By Tom Siracuse:
The Republican Party is appealing to the prejudices of the white working class by supporting the “Tea Party”. They have encouraged these prejudices over many years but when they get into office, they temper their ultra right rhetoric and resemble the Democratic Party. It is not because the Republican Party is ignorant, crazy or particularly racist. Fostering racism and xenophobia enables the Republican Party to confuse the American people and especially the white working class and that prevents them from focusing in on what is really happening–saving the capitalist elite by reducing its taxes, restoring its profits by cheapening the cost of labor through high unemployment, denying climate change by maintaining the super profitable oil and coal industries, militarizing the economy through expanding the arms industry and keeping the banks deregulated so that they can continue to engage in ultra profitable speculation.
The Democratic Party tries to appeal to the middle class, people of color, women, gays and now, immigrants. It also sows confusion by blaming the Republicans, dysfunctional or “blue dog” democrats or just being cowardly in the face of the growth of the ultra right. The failure of the Democratic Party is not because it is dysfunctional or cowardly but because the Democratic Party is just the other side of the same coin. The two parties have the same master–the Wall Street/corporate elite. The Democratic Party also wants to save this capitalist elite. It does not foster out and out racism nor deny climate change but it does appropriate trillions to bail out Wall Street and trillions for wars and the military industrial complex. Obama uses the same arguments Bush did about the necessity to be in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; that our military actions in these countries will prevent “anti-American” elements from attacking the U.S. The opposite is taking place. These wars enable the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other radical Muslim groups to recruit more people to fight the foreign invaders. The growth of these groups gives the U.S. government more reason to keep the people in a state of fear, to distract Americans from realizing the nature of capitalism and to shore up this failing system with armament productions. These wars keep millions off the unemployment roles by recruiting them into the armed forces. The Obama administration wants to extend drilling for oil off our coasts and in the Arctic and dig for more coal. The Obama administration made sure that our health system is in the hands of the private health insurance and pharma companies. The administration will pass meaningless bank regulation. How much money will be appropriated to prevent foreclosures, make jobs and develop a “Green” economy?
The Democratic Party has never really struggled against racism, sexism and homophobia. People of color, women and gays made that struggle and the Democrats then tried to appropriate these movements. A good example is what Cornel West calls the “santaclausification of Martin Luther KIng.” West recently called Obama “the new face of imperialism”. The game that the Republicans and Democrats are playing, abetted by the mass media, is evident with the “Tea Party.” The Tea Party, which represents a minority of the American public, benefits both parties. It rallies the ultra right to the Republicans and keeps leftists from breaking with the Democrats. This is a dangerous game as capitalism continues to implode despite imperialism and militarism. Parallels can be made when capitalism entered into crisis after 1929. The Great Depression hit Germany, Italy and Japan especially bad and the centrist parties could offer no solution to the working class. Fascism rescued capitalism by the militarization of those economies.