Don't Choose Between Oppressors--
Bury the Pig System
Part 2: The Democrats
Revolutionary Worker #1066, August 13, 2000
The season of conventions has become the season of confrontation.
While the official airwaves project the grotesque pre-scripted convention info-mercials for the selection of George Bush and Al Gore as presidential candidates, out in the streets of Philadelphia and Los Angeles the people are confronting the realities of democracy and the election process.
Like a drum roll before the main event, this convention season was opened by Governor George Bush's cold execution of revolutionary prisoner Shaka Sankofa. Vice President Al Gore chose this moment to repeat his support for the death penalty. Both conventions feature key players in the attempt to execute revolutionary prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal: Republican Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and former Mayor of Philadelphia Ed Rendell, now co-chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Only days before the Republican convention, in Philadelphia, swarming police stomped Thomas Jones in the pavement of North Philly and murdered a homeless man at the train station. Hundreds of protesters were arrested and brutalized for daring to take to the streets. And, in Los Angeles, as the Ramparts police scandal continued, Mayor Riordan threatened more police brutality against protesters at the Democratic convention.
As people bravely prepare to take the streets again, media hacks fill the airwaves with talk of how these political conventions are examples of U.S. democracy in action. And they are.
This is bourgeois democracy in action: the class of the richest, most powerful capitalists and their representatives set the agenda, make the decisions and run the show, while the masses of people are systematically excluded from decision-making and power-by any means necessary.
Look at these conventions from the viewpoint of the kids in crumbling ghetto classrooms, from the locked-down prisons crammed with the poor, from the dangerous crossings of militarized borderlands, from poisoned fruit fields and stifling factory floors.
Look at these candidates and programs through the eyes of our brothers and sisters, trying to survive and free themselves across this planet.
From that perspective, it is clear that there is NOTHING here for us, in these convention halls, in this whole sick process of photo ops, policy debate, TV ads and voting booths. No future here worth living for the new generation. No hint of change for all those millions of people sick of this money-crazed society.
We see our oppressors promoting their future leaders-wrapping the cold machinery of exploitation in lies about compassion and opportunity. The road these candidates offer will continue to strangle the lives of billions of people across the planet.
And it is excellent that something radically different is taking the stage to expose and oppose them.
Look at the Democrats. Their convention is being held in a city that embodies the "new global economy" that they brag is one of their biggest achievements. Los Angeles is a city of enormous wealth- and more people living in poverty than any other metropolitan area in the U.S. There's the glitter of Beverly Hills and Malibu Beach, and the grinding oppression of South Central and Pico Union. There are high-tech industrial parks, but many more sweatshops. Industry is growing, stoked mainly by low-paid immigrant labor from Mexico, Latin America and Asia, not high-paying technical jobs. In the ghettos and barrios, people work two, even three jobs to survive. Many African-Americans have been locked out of work, forced onto welfare or into homelessness or prison. And then there's the notoriously brutal LAPD trying to keep the whole oppressive setup in place.
"The question is whether you're for the people or for the power," Presidential nominee Al Gore says. "We know our opponents in this election are on the side of the powerful, not the people."
Against the power and for the people? For the last eight years the Democrats have been in power and we've seen what they've done to the people!
Clinton-Gore opened every door possible for global capitalist profit-making, while launching assault after assault on the people on the bottom. They slashed welfare, throwing millions into deeper poverty. They pushed the "war on crime," featuring rampant police brutality and murder, the criminalization of a whole generation of youth, and the doubling of the prison population to over two million, mainly Blacks and Latinos. They escalated the war on immigrants and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border - forcing millions to live in the shadows of society and causing the deaths of hundreds of workers who died for the crime of coming north to feed their families.
The Democrats will be talking a lot about diversity at their convention, but Clinton-Gore presided over the dismantling of affirmative action. Their abortion policy-"legal but rare"-has made abortions unavailable to millions of women-especially the poor, young and rural. They shredded many civil liberties in the name of fighting "terrorism."
