Soft Money Campaign Contributions No Change in Sight
By Carole Seligman
The newly passed ban on federal soft money contributions, (large, unlimited contributions to national political parties), has built-in loopholes that will render it useless in controlling the means by which the capitalists assure their monopoly on political power.
The bill, authored by Democratic Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, and Republican John McCain of Arizona, and signed into law by President Bush in March, supposedly restricts the ability of political parties to promote candidates for national office. But it does nothing to limit the flow of huge contributions to state political parties, so ways will be found within the framework of the new legislation to continue the unrestricted spending by the corporations and the trade unions under corporate influence to maintain the capitalist classs political monopoly.
Jeff Buley, attorney for New Yorks Republican State Committee, told The New York Times that wealthy donors and corporations would send their checks to the state parties [instead of to the national Republicans and Democrats], predicting that the new bill will lower the amount of money in the system temporarily while the players figure out ways to channel the funds through other conduits.
Socialist Viewpoint predicts that the new legislation wont lower the funding from the rich for the capitalist political parties at all! Money is the fuel that keeps the bandwagon of American democracy running smoothly. Billions of dollars have been poured from corporate coffers into both capitalist political parties, more in each election. The money insures that only those candidates who come from the capitalist class themselves, or who demonstrate that they will faithfully do the bidding of the capitalists will get the many thousands and even millions of dollars it takes to win an election.
The huge campaign coffers at their disposal do more than assure that only the capitalists can win an election campaign. The wealthiest contributors (like Enron) actually give to both political parties to insure that whoever wins elected office will serve the contributor. This system has worked perfectly for the capitalists. No matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in the White House, or the State Houses, the basic purpose of the governmentthe protection of corporate profitsremains intact. Thats why they pursue a joint foreign policy of imperialist world domination and a bi-partisan domestic policy of vast military spending, tremendous repression through the prison system (two million incarcerated, most for non-violent drug-related crimes), and shrinking vital social services such as education and health care.
Genuine reform wont be found in campaign financing schemes. Rather, workers who seek real reforms will have to have a political instrumentsuch as a working-class political partythat is wholly independent of the capitalist class and its political parties.
Unions who try to play the capitalist game of financing candidates of the Democrat and (more recently) Republican Parties will always find themselves outspent and outmaneuvered. My union, the National Education Association, spends millions playing the capitalist electoral shell game. It regularly endorses candidates of the Democratic Party who, once safely in office, not only fail to adequately support public education, but actually harm it.
For example, California schools have recently undergone a series of reforms that have undermined teachers, put tremendous weight on questionable standardized tests, and adopted measures such as high school exit exams that punish students for the governments failure to adequately fund schools. Despite this, and threats of education cutbacks, the California Teachers Association has just endorsed Governor Gray Daviss bid for re-election. They dont even give consideration to independent working class political action and candidates for governor or school boards, candidates who would have to answer to those who rely on public education and teachers.
Workers need their own political party because workers need their own government. Thats the only way working people can insure that their own interests could be represented by government. The Republicans as well as Democrats only pretend to represent all the people, and unfortunately, many workers believe that pretense. This pretense is the most harmful aspect of the charade of capitalist democracy, which is obviously democracy for the rich, not for the people as a whole.
The profit system harms workers. It is responsible for the so-called War on Terrorism under whose auspices the U.S. is making war and threatening war on most of the worlds continents. The real purpose of this war is to insure the flow of oil profits to U.S. corporations. We know it cannot be a real war on terrorism, because the U.S. government has been the sponsor and perpetrator of the most heinous acts of terrorism, acts whose consequences dwarf the attack on the World Trade Center of September 11. For example, the terrorism of the Israeli government against the Palestinian civilian population is funded entirely by the United States government.
American democracy is democracy in name only. In order to have real democracy, the working class will have to act socially, economically and politically in its own name and in its own interests. The capitalist class cannot act in its own name because it represents such a tiny minority of the population whose economic interests are opposed to the overwhelming majority of the population. In order for the working class to make any gains, it will have to realize that its interests are opposite to the interests of the bosses and act accordingly.