Build the 4th International in the US

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THE decision of the United Steelworkers of America trade union to follow the lead of the just-failed Democratic contender, John Edwards, whom the steelworkers backed, and to declare their support for Barack Obama is yet another signal to Hillary Clinton to quit the struggle to be the Democratic presidential candidate.

The steelworkers statement reads: ‘When the presidential primary contests began last year, our Union felt strongly that because of Senator John Edwards’ deep commitment to working people and because of our shared beliefs, he deserved our strong endorsement.

‘His belief that unfair trade policies must be changed, his commitment to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to restore workers’ rights to freely choose workplace representation, and his proposal for universal health care were widely shared by our members.

‘Today, by virtue of a unanimous vote of our International Executive Board, we find ourselves once again in agreement with Senator Edwards, this time with his decision last evening to endorse Senator Barack Obama. 

‘And thus today, the United Steelworkers enthusiastically endorses Senator Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States.’

The emergence of Obama, and his unstoppability, despite the use of every known device or dirty trick to try and derail him, says a lot about the depth of the present crisis facing the US.

Workers, who face unprecedented attacks on their wages and jobs, with growing numbers losing their homes and unable to find the cash to use their cars, are in no mood to give the Clintons their second administration, after two Bush administrations.

Obama’s call to break with Washington politics has more than struck a chord, especially when Hilary Clinton failed in her health care mission in Clinton’s first term, and he brought in the NAFTA free trade deal in his second term.

Now that health care, pensions, and jobs are on the top of the agenda for American workers and youth, a parade of the old, time-honoured prejudices no longer works, especially when the biggest fairy tale of the lot, the American Dream – that anybody can make it – has been shattered.

Also, driving Obama’s popularity forward is his opposition to the war with Iraq, dating from when the drive to war began in earnest, immediately after the Twin Towers attack by Osama bin Laden.

Clinton supported the war, while Bush is busily stoking up yet another war, this time with Iran and Syria.

Clinton is already aboard that bandwagon, after she was fed a question as to what she would do if Iran attacked Israel, so she could reply, annihilate Iran with a nuclear attack.

This prompted an Iranian leader to write to her asking her what would she do if Israel attacked Iran? So far, of course, there has not been an answer to that question.

Obama is on record as saying that a rush to war is not on his agenda and that he will meet with the Iranian and Syrian leaders face to face.

American workers have already seen how the failed war with Iraq has driven the price of oil up to $127 a barrel. They know that a US-Israeli attack on Iran will bring a catastrophe not just for the Iranian people but also for the US people amongst many others.

This is why Obama has emerged stronger from under the mountain of lies under which his opponents have been trying to bury him.

However, he will not be able to deliver the goods for the working class. He may well be able to buy time for the US ruling class as far as Iran and Syria are concerned, for which the US ruling class will no doubt be grateful.

He cannot deliver the required jobs, wages, healthcare and pensions that workers demand, since this will require the overthrow of the US bosses and bankers, a task which he is organically incapable of carrying out.

The mass support for Obama is a barometer of the rising revolutionary tide of the US working class. It will be forced to break even more rapidly from Obama than the time it took to flock to him.

The US workers will be forced to break with the Republican and Democratic parties and to form a Labour Party as the struggle develops to achieve their demands.

US socialists must place themselves in the fore of this historic movement of the US workers by founding a section of the Fourth International to lead the working class forward in the struggle for socialism.