Ray O. Light
Special Edition #11
Some Lessons of the 2004 US Presidential Election
When the election results for US President rolled in, showing that George W. Bush had won a second term (after he stole the first), most folks outside the USA, were shocked. Outside of the hermetically sealed US multinational state, with its mass media at an extremely high level of monopolization, the fact that the Bush Regime is a regime of war criminals is clear. Under the impetus of the world capitalist economic crisis, the Bushites were responsible for the unprovoked war, invasion and occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and a new doctrine of "preventive war" (shades of Hitler Germany). At the same time, they were responsible for waging a war at home in the USA itself---including the rapid removal of workers’ rights to overtime protection and on the job rights, union rights, etc., as well as the rapid erosion of civil liberties with the PATRIOT Act, increases in police state, intelligence and other surveillance forces, and the establishment of a massive homeland security department. Bush brought unprecedented tax breaks to the super rich, record government budget deficits to the working people and massive unemployment and underemployment to the masses. Despite all these things, this time Bush received a majority of the votes as tallied (51% to 48%); and almost sixty percent of the eligible voters had cast a vote, up from barely fifty percent in the 2000 election.
How did this happen?
For one thing, in the USA, with its entrenched monopoly capitalist class dictatorship, the only party that had even a remote chance of unseating Bush and the Republicans was the Democratic Party, with John Kerry as its presidential candidate. Prior to the Democratic Party Convention, the few Democratic challengers for the nomination who represented any "challenge" to big capital at all were discredited and disposed of, through monopoly media control. Both Kerry and Edwards, his running mate, like most of the Democrats in Congress, had supported the Bush Regime in all its criminal activities. Despite scandals involving Enron, Halliburton, exposures of torture of prisoners, the big lie behind Bush’s justification for the Iraqi war and the quagmire for the US military in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the Democrats remained silent partners, never even raising the need to impeach Bush! They were thoroughly compromised as collaborators with the Bush war criminals. Furthermore, throughout the campaign, Kerry promised "a stronger America", including sending more US occupation troops to Iraq.
So the first reason for Bush’s 2004 election victory was that there was no real choice. The reality is that the Democratic and Republican Parties together represent one US Imperialist War Party.
The second reason for the Bush victory was the hysteria successfully fomented and continually stirred up by the regime around the question of providing "national security" while defending against "terrorism". It is noteworthy that, by the end of the campaign, a distinction was made between Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, where the developing heroic resistance of the Iraqi peoples had led to an unfavorable rating for Bush, and the so-called "war against terrorism" in general, on which Bush somehow maintained a favorable rating!!
Thirdly, the Bushites were able to mobilize the white Christian right, the Christian fundamentalists, with their white supremacy, intolerance toward others – on religion, abortion, homosexuality and other non-economic issues, and their fanatical commitment. Thus, for once, armed with so-called "moral values", the Republicans had foot soldiers en masse to organize and mobilize their supporters to get out the vote. As part of this Christian right mobilization, with help from key elements in the Catholic hierarchy, Bush even beat Kerry, a Catholic, for the Catholic vote!
Fourth, in addition to the systematic disenfranchisement of Afro-American, Latino, and other anti-Bush voters similar to what had occurred in 2000, there is little doubt that the voting machines used in the 2004 election were in many cases rigged to give votes to the Bushites. The strangely "inaccurate" exit polls, predicting a Kerry victory in Ohio, Florida, and other "swing" states, indicate such election skullduggery. And the CEO of Diebold Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of voting machines had, prior to the election, indicated that he would deliver Ohio for Bush! Perhaps the real popular vote count was about 51% for Kerry and 48% for Bush.
Finally, and most importantly, most of the people in US imperialist society were satisfied with a "choice" between Kerry and the Democrats, and Bush and the Republicans. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by both the political parties of the US monopoly capitalist and imperialist class and by the monopolist controlled mass media to promote this democratic façade. Key support for this façade came from important social props such as the AFL-CIO hierarchy and the NAACP leadership as well as from the revisionist CPUSA. In reality, since Kerry-Edwards as well as Bush-Cheney campaigned as defenders of the US Empire, the "choice" came down to which team could better defend the Empire, and the election was a vehicle for once again rallying the US population behind the bloody empire.
