Revolutionary Worker #881, November 10, 1996
As we go to press, the handwriting was on the wall that Bill Clinton would remain in the White House. Now, after election day, everybody will be told that he has a "popular mandate from the voters" to continue. But it was the system that chose Clinton because he proved to the ruling class that he was the best "face" to put on their deepening attacks on the masses of people.
Clinton's campaign slogan was "America On Track for the 21st Century."
On track? For the masses of people, especially for the oppressed, the system's plans are simply intolerable.
Here's a sketch of all the cruel policies that have just gone down--and more on the way:
Clinton has worked in a "tag team" with the most reactionary forces within the power structure: The Republican right-wing would formulate sweeping plans for heartless cuts and punishment, then Clinton would help package these plans--to present the final versions as "less extreme" than they could have been. The core of Clinton's politics is to press forward a vicious war on the people, while presenting a "moderate" face to the population.
Clinton brags day after day in his standard "stump speech" that he helped the states drive two million people off welfare, and eliminated 200,000 federal jobs. He signed a brutal plan to cut $56 billion from welfare and food stamp programs over the next few years. By the admission of his own officials this will drive at least a million more children into poverty. It will cut off federal benefits to legal immigrants.
Clinton declared that he wanted to "mend, not end" affirmative action. In practice, he promoted the idea that affirmative action is unfair and "reverse discrimination." He personally abolished important federal "set-aside" programs for businesses owned by women and oppressed nationalities. He directed the Democratic Party to distance itself from the fight against Proposition 209 in California.
Clinton, the supposedly "pro-choice president," carried out a policy of "keeping abortion legal, making it rare." On his watch, murderous nationwide assaults continued on abortion providers, and key medical procedures remain unfunded. In practice, abortion has become increasingly unavailable for millions of women.
On the widening gap between rich and poor? Clinton is widely described as the "most pro-business president in decades." He rammed through the NAFTA and GATT treaties for the ruling class. Millions of people have had their lives "down-sized"--large sections of the economy are now on out-sourcing, part-time contracting and micro-wages. The Clinton administration calls this the best economy in years.
What is Clinton's proposal of "increased opportunity"? "Connecting the Internet to every high school." How will cutting off food stamps and handing out email addresses end 50 percent unemployment among ghetto youth?!? Two years ago, Newt Gingrich proposed "giving a laptop to every welfare mother"--and now Clinton runs out the same hollow techno-rhetoric.
While Clinton talks of diversity and inclusion, oppressed people of the inner city are shoved aside and treated like a criminal menace. There are 200,000 more prisoners in federal and state prisons than when Clinton took office.
On police brutality? Clinton calls for more police. There are now more mandatory sentences, expanded use of the death penalty, tighter restrictions on death-row appeals, and billions of new dollars spent on new prison construction.
When real crimes of the system have been exposed--like the burning of Black churches and the CIA involvement in cocaine drug-running--the government, the police agencies and media have worked to hush things up.
Clinton endorses right-wing "traditional values": he has promoted Internet censorship, called for "school uniforms to instill discipline," proposed mandatory drug testing for teenagers as a requirement to get a driver's license, advocated tighter parental control over television, and demanded that homosexuals stay in the closet with his discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policies.
Clinton has carried out imperialist attacks throughout the world: The Dayton Agreement imposed by the U.S. rewarded "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and royally screwed the Bosnian Moslems. When Clinton's UN ambassador Albright was asked about the 500,000 Iraqi children killed by the U.S. embargo, she answered "The price, we think, is worth it." Clinton signed a military budget that was $7 billion larger than the Pentagon requested.
On the environment? White House deals allowed the first logging of old growth forests in four years.
Health care? Three million more people have no insurance than when Clinton took office.
Promises of laws against strike breakers? Dropped.
Public Housing? The Clinton administration pushed forward the destruction of housing projects, and imposed outrageous "one strike you're out" eviction policies.
Immigration? The White House brags that it has militarized the border, and that more people are being deported now than ever in history.
All this is what the system means when they say ``America is on track"! Clinton has been the commander-in-chief in a true war on the people. And now he has been reassigned for four more years.
It is not just "more of the same" that lies ahead. In many ways, the system is preparing to "drop the other shoe"--they now need to implement many cuts and policies that have, up-til-now, only been on the drawing boards. For example, they are now actually going to carry through the massive cuts in welfare--where families get cut off after two years. And they are now going to tackle the explosive task of cutting social security and medicare.
The system is actually going to face the political anger of many millions of people--as the cuts start to hit home on both the poor and middle classes. And they openly worry that "the very fabric" of their political system may tear under the strain of the policies they are about to carry out. One more reason the power structure settled for a slippery communicator, Bill Clinton, to lead them into this minefield.
Isn't it very clear that this high-tech, downsizing capitalist system, its low-life political representatives and its brutal enforcers have no solutions to the problems of the people? All the answers the system has come up with show that we need another solution--another system--a real revolution.
And there is only one way to respond: To build and expand a true mass movement of resistance. To organize the masses of people to resist. To build and strengthen new alliances, to find creative new ways to defeat the attempts to scapegoat and divide.
October has seen some important steps forward in building the resistance, organization and fighting capacity of the people. And together we need to strategize to face the challenges ahead, and dare to lead the people.
As the great revolutionary Mao Tsetung said: "The enemy is sharpening his sword, we must sharpen ours."
his article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker
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