Ray O. Light
Special Edition #10
September 2004

The 2004 US Presidential Election
and the Question of Fascism

Bush Regime of War Criminals

From the standpoint of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world, the George W. Bush Administration has been an administration of war criminals. Since being selected, not elected, less than four years ago, President Bush has launched two unprovoked wars of imperialist aggression, occupation and plunder – first, against the people of Afghanistan and then against the people of Iraq. Bush has deployed and built up US combat forces and high tech weaponry in countries from Haiti and Colombia and the Andean Region in South America to the former Soviet Central Asian Republics and Soviet Georgia to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Massive US military occupation of the entire Middle East occurred in the lead up to the unilateral war against the people of Iraq. Bush-led US imperialist military might has been imposed in a naked exercise of US global Empire.

Even from the relatively more narrow and more privileged standpoint of the US section of the international working class and the oppressed nationalities within the US multinational state, it is clear that the Bush Regime has simultaneously waged war against us as well. The Bush Regime is compelling our youth in the military to kill innocents abroad and carry out torture on prisoners, and to place themselves in harm’s way in rich men’s wars for oil and super-profits; and "stop loss" orders are forcing US soldiers to remain as cannon fodder beyond their contractual "obligation". The repressive laws passed and implemented around the USA PATRIOT Act, the round-up and detention without charge of thousands of immigrant Arab and South Asian men, the frontal assault on workers rights regarding overtime pay, Weingarten Rights (involving workplace discipline), deprivation of union rights for all those workers placed under the Homeland Security Department – all this has been carried out by the Bush Regime while providing major tax cuts, no bid war contracts, and a massive bonanza for Enron, Halliburton, Texaco, and other energy company executives, munitions manufacturers and bankers.

The upcoming US Presidential election appears to represent an opportunity to get rid of the Bush Regime. According to this logic, in order to accomplish this noble task, our votes should be cast for the Democratic Party candidate, Senator John Kerry. Unfortunately, it is not this simple. Who are Kerry and the Democratic Party? What is their record? What is their political position on the questions of US Empire? Will the Empire allow itself to be voted out?!

The Democratic Party,
a loyal prop of the Bush-led US Imperialist Empire

Since 9-11, the brutal and criminal Bush-led US imperialist wars against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq have been overwhelmingly supported by the representatives of both political parties! Bush was granted full war powers by Congress, with only one dissenting vote. There was massive bi-partisan support for the USA PATRIOT Act and for "Plan Colombia" with $1.6 billion directed against the liberation movements of Colombia and the Andean Region of Latin America. With little debate and virtually no opposition, record Pentagon budgets were passed of over $400 billion a year plus the $87 billion "down payment" allocated for the cost of occupation and "reconstruction" of Iraq. Both political parties have been enthusiastic in providing billions of new dollars to "homeland security".

Presidential hopeful (and favorite of the AFL-CIO top leadership) Dick Gephardt brokered the deal for war with the Bush Administration. Bill Clinton, idol of the Democratic Party, has provided broad support for George W. Bush. Vice Presidential candidate, John Edwards, was one of the most vocal advocates for Bush’s war while on the presidential campaign trail. John Kerry has virtually the same position as George W. Bush when it comes to the most important political issue facing the working people of the United States and the world -- the Bush-led unending and preemptive wars for empire, for oil, for imperialist super-profits. Indeed, this is no accident. The Democrats and the Republicans function as the two main wings of the Imperialist War Party.

In 2000, Gore and Lieberman, the so-called Democratic Party "alternative" to Bush-Cheney, had been two of only twelve Democratic Senators who had "crossed over" and supported Bush Senior’s first Iraq War in 1991. The four Democratic Party candidates for presidential nominee this year that represented any distinctively different policies from the Bush Regime—Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun, and Dennis Kucinich were all dismissed by the monopoly controlled media as "unelectable long shots" from the very beginning of the primary season. When, despite great obstacles, Howard Dean finished strong in the early primaries (thanks to effective organization and use of the internet by a dedicated anti-war core of campaigners), he was targeted for destruction by the other Democratic candidates who ganged up on him. At least with Dean as the candidate for the Democrats, there would have been a referendum on Bush’s unending war. But the one monopoly capitalist class, two-party system ensured that the working people and the masses of the USA would be deprived of even this referendum.

