This resolution on the political independence of the working class was passed unanimously at the SEP Emergency Conference on the Social Crisis & War, held April 17-18 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Further resolutions and articles on the conference will be posted in the coming days. (See, “SEP Emergency Conference advances strategy for struggle against social crisis and war”)
A little more than a year into his administration, hopes among broad sections of the population that the election of Barack Obama would bring real change have been rapidly dispelled. His election should put the final nail in the coffin of the claim that the interests of the working class can be served by electing a Democratic president.
Every element of Obama’s policies is determined by the interests of the corporate and financial elite that controls the political system in the US: the expansion of war, the continued destruction of democratic rights, the bailout of the banks, the wholesale attack on the working class in the US.
The administration’s principal domestic initiative, the health care overhaul, is aimed at slashing costs for corporations and the government and establishing an even more class-based health system, in which the wealthy get the best care money can buy while the vast majority are denied access to supposedly “unnecessary” and “excessive” tests and treatments.
This so-called “reform” will, in fact, strengthen the power of the insurance companies and lead to a reduction in health care access for the majority of the population. It is a central part of a budget-cutting campaign which is directed at all social spending that benefits the working class.
Obama is also leading an attack on public education. Using the power of the federal government, Obama is pushing for states to shut down public schools, expand for-profit charter schools, and victimize teachers through mass layoffs and merit pay.
After bailing out the banks, the administration has stood by as state governments have responded to budget deficits by imposing crippling cuts in essential programs.
This conference calls for the broadest possible mobilization of the working class in opposition to the attacks on jobs, education and social programs. This should include preparations for a nationwide general strike of the entire working class.
The coming struggles must be guided by a new political program and perspective. The experience of the Obama administration has exposed all those organizations that claim the Democratic Party can be pressured to represent the interests of the working class.
The crisis facing workers internationally can be resolved only through a far-reaching transformation of world society and the establishment of a rationally organized and democratically controlled economy.
Socialism—the subordination of the economy to social need, not private profit—is the precondition for meeting the basic needs of the working class: the eradication of poverty around the world; the provision of jobs and decent housing for all; universal health care; quality, free education from kindergarten through university.
The fight for socialism is the fight for equality. The technical and material resources for uplifting humanity exist, but their potential cannot be realized so long as society remains in the stranglehold of a corporate and financial elite determined to defend its wealth through the impoverishment of the great majority.
What is required is the development of a revolutionary leadership, one that proceeds from an insight into the laws of the capitalist crisis and the lessons of history, and has as its practical aim the independent political mobilization of the working class, in the United States and internationally, for the overthrow of the capitalist system.