From The Militant, Vol. III No. 29, 1 September 1930, p 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
The election campaign is well under way. The capitalist class has put up dummies who execute its orders in the city, state and national legislatures, and the sham battles between the two openly capitalist parties have begun with the usual attacks – entirely correct – upon each other’s integrity, malfeasance and corruption in office, dishonesty and graft. The bankruptcy of the Republican and Democratic parties has rarely been brought out in such bold relief.
The apostle of “permanent prosperity”, Hoover, has been neither desirous nor capable of stemming the tide of misery and suffering that has inundated millions of unemployed workers and those at work whose standards are being brutally lowered. Hoover’s Democratic critics, who are making the most of the political capital with which his Incapacity serves them, shout all the more loudly against their Republican brothers-under-the-skin because they must themselves conceal their total failure to alleviate the indescribable conditions of the workers in those localities where there are Democratic administrations (New York City, New York state, throughout the South, etc., etc.).
The truth is that the capitalist politicians, who represent the system which produces unemployment, child labor, prostitution, wars and misery, are cynically unconcerned about the sufferings of the workers except insofar as it gives them arguments against those in office and for those who want to get at the trough.
The third party of the bourgeoisie, the so-called Socialist Party, is still in the field with its petty shop-keeper’s reforms. It has become a pure and simple election apparatus, with no more fixed membership than Tammany Hall, with candidates whose chief aim is to attract votes and not to advance the class interests of the workers. The party of Debs has become the party of Norman Thomas, with his quack reforms, and Heywood Broun, the idol of the liberal intellectuals.
The American Socialist party is the spiritual and material brother of the British Labor Party, under whose administration unemployment in England has grown and flourished like the green bay tree, under whose knout, saber and machine gun the Indian workers and peasants are being massacred. The Socialist Party is the political machine of the corrupt labor bureaucracy in the needle trades and elsewhere, the parasites who work hand in hand with the bosses against the cruelly exploited workers. The Socialist Party is a vote catching machine that constitutes a safe deposit for the discontentment of the workers. It is a “bulwark against Bolshevism” – as the more enlightened capitalist papers perceive – that is, a bulwark against the advance of the working class in struggle against their oppressors.
The workers are confronted – not only on election day but all through the year – by a dictatorship of the capitalist class, by that group of James W. Gerard’s multimillionaires who REALLY run the country, a dictatorship that can be abolished only by a dictatorship of the workers, that is, of the overwhelming majority of the people, a “dictatorship” that would be a thousand times more democratic than any capitalist “democracy”. The whole election system is a monstrous fraud of capitalism, a fraud which creates the illusion that the workers can seriously improve their lot or take control of industry by throwing enough bits of paper into the ballot box to “elect the right men”
The control of government, of industry, of power are never decided on the floors of congress, but on the battlefield of the class struggle. The elections give the workers the opportunity of testing their strength, their mood for struggle. The elections give the workers the opportunity of transforming the fraudulent paper battle around the ballot box into a genuine struggle for their demands: a struggle in the form of demonstrations and strikes that break through the hypocritical veil of spurious “democratic” elections.
The principal issue of the day is unemployment, and the wage cute, evictions, and starvation that accompany it. The Communist Party has properly focused the attention of the working class on this point. This party is the only one in the field that represents not only the immediate but also the final aim of the proletariat.
The Communist League of America (Opposition) has many disagreements with the policy of the Communist Party. We warn against the Party’s tendency to make the social insurance bill the focal point in the election campaign. It is not through bills in Congress that the unemployed will obtain relief, the evicted a rent moratorium, the workers an end to wage cuts. To cause the workers to believe otherwise would be to sow the most destructive illusions among them. It is not Congress that can and will aid the unemployed by adopting a social insurance plan; it is not a bill that will aid the jobless in some dim, distant future (if ever under capitalism). It is the living, genuine struggle of the unemployed and the starving for food – of which there is plenty; of the homeless and evicted for roofs over their heads and against the grasping landlords – and homes there are enough – in short, it is only by their own struggles every day (and not around a ballot box) that workers can obtain relief.
The Communist League is also opposed to the appeal the Communist Party is making to the farmers – an appeal that does not unite the interests of the workers of the city with the workers in the fields and the poorest section of the farmers, but sets the interests of the farmers in general against those of the city working class.
But the Communist Party nevertheless remains OUR PARTY. Its errors and shortcomings are the errors and shortcomings of a temporary leadership violently imposed upon it. The Communist League has appealed to the Party for united action in support of the Communist campaign. The faction agents who run the Party by grace of appointment have rejected this appeal. We will continue in spite of that to support the Communist Party campaign with all our strength.
The Communist Party is the only Party of the working class. It embraces the main elements in the revolutionary movement. Despite its incompetent leadership and their destructive policies, the Party remains the only one that workers conscious of their class interests can support, A vote to the Democratic, Republican, or Socialist parties is a vote thrown away to the class enemies of the workers and their loyal assistants and moderators. A vote for the Communist Party is a vote for working class power.
Last updated on 31.10.2012