Capitalist electoral politics and class struggle

By Fred Goldstein September 17, 2012

Adapted from a talk given at the Sept. 7 New York City meeting of Workers World Party.

At the moment of this writing, the Chicago Teachers Union has set a splendid example for the working class during this presidential electoral season. They have refused to be swept away by the electoral tide, in which both parties are financed by hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate money, and are on strike against the Chicago school administration to defend their own rights and the rights of the poor and oppressed communities of the city.

Whatever the politics of the union leadership, what makes this action so politically significant is that it flies in the face of the stampede to the polls. This is, after all, a city whose mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is Barack Obama’s former chief of staff. And this is a time when the president is engaged in a fierce electoral battle against the right-wing Romney-Ryan ticket.

The Chicago teachers represent a sector of the organized working class that has been under severe attack in recent years. In particular, they have experienced first hand the futility of relying on elections.