Perhaps an even more dramatic example of this cooperation and collaboration among the key elements of the Republican and Democratic Parties was provided by the spectacle of the January 6, 2001 Joint Session of Congress presided over by none other than Al Gore, who as the sitting Vice President, functioned as the President Pro Tem of the Senate. As the electoral college vote was being tallied, more than a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and two or three other Congress people formally registered their protest of the Florida vote. Had just one Democratic Senator joined the Congress people in their protest, there would have been a two hour televised debate on the floor of the Congress about the ways that the Republicans, under Governor Jeb Bush, had stolen the Florida electoral vote. If the Democrats were willing to fight they might have compelled the reversal of the electoral college decision and Gore might have become President. Gore and his running mate, Senator Lieberman, along with 49 other Democratic Senators, remained silent in the face of the massive disenfranchisement of the Afro-American voters of Florida and Haitian and Jewish voters as well. It is worth noting that both Kerry and Edwards, the current Democratic Party candidates for President and Vice President, were two of the silent fifty senators on that day. Not only did Gore and the Democratic Senators reveal their disdain for democracy but they also exposed the fact that they are more concerned with keeping the system afloat than with gaining power!

The Two Party System Represents the War Party of US Imperialism

Historically, the Republican and Democratic Parties have provided US imperialism with great flexibility in dealing with other imperialist powers, the socialist camp, and the oppressed nations fighting for political independence, as well as in dealing with the masses of workers and oppressed nationalities within the US multinational state itself. They have consistently and cooperatively served the same master: US monopoly capitalism. In 1960, Kennedy was the liberal "peace" candidate, Nixon the conservative "war" candidate. Kennedy won. We got the Bay of Pigs invasion against the new revolutionary Cuba and the initial US troop build-up in Vietnam. In 1964 Goldwater was the "hawk", Johnson the "dove". Johnson won overwhelmingly. We got "Goldwater’s" Vietnam. (Daniel Ellsberg later exposed the fact that on election day, 1964, he and the other top executives of the Defense and State Departments were plotting out the US government strategy to deal with Vietnam. Ellsberg admitted that every option discussed was a "Goldwater" option---the popular vote be damned!)

The need of US imperialism for super-profits supercedes the posturing of any candidate of either the Democratic or Republican branch of the WAR PARTY. In 1968, Richard Nixon, whose entire political career was built on red baiting, anti-communism beat "liberal" Hubert Humphrey. In his first term, Nixon made the historic rapprochement with both the Soviet Union and China! In 1972, when Nixon tried to sabotage the election by ordering a break-in into the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, he beat the "peace" candidate, George McGovern by one of the biggest landslides in US history. Then, Nixon pulled the US military out of Vietnam! (Of course, the heroic Vietnamese people were also inflicting a decisive military defeat on US imperialism at the time.)

In 1992, Clinton, with the backing of organized labor, beat the incumbent George Bush, who had started the NAFTA process and had encountered stiff resistance from organized labor. Clinton promptly led NAFTA through Congress with ease. Clinton, the Democrat, led the passage of a vicious Welfare Reform Bill, and led the Congress in the passage of the "Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act" of 1996. This latter act has played as integral a role in the Bush post 9-11 domestic repression as the USA PATRIOT Act!

John Kerry’s Heroism,
His Cowardice, His Bankruptcy as a Candidate

John Kerry, like George W. Bush, was born a rich man’s son. Unlike "W" however, Kerry did not dodge military service. He saw combat in Vietnam and was a decorated junior officer. While this is more admirable conduct than that of George W. Bush on a personal level, Kerry was serving the criminal interests of US imperialism. However, when Kerry returned to the USA, he courageously spoke out and testified before Congress on the criminal character of the US war against the Vietnamese people. He helped organize the Vietnam Veterans Against the War which, under the impetus of the heroic Vietnamese military valor, hastened the ending of this criminal US imperialist war.

The "Swift Boats" gung-ho military folks have never forgiven Kerry for telling the truth about the barbaric US imperialist war against the people of Vietnam. This explains why the Swift Boats guys, with all their lies and slander about Kerry are defenders of Bush, who after hiding in the National Guard, ended up being a no-show even there! Yet thirty years later, in relation to Vietnam, Kerry is playing up his combat role there as a war criminal and trying to bury his principled stand upon his return home against the US role in Vietnam! And this explains how the Republican Party has been able to turn Kerry’s biggest advantage over Bush into a disadvantage.

