the Bosses’ Parties – For a Revolutionary Workers Party
Democrat Biden’s Regime:
Cold War and Racist Repression
Then vice president Joe Biden with police officials in 2011. Biden has always proclaimed himself best friend of the police. Amid protests against racist cop brutality and murder last summer, he called for $300 million to put more police on the streets.
MARCH 23 – The storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by a racist mob instigated by Republican president Donald Trump shocked the entire world. It was unprecedented in U.S. history. It destabilized the world’s leading imperialist power. Though the mainstream media and Democratic Party politicians screamed coup d’état and insurrection, it wasn’t one. The rioters obviously did not have the wherewithal to pull off the toppling of a government or the dissolution of the legislative branch. Nor did Trump have the support in the military to carry out a “self-coup,” like some tinpot dictator such as Alberto Fujimori in Peru (1992) or Ferdinand Marcos in Philippines (1972). Rather, it was an attempt to use a marauding mob to intimidate Congress into not certifying Democrat Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election, as president. (And under the extremely undemocratic U.S. system of bourgeois “democracy,” Congress does in fact have that power.)
It was a white supremacist lynch mob, with fascists and fascistic paramilitaries in the lead. January 6 recalled the kind of assaults on elected governments that U.S. imperialism has sponsored in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), in Honduras (2009) and repeatedly against the nationalist Venezuelan regime – just to list a few examples, many under Democratic presidents. Until now the United States itself was supposedly off-limits: there was no U.S. embassy in Washington to pull the strings, as the old joke in Latin America goes. Instead, it was choreographed from the White House. The racist nature of the violent horde was visible in the many Confederate battle flags, the banner of the slavocracy and the KKK. That they were lynchers was broadcast by the gallows set up on the east side of the Capitol, and confirmed by the messages about hunting in the halls for legislators, and calling to hang Vice President Mike Pence, deemed a traitor for not doing his part in the final act of Trump’s campaign to block the results of the election.
The seriousness of the threats is underlined in the evidence being presented in hundreds of court cases that have been brought against rioters, particularly those involving the Oath Keepers and III Percenter fascistic militias and the fascist Proud Boys. The Democrats, now in control of both houses of Congress, sought to split Republican “moderates” from the hard-core Trump supporters with the impeachment of Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” To no avail, as the Republicans closed ranks behind Trump and the myth of an election “stolen” by the “deep state.” This will now be the legend that right-wing reaction rallies around, as those nostalgic for the slave South embraced the mythology of the “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy – while black people were subjugated by Jim Crow segregation, KKK night riders and lynching. The stage is set for parliamentary warfare in Congress, and violent racist attacks by bitter-end Trumpers.
The response by Biden to the seismic shock of the assault on Congress was to call for national “unity,” the theme of his January 20 inaugural address. But even as he spoke over and over of “uniting,” the Democratic president said he knew it could “sound like a foolish fantasy.” Just about everyone in bourgeois politics and the media agreed that it was exactly that – an impossibility in the deeply polarized U.S. Almost all Republican members of Congress refused to certify the Biden presidency and 31% of the electorate (which translates into almost 50 million people) still says the election, which the Democrat won by a margin of 7 million votes, was fraudulent. This sharp division was soon shown as the new bourgeois administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed the House and the Senate with not a single Republican voting in favor. Yet three-quarters of voters support the plan (including 60% of Republicans).
Biden delivered his address in a capital city turned into an armed camp, occupied by 25,000 National Guard troops, specially vetted to weed out “extremists,” with government buildings sealed off with ten-foot-high fences, before a National Mall with no people but instead hundreds of thousands of small U.S. flags, to symbolize the by now more than half a million people in the United States who have died of COVID-19 over the last year. As the presidential calls for unity, civility, coming together, bipartisanship and ending “this uncivil war” fall flat, the Democratic administration is preparing to beef up the repressive apparatus of police and military forces. In particular, Biden has announced his intent to pass a “domestic terrorism law.” While he cited “white supremacy” in his speech, all past history shows that any such laws will be primarily used against anti-racist and leftist protesters.
