Over a billion dollars will be spent on the 2012 Presidential election, smashing all previous records. This mountain of corporate cash ensures that whoever is elected, Obama or Romney, the interests of the super-rich and Wall Street will be represented.
That's why Socialist Alternative is calling for a break from two parties of the 1% and for the creation of new, broad party to provide a fighting voice for working people. In this election, we are urging a vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party for president, in order to register the strongest possible protest vote against the two-party system.
We don't agree with those who preach patience, who tell us every election that “now is not the time” and that we must support the “lesser evil.” In fact, it is during elections, when the attention of the entire nation is focused on politics, that serious fighters for the 99% must raise their voices the loudest against the lies and manipulations of the corporate politicians. We cannot stand aside and allow the debate to be dominated by Obama and Romney. That means putting up the strongest possible challenge to Wall Street's political monopoly in this election, both on the streets and at the ballot box.
Overcoming restrictive, anti-democratic ballot access laws, Jill Stein will appear on the ballots of at least 85% of voters this November. While not a socialist, Stein stands clearly on the side of working people on every key issue facing our country. She refuses corporate donations and has used her campaign to support the struggles of ordinary people fighting injustice.
Despite a near complete black-out in the corporate media and the undemocratic refusal to allow her in the debates, a recent CNN poll already showed Stein with 2% support. This makes her the highest-profile left candidate this election, with the potential to attract over a million voters disgusted with the two parties. Her campaign provides a glimpse of what would be possible if our social movements, especially the unions, broke from the Democrats and united into a broad left political challenge.
After all the “hope” and “change” of Obama’s campaign in 2008, he has given literally trillions of dollars in bailouts to the same big banks that helped trigger this economic crisis in the first place. Meanwhile, those same banks kick millions of Americans out of their homes.
Obama continues the “war on terrorism” and is expanding the assault on civil liberties. Union rights have been dismantled and social services have been cut by both Democrats and Republicans. Young people face mass unemployment, low wage jobs, rising tuition and debt. While Romney and Ryan’s extreme rhetoric is understandably scary for working people and the oppressed, the sick logic of lesser-evilism, of support for Obama and the Democrats, only hamstrings social movements from effectively fighting back.
Neither party represents the interests of workers or the oppressed. Neither party will reject the profit-maximizing logic of the capitalist system or the interests of Wall Street. While the Democrats give lip service the interests of workers and oppressed communities, once in power they carry out the agenda of big business.
Every serious struggle reveals the Democrats' corporate character. From the Chicago teachers strike to the growing fight against foreclosures, when ordinary people stand up they find both parties united against them. When movement leaders preach support for the very same politicians who are attacking our communities, it only serves to confuse, demoralize, and demobilize our struggles.
Yet history shows that only mass struggle wins real change. Students in Quebec have the lowest tuition in North America. Why? Because they organize mass strike movements and street protests when faced with tuition increases. Everything regular people have won in this country, has been fought for with strikes, direct action, and mass protests, from women’s right to vote to the end of segregation to the weekend and 8-hour workday.
When movements get caught up in the illusion that allying themselves with the Democrats is the most “realistic” route to success, they end up lowering their demands to what is acceptable to big business. But especially in this era of capitalist crisis, there is no room for even these band-aid reforms.
To succeed, our struggles need to challenge the capitalist system, the root cause of the problems we face. Capitalism is a system of exploitation that concentrates resources and influences in the hands of the wealthy elite at the expense of the vast majority of the public and the environment. In order to guarantee jobs, a good standard of living, environmental cleanup and an end to discrimination, we need a different system. Democratic socialism, including public ownership of the top 500 corporations, could ensure a better future. Achieving a new system will require a mass movement.
To challenge this system and win real improvements we to need a new political party for working people. A party with democratic decision-making that is involved in movements, that doesn’t take corporate donations, and has support from fighting unions and community groups.
More and more people are disgusted with corporate domination. The Occupy movement clearly revealed the political vacuum on the left. While this huge potential has mostly been squandered, small examples show what is possible. In Seattle the dynamic campaign of Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative's candidate running for State Representative against the Democratic Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp, is shaking up Seattle politics and shifting the debate to the left.
Join Socialist Alternative in our support for Jill Stein's campaign, in our struggle to build a broad working class political alternative, and in our fight for a democratic socialist world.