Hillary Clinton

Is Hillary Clinton an Alternative for U.S. Workers?

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Pressure to support the "lesser evil" Democrats in the next Presidential elections is already high. One of the center-pieces of the Democratic Party is Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Many have illusions that as a Democrat and a woman, her policies will be much more "worker friendly".  But in the final analysis, she defends the same system of capitalist exploitation and imperialism as Bush Jr., Bill Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, etc. She is sparing no expense and choosing her words carefully in order to prove to the billionaires that really run this country that she will be a loyal defender of the established order. This is the same approach taken by every other candidate for the Presidency, be they Republicans or Democrats.

US Troops in IraqThe war in Iraq and its effects here at home is the most important issue on Americans' minds, with a vast majority in favor of an immediate or phased withdrawal. Due to its rising unpopularity, many Democrats are trying to wriggle out of the political fall-out the war is causing, and Hillary is no exception. So where does the Democratic front-runner really stand?
Hillary has been in positions of power for nearly two decades. During this entire time, the U.S. government has brought untold horrors upon the people of Iraq and other ex-colonial countries. She has been a strong supporter of the war from the beginning, having voted to authorize the invasion. She is opposed mostly to how Bush has conducted the war, and even now she is trying to out-do the neo-cons on battle plans for Iran.  

Her pro-war efforts go back to her years as First Lady. In 1999 she pushed for the 78 day round-the-clock bombing of Yugoslavia. While on a trip to Africa at that time she phoned her husband, President Bill Clinton, and as she put it, "I urged him to bomb." In 1996 she toured Eastern Europe with Madeleine Albright, after which Hillary played an instrumental role in getting Albright confirmed in her post as Secretary of State. This was not long after Albright's infamous response to a question about the strangling sanctions the U.S. had imposed on Iraq: "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" Albright's response: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it." In 1998 Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which made overthrowing Saddam Hussein a stated goal of U.S. foreign policy. This followed a Mid-East tour by Madeleine Albright highlighting the serious commitment the U.S. had  to bringing about "regime change" in Iraq. That same year, Saddam kicked out UN inspectors after various provocations.  This was the excuse Bill Clinton needed to launch Operation Desert Fox, a massive assault of aerial bombing and cruise missile strikes on Iraq.

Much like the rhetoric used by GW Bush in the build up to the current Iraq war, U.S. political leaders across party lines did everything they could to whip up a nationalist hysteria as to the imminent threat posed by Saddam and his alleged WMD to U.S. and world security. These words by Bill Clinton could just as well have come from Bush Jr.: "So long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, [and] the security of the world." And "The credible threat to use force, and, when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression, and prevent another Gulf War." Hillary Clinton was a staunch supporter of these actions. This brings us to the current invasion and occupation of Iraq. During an April 20, 2004 interview on Larry King Live, Clinton was asked about her October 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.

"Obviously, I've thought about that a lot in the months since. No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade … The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared." But, she said, the Bush Administration "really believed it. They really thought they were right, but they didn't let enough sunlight into their thinking process to really have the kind of debate that needs to take place when a serious decision occurs like that."

This notion that Bush and the clique he heads up were the sole perpetrators of the calamity in Iraq is nonsense. Hillary regularly attended high level meetings dealing with Iraq, including a visit to the White House when Condoleezza Rice was making the case for the Iraq resolution, and never raised any objections.

On the question of Iran, Hillary has this to say: "I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines. But let's be clear about the threat we face now: A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond. The regime's pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric only underscores the urgency of the threat it poses. U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not – must not – permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations. And we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran – that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons."

Unlike Bush, Hillary actually has a good understanding of world relations from the perspective of the U.S. ruling class, so no one can accuse her of being a mere puppet. She only opposes Bush's Iraq policy because it has failed – it has nothing to do with her opposing the predations of U.S. imperialism. Despite her efforts to distance herself from direct complicity in the Iraq fiasco, it can be seen from the above that Hillary has a long history of supporting U.S. imperialism.

When U.S. presidents take office, they bring with them many political advisers and cabinet members – none of whom are elected.  If we look at Hillary Clinton's inner political circle, we can get a flavor of what her Administration might look like.  

Former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke, a bourgeois publicist and banker, is apparently lined up for the job of Secretary of State if Clinton wins in 2008. He was a big supporter of military action on Iraq during the Bill Clinton years, and remains so, although like so many others who are now posing as "anti-war", he is simply unhappy with the way it is being conducted.

Madeline AlbrightAlthough not confirmed, it is widely believed that Madeleine Albright may play a big role in the Hillary presidency. As a strong believer in the executive power when it comes to the military, she stated before the war that Bush, "should have the authority," and once remarked to Collin Powell, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"

On the most pressing foreign policy issues, Hillary often consults with former think tank researcher Andrew Shapiro, who is extremely hawkish on the matter of Israel. He will likely play an important role in helping shape the foreign policy of her presidency.

Jeffery Smith, who served on the CIA's general council, is another regular advisor to Clinton. A West Point graduate "soaked  in military culture, he has worked on the Senate Armed Services Committee. While he too has tactical disagreements on the actual carrying out of the war, he agrees with the war itself.

Once again, it is clear that Hillary's main aim is to assure the ruling class that she will be a loyal defender of their interests and profits around the world. She can't possibly serve two masters – working people and the capitalists.  Based on the above, it's clear who she will choose. For some, the fact that Hillary is a woman, and that she is allegedly a great defender of women's rights is reason enough to support her. But the reality is that the vast majority of women in the U.S. and across the planet are not in the privileged position of Hillary Clinton.   Due to the actions of U.S. capitalism and imperialism, which she supports enthusiastically, hundreds of millions of women around the world live in conditions of abject misery and subjugation. The vast majority of women in the U.S. and across the planet are not in the privileged position of Hillary Clinton.  The wars Hillary supports are a disaster for women around the globe and here at home, as health care, child care, education, and other vital services are cut to fund them.

Then there are those who say that because Hillary is a woman she is "unfit" to be the President. We reject this sexist viewpoint, which has no place in working class politics.  What matters most is not a person's gender, but the class interests he or she represents and defends.  

Any and all gains made by women under capitalism are under constant threat of reversal. American working women's interests are not represented by the likes of Hillary, Condoleezza, or Madeleine Albright, who are among the best defenders of the capitalist system of exploitation. Rather, working women should look to working class heroes like Lucy Parsons, Mother Jones, and Genora Johnson who fought for genuine equality and in the interests of all working people.

US Border GuardAs for her position on immigration, Hillary is crystal clear: "I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants."

As early as 2004, she began to stake out her claim against immigrants, going even further than Bush to paint immigrants as criminals, lumping immigrant workers with the threat of "terrorism". She has since voted for an act that establishes a guest worker program, increases border security and enforcement, and makes it unlawful to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee an undocumented immigrant. She also voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which approved the construction of a 700 mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"People have to stop employing illegal immigrants. I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau counties, stand on the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx. You're going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work."  NAFTA was signed into law under Bill Clinton – these "loads" of people are the result.

If elected President, Hillary Clinton would be yet another in a long line of representatives of the U.S. ruling class.  Just as her foreign policy would be one of war and exploitation, her domestic policy would be aimed at maximizing the profits of the capitalists. Simply put, we oppose Hillary Clinton because her interests are diametrically opposed to ours.  Working people need a genuine alternative – a mass party of labor, armed with socialist policies that can truly address our needs. Until we break from the two parties of the bosses, we will always be under the rule and domination of their corporate paymasters.  

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