The Democrats extended the reach of global capital through NAFTA, the WTO, and the IMF. Countries that stood in the way of U.S. power-like Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan-faced bombs, sanctions and starvation. Insurgents in Peru, Chiapas, and Colombia, faced U.S.-armed militaries and death squads.
The rich have never had it so good, and the gap between haves and have-nots has only widened. Now, according to the New York Times, -on the Clinton-Gore watch-it's estimated that 200 million people worldwide are enslaved in the international sex and sweatshop trades!
In other words, nearly every outrage that people are protesting was made worse under Clinton-Gore.
"Who the hell wants the right, the so-called right to see which group of oppressors and exploiters is going to oppress and exploit you? We don't want that right - it's not worth a damn! We want the right to be rid of being oppressed and exploited - to put an end to the sham of democracy and the reality of dictatorship."
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP
More and more people are talking about how these political parties and this political process cannot solve the problems of the people. Some argue that the democratic process is broken, that it's been hijacked by the corporations, and that we should fight to "take it back" and make the corporations "socially responsible." Ralph Nader and the Greens say the current system can be cleaned up and real democracy returned by reforming campaign financing.
The media is openly talking about how the candidate with the biggest corporate war chest will win the election. But the problem is way deeper and more basic than corporate contributions and campaign financing-or even the corporations themselves.
Capitalist rule is what the whole American political system has been about -from a Declaration of Independence drafted by slaveowners and a Constitution upholding bourgeois property and the rights of exploiters. The leaders of this system don't represent the masses of people - and they can't represent the masses of people. They are elected to represent the capitalist class. It's how the whole political system was set up and what the "Founding Fathers" intended. And it has evolved into an imperialist system designed to protect modern exploitation on a global scale. It is their preferred system and it has served them well.
The policies of Clinton-Gore flow from the needs of this system. What they did to the people was not the result of electoral "realities" or simply because they are beholden to powerful financial interests. They acted as they did because the imperialist system demanded it.
Meeting the challenges of global competition and overcoming the stagnation and financial crises of the past 20 years demands that the lords of capital be able to carry out their supreme commandment, "let us prey," in a more vicious, unrestrained and mobile way all over the planet. And, within U.S. society itself, the power structure has been united on a slashing of major social programs, intensifying the repressive power of government, along with fostering a repressive social atmosphere.
Bill Clinton's special gift was an ability to combine the rhetoric of inclusion with the politics of cruelty. He could play the saxophone out of one side of his mouth and talk about "cutting welfare as we know it" out of the other side. That's why the rulers chose him to run the show for eight years. And Gore is making a bid to do it again.
Out of one side of his mouth Gore is telling the capitalists, "Things are fine, we've brought prosperity. Why rock the boat and take a chance on an inexperienced leader?" And they're making clear that they'll continue the harsh politics of the past eight years.
Out of the other side of their mouths the Democrats are telling the masses "We're the party of the people, trust us to stand up to the powerful." They're promising to protect workers against the ravages of global capitalism, to end racial profiling and expand health care and education.
But you can't represent the interests of the imperialists and the people at the same time. You can't represent both the corporate owner and the wage slave, the oppressor and the oppressed. So anyone who says this is just a liar. And which part do you think they are lying about?
We are told over and over again that the only way to change things is to get into the electoral process and reform the system. But this is just an illusion. It's like "taking the blue pill," and never really trying to escape (or understand) the Matrix.
And the truth is that this whole election process will never be a way of ending the crimes of U.S. corporations around the world. The modern imperialists-who rob billions of people, kill anyone who stands in their way, bully whole countries and regions-don't suddenly turn to the masses every few years and allow us to decide how society is going to be run.
Only by building our resistance to this whole system can we ever break free.
All during this official election season -as the struggle mounts to expose the politics of the ruling class, to save the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal, to fight police brutality and the countless other injustices the people face-get down with the Revolutionary Communist Party and its youth crew, the RCYB.
Solving the problems of the people will take revolution-a radical, relentless, massive, conscious uprising, led by the proletarian people, to bring a new liberated way of life into being. Nothing else will solve the problems of the present-or make a better future. Nothing is more worth living, planning, fighting and dying for.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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