This Week in History: November 1-7


25 years ago: Clinton reelected as President of the United States

Bill clinton

On November 5, 1996, US President Bill Clinton won his re-election campaign against Republican candidate Bob Dole and H. Ross Perot, who ran as a reformist third party candidate. With a vote split into three parties, Clinton was able to win with 49% of the popular vote, Dole 41% and Texas billionaire Perot 8%.

Clinton won electoral votes from 31 states, including 13 where he won plurality rather than majority, including Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico , Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. Dole won 6 states by absolute majority and 13 by plurality, while Perot did not win any state.

The Democratic President’s re-election campaign was based on an open call for support from businesses and businesses and on the abandonment of all appeals to the economic interests of workers, in accordance with the so-called “triangulation” policy, designed in collaboration with his political leader. . advisor, Dick Morris.

Rather than positioning himself as an advocate for any kind of Liberalism in the Democratic Party, Clinton presented himself as a balance between right-wing Republicans, who had taken control of Congress in 1994, and the Democratic minority. He’s aligned with Republicans in cutting welfare and passing other austerity measures, and with Democrats in opposing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

This in effect conceded continued Republican control of Congress, although the Congressional election took place concurrently with Clinton’s reelection victory. Democrats lost a handful of Senate seats and won a few in the House, but the results left Republicans in control of both legislative chambers.

The second Clinton administration promised to be even more to the right and hostile to the working class than the first. He was ready to strike a deal with the Republican leadership in Congress on a balanced budget plan, and immediately planned to begin talks with the Republican leadership in hopes of reaching a consensus plan by the following February. Despite the campaign’s rhetoric on preserving and protecting Medicare, the administration proposed initial cuts of $ 124 billion, just after the destruction of welfare.

The ruling class celebrated the re-election of the right-wing Democratic president and right-wing Republican Congressman with the largest post-election rally in the stock market since Herbert Hoover was elected president in 1928, just a year before the crash of Wall Street that ushered in The Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 518 points in the first three weeks of November, after crossing the 6,000 mark in mid-October.

50 years ago: Josip Tito visits the United States and Canada

President Tito B and his wife Jovanka Budisavljević, President Nixon and First Lady Patricia looking from the south balcony of the White House

President of Yugoslavia Josip Tito visited the United States this week in 1971, visiting Canada shortly thereafter. In the United States, Tito met with President Richard Nixon at the White House to discuss relations between the two countries and negotiate trade deals.

Upon Tito’s arrival on October 28, Nixon staged a glitzy military demonstration, including a 21-gun salute, military band, honor guard, and state dinner at the White House to welcome the ruler. Yugoslav Stalinist. When asked about his opinion of America, Tito replied that he liked “the entrepreneurial spirit of American businessmen”.

Tito by this time had become known as a leader of the so-called “non-aligned” countries which officially supported neither the United States nor the Soviet Union and hoped to strike a balance between them to make better deals for themselves. In large part, however, the non-aligned movement meant a shift from countries with old anti-imperialist pretexts to the camp of American commercial interests. For Yugoslavia, this meant liquidating the gains made by Yugoslav workers after World War II.

During the visit, Tito hailed Nixon as “a statesman who has boldly taken major initiatives for important and necessary contracts, thus opening up new avenues of negotiation.” Nixon likewise spoke fondly of his guest, saying of Tito, “He has strong opinions, but he’s able to talk to anyone in the world… he’s a great judge of people. We got along so well. “

The visit marked a critical stage in the crisis of Stalinism and confirmed that “dissident” Stalinist leaders such as Tito, following in Mao’s footsteps of China, were making peace with imperialism.

The Bulletin, the American predecessor of World Socialist Website, wrote of the visit:

By pretending to deny the logic of the class struggle by speaking of peaceful coexistence, the Stalinists are panicking. Tito flatters Nixon, Kosygin walks arm in arm with Trudeau, Brezhnev pays homage to the bourgeois tricolors of France and Mao enters the United Nations in order to appease imperialism through conscious betrayals of the working class. The relationship of Tito and the Yugoslav bureaucracy to the World Bank expresses with the greatest clarity the real role of Stalinism. It is the bribed agent of the bourgeoisie within the working class. It must be exposed and destroyed by the struggle for the Fourth International.

75 Years Ago: American Trotskyists Advance Socialist Agenda In Elections

November 2, 1946, cover of The militant

That week in November 1946, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), then the American section of the world Trotskyist movement, urged workers to vote for its candidates in a series of ongoing state and national elections.

In the November 2 issue of his journal, The militant, the SWP described the campaign as the most ambitious electoral intervention in the history of American Trotskyism. They were permanent candidates in New York, Washington, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio and California, some for statewide positions such as governor and others for the US Senate and Congress.

In all states except Minnesota and Washington, SWP candidates were excluded from the ballot, due to undemocratic demands, and could only be elected in writing. In New York, the SWP had solicited thousands of signatures to secure the vote, but the state’s Democratic Party machine filed a successful legal challenge on technical grounds.

The SWP linked its campaign to a wave of working class struggles, expressed in the wave of strikes of 1945-46 which was the largest at that time in American history, involving some 5 million workers. Its November 2 editorial titled “Vote for Work by Voting SWP” stated, “Vote SWP because it is the only way in this election to support genuine representatives of the working class. This is your chance to say that you are done with capitalist politics – you want the labor movement to build its own party.

In its campaign, the SWP rallied opposition to the continued promotion of racist politics by Democrats and Republicans. They noted that Democratic and Republican politicians had been implicated in a series of recent lynchings and cover-ups, while Democrats in particular led the fight against black suffrage in the South.

In the midst of the early stages of the Cold War led by the United States, directed against the Soviet Union, the SWP made a powerful denunciation of militarism. The two capitalist parties, said the SWP, “are also competing to proclaim their loyalty to US imperialism, its military preparations, its occupations of foreign lands and the seizure of bases, its atomic bomb diplomacy, its Soviet Union. On this question of foreign policy, Wall Street does not even allow to suggest differences.

100 years ago: Japanese prime minister assassinated

Takashi Hara, Prime Minister of Japan

On November 4, 1921, Japanese Prime Minister Takashi Hara was stabbed to death while boarding a train by a right-wing railroad switchman Kon’ichi Nakaoka. Nakaoka despised Hara and his party, the Rikken SeiyÅ«kai (Association of Friends of the Constitutional Government), for his corruption, for playing with the idea of ​​universal suffrage, for his conduct in Soviet Siberia, which the right saw as insufficiently aggressive, and for its relations with large capitalist companies. Hara was on his way to a party meeting in Kyoto.

Hara took office in the aftermath of the Rice Riots of 1918, the first major uprising of the Japanese working class. Although it does not grant the right to vote to all male Japanese workers and peasants, it is increasing the number of voters. He was what you might call a machine politician, who depended on parliamentary majorities to distribute patronage and funds to supporters and to manage corruption and corporate influence.

Hara advocated diplomacy as a means of promoting Japanese interests and in sharing the spoils of the victors in the aftermath of World War I. He oversaw the entry of Japan into the League of Nations, that is to say the development of Japan from a regional power of the Pacific in imperialist politics. He negotiated an agreement that gave China nominal sovereignty over its Shandong Peninsula, which Japan seized from Germany in 1914. Hara pursued a policy of “accommodation and reconciliation” with the United States. , under the terms of New York Times, and attracted Japanese forces occupying eastern Siberia.

In the aftermath of the development of a Korean nationalist movement (Japan had occupied Korea since 1895) and the brutal repression of independence protests in 1919, Hara authorized minor reforms in that country.

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