Election Thoughts 2016: The Democratic Party in Confusion

Masses of working people and oppressed remain without political representation inside the United States

Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia revelations surfaced that was by no means surprising to keen observers of electoral politics in 2016. A series of thousands of e-mails surrounding the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair indicate that a conspiracy was carried out against the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to prevent him and his supporters from securing the nomination for the presidency.

Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe
Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the outgoing DNC chair, was taunted when she addressed a Convention gathering at a DNC breakfast for Florida delegates on July 25. Sanders who has endorsed the Clinton campaign, was jeered when he once again urged his supporters to vote for the former Secretary of State also on the opening day of the Convention.

The New York Times reported “Hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters drowned out the Vermont senator with boos Monday as he tried to make the case that his fans would need to vote for Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald J. Trump. At a meeting filled with Sanders delegates, Mr. Sanders tried to convince those gathered that Mr. Trump was dangerous and a threat to the Constitution and that as a result, they needed to vote for Mrs. Clinton. However, as he made the argument, the crowd shouted over him and instead chanted, ‘We want Bernie.’” (July 25)

There is virtually no enthusiasm for the Clinton candidacy even among card-carrying Democratic Party members. The former first lady to United States President Bill Clinton during the 1990s has numerous trust and credibility problems. In recent weeks she was under investigation for the use of State Department e-mail servers that were hacked for classified information.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Justice Department failed to indict Clinton amid allegations that the decision was politically motivated by the administration of President Barack Obama where she served during his first term. Obama has pledged to campaign for Clinton despite the fact that she used racism against him in 2008 amid her failed bid to gain the Democratic nomination.

At least 20,000 e-mails from Wasserman Shultz documented that high-level collusion was in operation to disenfranchise the millions of Sanders supporters around the U.S. who secured victories in dozens of primaries and caucuses. Sanders attracted crowds of tens of thousands of people, mainly youth, who wanted an alternative to the war-mongering and Wall Street friendly Clinton.

Sanders Campaign May Loose Credibility by Not Opposing Clinton Nomination

Of course monumental efforts will be underway to prevent the Wasserman Shultz scandal from reaching the Convention floor. A floor fight over reform issues promoted by Sanders will ring hollow amid the business-as-usual Clinton campaign.

Clinton represents everything that most working and nationally oppressed peoples want to eliminate from American politics. The top-down political culture which favored Clinton was destabilized through the grassroots efforts of Sanders’ supporters. Moreover, results from numerous primaries and caucuses won by Clinton were secured through questionable methods particularly in Iowa, Illinois, New York and other areas. Clinton’s Wall Street and White House connections were utilized to stifle and silence the voice of millions throughout the country.

Many supporters of the Vermont Senator, who identifies as an “independent socialist”, are not prepared to take their political energy and channel it into an electoral campaign for Clinton which does not challenge any of the policies enacted by Obama over the last eight years. Clinton was the public face of the continued militarism of the Bush years. Clinton as a Senator for New York voted in support of the U.S. intervention and occupation of Iraq. The Iraq war was based on lies and deceit leading to the deaths of at least a million Iraqis; the killing of 4,500 U.S. troops, the wounding of tens of thousands more; and the rendering into disability of hundreds of thousands of others with closed-head injuries and psychological illnesses conveniently labeled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In Libya, where there was a stable government and the most prosperous state in Africa, Clinton served as the public face for the blanket-bombing of the oil-rich country and the brutal assassination of its longtime leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Today, Libya, like Iraq, is in ruins serving as major sources of instability in Africa, the Middle East and the European continent. Wars of regime-change in Syria and Yemen are also by-products of these failed foreign policies.

Syria, one of the most beautiful and stable countries in the world, since 2011 has been destroyed by violent opposition groups trained, armed and given political cover by the Obama administration. In Yemen, the U.S. has backed the Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bombing campaign which utilizes American-produced fighter aircraft, refueling technology, intelligence coordinates, and the public relations largesse of the State Department.

Tens of thousands of people in Yemen, the poorest state in the Middle East, have been killed and injured since the U.S.-backed war was launched in March 2015. This war represents ongoing efforts by Washington to dominate Yemen as a bulwark against Iranian influence and other political tendencies seeking to operate independently of U.S. imperialism.

Consequently, contradictions within the proclaimed representation of African Americans, Latinos and working people in the U.S. by the Democratic Party is starkly contrasted with both foreign and domestic policies that reinforce the status-quo characterized by imperialist war, rising poverty, the unjustified use of lethal force against oppressed peoples, the decline in urban education and public services, along with increasing environmental degradation solidified by the consistent evisceration of minimal bourgeois democratic practices in developing and enforcing laws that govern public affairs.

The Need for Independent Political Organization

Between the racism and xenophobia of Donald Trump’s neo-fascist candidacy on behalf of the Republican Party and the bank-led militarism of the Clinton camp tinged by its legacy of draconian legal measures that fueled the prison-industrial-complex relying on the incarceration of African Americans and Latinos, there are no avenues for reform let alone revolution within both ruling class parties. At the same time as the bankruptcy of the political party system within the U.S. has been laid bare for all to see in the U.S. as well as globally, mass demonstrations and rebellions are still very much in evidence.

Millions protested the vicious police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Crown Heights, Minnesota. Police agencies and their supporters within the corporate media have been quick to blame the Black Lives Matter movement for the deaths of law-enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, yet the deaths of over 1,000 people during 2015 at the hands of the cops, with many of those slain being African Americans, takes on a secondary role when assessing the current state of police-community relations and the burgeoning anger on the part of people against racist violence.

There is no other alternative for African Americans, Latinos, progressive women and whites but to form their own political party that speaks directly to their class, gender and national interests. Such a party would fight for the right to full equality and self-determination among all oppressed nations and national minorities. The concerns of working people would be paramount in the party’s analysis, program and style of work.

Until this revolutionary party or alliance of mass organizations is formed the bi-polar and ostensible bipartisan ruling class politics will continue to shape the discourse within the U.S. The party of the working class and oppressed would break out of the empty and disingenuous rhetoric and sloganeering of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties and their functionaries to advance the required discussions and debates that are needed to organize and mobilize the overwhelming majority of people inside the U.S. operating in genuine solidarity with all working and oppressed peoples around the world.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

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