As we approach the 2016 presidential election, America is at a critical moment in history.
Advanced technology and globalization continue to wipe out millions of jobs, permanently. Wages for many still working are driven down to starvation levels. Millions are homeless. Nearly 50 million people go hungry some time each month. Thirty-three million have no health insurance. About half of our population lives in poverty.
The economic crisis and destruction of human lives rooted in labor-replacing technology is destabilizing the country. The existing system can no longer provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, health care or education to millions whose labor is no longer needed. These unneeded workers are a threat to the rule of the corporate billionaires, since their needs can only be met by a completely different society where necessities are distributed by need, not profit. This threat has pushed the country toward an open dictatorship of the corporations—the billionaires cannot allow democracy under these conditions.
The drive toward dictatorship takes various forms: replacing local elected officials with state-appointed “emergency managers;” eliminating legal rights in the name of “fighting terrorism;” the growing police violence; the imprisonment of millions, and the attack on voting rights to name a few. The government is even targeting activists by bringing false charges against them or their children.
Some workers have been misled into seeing Trump as representing the hope of jobs coming back, but his campaign is actually helping to build a fascist social movement. Others, clinging to the “mainstream” Democratic Party, have turned to Clinton. Many have turned to the Green Party or the Sanders campaign. As things have evolved, a large section of the working class has used the Sanders campaign as a vehicle to fight for their demands for food, housing, health care, education and more. The rising demand that the government be taken away from the billionaires and that its power be used to resolve the people’s problems, and the open discussion of socialism prompted by the Sanders campaign, are important. It opened the way for a broader discussion about what it will take to reorganize our society in the interests of humanity.
While there is no question that Trump must be defeated, the reality is that the Democratic and Republican parties are the twin parties of the corporations. At this point it looks likely that the next president will be either a Democrat or Republican. Regardless, they will tow the corporate line. This means more poverty and the further elimination of democracy.
The significance of this election lies in the unprecedented nature of our times, and that a section of the working class has taken a step, especially through the Sanders campaign, toward declaring its political independence of the ruling class parties. The effort to push this independence forward must continue now and after the election.
Revolutionaries can advance this process by putting forward the demand that the government guarantee the basic needs of the people. This will move the people toward building their own party where we can make a real fight for a society where the abundance we can produce can guarantee peace and prosperity for all of us in a country that is of, by and for the people.