At over 500 high school and college campuses, walkouts are being planned today, Election Day, by “Walk Out to Vote” in order to “cheer each other on as those eligible cast their votes.” The group is led by a coalition of Democratic Party-affiliated organizations, including the Women’s March and the National Die-In.
The event is part of a broader propaganda offensive directed at youth and students to convince them to vote for the Democratic Party. Every corner of the internet is inundated with non-stop advertisements to “Get out the vote.” From social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to music streaming applications like Spotify, youth are confronted with the pressure to vote, with the not-so-subtle subtext that if you do not vote for the Democrats, you are complicit in the crimes of the Trump administration.
The fear mongering tactics of the Democratic Party and its allies are combined with a complete absence of any discussion of the actual conditions and concerns of the vast majority of young people.
There is, among young people, a broad and justified hatred for the Trump administration. The administration is a government of extreme reaction, presiding over growing social inequality, expanding war, and the increasingly fascistic attack on immigrants. Young people, however, must be warned: Supporting the Democratic Party is a trap!
What is the actual political role and function of the Democratic Party? The Democrats have gone out of their way to adapt themselves to Trump, while downplaying the far-reaching significance of the administration’s actions. As Trump continues to tear immigrant families apart, erect concentration camps and sends the military to the border, the Democratic Party is virtually silent, calling such actions a “distraction.”
Over the past two years, the Democrats facilitated the passage of a historic tax cut that will provide trillions of dollars to the wealthiest layers of society. They also ensured the passage of a $717 billion war budget. When the Trump administration dropped the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border just a year into his presidency, much of the liberal media and Democratic Party apparatus praised it. No opposition was waged. No demonstrations were called.
In fact, the “opposition” of the Democrats has centered on the fact that he is “too soft” on Russia. The purpose of this campaign has been to press for greater military aggression against Russia and the Middle East, while setting into motion a vast censorship machine targeting the internet, under the pretext of combating “fake news” and “Russian interference.”
Consider, moreover, the recent experience of young people with the Democratic Party. The millennial generation should “remember this November” the support from youth that helped bring Obama to power in the 2008 election. They should recall Obama’s role in deporting more immigrants than any president in history, laying the essential groundwork for Trump’s anti-immigrant policies of today.
They should remember how Obama became the first president in history to keep the US at war throughout two full terms in office, and how he oversaw the largest transfer of wealth to the top one percent in history as he bailed out the banks, while the parents and grandparents of young people lost their homes, jobs, and livelihoods.
The product of eight years of the Obama administration was a social catastrophe for the entire working class, both men and women, of all races and ethnicities. Regions where Trump was able to win support were those that have been devastated by decades of deindustrialization, overseen by both Democrats and Republicans, aided and abetted by the trade unions.
Generation “Z”, those born in the mid-nineties, should recall the experience of Bernie Sanders, who was deployed to channel leftward moving workers and youth behind the Democratic Party. Sanders attracted millions of supporters by talking about inequality. When Sanders lost the primary, he threw his support behind Hillary Clinton and told his supporters to swallow the bitter pill and vote for Clinton, the candidate of war and militarism.
Sanders has since moved steadily to the right. While nominally independent, he has been elevated to a top position in the Democratic Party. He is leveraging any remaining popularity he has to campaign for the Democratic Party, while going along with their cover-up of Trump’s fascistic policies.
All the “lesser evil” arguments have been made a thousand times before to keep workers and young people from drawing the most important political conclusion: that the working class must be organized as an independent force in the fight for socialism.
Trump is not an aberration. He is the symptom of the disease that is capitalism, an economic system dominated by a tiny oligarchy that is driving mankind to the abyss of world war and ecological destruction. The Democrats are merely another symptom of the same disease. They are a party of Wall Street, the military and the upper middle class.
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality urges students to take up politics not based on pragmatism, but based on great principles, those of equality, internationalism and socialism. There is an alternative to the Democrats and the Republicans, to war, authoritarianism, and dictatorship, and that is socialism: the reorganization of society to meet social need, workers control of the means of production, bringing the international character of the world economy into harmony with the material needs of the world working class.
This means a turn not to the Democrats and their lackeys, but to the working class, the vast majority of the population. This is the great revolutionary social force that will transform society.
Take up the fight for socialism! Join the International Youth and Students for Social Equality!