By Mark Wachtler
November 22, 2014. Los Angeles, CA. (ONN) If there is one common reaction from America’s socialist political parties regarding the results of the just-completed 2014 midterm Election, it’s that the day’s big winner was Wall Street. Regardless of whether the various top vote-getters were Republican or Democrat, socialists insist they’re virtually all funded, influenced and hand-picked by the country’s rich and powerful establishment. Here are Election summations by three of America’s largest socialist political parties.
This is what the result of the anti-Democrat backlash this Election looked like. Image owner unknown.
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
The nation’s largest and most active socialist party - the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) - took a brief break from the local battle lines in places like Ferguson, Brooklyn, Syracuse University and even Ayotzinapa, Mexico to give the Party’s reaction to the results of this month’s midterm Elections.
“The first thing that needs to be said about the 2014 midterm elections is that they are not in fact ‘democratic,’ as all sectors of the ruling class profess. The capitalists own the major media outlets, have access to the candidates and determine who is viable and who is not through their campaign donations,” PSL’s Walter Smolarek argues, “What do the results of the 2014 Elections tell us about the balance of forces within the ruling class?”
Ignoring establishment Party labels, Smolarek goes on to describe the American oligarchy in a state of flux. “The ruling class is scattered, with widely divergent views about how to stabilize the system competing for influence,” the PSL commentator details, “While we are a long way off from a revolutionary crisis, their state is becoming more and more dysfunctional. This contest is reflected in the electoral arena, and may intensify now that Republicans control both chambers of Congress.”
Much of the PSL Election recap is aimed at one of their favorite targets - the Tea Party. While Opposition News disagrees completely with the description of the GOP faction as a group of wealthy, white, racist fascists, the writer’s take on the Republican civil war seems right on the mark.
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“The US Chamber of Commerce, one of the biggest Republican campaign donors, and others signaled that they were prepared to bankroll the anti-Tea Party faction,” PSL’s Walter Smolarek explains, “They followed through on their commitment. For example, in the first two months of 2014 one-fifth of all money from the extremely influential ‘Super PACs’ - including ones aligned with the Democratic Party - was spent by conservative groups attacking other Republicans.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation concludes its summary of the 2014 Election results by suggesting that the Washington-Wall Street cabal has nearly severed ties with the hapless Barack Obama and instead backed Democratic leaders unafraid to criticize the President and use his widespread unpopularity to their own advantage with the voters.
“For the capitalist class, the Obama administration has proven incapable of restoring US capitalism/imperialism to the unchallenged superpower status it enjoyed in the years following the overthrow of the Soviet Union,” Smolarek concludes, “This may be an impossible task, but the elite are nevertheless upset. As a consequence, the most prominent Democratic candidates distanced themselves from the President or even engaged in open criticism.”
The PSL post-Election commentary leaves readers and supporters with one final message, “Poor and working people need to attack their enemies not when they are strongest, but when they are weakest. The growing divides between different sectors of the ruling class opens up greater space for a mass movement to challenge the countless injustices of the system. Right now the politicians are frustrated; it would be better if they were terrified.”
For more information, visit the Party for Socialism and Liberation
Socialist Party USA
Immediately after the results were tabulated after this month’s Election, the Socialist Party USA released a statement detailing their impression of the results. More than anyone, the Democratic Party was the target of their stinging commentary and the title of the official announcement made that clear, ‘Democrats steer to the Right and into Defeat’.
‘If progressives can learn one thing from the 2014 election cycle, it is that they no longer have a place in the Democratic Party,’ SPUSA concluded after the November 4 Election, ‘With Republicans on the offensive, Democratic incumbents and hopefuls spent the entire Election running away from anything perceived to be associated with President Obama. In effect, this created numerous Democratic campaigns that ran to the right of a President that was already on a long-standing drift to the right. This is in contrast to the normal state of affairs, which is where Democrats campaign on ideas that appeal to the progressive base and then do not deliver when elected.’