Kerry became the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee precisely because on the USA PATRIOT Act, on "Free Trade" treaties, on welfare reform, and most of all, on Bush’s unending war of terror against the peoples of the world in defense of the US Empire, Kerry has consistently supported and, in fact, marches in lockstep with George W. Bush.*[Footnote: In fact Kerry’s campaign slogan promises that he will make "A Stronger America". In this context, Kerry has promised to add 40,000 additional US troops!] As "third party" candidate, Ralph Nader has said, in response to Kerry’s insistence that he would still vote for war against Iraq now, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction and there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, "Is there no end to John Kerry’s me-too-ism on the Iraq War?"

The unwillingness of the leading Democratic Party politicians to call for the impeachment of Bush, for "high crimes" associated with the Iraq War in particular, cripples any effort to defeat Bush at the polls.

The Nader "Third Party" Candidacy in 2004

On the positive side, Ralph Nader has called for the impeachment of George W. Bush for the "high crime" of pursuing an illegal war and leading the country into that war on a false basis. The Nader Campaign has correctly pointed out that, "There is something fundamentally unsound at work if the legislative branch of the federal government sees fit to file articles of impeachment against one President for his sexual indiscretions [Clinton] and stands by as his successor [Bush] peddles blatant falsehoods in the service of implementing an unprecedented brand of war-mongering, warfare, casualties, and endangerment of the United States in the world."

However, as the "third party" candidate of the "progressive" Green Party in 2000, Nader was in the strongest position to expose the stealing of the Florida popular and electoral college vote which was based on the systematic disenfranchisement of the Afro-American citizens of Florida and others. Instead he was disturbingly silent. In addition, Nader failed to condemn the electoral college as an anti-democratic force in US society, and to help spark a mass mobilization for its abolition. During the 2000 election campaign Nader also failed to dissociate himself from the pro-Nazi Pat Buchanan.

This time, in keeping with his own chauvinistic and protectionist views, Nader and his running mate, longtime Trotskyite Peter Camejo, are playing ball with the Reform Party founded by multi-millionaire Ross Perot and used by Buchanan and other rightist forces. In states such as Michigan and South Carolina, it is the Reform Party that is providing the major underpinning for the 2004 Nader candidacy. Keeping this in mind, nevertheless, as the anti-war movement in the USA and internationally was reaching its zenith, in early 2003, Nader did expose the economic motivation of the Bush Regime for war in Iraq. And as he began his candidacy, in the spring of 2004, Nader called for the impeachment of Bush for his criminal activity in leading the US into war against the people of Iraq.

Nader-Camejo definitely support the US monopoly capitalist and imperialist system. Their position on the US occupation of Iraq involves a "responsible six month withdrawal of the US military and corporate occupation and an internationally supervised election". Their rationale for this position is that they are trying to undermine the Iraqi liberation struggle, to get the Iraqi people "to distance themselves from the insurgency". (Dean/Nader Debate 7-9-04) The Nader/Camejo position is comparable to what a "loyal opposition" position would be if there were really two parties in the US "two party" political system!

A Drive Toward Fascism
or Fascism in Power in the USA?

A sober and correct assessment of this question goes a long way toward helping to determine how Marxist-Leninists in the USA (and internationally) should approach the upcoming US Presidential Election. For if Bush and company today represent fascism in power then the broadest united front including with Kerry and the Democrats might be in order. We do not believe this is the case.

The Communist International (C.I.), under the leadership of Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, developed its understanding of fascism in the crucible of the class struggle in the 1920’s and 30’s. Armed with this understanding, they led the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world to victory over fascism in World War II. The C.I. taught that, "Fascism in power is the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital".

Examining the foreign policy of US imperialism under the Bush Regime, and especially the so-called "war on terror", which is actually a war of terror against the peoples of the world, it is clear that Bush represents extreme reactionary, chauvinist and imperialist elements of US finance capital. But within the USA, an open terrorist dictatorship is not yet the form of rule.