“The Revenge of the Deep State”
Liberal war hawks take the reins of U.S. imperialism again. Above: Joe Biden and his current Secretary of State, Antony Blinken (top right, leaning forward), in the war room with Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, watch the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in real time, 2011.
As Trump’s intent to hang onto the presidency no matter what the outcome of the popular vote became clear, the Democrats and some “moderate” Republicans launched various initiatives to thwart this. As we wrote in our last issue, while “Trump Looks to Cops and Fascists, Democrats Appeal to Pentagon Brass” (see “Repression Elections 2020,” Internationalist No. 61, September-October 2020). A linchpin was the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), a “bipartisan collection of 100 current and former senior government officials,” politicians and other “experts,” who carried out war games examining various election outcomes. As we noted, all the scenarios except a Biden landslide hinged on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The TIP was begun by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former top Pentagon official in the Clinton administration. Brooks is the daughter of social-democratic luminary Barbara Ehrenreich, married to a Special Forces lieutenant colonel, and member of Deep State Radio.
Having crushed Bernie Sanders in the primaries, Biden has staffed his administration almost exclusively with hardline Clintonites and former officials of the Democratic administration of Barack Obama. You could call it “the revenge of the Deep State.” The Trumpsters talk about the “deep state” as a conspiracy theory, a secret cabal centered on security agencies that pulls the strings behind the backs of the electorate. This is overblown, but there is a certain reality there. Over the decades, the United States has seen a huge expansion of institutional bonapartism,1 corresponding to the requirements of U.S. imperialist world domination. Key sections of the government operate fairly autonomously of any semblance of legislative control: think CIA, NSA, DIA, DHS.2 Liberals such as the late Gore Vidal talk of a “national security state.” But the military and police, the special bodies of armed men, are in fact the core of the capitalist state.
That imperialist apparatus is staffed by cadres, or professional operatives, a kind of capitalist nomenklatura which continues to operate from one administration to the next, no matter which party is formally in office.3 In the U.S., the continuity of policy is maintained via various think tanks, foundations, consulting companies and the like. Republicans staff their administrations with personnel from the conservative Heritage Foundation, the libertarian Cato Institute, etc. The Democrats draw theirs from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the Center for a New American Security, and the like.
This administration’s top State Department and Pentagon personnel have been drawn from a private equity company, Pine Island Capital Partners, and a consultancy, WestExec, set up in 2017 by former Obama administration Pentagon officials. The new Defense Department chief, General Lloyd Austin III, was the former head of the Central Command under Obama, responsible for all U.S. forces in the Middle East, for arming Islamist “rebels” against the Syrian government and for the bombing war against the Islamic State. So much for civilian control of the military! Austin was a board member of defense contractor Raytheon, a mainstay of the “military-industrial complex,” and a Pine Island partner. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was Vice President Biden’s national security advisor, responsible for supplying the Syrian Islamist mercenaries, in on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and subsequently the founder of WestExec and a partner in Pine Island (headed by the former CEO of Merrill Lynch).
So the heads of Democrat Biden’s diplomatic and military team are certified deep-staters, Wall Street profiteers, mass murderers … and Cold Warriors. Blinken and Austin are currently carrying out “An About-Face on China Policy by Biden’s Team” (New York Times, 18 March), which “seems to adopt much of the Trump administration’s conviction that the world’s two biggest powers are veering dangerously toward confrontation” and “more directly repudiates the prevailing view of the last quarter century that deep economic interdependence could be counted on to temper fundamental conflicts” with Beijing. The authors of a 2017 Foreign Affairs article that proclaimed the “the end of a post-Cold War construct that assumed these two great powers had to learn to get along,” Kurt Campbell and Ely Ratner, are now respectively the White House Asia coordinator and the Pentagon’s top official for Asia.
