By RICK NAGIN
As she herself has insisted, Hillary Clinton is obviously not a socialist. What is more, there are serious reasons why progressive-minded people should worry about her being the president. These reasons stem from her close ties to Wall Street and the U.S. imperialist foreign policy establishment.
However, in the present situation, these concerns must be placed on hold and the entire progressive community, including supporters of Bernie Sanders, socialists, Communists, labor and grassroots activists of all kinds should make extraordinary efforts to see she is elected.
There are four main reasons for this:
1.The election of Donald Trump would empower the entire Republican Party and would set back the values and demands of progressives for a long time to come. Trump poses a special danger to our living standards and democratic rights, to world peace and the prevention of a looming environmental catastrophe. He is a mentally unstable individual, a serial liar, a swindler, a racist demagogue and a disgusting misogynist, to name a few of the reasons he is unfit to hold any public office, let alone lead our nation. Even worse, he has mainstreamed and legitimized the fascist underground that Republicans have used to help win elections but had kept in the closet until now. The entire GOP effort to rely on dog whistle politics and nurture a dangerous base of racists, white nationalists and gun fanatics for decades exploded this year when it turned out in the primaries that this base had become the most numerous part of the party. And, because of Trump’s campaign, win or lose, it’s not going away. After the election, they may get organized and claim legitimacy as an ongoing reactionary and para-military force in American politics.
But even aside from Trump as an individual and his neofascist allies, if he was elected it would empower the Republicans to carry out their right-wing extremist program. This includes: destroying organized labor, public education, social security, Medicare, progressive taxation, civil and voting rights, women’s , immigrants’ and LGBTQ rights, and all secular freedoms. It would permit reckless destruction of the environment and promote militarism and aggressive war. it would allow them to pack the federal and Supreme courts, as well as innumerable other government posts with their extremist supporters.
Any individual or group who sits out this election or casts a vote for a third party candidate and thereby enables a Trump-GOP victory will have lost all credibility if they ever claim to be a progressive in the future.
2. Hillary Clinton, despite her potential liabilities, is running on the Democratic platform, largely shaped by the Sanders campaign, which AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka has described as “the most pro-labor, progressive platform in the party’s history.” Unlike previous elections where the platform was shelved after the national party convention, Clinton has repeatedly insisted she will call in her first hundred days as President for the largest jobs program since World War II to rebuild infrastructure, renew manufacturing and develop clean energy industries. She further promises to promote debt- and tuition-free college education for all families with incomes of $125,000 or less. She promises to hike taxes on corporations, the super wealthy and Wall Street to pay for expanded access to education and health care, to ensure equal pay for women and paid family and medical leave. How can anyone who calls themselves a progressive walk away from that?
3. Organized labor and all grassroots progressive movements, including the leading forces in the African-American and Latino communities, the organizations of women, immigrants, the LBGTQ community, environmentalists, and many others are supporting Clinton and, because of that, will be in a position to insist she keeps her promises if she is elected. How can anyone calling themselves progressive isolate themselves from this united coalition or think they would have any say over government policy if they do?
4. Clinton is a “bourgeois liberal.” She has no intention of undermining or destroying the capitalist system of exploitation and oppression. Her aim is to win reforms within that system. If anything, she seeks to stabilize and preserve it. However, the defeat of Trump, especially if he loses by a landslide, would be a major defeat and would weaken the dominant right wing extremist section of corporate power. It would isolate the “billionaire class” in general, and make possible a shift in the balance of forces in favor of the working class. That is, it would make more possible the end of class exploitation and oppression, which has shackled humanity for thousands of years. With proper leadership, it would make easier the coming to power of the working people — in other words, socialism.
This requires the building of a modern, mass revolutionary working class party, one that is fully engaged in the immediate struggles of working people, but also has a vision for a future society based on full democracy, equality, peace, social and economic justice and protection of our planet’s fragile environment. The exploding mass movements from Charlotte to Standing Rock, from the strikes and marches of low wage workers to the mass demonstrations against climate change and the growing radicalization shown by the enthusiasm and mass participation in the campaign of Bernie Sanders, who advocated socialism and “political revolution,” give strong reason to believe this is now possible.
But it means that it is the immediate responsibility of all real progressives and all revolutionaries to be fully involved in this election and elect Hillary Clinton as our next president.