United States

Two-Party Trap

By Brian Schwartz

“It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”

—Eugene V. Debs

Barack Obama is one of the most attractive ruling class politicians running for the presidency since John F. Kennedy. Obama writes his own speeches and believes with messianic assuredness that his presidency is part of a long historic process to build a more perfect union as laid out in the preamble of the U.S. constitution. The other presidential candidates are not so attractive—inspiring more doubt than confidence. John McCain comes off as a bully, and Hillary Clinton strikes people as Machiavellian. This is why her associates distributed Reverend Jim Wright’s so-called “incendiary” film clips for mass consumption. Clinton can only win the Democratic presidential nomination by cunning and guile, not on her leadership abilities. Obama parried this lethal thrust as best he could by delivering an “eloquent” speech that will “resonate through history” as long as the U.S. remains governed by the two-party system. When the two party monopoly is broken, more deserving women and men will state their cases with greater eloquence and conviction as mass social struggle in the streets takes precedence over electing candidates to state legislatures and congress.

Flanked by several American flags and highlighted by a sky blue background, Obama struck a deep chord of hope for many thinking Americans wanting change. The hackneyed syndicated columnists and talking heads took the speech apart feebly attempting to point out its alleged deficiencies. Hillary Clinton climbed in the polls temporarily because there is still a segment of our citizenry vulnerable to race hatred and right wing demagogy pumped into their minds by AM talk radio. An erudite and handsome Barack Obama took his distance from Reverend Jeremiah Wright with as much tact as he could. Obama’s words embraced the capitalist system unequivocally.

On April 6, 2006 Barack Obama wanted to be included with a bi-partisan group of senators who had crafted an immigration policy. One of the senators was John McCain. Immigration has become the new scapegoat to divert people’s attention away from other pressing issues such as the war and lack of health care for millions of Americans. Since taking up the immigration issue, both parties have passed harsh legislation that has broken up families by deporting parents. Harsh immigration enforcement has wrecked union organizing drives with convenient raids called by the employer when a union’s success seemed imminent. Battered and fatigued immigrants, who have tramped thousands of miles by rail or on foot with little food or water, have been made public enemy number one as they attempt to cross into the U.S. to work the cast-off jobs that most U.S. citizens look upon with disdain. While this is raised as the issue threatening America, the subprime loan disaster is gestating, which will send the U.S. economy into a tailspin—requiring a direct bail out of unscrupulous bankers and mortgage companies with our tax dollars. The immigrant only wanted a job. The corporate elite is getting free working class, taxpayer money to fill its pockets once again, giving nothing in return but another lease on their own life to engage in more speculative theft. Judging by Barack Obama’s voting record, he has voted positively on many financial packages appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As for addressing the U.S. racial divide Obama summarized:

“Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped form the Reagan coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate questions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

“Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze—a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices and short term greed. A Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to call them misguided or even racist without recognizing that they are grounded in legitimate concerns—these, too, widen the racial divide and block the path to understanding.

“It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams. That investing in health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will help all of America prosper.”

Yes, it was that old story of the Chicago “welfare queen” and her Cadillacs that Ronald Reagan held up as an example of why there should be an overhauling of the welfare system. It wasn’t the Republican Party that was able to accomplish this; it was the Democrats who gutted Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC.) Bill Clinton signed away AFDC declaring an end to a culture of dependency fostered by welfare. While white Americans waxed indignant in front of TV sets or drunk in bars angered by welfare queens and affirmative action, Republicans and Democrats crafted a grand theft scheme bilking middle and working class Americans out of billions of dollars while keeping them in the work place—forced to abandon their children to non-existent or unreliable childcare and to have to work years beyond their ability to labor before being allowed to retire.

Author Sharon O’Brien pointed out some historical highlights of the 1980’s social security reforms. (Reform is a code used by Democrats and Republicans for tax increases, financial cuts, or oppressive laws put into place making life for the working class austere and difficult.) In her article entitled, “Why is Social Security Called the Third Rail of American Politics?” that appeared on, O’Brien cites:

“Reagan agreed to the formation of a bipartisan commission to examine social security and appointed economist Alan Greenspan as chairman. The commission proposed a mix of benefit reductions and tax increases that became law in 1983. Those changes included extending the retirement age to 67 and requiring people who were self-employed to pay the full Social Security tax instead of the 75 percent they had paid previously.

“Social security continues to pose serious financial and political dilemmas for the American people—in part because it has become standard procedure for the federal government to “borrow” millions of dollars every year from social security to help provide more money for discretionary spending. And those dilemmas are almost certain to continue for several more decades.”

Well, so much for the Democrats being guardians of the middle class when they couldn’t keep independent small business people from getting saddled with a 25 percent increase in social security tax. Unfortunately, Sharon O’Brien doesn’t take a stand against social security reform. She reports the facts and stands with the thieves advocating reform while our last two decades have hit home hard that it is not social security, welfare, and affirmative action that are draining our nation’s resources. It is unchecked military spending and drastic multi-billion-dollar bailouts of failed capitalist enterprises such as the crashed stock market of the ’87 savings and loans bust, and now the subprime mortgage and securities industries. If there has been a culture of dependency that must be attacked, it’s that of finance capital taking a ride on our tax dollars like parasites on a mangy dog’s back.

Pointing at the lobbyists and corrupt corporate cultures as the enemy; advocating health care, welfare, and education for children of all the hues of the rainbow—Barack can wax eloquently. Barack Obama is a crafty politician. He purposely protected his Democratic Party from being implicated as having an equal hand cozying up to special interests and gutting social programs, sometimes taking a leading role in doing so. In his speech repudiating Reverend Jeremiah Wright, he folds—calling racist bigotry against welfare and affirmative action recipients legitimate concerns to be “understood.” It probably means that in the not too distant future, a president from either party will need to throw up another scapegoat—another “concern” for middle and working class Americans—to divert their rage away from yet another scam to steal taxpayer dollars or impose a cut in their living standards.

As for Jeremiah Wright, what he said in the pulpit is nothing but the truth. His allegations are backed by a well-documented continuous social-judicial war being waged against U.S. Blacks.

The Democratic Party has weathered many labor and civil rights movements rising up against it since the days of the Knights of Labor. Often it has taken the wreckage of these movements into their fold along with generations of their children. Barack Obama is an articulate, fair-faced fašade put on by a decaying malevolent organization. He’s a great candidate to sell a future of domestic austerity and continued occupation of the Middle East. Voting for the Democratic Party will be a wasted vote cast by working and middle class Americans. In the long run, a mass labor party that is built by a fighting U.S. working class, able to forge alliances with the unemployed and middle classes by demonstrating their aggressiveness against corporate America, will carry us to a brighter future of possibilities. Until that time, as we awaken together, beginning our fight anew for peace, jobs, and justice, we should cast votes with Socialist Parties that have the tenacity to get on ballots.