After four years of falsely blaming Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 election on Russian interference, complaining that Trump was in Vladimir Putin’s pocket and inconsistent on Xi Jinping, the Democrats are out to prove that they are the true Cold Warriors. Last week Biden called Putin a “killer,” and the next day Blinken met with top Chinese officials in Alaska to berate them over Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, where both Biden and Trump’s Secretary of State accused China of “genocide,” a total fabrication. Then Washington acted shocked to hear the Chinese respond to this “human rights” imperialist rhetoric by pointing to police repression of Black Lives Matter demos. The New York Times (21 March) headlined: “That Was Fast: Blowups with China and Russia in Biden’s First 60 Days.” The media are trying to play it down, saying that the “competition” is mainly over technology, cyberconflict and influence. Fat chance.
It is true that the U.S. has vast military superiority in firepower against China and Russia, and that neither of those countries is looking to launch a war against the most powerful imperialist country in the world. But things could get out of hand, and Washington could miscalculate. It’s happened before. In 2016 we wrote that Hillary Clinton was the candidate most likely to start a war with Russia. The recent rounds of sharply increased tensions with Moscow began when Clinton, as Obama’s Secretary of State, worked together with fascists and ultra-rightist nationalists to drag Ukraine into NATO and turn it into a U.S./European Union satellite on Russia’s doorstep. They were surprised when Putin annexed Crimea, with the support of its majority Russian population. If tensions escalate in the South China Sea, where the head of the U.S. Navy’s Indo-Pacific Command is itching to provoke a military clash, things could blow up.
As the warmongering mounts, the League for the Fourth International’s defense of the Chinese deformed workers state against imperialism and counterrevolution stands out in stark relief. In 2019-20, the LFI denounced the U.S.-fostered anti-communist riots in Hong Kong while the opportunist left acted as running dogs of U.S. imperialism, barking as Washington banged the war drums over “human rights.” Meanwhile, Biden Democrats as well as Trump Republicans scapegoat China for the coronavirus. Yet China with its planned economy acted quickly and massively to contain the deadly outbreak while throughout the capitalist world, with its disorganized, profit-driven health systems, COVID-19 has unleashed a tidal wave of death. And over the last year, the all-sided China-bashing is reflected in a huge increase in racist attacks on Asian Americans. It’s clear: the bipartisan anti-China war drive fuels anti-Asian bigotry.
Empty “Reforms,” Deportations and Repression
Federal agents in Portland charge protesters on the night of July 22-23 last summer (2020), working together with local and state police. Internationalist Group called for "Feds and cops out!" Now federal repressive forces are under Biden’s command.
While pursuing an aggressive imperialist agenda abroad, on the domestic front Biden is pushing a dual-track policy of “progressive” reform bills with no chance of being enacted, to keep the liberals (and their left camp followers) quiet, combined with stepped-up repression. The media noted that the Biden Democrats were able to keep their left flank in line and squelch any serious protests before Inauguration Day. Now they have rushed proposed immigration and labor reforms through the House (while dropping the $15 per hour minimum wage because of objections of an unelected parliamentarian), very consciously sending them to the Senate to die. Their hope is that mass vaccination and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, amounting to more than 9% of last year’s gross domestic product, along with moratoriums on evictions and student loan payments, extended unemployment benefits, $1,400 “stimulus” checks and $3,600 per child tax credits, will tide them over.
The administration’s first crisis is over immigration policy, with the arrival of thousands of desperate Central American refugees at the southern border. After an Inauguration Day “100-day pause on certain removals” was blocked by a Texas judge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) in fact speeded up deportations, expelling 29,000 in Biden’s first month in office. The Border Patrol is turning away adults and families, using Trump’s COVID emergency order, while letting unaccompanied minors in, to be held in overcrowded facilities.4 It has begun “surprise deportations,” loading families in vans while giving them false reassurances, and then dumping them back in Mexico. Now the first photos have come out of children being held in “pods,” lying on thin mats with nothing but foil sheets to cover them, as under Trump in 2018 … or deporter-in-chief Obama in 2014. The wanton cruelty – and hypocrisy – is staggering.
