The Militant: Capitalists Use Elections to Mask Exploitation and their Class Rule

By John Studer

The Socialist Workers Party ran candidates for public office around the country in the 2013 elections and used them to put forward an independent working-class voice, said Steve Clark, a member of the party’s National Committee, at a Militant Labor Forum here Nov. 8.

“But for class-conscious workers, these election campaigns are political detours on the road to independent working-class political action. The capitalist rulers use elections to camouflage class relations of exploitation and the class struggle.”

Speaking on the results of the 2013 mayoral election in New York and opportunities to build the party today, Clark introduced the candidates who stood for the SWP against the Democrats, Republicans and other capitalist parties — Dan Fein for mayor, John Studer for comptroller, Deborah Liatos for public advocate, and Sara Lobman, Róger Calero and Seth Galinsky for Borough presidents in Manhattan, Bronx and Queens.

The campaigns were a subordinate part of other party-building activities, Clark said. We used them to engage working people, whose lives and outlook have been shaken by the capitalist crisis, in a discussion of working-class politics, to focus attention toward the class struggle and away from the misconception — promoted by the capitalist rulers — that politics has to do with choosing among the politicians of the bosses’ twin parties, the Democrats and Republicans.

Read full article here.

The Militant is the official newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party.

10 thoughts on “The Militant: Capitalists Use Elections to Mask Exploitation and their Class Rule

  1. Gene Berkman

    The Socialist Workers Party was much more politically active in the 1970s during the Vietnam War. SWP ran the National Peace Action Coalition, which they used to recruit members and raise funds for the party.

    The high point was 1976 when Peter Camejo was the SWP candidate for President. He received just over 91,000 votes. Since then the party has been less active in electoral politics, with its last real involvement in a big campaign being the antiwar movement in 1990 when Bush Sr led United Nations forces in the invasion of Iraq.

    Currently SWP operates as a business through its Pathfinder Press and Pathfinder book stores. The party has moved away from Trotskyism, but holds the copyrights on most books by Leon Trotsky. They mainly sell expensive hardcover editions to librairies, with profits increased by unpaid labor of party members who man the bookstores and the warehouse. Main beneficiaries are Jack Barnes, National Secretary of SWP, and Mary Alice-Waters, President of Pathfinder Press.

  2. paulie

    Meanwhile, the LP is mired in internal bureaucratic red tape and arcane bylaws/policy manual wrangling, and profit motives are viewed with suspicion.

    Ironic…

  3. Green Party Voter

    Gene, Thank you for the info. The profit motive, the economic imperative explains a lot. I still wonder why these people do not run inside the Green Party. After all, their strongest candidate Peter Camejo was a Green Party leader for many years. And of course Camejo ran twice for California Governor as a Green Party candidate. Camejo as a Green Party candidate, in the first special election with Arnold, received over 5 per cent of the vote, I think. Suggest these people work within the Green Party as they do in many other countries.

  4. Gene Berkman

    The Socialist Workers Party is an avowedly communist organization, aligned with Cuba and North Korea. They consider The Green Party to be pro-capitalist liberals, giving further evidence to Einstein’s concept of relativity. They also think the Peace & Freedom Party is not worth supporting for similar reasons.

    You would not want them in The Green Party anyway. They would be disruptive, and the entire organization might have 150 to 200 members. And people who know about them would not want to support an organization that they are part of.

    There are many other little Trotskyist organizations which regularly denounce SWP for its deviations, but they all buy the Trotsky books published by Pathfinder Press, so Jack Barnes and Mary-Alice Waters continue to profit.

    During the height of the real estate bubble, SWP sold its New York City headquarters building for 20 million dollars, and relocated their book warehouse to Georgia. Georgia is a right-to-work state, so Pathfinder can hire non-union workers for its warehouse.

  5. paulie

    And in related news, Richard Rider writes on facebook:

    Actor Antonio Banderas, worth (reportedly) $45 million, wants the U.S. to adopt socialism A LA Venezuela. Right on, Antonio!!!

    And the FIRST industry to be nationalized should be Hollywood. With 90% actor unemployment, it’s the perfect starting point for Hugo Chavez-style socialism.

    The movie character roles should be rotated among the actors, regardless of skills, looks, name recognition, effort, or “fitting the role.” Pay should be the same for all, regardless of box office draw or results. “Equal pay for equal work.” Movies that make a profit (if any) should have such greedy earnings confiscated to support the loser films.

    Of course, we’re also going to need a new national draft system — a nationwide level of mandatory movie attendance (to movies picked by our central planners) by the public. Each citizen would be issued a draft card — dutifully attending movies at government-set prices — all as dictated from on high.

    Everybody wins! The circle of (socialist) life is complete.

  6. Jed Ziggler Post author

    They may have only 150 to 200 members, but for such a tiny party they’re actually fairly active. They regularly run candidates, although mostly as write-ins, and while 2012 was an exception they’re usually able to get their Presidential ticket on in at least 10 states.

  7. paulie

    Yes, it’s amazing what a small group of really dedicated people can do. It would be great to have some more zealots with that kind of work ethic in the LP 🙂

  8. Deran

    It would be interesting (to me) if someone was able to do an economic analysis of the US Socialist Workers Party, the US Revolutionary Communist Party and the US International Socialist Organization. The SWP and the RCP have both been the princedoms of Jack Barnes (SWP) and Bob Avakian (RCP), but the ISO is also a serious money making enterprise. All three focus on selling their newspapers and books and members tithing to the org. I know Avakian has been living comfortably in France for the last 30+ years and Barnes lives well here in the US. The ISO seems more focused on just hoarding money. They never spend large sums on political work, let a lone elections. All three orgs are quick to expel members that don’t sell/tithe enopugh, and/or who question the org as the shining path toward socialism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *