Socialists Have It Right

Guest Author: David Rowlands

Introduction

Today I welcome back guest author David Rowlands. We’ve been friends since college. (Yes, that long ago!) I write about politics here sometimes, but David’s commentaries are better. Just don’t tell him I said so. His first article I posted here presented a working-class perspective on politics.


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Five Examples where the political analysis of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party has proven to be correct. An essay in pictures.

By David Rowlands
Originally published on Facebook, Wednesday, May 29, 2019

I am not a member of and have no formal affiliation to the United States Socialist Workers Party. The opinions expressed below are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SWP.

Upper photo: Members of the party have sold thousands of copies of the titles pictured above in working-class neighborhoods over the past few years, made possible by the hard work and financial contributions of hundreds of party supporters and sympathizers.

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Socialist workers approach workers and farmers in an undifferentiated way. We don’t ask fellow workers who they voted for, whether they consider themselves to be “liberal” or “conservative”, whether they are married or single, gay or straight, born in the United States or born somewhere else, or whether they are religious or a non-believer. Photo: The Militant.

One.

The SWP’s analysis of the last presidential election has been shown to be correct, that the vote for Donald Trump was, by and large, a protest vote against the meritocratic layers. After eight years of Bush and more importantly, after eight years of Obama — sixteen years in total where the standard of living and life-way of the working-class has continued to decline, a giant middle finger in the direction of the Establishment was the order of the day.

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Despite the fact that many people work more than one job, homelessness, poverty, disease and addiction continues to flourish. In many parts of the country life expectancy has tumbled in a marked way. The widening disparity in conditions of life between the working-class and the meritocracy is what is fueling the rightward drift of liberalism, as they increasingly fear and loath those who are struggling to survive.

The liberal intelligentsia and their well-paid lap dogs have a different view, however, and this includes wide swaths of what we once called the “left,” including many who call themselves “socialist.” They continue to see the vote for Trump as a reflection of the deepening racism and chauvinism within the working-class (the reality is quite the opposite), those they consider to be deplorable — the ignorant, backward, unwashed inhabitants of fly-over country who need to be taught a lesson.

And then this happened (see below).

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Teachers and auxiliary school workers in the states where Trump won 60-70% of the vote lead the largest labor fightback in thirty years. West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Glory!

Two.

The struggle for women’s rights, first and foremost the fight for abortion rights, must stay in the streets, be lead by the combatants themselves and be independent of the Democrats and the Republicans, the twin parties of the capitalist class.

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A promising beginning. Tens of thousands of supporters of the rights of women demonstrate across the United States the third week of May, 2019.

Which brings me to the “Women’s March” of January 21, 2017, which was held one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, with no demands directed at the state and which reflected an anti-Trump/pro-Democratic Party bent.

One would have to go back many years, perhaps to the era of the anti-Vietnam war movement, in order to find a similar level of rage (on the part of the party’s political opponents) to the stance of the Socialist Workers Party on any given question. In this case the assertion that the march was not only a setback to the struggle for women’s liberation, but also that the action undoubtedly led to the demoralization of large numbers of women and men who came out that day, looking for a scrap with those who would seek to make women second-class citizens.

The revelation that came later that a number of the Democratic Party operatives who gained control of this formation, which has since split apart, had a Jew hatred problem, was just the icing on a very stale cake. For my part, I wasn’t surprised. Not in the least.

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We are the majority! The militant mass actions of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s is an example to be emulated today.

To read a well-rounded article on struggle for the rights of women to control their own bodes, past and present, see “Tens of thousands demand women’s right to abortion” in the Militant.

As a side bar, the party is also correct in its assessment that Identity Politics, of which “ME-TOO” is a reflection, represents the politics of victimhood and defeat, which is the opposite of everything we fought for during the movement against Jim Crow and the second wave of feminism in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

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Workers with different backgrounds will form lasting bonds as they go into battle together to fight for their rights, and to fight for their right to a decent standard of living.

Three.

The liberals and the middle-class left are in the vanguard of the assault on democratic rights, which is a life and death question for the working class.

