SCOTT Brown’s victory for the Republican Party, in the Massachusetts election for the US Senate, does not mean that US workers can’t wait to return George Bush, or put Sarah Palin into the White House.
The Republican victory in the stronghold of the Kennedy clan means that workers have been greatly angered that Obama’s call for change turned out to be fake. His big change turned out to be using trillions of public money to rescue the big banks from their financial collapse, and to temporarily take over bankrupt capitalist giants like GM. In fact he supervised their restructuring at the expense of many hundreds of thousands of US and Canadian workers.
Up to a hundred factories have been closed, millions have been sacked, and those workers that have remained at their posts have had their wages slashed by up to 50 per cent, their pensions cut, as well as their health care compromised.
Ten per cent of US non-agricultural workers are now unemployed, over a million people have had their homes repossessed, millions more are living off food stamps, there are tent cities all over the US, and now those workers who thought that Obama would bring health care for all have seen his health reforms diluted to the point where workers will be paying taxes on their health benefits, and where there will be no public provision of health insurance. The big health insurance companies have won.
In his speech last November to launch the Afghan surge with 30,000 more troops for Kabul, Obama confessed that he faced very angry workers at home, a tough trade war with the US’s economic rivals, and that the country could not afford on top of these challenges to take on a number of foreign wars.
He therefore designated 2012 as the year when US troops would be quitting Afghanistan.
However, the war has now been spread to Pakistan and the Yemen, and Iran is now in the frame for attempted regime change. Despite the words, Obama cannot resist the imperialist drive to war.
Obama has done nothing for workers anywhere. This is why the workers of Massachusetts decided to teach Obama and the Democratic party a lesson.
Since the Democrats are part of the Bourgeois double act through which the US capitalists rule, Obama will learn nothing from the Massachusetts lesson – except that he will have to act more ruthlessly for the interests of the US ruling class.
Already, some of the trade unions are drawing conclusions from the Massachusetts defeat.
The leader of the SEIU trade union, Andy Stern said yesterday: ‘The reason Ted Kennedy’s seat is no longer controlled by a Democrat is clear: Washington’s inability to deliver the change voters demanded in November 2008. Make no mistake, political paralysis resulted in electoral failure.
‘During the past year, Republicans refused to do anything but stand in the way of change and Democratic Senators took too long to do too little. . . .
‘Today’s vote must be a wake-up call that now is the time for bold action. . . .
‘The Senate may have squandered the trust the American people gave to Washington in 2008. But now, every member of Congress and the Administration must act with a renewed sense of purpose to show working families whose side they are on and deliver meaningful change to every American.’
The truth is that the Democrats are never going to satisfy the requirements of the working class in a period of capitalist crisis.
It is the trade unions that must take the bold action.
They must break with the Democrats and form a Labour Party that will mobilise the working class and the middle class to fight for ‘well paid jobs for all’, ‘free health care for all’, ‘homes for all’ and for the recall of all US forces from Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Companies like GM that the government has nationalised temporarily, and banks that live off government subsidy must be fully nationalised under workers management. These are the bold actions that the trade unions must fight for.