As the Bulgarian Communist, Georgi Dimitrov, the hero of the Reichstag Fire trial in Nazi Germany, pointed out, "The accession to power [of fascism] is not an ordinary succession of one bourgeois government by another, but a substitution of one state form of class domination of the bourgeoisie – bourgeois democracy – by another form – open terrorist dictatorship. It would be a serious mistake to ignore this distinction, a mistake which would prevent the revolutionary proletariat from mobilizing the broadest strata of the toilers of town and country for the struggle against the menace of the seizure of power by the fascists, and from taking advantage of the contradictions which exist in the camp of the bourgeoisie itself. But it is a mistake no less serious and dangerous to underrate the importance, in establishing the fascist dictatorship, of the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie which are at present being increasingly initiated in bourgeois-democratic countries – measures which destroy the democratic liberties of the toilers, falsify and curtail the rights of parliament and intensify the repression of the revolutionary movement." (Emphasis in original, G. Dimitrov, The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class Against Fascism)

Comrade Dimitrov made these profound observations in 1935 after fascism was already in power in Germany, Italy, Austria and Japan. Today prior to the establishment of fascism in power anywhere among the imperialist countries, all the more emphasis needs to be placed on combating the "reactionary measures" of the imperialist bourgeoisie "increasingly initiated in bourgeois-democratic countries."

In the USA, many of the middle class thugs from the Bush election machinery sent to Florida to carry out mob actions to disrupt the recount of votes there in 2000 have become middle level managers in the Bush Regime. And having a "born again" Christian in the White House has fomented increased religious intolerance and chauvinism. Since 9-11, the Bush Regime has certainly accelerated the introduction and implementation of repressive laws and measures. The list includes the USA PATRIOT Act, the use of "Free Speech Zones" or cages and other methods to isolate, marginalize and harass protesters such as occurred with the massive police repression of the anti FTAA protests in Miami in late 2003 and the massive arrests at the Republican National Convention last month in New York City, the large-scale "racial profiling", rounding up and detention of Arab and Muslim and other immigrants and the subsequent trials and deportations of many, wholesale assault on affirmative action programs, "reform" of overtime provisions dating back to 1938 and abolition of "Weingarten Rights" for workers in non-union workplaces, and all the ramifications of the creation of a Homeland Security Department. The repressive atmosphere in the USA today certainly represents a substantial quantitative change from recent US history.

But there have been other serious Constitutional crises and tendencies toward fascism in the USA in the approximately one hundred years of the imperialist epoch. Following World War I there were the Palmer Raids involving mass arrests and deportations of immigrant workers as the most militant and radical section of the US working class (when Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer became virtual President, substituting for the ailing Woodrow Wilson). In the Depression years, Executive Orders issued by Franklin Delano Roosevelt represented a huge increase in executive power at the expense of Congress in particular. During World War II, still under FDR, Japanese-Americans (but not German-Americans) were imprisoned and their possessions confiscated, with no charges or due process whatsoever. At the time of the Korean War, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy became a law unto himself – as the most prominent product of the anti-communist hysteria of the times. The McCarthy Era still has a chilling effect on the petty bourgeoisie of the USA, even now, fifty years later.

The Watergate scandal led to the resignation of sitting Republican President Richard Nixon who had been architect of the burglary effort at Democratic National Headquarters leading up to the 1972 election. While Nixon weighed his options regarding impeachment, etc., the US government was in crisis. His replacement as President, Gerald Ford, had been appointed Vice President by Nixon to replace the corrupt Spiro Agnew. So Ford became President without being the recipient of even one vote! One of his first acts as President was to pardon Nixon! The 1980 election was determined, as it turned out, by the Iranian Hostage Crisis and Reagan’s connection with the Islamic radicals. This connection also ultimately allowed the Reagan Regime to fund the illegal war of the counterrevolutionary contras against the government of Nicaragua in direct violation of US Congressional Law through what became known as the Iran-Contra Scandal.

Today, in the USA, the Bush Regime has been implicated in one scandal after another: The chief supporter of Bush’s election campaign, Enron, had its own financial scandal. Vice President Cheney refused to turn over to the General Accounting Office (GAO) the records of the meetings of the Executive Branch’s energy committee in which Enron executives played the major role---for which the GAO charged a sitting Vice President with contempt for the first time in US history! Cheney maintained his cozy connection with Halliburton (where he had been CEO before becoming VP of the United States) and Halliburton got no-bid contracts for post war Iraqi construction even before the US military had destroyed it, and Halliburton billed for fraudulent charges in Iraq over and above their no-bid contracts! The elder and younger Bush have key Carlyle Group business connections to the bin Laden family and the Saudi royals! Bush’s "service" record during the Vietnam War and Cheney’s similar avoidance of service in that period. The list goes on and on.

