Follow the Soapbox
An “Off Year Election” for the Peoples of the World
by Ray Light--Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

We are coming to the close of the 2014 election season in the USA. In line with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, billions of dollars of “dark money,” PAC and Super Pac funds, and other untraceable corporate cash have been spent over the past year and more to try to convince the workers and the oppressed in particular that there is a choice between the candidates of the Republicans and Democrats, the “two major parties,” and that one of them represents our interests. Nevertheless, there is little at stake for the working class and the 99% of us in the outcome. There is also little at stake for the rest of the international working class and oppressed peoples around the world. Essentially, when the “Republicrats” win, we lose.

As we have explained over a number of years, the Republican and Democratic Parties, especially at the federal level, actually function in collaboration and cooperation with each other to defend and promote the rule of the financial oligarchy over the people of the USA and in defense of the U.S. Empire. The reality of “Republicrat political rule” helps explain why no Wall Street financiers have even been criminally charged, never mind convicted and jailed, for the rampant illegal acts which hastened, precipitated and aggravated the economic crisis of 2008.

In fact, over the past six years, Wall Street has recovered and the Wall Street criminals have been making record profits thanks to massive subsidies from the U.S. government – the Bush and Obama bailouts, the ongoing “quantitative easing” and other props for the
stock market, and so on. This is in accordance with the ruling class thesis (jointly peddled by Obama and the Democrats as well as Bush and the Republicans) that their corporations and financial institutions were and are “too big to fail.”

Meanwhile, the masses of the U.S. population are still suffering “economic depression” conditions, including massive unemployment and underemployment, shrinking wages and rapidly growing impoverishment. Just a few days ago, the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, reached into an area rarely if ever addressed by the Fed to warn that the huge and growing inequality of wealth in the USA has become a serious source of long term weakness for the U.S. economy.

Interconnected with the economic needs of the U.S. ruling class domestically, has been the resurgence of U.S. imperialist war and aggression all over the Middle East. With the help of the “mysterious” ISIS, created by the U.S. CIA, Israeli Mossad and British intelligence, and especially its beheading of several Western journalists, the U.S. population, having not yet forsaken its hopes for salvation through allegiance to the U.S. Empire, has once again turned to support of the continuing aggressive military presence of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. Most dramatically, a year ago, with overwhelming popular opposition to U.S. intervention in Syria, Obama, with the help of Vladimir Putin, barely escaped the likely rejection by Congress of his appeal to militarily intervene in Syria. And Obama seemed to be winding down the brutal U.S. war in Iraq. Today, thanks to mass media manipulation regarding “ISIS terrorism,” there is bipartisan, majority support for such intervention.

Thus, U.S. imperialist war, along with Wall Street domestic criminality, has not been a significant issue addressed in the 2014 campaign.

Key Features of the 2014 Election

The so-called “two party system,” mostly providing the choice between two corporate flunkeys, has been strengthened at least in the near term, including the 2014 election, by the unlimited corporate funds that can now legally be funneled into the election process, since the U.S. Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision. One clear result, as observed by the British imperialist weekly, The Economist (10-25-14) is that, “Ever-fewer races for the House of Representatives are closely fought, leaving four-fifths of that body’s 435 members with little to fear on polling day.” The Economist added that, “In 2014 Republicans have put up no challenger in 37 House races, while Democrats are ceding 32 districts without a fight.”

Meanwhile, there are 77 single-party House races turning safe districts into blue-on-blue and red-on- red fights. In the 2014 election cycle, this has mainly impacted the Republican Party. For the Tea Party, uneasily connected to the Republican Party, represents the desperation of the formerly prosperous U.S. middle class and offers these folks a fascist path as the way out of the economic crisis. The Tea Party is indeed distinct and separate from the “Republicrats,” the mainstream Republicans and Democrats that have jointly served the interests of the U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class over many decades.

–Eric Cantor’s Primary Defeat From the Right–

In one of the biggest political upsets in at least a generation, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R- VA), seven term incumbent and the heir apparent to House Speaker John Boehner, was badly beaten in his Republican primary back in June by Tea Party candidate Dave Brat, a political unknown. Brat, a college professor, sounded a populist, anti-Washington, anti- corporate note that included recognizing something few on the left other than the Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL,USA) have acknowledged, namely, the influx of undocumented workers into the USA has had a downward pressure on wages, especially on the Black, Latino and white working poor. However, Brat and the Tea Party promote the opposite conclusion from ROL,USA.

In order to lift the wages and working conditions of all, we call for unity between the rest of the working poor in the USA and the new immigrant workers (as well as calling on all the working poor in the USA to support the national liberation movements against U.S.-led imperialism of the peoples in Latin America, the Philippines, etc. where most of the immigrants come from). On the other hand, Brat and the Tea Party promote immigrant-bashing, dividing the entire sector of the working poor and placing them in an even more difficult situation. Brat’s combination of anti-corporate rhetoric and alleged concern for the white working class coupled with his immigrant-bashing is reminiscent of the fascism of the Nazis, the National Socialists, in Germany in the 1930’s during the last great depression. If the Tea Party movement makes Brat’s defeat of Eric Cantor, a blueprint for its electoral activity in the future, it could
have devastating repercussions for the workers and oppressed in the USA and elsewhere.

