As the dust settles on the US mid-term elections, the consensus of published opinion seems to be that George Bush is now a ‘lame duck’ President who will struggle through the final two years of his presidency, unable to do much and likely to be frustrated if he tries.
We do have to admit, the thought of what the arrogant Texan’s face must have looked like when his masters, the bourgeoisie, informed him that for the sake of the democratic charade he had to take this one on the chin (no hanging onto electoral ballot stubs this time) does give us a warm feeling, but warm feelings are not analysis and wishful thinking is not a true reflection of the reality of a given situation.
It is true that, among the Americans who voted (there is a very substantial number of disenfranchised Americans and a growing number who have now seen ‘how the trick is done’ and no longer bother), many, in their own minds at least, were voting against the increasingly costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. To that extent, the results are heartily to be welcomed.
Still, the question needs to be asked: did the US electorate succeed in stopping these unpopular wars? Any bourgeois party in an imperialist country is there to do the bidding of the imperialist ruling class. Some may take different lines on social issues (in fact, it is essential that they do this to give the illusion of choice), but in any crisis, all such window-dressings are ignored and they will act together as government and elected opposition, solely in the interests of ‘their’ bourgeoisie, of imperialism.
The results of the mid-term elections leave the House of Representatives with 228 Democrats to 196 Republicans, while the Senate is hung, with the balance of power in the hands of two ‘independents’ (not independent of the bourgeoisie, we hasten to add). Following their victory, the Democrats demanded and received the political head of Donald Rumsfeld, seen by many as the personification of ‘neo-con’ foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and having claimed ‘anti-war’ credentials from that act will go no further down the anti-war road, with the exception of a few inquiries into certain aspects and individuals, unless and until the interests of the bourgeoisie are best served by retreat.
This point is quite important, as US imperialism is facing being unceremoniously kicked out of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the American bourgeoisie knows that the next few months will be telling. If, in Iraq, the occupiers can get a civil war going between the different religious groups, they may be able to keep a hold a bit longer, but even civil war can be dangerous for imperialist oil interests. Furthermore, it’s unlikely the Iraqis will fall for this trick (since they haven’t done so for the past two years, despite the best efforts of the US and British ‘intelligence’ services).
The new Democrat Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has already made clear that the Democrats will not seek impeachment of President Bush, nor will they challenge any military spending on Iraq. In her victory speech, she asserted that “Tonight the American people have voted for change and they have voted for the Democrats to take our country in a new direction[?] We will do so working together with the administration and the Republicans in Congress in partnership, not partisanship.”
No change there then! The Democrats, like the Republicans, will do their masters’ bidding. So is the result totally irrelevant? There are certainly a lot of irrelevant ‘facts’ being hyped up by the media, such as the election of the first woman speaker, first muslim senator, first black this, first disabled that, and, of course, the hyping up of the possibility of a Hilary Clinton/Condoleezza Rice battle to become first woman president in two years’ time.
But if all the media noise is put to one side, then, regardless of the two parties having the same agenda in real terms, the majority of Americans, by voting against the Republicans, did register a vote against the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and against the possibly even more costly wars being prepared against Iran and the very well-armed and defence-motivated Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea.
Using this election result as a measurement of the American people’s readiness to suffer more casualties for the sake of profits for their bourgeoisie, the resistance fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq must take heart and know that every soldier of imperialism that they kill or send home wounded pushes the American people to the point where they will become even more vocal and organised against these imperialist wars and those in the US who promote them.
Likewise, every imperialist truck, tank and helicopter that is destroyed, and every drop of oil that is denied to imperialism through attacks on pipelines and oil tankers, pushes the US bourgeoisie to the point where it can no longer financially sustain its occupations.
The mid-term elections did not (could not) stop the wars, but the results are welcomed by the oppressed of the world, not because they think a Democrat administration will be nicer to them, but because it reveals the war-weariness of the American people and reinforces the progressive message that imperialism can be stood up to and it can be defeated.
The final exit of imperialism from Iraq and Afghanistan will surely be realised before too long.