Among the most scandalous exposes: Bush’s two rationales for making war on Iraq: weapons of mass destruction and an alleged connection between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein---have both been exposed as lies by people high up in the Bush Administration! Yet, with the stunning silence of the Democratic Party and the monopoly-controlled media, no popular outrage has surfaced in the form of a mass demand for the impeachment of Bush for war crimes against the people of Iraq and of the USA! Such is the monopoly control of the mass media that Kerry’s war record in Vietnam has become an issue instead of Bush’s. Indeed, Bush has been virtually untouched by any of these scandals.

All this indicates that monopoly capitalism is in control. But it also indicates that the system is in trouble everywhere. Bush’s two unprovoked wars of naked imperialist aggression, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have brought the US military into a quagmire. Overextended, and without a formal military draft, the US military has actually tried to restrain Bush and his neo-con empire builders from strategic military overreach.* [Footnote: In this context, Ricardo Morales, a left-wing activist from Minnesota, has profoundly observed that, in the short run, Bush may represent a graver danger to the world’s oppressed and exploited, while Kerry may represent the greater danger in the long run.]

The Possibility of a Fascist Accession to Power –
It can happen here

The world capitalist economic crisis has been the driving force in the Bush-led, US imperialist-led war of terror against the peoples of the world. Bush led an imperialist coalition of economic predators into Afghanistan. The outcome was, however, that mainly United States imperialist interests gained access to and control over rich oil and natural gas deposits in the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. By the time Bush launched the unprovoked war on Iraq, only British imperialism was still with him. In fact, German and French imperialism, Russia and China, all resisted Bush’s drive to open war in Iraq because they all had global contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime. The US military overthrow of the Hussein regime meant the abrogation of the multi-billion dollar contracts of US imperialism’s rival-partners.

Under the pressure of the economic crisis, US big business has refused to share the booty in Iraq, while it needs to share the burden of its empire there. It is striking how little success the Bush Regime has had in getting anyone other than US citizens to fight for the US interests in Iraq. Next to the US military itself, the second largest force in the "coalition of the willing" are the mercenaries working for US private companies, doing traditional military work. And as yet no Arab or Muslim people have become cannon fodder for war against their brothers and sisters in US occupied Iraq!

For their part, Germany, France, et al. cannot afford to have US imperialism seize and freeze them out of a crucial area of the world such as the oil rich Middle East. Yet, for now, they have to keep up their alliance with the USA. Though not fully united, nor ready to take the US imperialists on in any way other than diplomatically and indirectly through massive popular street protests, these partner-rivals of US imperialism were serious in their opposition to the US war in Iraq and will try to be better prepared for the next confrontation.

As the struggle intensifies with its partner-rivals over a re-division of the world, US imperialism will have to draw on ever more limited resources and will need to establish the maximum control of their own forces. This may help force US imperialism to opt for fascist rule.

Within the USA, the current world economic crisis, especially in the form of widespread unemployment and underemployment, began to have a big impact in early 2001. While US imperialism was waging war against the people of Vietnam in the mid 1960’s, President Lyndon Johnson was offering the workers and oppressed nationalities of the USA a "Great Society" reform program. Today, by contrast, while trying to get our sons and daughters to fight his imperialist wars of aggression, Bush can only offer service jobs at low wages and less benefits to the families back home. And this is some of the reason why military families and returning servicemen and women have already begun to organize against the Bush-US imperialist unending war of terror. To fulfill the manpower requirements of Empire US imperialism may be forced to opt for fascist rule.

The endemic corruption of the most brutal monopoly capitalists surrounding the US Executive Branch keeps embroiling them in one scandal after another. For example, to defuse a series of scandals around Dick Cheney and Halliburton, Bush has just ordered that Halliburton give up its multi-billion dollar Iraqi reconstruction contract so that this booty can be spread among other big business supporters. To stop such scandals from reaching the public and to keep as much as they can for the biggest corporate and finance capitalists, US imperialism may be forced to opt for fascist rule.

Most importantly, US imperialism is the global imperialist super-power, so even though there are currently no powerful communist-led social movements among the working masses that threaten to overthrow the monopoly capitalist and imperialist system at home, and no systematic terrorist actions against this relatively weak and disorganized social movement by overtly fascist movements of skinheads, white supremacist militia groups, etc., the fact is that, from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Colombia to Venezuela, from the Philippines to Indonesia, oppressed peoples, in some cases led by communist parties, are threatening to defeat and drive out US imperialism. To try to stop this path of defeat, US imperialism may have to opt for fascist dictatorship.