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Harvard University – 2019. ISO types (sans the ISO) and the liberal meritocracy take direct aim at the first and sixth amendments to the Constitution of the United States as they campaign for the removal of a professor who joined the legal defense of Harvey Weinstein.

As James Cannon was fond of saying, there is usually a “good” reason and a “real” reason for political positions people take that lead away from the line of march that is required in order to win. In this case, the “good” reason is the fight against rape culture, the “real” reason is the working-class is beginning to scare them shitless.

To read about the stakes involved at Harvard University, see “Campaign against Harvard dean is blow to political rights” in the Militant.

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As labor battles intensify we will need the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Four.

The cessation of violence in the Middle East will be of great aid as the workers and oppressed attempt to regroup after decades of capitalist and warlord violence. The new situation is already bearing fruit in Iraq and parts of Kurdistan, and would provide the same benefit for the working people of Syria.

Below: a delegation of communists from the United States visit with working-class fighters in Iraq. Such a thing would have been unthinkable even a few months ago.

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Participants in April 4 meeting in Erbil of Kurdistan United Workers’ Union and leaders of Socialist Workers Party of U.S. and Communist Leagues of U.K. and Canada. Standing from left: Hangaw Abdullah Khan, KUWU president; Steve Clark, SWP; Steve Penner, CL, Canada; Maghdeed Ahmed, Erbil branch, KUWU; Osborne Hart, Alyson Kennedy, SWP 2016 candidates for vice president and president; Nazem Qoda, Iraqi Communist Party; Saber Othman, KUWU executive board; Ögmundur Jónsson, CL, U.K.; Omar Ismaail, Erbil branch, KUWU. Front row from left: Houree Toufeq and Abed Al Qader Ahmed, KUWU executive board. Photo and caption: The Militant.

For an in-depth article on the opening of political space in Iraq, see “Kurdistan union leader: Workers faced years of tyranny, war” in the Militant.

Together we should demand:All U.S. military forces out of the Middle East now!

The cessation of violence in Palestine and Israel will likewise allow Palestinian, Jewish and immigrant workers to find their way to one another, and will aid in the development of class consciousness, and will be beneficial to the task of creating space for the working class and their allies to build unions, democratic associations and political parties.

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Jewish and Palestinians hold joint remembrance day for loved ones killed in the conflict. 2019.

As an aside, the Kurdish comrades noted that they had never before met communists besides themselves that supported a free and independent Kurdistan. Now they have. Finally. U.S. imperialism really did lose the Cold War.

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Pathfinder around the world. The book fair in Ebril, Kurdistan.

Five.

The “Socialism of Fools” has not gone away.

Although Jew hatred can be viewed as a form a racism, it is far more than just skin prejudice.

Under today’s conditions it’s not likely that a Jewish person would be shot and killed because of a broken taillight, but on the other hand, African-Americans, Hispanics or Muslim immigrants are not likely to be accused of bringing down the banking system, either. Jew hatred is a handy weapon in the arsenal of the boss class to divert blame from themselves in times of crisis and to shift that blame onto “the Jews.”

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This grotesque cartoon recently appeared in the New York Times, a leading voice of U.S. war machine.

Most of the left expressed dismay, as recently as two or three years ago, concerning the party’s claim that anti-Semitism was still a threat. Most considered the obvious red lights as nothing more than a figment of the SWP’s imagination, an excuse on the part of the party to downplay or ignore Islamophobia, both of which are patently untrue.

Particularly upsetting was the premise that much of the anti-Semitism of today takes refuge within the middle-class left. This is most often expressed in calls for the destruction of Israel and participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) that targets the one country in the world with a Jewish majority.

Socialist Workers Party statement on the need to combat Jew hatred: “Join in denouncing Jew-hatred, a deadly threat to working class“.

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The BDS is reactionary and should be opposed.

Since the close of the second imperialist war in 1945, the world’s population has grown by 350%, yet the Jewish population world-wide has yet to recover.

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Workers of the world, unite!


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