Working people need to reject and campaign against Patrick Buchanan's agenda. The Republican candidate tries to win a following among working people with his radical, even anticapitalist-sounding demagogy. But this "socialism" is a fraud, deadly to the working class worldwide.
Buchananism is a product of the period of capitalist development we are living through today. This period was signaled by the 1987 stock market crash, which laid bare the instability and vulnerability of the worldwide capitalist system. The rate of profit that capitalists get on their investments has been falling since the early 1970s. The stock market crash indicated this had reached crisis proportions for the employers, who face sharply intensified competition for markets, materials, and control of different regions, including on an international level.
This competition drives the bosses to cut costs at home - such as downsizing, lowering real wages, and attacking social gains. It also drives them to compete, one nation state against the other, for economic, political, and military domination of the globe. The 1990-91 U.S.-led slaughter in Iraq was the first military conflict in this period where these interimperialist conflicts began to come to the fore. Following the Gulf War, it became clear that a worldwide economic depression had set in for the first time in 50 years.
This crisis of capitalism, and the social disorder and instability it generates, breeds radical attitudes - including distrust of the government and established politicians - in the middle class and among layers of the working class. Buchanan appeals to this radicalism, claiming to defend workers and the "little man." He is working to consolidate a cadre around himself, drawing both from inside the Republican party and from thug elements like those who have carried out assaults on abortion clinics.
If the class struggle heats up and working people begin to fight to defend their interests, the forces Buchanan is putting together will be used to try to smash the workers and their organizations, which would open the door to another imperialist world war. That's why it's essential for workers to understand what Buchananism is and where it comes from, so we can effectively fight it.
The only answer to the fake, national socialism that fascist figures are promoting in every capitalist country today is international working-class solidarity - proletarian international socialism. We need to take on the program Buchanan puts forward, and argue it out with co-workers and others. Buchanan tries to divide "American" workers from immigrants and working people in other countries; we need to stand together in our common interests against the capitalist system and for a workers and farmers government. He goes after affirmative action; we need to explain how it is needed to combat divisions within the working class along lines of race and sex.
To answer Buchananism we need to learn from previous struggles, including the fights against fascism in Europe and the United States in the 1920s and 30s, and get a better understanding of what is happening in the world today from articles like "Imperialism's March toward Fascism and War" and "Opening Guns of World War III" in New International magazine. Valuable lessons for how workers can begin to forge the kind of organization needed to take on what is coming - a party of communist workers - can be found in The Changing Face of U.S. Politics.
Building such a party is the most important work that can be done right now by workers, young people, and others who want to fight against the horrors that capitalism in its decay will attempt to force on us. It is a necessary part of charting a course forward to workers taking power - the way working people did in Russia in 1917 and in Cuba in 1959.
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