Finally, it seems that the US imperialist ruling class is running Kerry’s campaign in such a way that he can’t win, by ceding the main political question of the time and the area of Bush’s biggest failures and scandals, Bush’s Unending War, to Bush! Nevertheless, with his tyrant’s hatred and distrust for the people, Bush and his machine have already floated trial balloons to gauge the reaction of the US populace to a cancellation of the election itself, in the event of a new "Reichstag Fire" (it was set by the Nazis to justify martial law terror rule in Germany) or a September 11th terrorist incident of their own making.

Such a scenario is not that big a stretch from their conduct in the 2000 election. Then the Bush machine sent dozens of young ambitious professionals into Florida to form mobs to stop the recount; they used Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (who headed Bush’s Florida presidential campaign) and Bush’s brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and state police, etc. to keep Gore from winning the state’s electoral votes and thus becoming President. Their successful theft of the last election could embolden the Bush forces to simply cancel this one! Such an incident may help force US imperialism to opt for fascist rule.

It can happen here. But it hasn’t happened yet. And we have something to say about what course this country takes.

Some Conclusions
Regarding the 2004 US Presidential Election

  1. Bush and his gang are war criminals. They are the leaders of the world’s number #1 terrorist organization, US imperialism. Therefore, a "Dump Bush" spirit and campaign are in order in this election period. The relatively few proletarian revolutionaries in the US multinational state today need to mobilize anyone and everyone to Dump Bush. But this is not enough.

  2. John Kerry and John Edwards have adamantly refused to dissociate themselves from the war crimes of George W. Bush. Furthermore the Democratic Party leadership (including Kerry and Edwards) has supported Bush in every criminal step he has taken --- from the war on Afghanistan to the USA PATRIOT Act to the War in Iraq. The Democratic and Republican Parties together comprise the US imperialist War Party, the bloody party of US monopoly capitalism and imperialism. A vote for Kerry/Edwards is a vote for "A Stronger America", a vote for US imperialism.

  3. Rightist bourgeois democratic illusions about the possibilities offered to US citizens by the Democratic Party as well as "left" sectarian rejection of electoral work have already led to failure (including our own) to mount petition campaigns to place referenda on local ballots across the USA on the War in Iraq. Such local initiatives need to be undertaken as a means of politically activating wider sections of the US population against imperialist war. A massive outpouring of anti-war citizens expressing themselves at the polls and building organization with which to do it, would do more to stop the unending US imperialist war of terror on the peoples of the world than a decisive defeat of George W. Bush by his smarter twin brother, John Kerry. For Kerry offers only a "better idea" how to keep the US imperialist boot on the neck of the world’s people.

  4. Encourage folks to cast their vote against the twin parties of US imperialism, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Cast a protest vote. A. Nader/Camejo are problematic but at least have taken a position that Bush is a war criminal by calling for his impeachment. Their position that US imperialism should retreat from occupying Iraq to live to fight another day in another place is a step in the right direction, which is End the Occupation! OUT NOW! B. Workers World Party, while having played a largely positive role in building the US anti-war movement in this period, has chosen a sectarian path around the election once again. Instead of convincing their associate, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a principled and militant fighter who made one of the earliest calls for the impeachment of Bush, to run for President on an anti-imperialist peace platform on behalf of the ANSWER Coalition, Workers World Party is running two of its own on a platform of socialism (and the illusion that socialism can be achieved through the ballot box in the USA!) But at least their John Parker/Theresa Gutierrez ticket stands clearly against Bush’s unending war on the world. C. Write in "Michael Moore" in tribute to his "Fahrenheit 9/11" film that has helped educate more US working class and oppressed nationality folks about Bush’s War than all of us on the US left combined! (But shame on him for endorsing Kerry.)

Some Strategic Conclusions:

  1. Those who believe that this US Presidential election is "important" for the oppressed peoples and workers of the world, including the people of the USA itself, are crippled by tremendous bourgeois democratic illusions about the nature of imperialism. The modern revisionists who sold out the Socialist Camp to international capital promoted the idea of "American Exceptionalism", that US imperialism was an exception to what Lenin taught is the nature of imperialism. Imperialism, said Lenin, is a striving toward violence and reaction. With the dissolution of the Socialist Camp, and then, in the past several years, the advent of the Bush Regime, Lenin’s truth is once again verified by the bitter experience of the masses of humanity.
  2. Today United States imperialism is armed to the teeth. The domestic economy is a war economy. The US culture, which is spread like Christianity was to the colonies in the early years of capitalism, and for the same aim of conquest, reflects the violence and parasitism quite natural for the citadel of a global empire. The monopoly capitalist ruling class in the USA, with generations of blood on its hands, will not surrender its privilege and power on the basis of an election. Indeed, it cannot afford to ever allow a "free election" to take place.

