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Evil? Yes! Lesser? No! Clinton Is No Friend to Black and Women Workers

Editorial from Challenge, 4 October 1998

When bosses fight among themselves, it would be a deadly mistake for the working class to take sides. Last week we explained why we think that Bill Clinton's fate makes little or no difference to our class. Our fight is for communism.

Does Bill Clinton's fate make any particular difference to the future of black, Latin, Asian or women workers? Both the pro-and anti-Clinton forces and the bosses' mass media are trying hard to make us think so. In fact, they have made a big effort during the past few weeks to portray black and women workers as the most loyal and forgiving supporters of Bill Clinton. Several things appear to be going on here.

First, the leadership of most black, Latin, Asian, and women's mass organizations (churches, Congressional Black Caucus, NOW, etc.) is pretty solidly allied with pro-Clinton sectors of the ruling class. These bosses' flunkies misrepresent the attacks on Clinton as assaults by right wing extremists on a President who has been a friend of minority and women workers. So it is no big surprise that they have proclaimed their readiness to forgive and move on.

The Nobel prize winning black novelist, Toni Morrison, went even further. In the New Yorker magazine she claimed that Clinton is under attack because he is "our first black President." This fake-radical scribbler turns out to be just another Clinton apologist.

Second, the forces who have attacked Clinton are themselves profoundly racist and sexist, and their self-styled moral crusade fools few black workers. The Republican forces that initiated the attacks on Clinton have almost no supporters among the most oppressed workers, many of whom think that even a stupid sexist Clinton is a "lesser evil" than the forces trying to get rid of him.

Third, the bosses' mass media appear to be making a particular effort to portray black people as easily duped by white politicians. They extensively covered Clinton's friendly reception at a gala dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus. They took note of the public appeals made by Democratic women politicians to let Clinton get on with "doing the job he was elected to do." This cynical strategy of having black and women politicians defend a racist and sexist President conveys a double-edged message. Either you should support Clinton because he still has minority and women workers' support. Or, you should oppose Clinton because he only has minority and women workers' support.

Does keeping Bill Clinton in the White House protect minority and women workers from something even worse? We don't think so.

• This same Clinton who objected to making his sex life public signed the welfare reform Personal Responsibility Act. It forces poor women to name the father of their children as a condition for receiving welfare, and it has forced millions off welfare into low wage jobs and slave labor workfare.

• This same Clinton who says he wants to preserve affirmative action has just issued a report on his yearlong White House Initiative on Race. Even his friends say it is an utterly useless document that makes pathetically weak recommendations. When Clinton and his friends like Jesse Jackson speak in defense of affirmative action, they say that it is a national security issue. That is, if the rulers expect black soldiers to die for U.S. imperialism, the system has to pretend to offer a few opportunities.

• This same Clinton "apologized" for the infamous Tuskegee experiment, in which the U.S. government withheld treatment from hundreds of black men infected with syphilis from the 1930's up to the 1970's. Yet during the Clinton years, HMO's have withheld treatment from millions, and over 40 million lack health insurance.

• This same Clinton played saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show to pretend he is down with black youth. Yet he has funneled billions of dollars to federal, state, and local governments to hire more cops, build more prisons, put more working class youth in prison for longer sentences, and put them in slave labor programs while in prison.

• This same Clinton made a trip to Africa where he said that slavery wasn't so wonderful, claiming to promote democracy and economic prosperity. Yet every stop on his trip was a hoax. In Ghana he hailed economic growth, but free market structural adjustment in Ghana is impoverishing most Ghanaian workers and farmers. He supported the anti-AIDS campaign in Uganda, but structural adjustment has compelled African states to shut hospitals and curtail health care in order to shrink government expenditures. Meanwhile, imperialist super-exploitation is responsible for the concentration of some two-thirds of all known AIDS cases in Africa.

• This same Clinton, during a three-hour trip to Rwanda, apologized for the U.S. failure to intervene to prevent the 1994 genocide in which over half a million Rwandans were slaughtered. Yet Bill Clinton had been informed in advance by the CIA that this genocide was going to occur. His response was to order officials in his administration not to use the word "genocide," because its use would legally obligate the U.S. under the UN Genocide Convention to intervene to stop it. Can there be a more grotesque example of Clinton's racist hypocrisy?

In sum, Clinton has made symbolic gestures to cover his miserable, lying racist policies. All these policies serve the bosses' drive to stave off their crisis of overproduction by stepping up their super-exploitation of minority and women workers. That is "the business of running the country" that Clinton supporters want him to "get back to." Clinton is not a progressive alternative to conservatives and rightists. These terms confuse and mislead us into making a deadly mistake by supporting Clinton as a "lesser evil." The divisions in the ruling class between pro- and anti-Clinton forces are only about the different reasons and strategies to build fascism. The Clintonite forces need fascism to mobilize workers to accept an impending global depression and to fight in the world war that the bosses will launch to try to get out of that depression.

Like our entire class, black and women workers have nothing to gain and everything to lose by defending Clinton or allying with him. On the other hand, workers also have nothing to gain by supporting any of the forces trying to get rid of him. All of them—from Ken Starr to Pat Buchanan to the New Money billionaires of the domestic Oil Patch to Louis Farrakhan to the Rockefeller imperialists—are out only to feather their own profit nests. They are all our enemies. Our view of them should be: Evil? Yes! Lesser? No! Smash all bosses!

It is becoming increasingly evident that the options facing all workers are either to get sucked into the bosses' fascist movements or to join the Progressive Labor Party and fight for a communist world.