Meanwhile, police murder and racist repression have escalated. After the wanton killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop last May, the unprecedented daily and nightly mass marches of millions protesting the cops’ assault on black lives continued for weeks. But despite deceptive liberal/reformist calls to “defund the police,” no real changes were made anywhere in the functioning of capitalist “law enforcement.” And the number of dead exacted by the racist police murder machine, far from diminishing in the face of protest, jumped sharply. In 2020, 2,206 civilians were killed by cops, far above the average of 1,400 police killings annually in the previous 19 years of this century.5 In Britain, by way of comparison, three people were killed by police last year, and a total of 22 since 2001. The systemic racism of U.S. capitalism, rooted in the heritage of chattel slavery, is undeniable and ever-present.
In this panorama of generalized capitalist rot of a putrefying system, the bourgeoisie has to resort to extraordinary measures by the central axes of the capitalist state, the repressive apparatus of the police, the military and the courts – which Joe Biden more than anyone else represents. They are already planning large-scale repression. In 2018, the Pentagon had a war game that they called the “Z-bellion.” What happens when young people born after 1996 rise up, they asked. The official description begins: “Although millennials experienced these events [like 9/11] during their coming of age, Gen Z lived through them as part of their childhood.” It goes on, “many found themselves stuck with excessive college debt when they discovered employment options did not meet expectations.”6 This is what the Pentagon is gearing up to deal with. The fascistic militias and small fascist movements will act as auxiliaries to the military and police apparatus as the U.S. increasingly moves toward a bonapartist “strong state.”
On Juneteenth (June 19) protest against racist police repression last year, Internationalist contingent called for independent mobilization of workers power.
So the liberals are wringing their hands about the need for “policing reforms,” for more training in crowd control and the like. There is now a slew of reports – from New York City to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere – on the brutal police response to the anti-racist marches last summer. But it’s not a question of training – the very presence of cops at protest demonstrations is a provocation. The fact is, from the time of slavery on, the police as an institution are inherently white supremacist. Even where there are black cops, black police chiefs and black mayors, they are enforcing racist, capitalist “law and order.” The police can’t be reformed, and certainly can’t be abolished so long as capital rules. The Internationalist Group says: Cops out! For workers action against racist repression! For black liberation through socialist revolution!
Far from “defunding” the police, Biden – who portrays himself as the cops’ BFF and has always sought the support of police “unions” – has called for $300 million more to beef up the COPS (Community Oriented Policing) program. Since last fall, Biden has been calling for a “domestic terrorism” law, and as noted earlier, in his inaugural address he talked of confronting “white supremacy.” But as the Democratic administration gets down to drafting its law, the language shifts. In January, the DHS issued a National Terrorism Advisory about “ideologically-motivated extremists.” And who might those be? At the beginning of March, the Director of National Intelligence issued a Domestic Violent Extremism alert. It lists racially motivated violent extremists, animal rights/environmental extremists, etc., and then “anarchist violent extremists” who “oppose all forms of capitalism.”
You can be sure that the implementation of this law against “DVEs,” or domestic violent extremists, will be used against the left. How could it be otherwise? January 6 showed like a flash of lightning the role of military and police in fascistic groups. In a February 16 town hall meeting on CNN, Biden himself talked “about the impact of former military, former police officers, on the growth of white supremacy” – and everyone knows that it’s not just “former.” Now in Portland we are getting a taste of the repressive future. A trio of judges in Oregon has legalized the police practice of “kettling,” which the Portland Police Bureau resumed in early March, surrounding an entire demonstration, detaining and photographing everyone with their IDs. Kettling is a violation of democratic rights – Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly – but now it’s back.
Kamala Harris in 2013 when, as state attorney general, she proclaimed herself “California’s top cop.”
Even more ominous are the terms in which the courts authorized the use of such police-state tactics. A U.S. district judge ruled in January that “officers are entitled to have reasonable suspicion as to a moderately cohesive group,” even if those in it are not ideologically aligned. A Multnomah County judge ruled that a police officer needs only to have an “objectively reasonable basis to suspect criminal activity is either afoot or about to be afoot,” and can cite some specific facts. And in December a U.S. magistrate judge dismissed a class-action suit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and declared kettling legal. So this is already being used against the left, with the full-throated support of Portland’s Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also in charge of the police who have beaten, pepper-sprayed, kettled and banned anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrations.