    In State and Revolution, Lenin taught that, "…Engels is most definite in calling universal suffrage an instrument of bourgeois rule. Universal suffrage, he says, …is ‘the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the present-day state.’ The petty-bourgeois democrats … expect just this ‘more’ from universal suffrage. They themselves share and instill into the minds of the people the false notion that universal suffrage ‘in the modern state’ is really capable of ascertaining the will of the majority of the toilers and of securing its realization."

    In light of Engels’ observation, it will be better if Bush is defeated in the 2004 election. For this will indicate that the masses of the US people are not so willing to support the US Empire. And this will mean that the immediate opportunities for revolutionaries to carry out anti-imperialist work among the US masses will be greater. At the same time, a Kerry electoral victory will provide no significant relief for the oppressed peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere. As documented above, a Kerry victory will almost certainly represent at least a strategic strengthening of US imperialism.*[Footnote: For example, as Alexander Cockburn recently cited in one of his excellent columns on the Kerry campaign in The Nation: Andy Stern, president of the SEIU, the largest union in the AFL-CIO, blurted out that a Kerry victory might well demobilize labor. Stern quickly recanted.]

    The most important task for revolutionaries to carry out in this election period is to help smash the bourgeois democratic illusions about US imperialism both within the US multinational state and among the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world.

  3. Within the USA, the mass movement against US-led imperialist globalization and the mass movement against the Bush-led US imperialist war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, the Philippines, Haiti, and against the Israeli war on Palestine, need to continue uninterrupted by the election campaign, with focus on winning the hearts and minds of the US population. Recent positive examples of this are the small antiwar demonstration at the Democratic Party National Convention in Boston and the massive antiwar weeklong series of demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in New York City. In this spirit, though the timing and mobilization for this event may not be the best, we are supportive of the call for the Million Worker March precisely because it recognizes the need for independent mass working class mobilization and struggle regardless of who is elected President.
  4. Given the accelerated drive toward fascism in the USA today, spearheaded by the Bush-Ashcroft forces but with the full backing of the Democratic Party gang, and the possibility of a fascist accession to power in the not too distant future, a vital task of proletarian revolutionaries is to develop maximum unity of action with all anti-imperialist and democratic forces against the reactionary measures of the imperialist bourgeoisie under "bourgeois democracy", such as petition campaigns for city council and state legislative action against the USA PATRIOT Act.

    But given the fact that the key struggle today is still against US imperialism internationally and not against US fascism domestically, the need for international anti-imperialist united front organization is a top priority. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) is an important vehicle for militant working class and oppressed nationality organizations and others to link up with their counter parts from all over the world to strengthen our front of struggle against imperialism, headed by US imperialism.

  5. Marxist-Leninist vanguard organization is key to building a revolutionary mass movement in the USA that is capable of rendering real service to our brothers and sisters of other lands as well as our own. An important lesson can be drawn from the fact that while we are still functioning in a period prior to the ascension of fascism to power, a host of quantitative steps toward fascist repression have occurred in rapid succession since 9-11, indicating not only that "it can happen here" but it may occur sooner than later. In this context the importance of combining legal and illegal, or above ground with underground, revolutionary work, which can survive a sudden wave of repression, is underscored.

  6. Finally, of the three most important contradictions facing imperialism, headed by US imperialism, in this period, the main contradiction continues to be the one between the "handful of ruling ‘civilized’ nations on the one hand and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world on the other" (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism). In this light, today the best friends of the workers and oppressed within the US multinational state are the Iraqi and Afghani peoples fighting for their national independence against US imperialist occupation and plunder. Contrary to Kerry/Edwards (as well as Nader/Camejo), we want the Iraqi masses to gather greater strength and unity in their insurgency. For their insurgency is our salvation too.

No to the #1 Exploiter of the World’s People!

No to the World’s #1 Terrorist!

Dump Bush! Dump the Two Party System!

Resist Imperialist War and the Drive to Fascism!

Dump the System of Monopoly Capitalism and Imperialism!

Build a Socialist Future!

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