The wave of enthusiasm which swept Barack Obama to the White House in 2009 has largely given way to disappointment and anger. Under his presidency, it’s been business as usual – imperialist aggression abroad, corporate handouts and attacks on working people at home. The brutalisation of black communities by cops who kill with impunity continues.
Now, Hillary Clinton has announced she intends to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination for 2016. Could she – potentially the first female President – be the one to bring about real change? Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that any such hopes are misplaced.
Clinton is part and parcel of corporate politics. She sat on the board of the infamous WalMart from 1986-1992, during which time the corporation engaged in union busting, intimidating and spying on employers who demanded an end to poverty pay. She enthusiastically supported massive cuts to welfare introduced by her husband Bill Clinton when he served as President, which drove many of the most vulnerable in US society into dire poverty.
In foreign policy terms, Clinton is an unashamed ‘hawk’. She supported the Iraq war, a decision she defends to this day. As Obama’s Secretary of State, she oversaw the troop ‘surge’ in Afghanistan – which led to a 15% rise in civilian deaths – as well as a huge escalation of in the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. She was central to co-ordinating the NATO bombing campaign in Libya and has refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapon.
Neither has Clinton been a vocal defender of women’s rights. In recent years, the religious right-wing has been on the offensive against the right to choose, with state governments introducing around 200 restrictions on access to abortion. Clinton has not came out strongly against this, instead advocating “compromise”.
Fundamentally, the individual who sits in the White House is of little importance. No matter the President, the 1% rules. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are tied hand and foot to Wall Street and the corporate elite. It is in their political DNA to serve the interests of the super-rich.
There is huge desire for change in the US. A glimpse of this was seen in the election of socialist candidate Kshama Sawant to Seattle City Council with 90,000 votes. The majority believe that an alternative is needed to the Republicans and Democrats. In order to bring about real change, workers, young people and the oppressed in the US – as across the globe – need to build their own independent political voice and fight for a socialist society run in the interests of the 99%.