The best outcome at the present time is that the Sanders movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, the low-wage worker movement, the LGBTQ movement, the reproductive justice movement, the movements against deportations and mass incarceration — all retain their independence from both capitalist parties, stay in the streets and collaborate to unite and fight this racist, oppressive, exploitive and dangerously unstable system.