–Will it still be Kansas if Republican Senator Pat Roberts loses?–

In Kansas, it has been 80 years since an independent politician has made a stir. And about the same amount of time since a Democrat has been elected to the U.S. Senate. Now Greg Orman, a wealthy entrepreneur, an avowed centrist who claims he voted for Obama in 2008 and Romney in 2012, is threatening to win a U.S. Senate seat as an Independent against Pat Roberts, the state’s senior senator and a major Republican fixture.

Roberts fought off a Tea Party challenger in the August primary. But to accommodate the Tea Party, he has tacked hard to the right in recent years. For example, The Economist observed, “Kansans, who like limited government for other people, were startled when Mr. Roberts voted against a farm bill and tried to block funds for a research center in Kansas that he had sought for a decade.”(“Stormin’ Orman,” 9-13-14) Meanwhile, in early September, the Democratic challenger withdrew from the race, leaving Orman to face Roberts mano a mano in the Republican Party stronghold. In this context a group of about 70 former Kansas legislators, organized as “Traditional Republicans for Common Sense,” recently endorsed Orman. The most interesting and hopeful feature of this race is that Orman is running his independent campaign against two-party politics. And his anti-“Republicrat” message has resonated with the people of Kansas.

–North Carolina May Get the Best Senator Money can Buy–

The most expensive race in 2014 is the over $100 million dollars spent in North Carolina between the two corporate Senate candidates, Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Tom Tillis. Over the past six years, Hagan has failed to keep her word to Firefighters and other union workers. Not surprising for a former banker, daughter-in-law of a general in the U.S. military, and niece of a Florida Governor and Senator. Furthermore, The Economist (ibid.) reports that her husband’s company received a $250 thousand grant under the 2009 stimulus act, for which Senator Hagan voted. Nevertheless, many unions, affiliated with the National AFL-CIO, are once again providing much of the manpower to politicians such as Hagan. They are afraid of Tillis’ tea party politics, including hostility to public education in North Carolina, and of the Republicans winning the majority in the U. S. Senate. The Firefighters, however, are one union that has largely refused to be scared or shamed into supporting Hagan. Their position is that sooner or later we in the labor movement have to hold these lying politicians accountable. Even if it hurts our situation in the short run, we have to teach
the politicians that their backstabbing of the working class will cost them.

The Firefighters position is a step forward from the dead end “lesser of two evils” theory which most of the misleadership of the organized labor movement has saddled itself with and more importantly has saddled the working class membership of their unions with. Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the conservative leadership of most of the largest union affiliates and their predecessors going back over at least six decades, the U.S. labor movement has functioned as the hired help of the Democratic Party, loyally doing the nitty gritty grassroots work with no real voice in the decision-making and the deal-making. The monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class forces leading both the Democratic and Republican Parties reserve these positions for themselves. The AFL-CIO chieftains have led the rank and file workers to sacrifice themselves and their sons and daughters as cannon fodder for the U.S. military machine waging war against the workers and oppressed peoples all over the rest of the world. The treachery of “the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class” has rendered them among the most valuable social props of the U.S. Empire. Their betrayal of the workers of the rest of the world is commensurate with their betrayal of the workers in the USA, including their own members.

The apparent success of Greg Orman in Kansas up till now helps expose the political cowardice of the AFL-CIO bureaucrats, the NAACP leadership and others who claim to represent the masses of the 99% but refuse to break politically with the Democratic Party and “the two party” corporate con game. Unlike these social- democrats, the Tea Party forces are not afraid to break with the mainstream Republicans. Representing the desperation of the increasingly ruined middle class of the U.S. Empire in decline, the Tea Party is clearly the current wild card in U.S. bourgeois elections.

CONCLUSION: Unfortunately, the 2014 election season has offered no way forward for the workers and oppressed of the USA. We are no closer to smashing “Republicrat Rule,” the collaboration of the mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans, through which the U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class exercises political dictatorship over the working people of the USA.

In the coming months, the masses of increasingly impoverished workers, including among the Afro- American people and the vast immigrant working class population, in opposition to the right reformism of the AFL-CIO bureaucrats, the NAACP leadership, the Latino NGOers, etc., need to more militantly fight for their rights, including voting rights and in the political arena. The task of the proletarian vanguard in the USA is to help give this motion organization and direction. Clearly, we too have to enter the bourgeois political arena in a bold and new way.



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    Ray o'light

    Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL), USA is a revolutionary working class organization that fights for working class power and the elimination of all human exploitation. Ray O’ Light Newsletter is the regular publication of ROL, USA. We believe, with comrade Lenin, that the working class “... needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable petty bourgeois lies.” In the spirit of Karl Marx who taught that “our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action,” we welcome your comments.

    Ray Light, Editor


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