Why the Democrats Won’t Stand and Fight
And Why YOU MUST
It is no secret that millions are deeply frustrated and feeling betrayed by the Democrats. A recent breaking point for many was the dead-in-the-water attempt at censure.
The moment couldn’t have appeared more opportune. The President’s approval rating was at an all-time low (34%), his unprovoked war on Iraq had devolved into Civil War and even the majority of soldiers want to get out, and the president had been caught in another BIG LIE. What’s more, this latest lie - that he would never approve wire-tapping without a warrant - masked a reality of widespread, clear-cut law-breaking. 62% of the country - including 29% of the Republican base - specifically favored censure.
Yet when Russ Feingold introduced this, he could get only two Democratic colleagues to stand with him.
In recent months, I have traveled and spoken around the country. Everywhere I’ve been the conversation at some point turns to the question, “They’d have so much support, why won’t the Democrats stand up and fight!?”
The Democrats are telling you something when year after year they vote for the war and vote for more repression.
We should take them at their word when Hillary Clinton complains that, “we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations… we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran.”
Listen to Joe Biden as he asserts, “America’s military must remain second to none. We will use force when we have to, including preemptively, without asking anyone’s permission.”
They are not trying to represent the will of the millions in this country who have poured into the streets against the preemptive and immoral wars of this regime!
Listen to Harry Reid as he insists, “As I have emphasized many times, Democrats support the basic authorities contained in the PATRIOT Act. We voted for the original Act in 2001. We unanimously supported the reauthorization of the bill that passed the Senate last summer. And in recent months, we have been vigilant to ensure that no provision of the Act would expire during ongoing negotiations over a long-term extension of this law.”
This has nothing in common with the will of those who pushed more than 400 cities, representing 62% of the population, to pass resolutions against the PATRIOT Act!
It's not just that they don't listen to you, it's that they are IMPERIALISTS! And they cannot be relied on to represent you.
As Bob Avakian has analyzed, today their empire is in transition. The world is wracked with the effects of imperialist globalization: massive dislocations, social upheaval, and more fast-paced and competitive international production. This drives the imperialist rulers to make permanent their unrivalled status as the planet’s sole superpower. They also look within their own borders and see a society teeming with discontent, unable to assimilate millions of super-exploited immigrants, plagued by economic uncertainty, and in danger of tearing wide open over the role of women and the conditions of Black people. This compels them to bolt this together through repression, patriotism, and more traditional religion.
In The Truth About Right Wing Conspiracy and Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer, which deserves study and to be quoted at length Avakian analyses why “the Democrats have continually given ground to the Right and increasingly accepted the terms set by the Right as the ‘common ground’ on which to differ and contend.”
“This is not because of the much-discussed ‘realities of electoral politics.’ Nor is it merely because all mainstream politicians are beholden to powerful financial interests. More fundamentally, it is because those who occupy seats of political power must, and can only, serve the economic and social system of which that political power is an extension. And, in the present period and the present ‘global environment,’ the requirements of the capitalist economic and social system not only demand that the lords of capital be able to carry out their supreme commandment, ‘let us prey,’ in a more unrestrained and more ‘mobile’ way, on a world scale. They also demand, within American society itself, a slashing of major social programs and a heightening of the repressive powers of government, along with the fostering of a repressive social atmosphere.
“On this, the mainstream of the bourgeois body politic is in agreement, even while they differ and at times battle sharply over some of the terms, over the pace and the specific forms, with which to implement this politics – and the extremes to which it should be carried at a given time.”
Lets not forget that it was Bill Clinton who “ended welfare as we knew it,” assaulted habeas corpus with his “Effective Death Penalty Act,” sky-rocketed the prison population upwards towards two million, turned the U.S./Mexican border into a militarized killing field, and conceded the moral high ground and initiative to patriarchal theocrats by declaring that abortion should be rare.
Lets not forget that it was Bill Clinton who launched an unprovoked war on Yugoslavia that claimed more lives than the “human rights violations” it claimed to be eliminating. And that he claimed that “human rights” trumped national sovereignty and invaded without the approval of the United Nations (sound familiar?).
Still, others in the ruling class felt that even more open aggression and repression were necessary to re-order the world. So they stole an election in 2000 and seized on 9/11 and have set about taking things to whole new extremes.
The Bush regime has turned preemptive warfare into doctrine and discarded even the pretense of respect for international law. Bush smirks and goes fishing in the waters of Katrina as his troops hunt down abandoned Black people with orders to “shoot to kill.” He calls in prayers and praise to his Christian fascist foot-soldiers as they take a bat to women’s rights to birth control, abortion, and their own destinies. And he glibly writes “signing statements” exempting himself from the laws his own Congress passes to restrict the open use of torture and rendition.
It is for good reason that pictures of Bush with Hitler’s mustache keep showing up at protests.
Now, this openly fascitic Bush program is what is setting the leading tone and edge of ruling class politics today. And while the Republicans are actively mobilizing their reactionary base in society to hammer away and to fight for them, the Democrats role is actually to demobilize the base of disgruntled, angry, oppressed, or justice-minded people who generally look to them.
They are not going to challenge this direction and they are not going to save you from it. In fact, as Bob Avakian has pointed out, “If you fall into the orientation of trying to make the Democrats be what they are not, and never will be, you will end up becoming more like what the Democrats actually are.”
Even when they sharply disagree, the Democrats would rather capitulate to the Bush program than to allow the kind of upheaval that could threaten to destabilize their system. The LAST thing they want is to give vent to, unleash struggle around, or bust loose is the pent up frustration and anger of the millions in this country and billions around the world whose interests lie in urgently stopping the Bush juggernaut of permanent empire and fascism.
But that is exactly what must be done. That is the only way out. Powerful opposition can and must be built. It can be built precisely by breaking out of and refusing to be bound by what this system and the political framework within which all of its political representatives think and act.
It can be done, not by relying on the Democrats, but by relying on and rallying the truly vast numbers of people who have a real interest in opposing this whole program.