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What can we learn from the 2012 presidential election that will help the people wage their struggles for jobs, housing, health care, the environment, respect for the human rights of immigrants and everything else we are fighting for?

The situation we face gets worse every day. Hurricane Sandy reminded us that, because of the power and dominance of the energy corporations, the capitalists will not deal with the global warming that threatens to make the earth unlivable. They refuse even to give proper assistance to the storm victims. Meanwhile, the economic hurricane that is hurling millions into permanent unemployment, underemployment and poverty continues, and the capitalists again refuse to help those suffering.

The key lesson of the elections is that we have allowed our real enemy to divide us, and we cannot win if we are divided. The ruling class politicians of the “major” parties have appealed to us as Black, white, Latino, women, “middle class,” etc. In essence we have been told not to consider ourselves workers, but instead to think about the needs of our particular group. The appeal to the “middle class” in particular is a way of saying, “Don’t worry about anyone else, just think about yourself and your family.”

This tactic historically has been used by the wealthy and powerful to divide and rule the working class. The ruling class gave some workers privileges over others, then pitted them against each other. The common class interests that unite us as workers are hidden by this tactic. We are kept busy fighting each other for a piece of the pie, and fighting for equality under the very capitalist system that is itself the source of the inequality.

At the root of the problem is the economic crisis.  Technology is in the process of wiping out the need for human labor. As the jobs disappear, the capitalist system goes deeper into crisis. Capitalists won’t pay to support labor they don’t need; instead they demand the people submit to an austerity program. They are moving to eliminate democracy so we can’t fight for a new society. The threat of an open dictatorship grows daily.

At the same time, the crisis is laying the foundation for working class unity. Workers of all social strata are being plunged into a common poverty and pushed out of the system, regardless of color, gender or nationality.

To win, we have to unite around the demands of those who are being destroyed by the economic system. Their demand is for a society that guarantees the necessities of life to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The great mass of us, regardless of color, gender or nationality, have one main identity—as part of the working class. And as workers we have a common enemy—the capitalists and their system—that is plunging us into a common poverty and oppression.

People are beginning to move toward political independence. The vote for the Green Party more than doubled from 2008. It’s time the people declared their political independence from the ruling class and built their own party, a party that will take as its program the demands of those who are pushed out of the economic system and who are forced to fight for a new, democratic, cooperative society free of poverty and inequality. 

From the Editors:
Those of us who seek fundamental social change are engaged in a battle to win the hearts and minds of the people. This can't be done without a revolutionary press. For 40 years, the People's Tribune has brought our readers the stories of those who are struggling to move forward in a world where corporate power is threatening to crush them. Along with those stories, we try to offer some strategic perspective to help put the struggle in context and point the way toward victory. We need your help to continue doing this. The People's Tribune gets no grants and has an all-volunteer staff. We rely completely on subscriptions and donations from our readers to enable us to go on telling the truth. Please donate whatever you can. See the subscription/donation form on the right. You can also donate using Pay Pal on our web site,


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