Meanwhile, in New York City police viciously attacked a Black Lives Matter march on Martin Luther King Day. Today, not only are Democratic big city mayors the bosses of the racist killer cops, as we have repeated, now they are also nationally as well. As the experience of the Obama administration showed, that will change nothing. Recall also that Biden denounced “antifa” in the election campaign, that he called for police to shoot “rioters” in the leg, and that Vice President Kamala Harris billed herself as California’s “top cop,” keeping people in jail even when there was evidence to prove their innocence.
For Class Independence from the Capitalist Parties and State
Workers have begun fighting, as we foresaw from the onset of the pandemic a year ago, with a series of strikes and the Amazon union drive in Alabama, the outcome of which will have a tremendous impact (here). But it’s not just there. In January there was the Teamsters strike in New York City’s Hunts Point Market, the largest produce distribution center in the U.S. (here). Then there was the standoff between the Chicago Teachers Union and a would-be union-busting mayor (see “Chicago Teachers in the Eye of the Storm,” on edworkersunite.blogspot.com). There is an ongoing strike by nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts against one of the biggest, most anti-union for-profit hospital chains in the country. There is the fight of immigrant women laundry workers in NYC, fired for organizing a union (see page 13), and the fight by IATSE (stage hands) union workers against a lockout by the Portland Trail Blazers.
On March 9, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. It includes some fairly far-reaching provisions, which AFL-CIO bureaucrats believe would make it somewhat easier to organize unions. (Whether that would do much against a hard-nosed anti-union employer with lots of resources, like Amazon, is another matter.) The bill would make it illegal to fire strikers; classify “subcontractors” such as Uber/Lyft drivers as employees with labor rights; reinstitute the agency shop (i.e., overturn the Janus ruling), and even eliminate the provisions of the Taft-Hartley law banning secondary boycotts and strikes. But these are amendments to the National Labor Relations Act based on the 1935 Wagner Act, which was passed by the Democratic administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt to gain government control of labor through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the explosive 1934 strikes in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Toledo, Ohio.
We see today how unions are hamstrung by government regulations, no-strike clauses and bans on just about every effective labor tactic from sit-down strikes to flying picket squads. Yet almost all the labor movement, and most of the left, is enthusing over the PRO Act, particularly regarding the Amazon union drive in Alabama. The internet outlet Left Voice (19 March) criticizes “many on the Left” who have “uncritically praised” the bill and lists ways in which the legislation would “strengthen the bonds between organized labor and the state,” including compulsory arbitration in first contracts. But it concludes, “we should most definitely support and even fight for the passage of the PRO Act.” So while huffing and puffing, these “left” social democrats tail after the Democratic Party. The Internationalist Group, in contrast, calls to break with the Democrats and fights against all forms of control of labor by the capitalist state.
When the Obama administration early on introduced the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), to make card checks sufficient to recognize a union, we explained, “Why Marxists Oppose All Government Intervention in the Unions” (The Internationalist No. 28, March-April 2009). We underlined how Leon Trotsky in his unfinished essay, “Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay” (August 1940), insisted on “complete and unconditional independence of the trade unions in relation to the capitalist state,” and cited how the Trotskyists in the 1930s opposed the Wagner Act as restricting the right to strike. The way to get rid of the ban on secondary boycotts is not to beg the bosses’ government but for militant trade unionists to dispatch flying squads to picket out the plants. It can be done. It has been done. But that requires a class-struggle labor leadership prepared to take on and defeat the capitalists, their parties, politicians and state.
Triple Pandemic: Socialist Revolution, the Only Solution
Inauguration Day n Washington, D.C., 20 January 2017: Internationalists called for a revolutionary workers party to to fight Trump and the Democrats.
Last summer, we wrote that U.S. capitalism was facing a “triple pandemic” of a deadly plague, racist police murder and mass unemployment.7 In many ways, the issues facing us today are the same as then, with one major difference: now the Democrats hold the levers of power in Washington and many states, as well as most large cities. Last year protests against racist police brutality and discontent over the response to COVID-19 were channeled into support for the Democratic Party in order to get the racist, misogynist, xenophobe Trump out. The vast majority of the left joined in this, either calling to vote for Biden or vowing to “defend the vote” and install Biden as president in the face of a Trump “coup.” The opportunist left is co-responsible for putting the Democratic administration in office, and they act like it, pressuring it for more money, calling to “hold Biden’s feet to the fire,” rather than opposing it outright.
