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Vol. 74/No. 43      November 15, 2010

Elections in 2010 signal
no change for workers
(front page)
November 3—Reams are being written, and hours of airtime are being filled, about the outcome of the 2010 U.S. midterm elections. With most votes now counted, Republicans are the new majority in the House of Representatives, having taken some 60 additional seats. In the Senate, Republicans took at least six additional seats, leaving them in the minority.

Widely touted as a “rebuke” of President Barack Obama’s policies and the majority Democratic Party Congress over the past two years, the results of the elections signal no change for the working class.

For the most part the politicians who won elections in 2010 campaigned on what they are against. Rand Paul, Republican Party victor in the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky who is closely associated with the tea party, described the elections as a message: “The American people are unhappy with what’s going on in Washington.” The Wall Street Journal put that in perspective in its editorial, admitting, “voters still view the GOP as skeptically as they do Democrats, a sign of the overall sour public mood.”

With millions out of work for years, falling real wages, and deteriorating social conditions for the great majority, a greater loss than usual for incumbents is to be expected. The middle class especially, and large numbers of workers, are frightened by a present and future that seems increasingly out of control. President Obama’s campaign message that the economic blows would have been worse for working people without his policies was not convincing.

Candidates from both parties avoided discussion of what they would do to change those conditions, and they avoided nearly all mention of the unending wars in Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, the tens of thousands of troops that remain in Iraq, and the escalating military operations in Yemen and elsewhere.

Much of the media focus on the Republican victory has been about the anticipated rancor between the Obama White House and the incoming Republican majority. Wide publicity has been given to a statement by Rep. John Boehner, the likely new speaker of the House, that as far as Obama’s agenda is concerned, “We’re going to do everything—and I mean everything we can do—to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” But Obama has already appealed to Boehner, in a telephone call congratulating him following the election, to begin working together “to find common ground.”

Between the factional discourse and appeals for compromise, the twin capitalist parties will continue to find common ground in their drive against the standard of living and rights of working people, as they attempt to shore up the profit rates of the ruling capitalists. Plans for cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs in order to rein in the massive federal budget deficit are at the top of the list for both Democrats and Republicans.

The government has no plans for a public works program or any other plan that could provide jobs. The owners of industry have no plans to increase productive capacity and put people back to work.

Aside from the Socialist Workers Party candidates who ran in 33 races in 11 states and the District of Columbia, workers had little voice during the elections. The union officialdom continued its policies of throwing away resources by backing the campaigns of Democratic Party “friends of labor.” Only in the sporadic mobilizations of workers on the picket lines, in fights for legalization of undocumented workers, and other such battles were the interests of working people advanced in the course of these elections.

The outcome of the 2010 elections did not change what working people continue to face with the world capitalist depression and ongoing imperialist wars abroad; neither did it change the political space that continues to exist for workers to organize and fight in their class interests, overcome divisions, and gain confidence along the road toward conquering political power.
Related articles:
Socialist candidates in Iowa advance solidarity
N.Y. students discuss possibilities for revolution
‘Moderates rally’ held in D.C. ahead of elections
‘Two-party face’ of capitalism’s ‘one-party system’
Join fight for a socialist world
SWP candidates in 2010  
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