The Party concludes that Democratic voters showed up at the polls on Election Day, they just didn’t vote for Democratic candidates, ‘This set of events left progressives and even many liberals without the Party that they would normally identify with and vote for. The result was a sweeping defeat for Democrats in the Congressional and Gubernatorial elections, losing their Senate majority in the process.’
‘At the same time that voters gave a resounding defeat to the Democrats, they also voted heavily in favor of raising the minimum wage in several states. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all approved minimum wage initiatives by double-digit margins, while at the same time voting down statewide Democratic candidates by double-digit margins,’ the SPUSA statement reads, ‘By doing this, working class voters have proven that they are prepared and willing to embrace the issues and cast off the Party and politicians that fail to deliver on them.’
‘Moving forward, progressives in the United States have to realize that they no longer have a Party that represents them,’ SPUSA concludes, ‘the Democratic Party is on a one-way charge to the right, and progressive-minded people have no place on that trip.’
For more information, visit the Socialist Party USA.
Socialist Equality Party
Through its international online portal, the World Socialist Web Site, America’s affiliate of the Socialist Equality Party also had an official response to this month’s General Election results. The Party picked up on an apparently widespread sentiment commonly expressed to Opposition News by the youngest of American voters - “the system’s rigged and I’m not voting in protest.”
‘In the week since the US midterm elections, more extensive figures on voter turnout have become available, revealing an immense level of popular disillusionment and outright hostility toward the Obama administration, the political establishment and both big-business parties,’ the SEP/WSWS statement from Party spokesperson Joseph Kishore began, ‘A mere 36.3 percent of those eligible to vote went to the polls on November 4. This is the lowest turnout since the 1942 midterm Election.’
The announcement goes on to give specific examples, ‘In some states, the rate at which eligible voters cast ballots virtually collapsed. Turnout fell by more than ten percentage points in Missouri (44.5 percent to 32.3 percent), Washington State (53.1 percent to 38.6 percent), Delaware (47.5 percent to 34.5 percent) and California (44 percent to 31.8 percent).’
SEP’s Kishore goes on to list additional states where voters stayed home, ‘In thirteen states less than one-third of eligible voters went to the polls, including the three largest states in the country - California (31.8 percent), Texas (28.5 percent) and New York (28.8 percent) - along with Indiana, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, West Virginia, Nevada and Missouri.’
Voter turnout numbers also confirm that America’s teens and twenty-somethings followed through on their threat to boycott the country’s Election in protest. The statement from Joseph Kishore concludes, ‘The widespread alienation within the general population was particularly pronounced among the youth. Only 21.3 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 29 voted in 2014.’
The post-Election commentary from the Socialist Equality Party also touches on a subject and statistic near and dear to your Opposition News author - incumbent re-election rates. Today, one of the most successful tools for opening the eyes of American voters is to point out facts like it takes independent and opposition candidates 20,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot, but Republicans and Democrats only need 500 to run for the same office. That’s just one real example from Illinois.
But 20 years ago, your author enlightened people by pointing out that US Congressmen have a higher re-election rate than the members of the Communist Soviet Politburo, and there’s only one Party there and it’s against the law to run against them. What does that say? Last week’s summary by the SEP’s Joseph Kishore touches on that very same enigma.
‘One additional figure highlights the decay of American democracy,’ he writes, ‘While Congress has an approval rating on the order of 13 percent, more than 95 percent of all incumbents were reelected in 2014. This shows that despite the nearly universal contempt for the supposed representatives of the people, there is, in practice, no mechanism within the system to get rid of them.’
The SEP statement ends with the conclusion, ‘A qualitative turning point has been reached. Unable to find any solutions within the established system, millions of workers and youth will - and are already beginning to - seek other means to defend their interests, including strikes, demonstrations and other forms of social struggle. They will increasingly search for political alternatives outside of bourgeois politics…The seething discontent that is building up in the United States in relation to both domestic and foreign policy must be given an ever-more conscious anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, internationalist, socialist and revolutionary orientation. This is the task of the Socialist Equality Party.’
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