Last week, November 8th, marked the conclusion of the US midterm elections. The Democrats’ strategy for this election remained essentially the same as in previous years, propping themselves up as the party of the working class in the fight against the Republican Party, whom they paint—correctly, yet hypocritically—as anti-working class. In this way, they obscure their own anti-working class character while ensuring the workers’ continued support for the Democratic Party. Is it true that the Democratic Party represents the interests of the working class? To the class conscious worker, the answer is clearly no, but many workers are still caught in the grip of this insidious lie. They believe that, while the Democratic Party is not “perfect”, it nonetheless represents the “lesser of two evils”. Let us begin the work of exposing the anti-working class character of the Democratic Party.
Pro-Union in Words, Anti-Working Class in Deeds
In campaign after campaign, speech after speech, the Democrats, including Joe Biden, have styled themselves as pro-union. They claim to be protectors of the working class, but their deeds when in power betray them as enemies of the working class. Take, for example, the currently impending strike by the railroad workers.
The workers in this industry have had to deal with a degenerated infrastructure, significantly extended work days, no sick leave, and erratic schedules that leave them “on call” for most of the day, denied even the right to adequate sleep. Conductors and engineers specifically can be on call for up to twelve hours at a time, for up to two weeks straight. It is in these conditions that the workers are struggling for a new union contract, threatening a strike should the negotiations fall through. The entire bourgeois government, including the Democratic Party, is extremely worried about such a strike since it was previously estimated that the strike would cost the capitalists $2 billion for every day it is active.
It is in this context that the Biden administration has stepped in, not in the interests of the working class, but of those of the capitalist. The negotiations were led by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and went on for over twelve hours. Ultimately, with the bosses unwilling to provide the much needed paid sick leave and regular schedules, even after the unions reduced these to just unpaid sick leave, the contracts were voted down, and negotiations have fallen through. A strike of all the members of the twelve railroad unions involved was set for November 19th, although the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen recently voted to extend the mandated cooling off period to December 4th. And what has been the response of the Secretary of Labor to all of this? To argue that, if an agreement is not reached, then “Congress will have to take action to avert a strike in our country”, that Congress would have to impose a contract on the workers. To appease the class which they represent, the Democrats would continue to restrict the workers’ right to strike that began decades ago with the Taft-Hartley Act and other anti-labor legislation and judicial decisions.
Here, the anti-working class nature of the Democratic Party is laid bare. Despite all of their rhetoric, when it comes down to it, the Democrats will always side with the capitalists. Even without actually imposing such a contract yet, they have caused irreparable harm to the railroad workers’ struggle. The fact that they would be willing to interfere in this way will, no doubt, embolden the railroad monopolies to continue holding out against the workers. They now know that if they just ‘wait out the clock’, a contract favorable to them will be forced on the workers. In fact, the Republicans have already introduced a joint resolution that would do just that. The imposed contract would be the one recommended by the Biden-appointed Presidential Emergency Board, and would represent yet another example of bipartisan support for anti-worker policies. How can the Democrats be considered the “lesser evil” when they are so quick and willing to work with the “greater evil”? The truth is that there is neither a lesser nor a greater evil, only two sides of a united evil.
Tailing one or the other bourgeois party will only lead to ruin for the working class. We must understand that we need a party which is firmly working class in character, one that is able to struggle against both of these parties while maintaining its independence. We must understand that the key to the liberation of the working class and popular strata does not, and cannot, lie in the ballet box. This is something which can only be secured through revolution. But in order for the subjective forces of such a revolution to be prepared, the communists must expose the true nature of all bourgeois parties, of the bourgeois government itself,to the working class, so that they may recognize them for what they are, our class enemies.
- Labor Secretary says Congress needs to block rail strikes without new deals
- The Biden Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining, and Unions
- Remarks by President Biden in Honor of Labor Unions
- Rail Service Interruption Could Cost Economy $2 Billion per Day
- Congress prepares to act on rail strike amid fears of ‘economic catastrophe’