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California: Last Action Hero Will Let Down Voters
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER has terminated Gray Davies' rule as Governor of California but the ordinary workers of California won't benefit from this change.
Arnie has been particularly reticent to detail his policies apart from "eliminating the waste in public spending" and abolishing the recent increase in car tax.
However, so many Californians felt angry and frustrated with the state of the economy and incumbent Democratic Party Governor Gray Davis' role that, despite allegations of his past support for Hitler and the sexual harassment of women, Schwarzenegger was seen as a better alternative.
In the last year 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost with a current unemployment rate of 6.6% and an enormous $8 billion state budget deficit.
It is clear what line Schwarzenegger will follow given that his big business backers funded his campaign to the tune of $21 million and, unsurprisingly, he declared himself to be "business friendly".
Many businesses have welcomed his election hoping that he will attack workers' rights and conditions so that they can maintain their profits. It's not hard to see where Arnie's attack on "waste" will start.
In a prelude to future events 70,000 supermarket workers are striking in California over the companies' attempts to make them pay some of the health costs that the bosses should be paying. These workers are also fighting for an increase in their basic pay.
But Gray Davis is no friend of the working class either. In January 2001 there were blackouts across California due to lack of investment in the electricity industry following deregulation/privatisation. Davis used $1 billion of public money to bail out these private electricity companies.
People clearly saw this for the political corruption that it was as Davis had received $700,000 in political contributions from these same power companies.
What happens in California is of enormous significance. It is the sixth largest economy in the world just behind Britain and France and ahead of China and Italy.
Any problems caused by California defaulting on its debt will have big repercussions on the US economy and consequently in the world.
Significantly, despite Arnie's claims that he would attract new voters, very few people who never voted before voted in this election.
What is needed is a new mass party to represent working class people's needs including decent free health care and education and cheap, good quality housing.
The millions who voted for the left leaning Ralph Nader in the last Presidential election showed the potential for such a party; which could harness the anger of workers and youth frustrated with the existing big business political establishment.
In The Socialist 18 October 2003:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
War and occupation
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis