Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Elections – Forum for Socialism

First Published: People’s Tribune, Vol. 3, No. 4, February 1, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The up-coming national elections will be an exercise in agony for the USNA ruling class. The lies and tricks of bourgeois democracy are no longer convincing to a growing number of workers. Yet, the very same arena of elections which the ruling class has so often used to justify its class dictatorship will provide a forum for socialism. Within the bourgeois elections, the Communist Labor Party and the revolutionary workers find a ready-made platform for agitating against fascism and imperialist war, for the interest of the working class and for socialism.

Over the last 10 years there has been a noticeable deterioration in the effectiveness of elections and the accompanying political campaigns to rally the people of the USNA behind the bourgeoisie. Each election has had less and less people voting so that in the national elections of 1972, Richard Nixon was elected by about one-third of the potential voting population. The years of the Vietnam War, the terror against the Negro Peopl’s movement and the movement of other national minority peoples, the exposure of corruption around the Watergate affair, and the present economic crisis have all combined to create a major political crisis for the ruling class. Large sections of the working class and certain sections of the petty-bourgeoisie no longer believe in the so-called “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The clearest reflection of this political crisis can be seen in the dissarray of the bourgeois parties. The Democratic Party has nearly 20 bourgeois politicians seeking presidential nomination, but there are virtually no programmatic differences among any of them. They promise the workers everything, except jobs, peace and equality. For the Republican Party the offerings are between a non-elected, do-nothing reactionary incumbent President and a buffoon turned actor turned politician who openly campaigns on a fascist program. At best the people of the USNA will be offered the double-dealing Hubert Humphrey by the Democrats, and the Wall Street prince Nelson Rockefeller for the Republicans. Given these prospects it is no wonder that little enthusiasm is being displayed for the up-coming elections. At every level of the bourgeois democratic apparatus, from the presidential campaigns through congressional, state and local campaigns the situation is the same.

Under these conditions the interest of the working class, of all the oppressed peoples of the USNA must be represented in the bourgeois democratic process. While the great mass of people may distrust and dislike the candidates, and hate and fear the government that rules over them, the fact remains that the majority of people do not know of any other way except bourgeois democracy. It is in order to educate the working class in its own strength, in the justice and decency of its struggle, in the necessity of socialism that Communists and revolutionary workers take part in the campaigns, elections and other activities of the bourgeois democratic apparatus.

The real strength of the working class lies in the factories, the mills and mines where millions of workers daily toil. It is from the shop floor that the real leadership of the working class must arise. From this base of strength pressure must be applied to politicians who can be forced either to take progressive stands for jobs with peace, against US intervention in Angola, and against Senate Bill 1 or be exposed as enemies of the working class.

Revolutionaries are well aware that socialism cannot come about through elections to office, yet revolutionaries must run for office and wage and participate in election campaigns. It is through such efforts that the basic corruptness and decay of capitalism and bourgeois democracy is shown to the working class. Using the forum of bourgeois elections and political activity provides the working class with a rallying point–the hatred for the bourgeoisie, for capitalism finds a voice in the revolutionary party.

There are many ways of waging the struggle for socialism within the bourgeois democratic apparatus such as running for office, running for convention delegate, participation in a candidat’s campaign or struggle around some issue which offers the opportunity to raise the interest of the working class, or work in a local political club. Whatever way is chosen the link that binds all the work together is the Party Program of the Communist Labor Party. We want to raise with the workers why the government hasn’t done anything about unemployment, why the USNA is engaging in an imperialist war in Angola, why the criminals of the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies haven’t been brought to justice. We demand to know of the bourgeois politicians what they plan to do about jobs, peace, decent housing, education and healthcare. We demand to know from the state legislatures and city councils what they plan to do about segregated schools, police brutality, welfare and overburdening taxes. Every action of the ruling class must be held up for exposure; every struggle of the working class must become a rallying point.

Once a source of strength for the ruling class, bourgeois democracy is now a major weakness. There are no more reforms which can be delivered. The people of the USNA are sick of promises, sick of corruption, sick of war, sick of injustice. The bourgeoisie is afraid to mount the platform, now is the time to take the platform from them and use it to awaken and mobilize the millions and tens of millions of proletarians who, given the opportunity, will wage the struggle for justice, peace and socialism.