In contrast, from Trump’s very first day in the White House, the Internationalist Group proclaimed: “To Defeat Trump ... and the Democrats, Fight for Workers Revolution” (The Internationalist No. 46, January-February 2017).” Last fall we declared (in “Repression Elections 2020”): “The workers and oppressed should not give one vote for Democrats, Republicans or any capitalist party or politician.” The day after the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, we reiterated:
“The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican, is our class enemy, and in many ways, it is the more dangerous enemy, as people’s illusions in it are systematically fostered and used for subjugating the working class to its exploiters and oppressors. So, crucially and key to everything else, it is necessary to break with the Democrats…. [A] key task is the fight to build a workers party, a party with a program for class struggle to defend all the oppressed.”
–“After January 6: What Is To Be Done?” The Internationalist No. 62, January-March 2021
And the day after Biden’s inauguration, Sándor John of Class Struggle Education Workers, speaking on the early morning show with Johanna Fernandez on WBAI radio, called for revolutionary working-class opposition to the Democratic administration. Asked how to respond to those who breathed a sigh of relief at Trump’s departure from the White House, John replied:
“When people are confronted by a white supremacist and misogynist like Donald Trump, it’s scary. And that is then used by the party which has been the main governing party of almost all U.S. wars, which carried out mass incarceration through the 1994 Crime Bill that was godfathered by Joe Biden, which deported a record number under Obama, etc. Particularly right now, when everybody’s memory is supposed to dissolve in a red-white-and-blue cloud of happy talk, it’s important to recall that history.”
Over the last year we have experienced endless expressions of the pathology of the decaying system of production for profit. The overflowing hospital morgues, with refrigerated trucks parked outside to receive the bodies, and the horrific death tolls were the result of market-driven medical care. For lack of capacity (due to closures in the name of “cost effectiveness”), the authorities sought only to “flatten the curve,” so that hospitals wouldn’t collapse, rather than stopping the spread. So they sent patients ill with COVID home to infect their household or nursing home residents. In the winter a second, even more deadly wave broke out as capitalist governments around the world, under pressure from business interests, opened up economies prematurely. Now Europe may be experiencing a third wave. And although vaccines were developed in record time, their distribution has been a spectacle of utter chaos.
Meanwhile, the mass unemployment triggered by the necessary lockdowns continues. Over 9.5 million jobs have disappeared in the U.S. Temporary layoffs have turned into skyrocketing long-term unemployment, with millions more people supposedly no longer in the labor force (and thus not counted in jobless statistics), even though they’re desperate for work. Over 500 large companies filed for bankruptcy in the first six months after the outbreak, and by December some 420,000 small businesses had closed for good. Add to this that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 17 million households are behind on rent or mortgage payments, with almost 6 million adults facing imminent eviction. Other estimates place the number of people threatened with eviction at 30-40 million. Despite moratoriums, stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and the rest, the coronavirus depression is well underway.
Come February we had widespread power outages in Texas, depriving millions of electricity and heat in the midst of the lowest temperatures on record. This led to water supplies failing even at major hospitals. In the midst of it there was racist Republican Ted Cruz’s excellent vacation, when he ran off to Cancún while his constituents were freezing and living without power and water. The Democrats are blaming it on the Republicans, the Republicans blame it on windmills. Yet the reason the power plants were not winterized and there were no reserves of natural gas is the ultra-“free-market” power system. And the fact that Texas is not on a national grid is due to a deal negotiated by the Democrats going back to the 1930s and renewed in the 1990s. Whichever party is in office, it is capital that rules – and in Texas that means the energy industry.