In his great work, Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, written during World War I, Lenin said, "On the one hand, there is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists to convert a handful of very rich and privileged nations into ‘eternal’ parasites on the body of the rest of mankind, to ‘rest on the laurels’ of the exploitation of Negroes, Indians, etc., keeping them in subjection with the aid of the excellent weapons of extermination provided by modern militarism. On the other hand, there is the tendency of the masses who are more oppressed than before and who bear the whole brunt of imperialist wars, to cast off this yoke and to overthrow the bourgeoisie. It is in the struggle between these two tendencies that the history of the labor movement will now inevitably develop."
For almost sixty years, since the end of World War II, US imperialism has been the unrivalled imperialist super power. This fact has enabled US imperialism to bribe and brutalize its own population even more thoroughly than in Lenin’s description of imperialism’s impact on the handful of very rich and privileged nations of the World War I period. The fact that virtually the entire US society has benefited, however temporarily and however unevenly, from the oppression and super-exploitation of the workers and oppressed peoples of the entire world, goes a long way in explaining the results of the 2004 US presidential election.
Over the past fifty years, the modern revisionists, in selling out the interests of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples as well as the Socialist Camp itself to international capital, headed by US imperialism, promoted the idea of "American Exceptionalism". Beginning with Earl Browder in the CPUSA and continuing with Yugoslavia’s Tito, the Soviet Union’s Khrushchev and China’s Teng Hsiao-ping, they all claimed that Lenin’s teachings on imperialism, exposing its systemic striving toward violence and war, had never or at least no longer applied to the United States, with which long-term peaceful cooperation ("rapprochement") could be realized. 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 undeniably verified by the bitter experience of the masses of humanity.
Those opportunists who promoted the idea that the US presidential election of 2004 was "important" for the oppressed peoples and workers of the world, including the US workers, are promoting just such bourgeois democratic illusions about the nature of imperialism. In State and Revolution, Lenin cited Engels who called universal suffrage an instrument of bourgeois rule. Engels stated that it is "the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the present-day state". Lenin then observes, "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."
Such opportunists are also riddled with great nation chauvinism. For, in this US election period, it was the Iraqi’s peoples’ resistance as well as the Afghan liberation fighters who have been on the front lines of the struggle against the main enemy of humanity, imperialism, headed by US imperialism. And the US Presidential election offered no relief from the US imperialist wars of occupation and plunder of Afghanistan and Iraq. It offered no relief from the US-led so-called "war on terror", which really means unending and preemptive imperialist war on any peoples at any time that US imperialism decides to strike.
Since the Bush election "victory" of 2004, Sam Webb, the current chairman of the revisionist CPUSA, has praised his own members and the AFL-CIO trade union bureaucracy for their "hard work" on behalf of John Kerry and the Democratic Party. Kerry, like Gore in 2000, led his Democratic Party "army" in surrendering to the Bush election "victory". Webb and the CPUSA, in their faithful obedience to the Democratic Party, demonstrate that they do not even have the independence from US imperialism shown by the Green Party and Libertarian Party presidential candidates. These latter bourgeois politicians have at least taken legal action against the conduct of the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign and state government officials (shades of Florida in 2000). The open renegacy on the part of Webb and the CPUSA in their support for the "Stronger USA" promoted by the Kerry Democrats is in line with their support for the revisionist CP of Iraq --- a party which, from the beginning of the US occupation, has shamelessly participated in the US imperialist-appointed Iraqi puppet government, backed by the US army, against the Iraqi people!
Today United States imperialism is armed to the teeth. The domestic economy is a war economy. The US culture, with its growing Christian fundamentalist core, is being spread like Christianity was historically spread to the colonies in the early days of capitalism, and for the same aim of conquest. This reactionary and obscurantist culture 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, and made increasingly desperate and isolated under the impetus of the world capitalist economic crisis, will not surrender its privilege and power on the basis of an election. Indeed, it cannot ever afford to allow a "free Presidential election" in the United States to take place.
Revolutionary-minded people among the workers and oppressed nationalities in the USA and others who desire a just and peaceful world need to cast aside their illusions about an alleged "democratic process" in the United States. We must link arms with the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples (and with the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place) in our joint struggle to liberate humanity from the scourge of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, headed today by George W. Bush and US imperialism.
Down With Bush-Led US Imperialism!
No to the #1 Exploiter of the World’s People!
No to the World’s #1 Terrorist!
Dump the System of Monopoly Capitalism and Imperialism!
Build a Socialist Future!
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