It’s an endless horror show. And in all of this – whether it is exposure to the coronavirus, medical treatment, racist repression and attacks, job loss, homelessness, access to vaccine, the disaster of “remote education” or any other measure of the crisis – the hardest-hit are the African American, Latin American, Native American and immigrant populations, particularly those with the least resources. This is what we see with the workers celebrated as “essential” but treated as disposable, who didn’t have the luxury of working from home. The death toll on the Indian reservations is horrendous. Black workers are still the first fired and last to be rehired. Immigrants “without papers” are ineligible for government emergency support. Now mass killings highlight the wave of anti-Asian attacks spurred by Trump’s vicious talk of a “Chinese virus” and “kung flu,” and the Democrats’ war propaganda against China.
All this underlines that no amount of tinkering or reforms can end the chaos and suffering. It’s not a rough patch with light at the end of the tunnel. This is a crisis of the capitalist system itself – it will take socialist revolution to resolve it. That will be a fight. Time to enlist. ■
- 1. Basing himself on the example of Louis Napoléon-Bonaparte, who seized power in France in 1852 and proclaimed himself emperor, Karl Marx used the term bonapartism to signify the sidelining of bourgeois-democratic governing norms by the military/police apparatus. See the Internationalist Group Class Readings, Marxism vs. Bonapartism (2004).
- 2. Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
- 3. Leon Trotsky analyzed the nature of the layer that usurped power in the Soviet Union under Stalin, and called for a proletarian political revolution to oust the parasitic bureaucracy of the degenerated workers state. The Stalinists didn’t refer to their apparatus as a bureaucracy, of course, but instead referred to the nomenklatura, a list of names of cadres who could be shifted from one position to another.
- 4. See “Stop Biden’s Deportations, Let the Kids Go!” The Internationalist No. 62, January-March 2021.
- 5. And these figures are only of the publicly reported killings by police agencies. See https://fatalencounters.org/.
- 6. “Pentagon War Game Includes Scenario for Military Response to Domestic Gen Z Rebellion,” The Intercept, 5 June 2020.
- 7. See “To Uproot Racist Oppression: Socialist Revolution,” The Internationalist No. 60, May-June 2020.
No to the Democratic Party of Amazon
(and Silicon Valley and Wall Street)
As we go to press, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, now head of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, is heading to Bessemer, Alabama to pose as a supporter of the union organizing campaign at Amazon. Don’t be fooled! Sanders may talk of “democratic socialism,” but his role is to rope young people, women, African Americans, immigrants, and the poor and working people generally into voting for the capitalist Democratic Party. In the 2020 elections, the top recipient of Amazon’s political donations was … Democrat Joe Biden, who got $1.7 million, followed by $800,000 to Democrat Sanders and $790,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).1 That’s more than 13 times the amount Jeff Bezos’ anti-union behemoth gave to Trump and the Republicans.
Meanwhile, Google’s parent company Alphabet gave a whopping $16.8 million to Democrats (including $3.66 million to Biden, $1 million to Sanders, $2.5 million to the Democrats’ super PAC, Future Forward USA, and $1.9 million to the DNC) and only $1.5 million to Republicans. Microsoft gave almost $13 million to the Democrats and $2.4 million to Republicans. Facebook chipped in $1.2 million to Biden, $347,000 to the DNC and $249,000 to Sanders. Apple gave $4.5 million to the Democrats and only $250,000 to Republicans. And so on.
Class Struggle Workers – Portland and Internationalist Group at 25 July 2020 PDX protest against federal forces’ siege. Painters union Local 10 banner calls to break with all the bosses parties and form a class-struggle workers party.
Same story on Wall Street, where the Democrats raked in $74 million, compared to a paltry $18 million for Trump. The Democrats, who sometimes masquerade as “friends of labor,” are in fact a party – and in 2020, the main party – of big business. So long as the unions are chained to the capitalist Democrats, the party of high finance, of imperialist war abroad and racist repression at home, they will be stymied every time they engage in real struggle. Workers should follow the lead of the Portland Painters (IUPAT) Local 10, which in August 2016 resolved that it “does not support the Democrats, Republicans or any bosses’ parties or politicians,” and “we call on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class-struggle workers party.” ■
- 8. “Big Tech and CEOs Poured Millions into The Election. Here’s Who They Supported,” observer.com, 2 November 2020.