Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 March 2005

USA feature

Can George Bush's second-term offensive be defeated?

SINCE WINNING re-election three months ago, George W Bush has made it very clear that he intends to go on the offensive in his second term. He claims a mandate for continuing the "war on terror" - in reality a series of imperialist adventures - while attacking the remaining gains made by American working people in the 20th century, first and foremost Social Security (pensions).

Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative, USA

The mandate is a lie, but how far will Bush be able to push this agenda? More to the point, what can be done to stop and reverse the attacks on working and poor people here and around the world?

The first point to make is that, the January elections notwithstanding, the Iraqi occupation remains a disaster with no end in sight. American soldiers will continue to die, the situation will deteriorate further, domestic support for the war will continue to fall, and the whole sorry mess will be a millstone around the neck of this administration.

Domestically, the Bush agenda can certainly be described as bold. As Bush's recent budget proposal shows, the plan to privatise Social Security is only a part, albeit a key part, of the drive to curtail or destroy all social programmes that assist poor and working people in this country.

Tax cuts for the rich

Bush's budget targets dozens of programmes including Medicaid, childcare assistance, food stamps, and veterans' benefits. Bush also wants to make permanent the tax cuts for the rich passed during his first term and to go further towards replacing income taxes with a regressive flat tax or sales tax.

It is hard to imagine that the massive growth of inequality in the past 20 years could go even further. But in this period of economic stagnation and decay, the main way capitalists seek to keep their system profitable and viable is through large-scale theft from the rest of the population.

It would be wrong, however, to think Bush will have an easy time achieving his domestic agenda. Social Security privatisation will face far more resistance than any other domestic policy he has pushed to date.

A significant part of the ruling class has grave reservations about having to borrow the projected $2 trillion required to set up individual retirement accounts at a time of soaring federal budget deficits. In fact, if the economy begins to slide into a new recession in the next year - a distinct possibility - the whole privatisation proposal could unravel.

The Democratic Party, which happily went along with the Patriot Act (massively extending the powers of the state to spy on citizens and attack democratic rights), the build-up to war against Iraq, and many of whom accepted the Bush tax cuts, also look set to oppose Bush's Social Security proposals fairly vigorously. This is partly because of the concerns already cited and partly because they are looking for a way back in the 2006 elections.

Mass movement

But while the Democrats will step up the rhetoric a notch - assisted by their new chairman, Howard Dean - they still agree with significant parts of the Bush agenda and they are quite capable of making rotten compromises, even on Social Security.

They are in fact being quite cagey about their plan for financing Social Security in the long run but the party leadership seems to be leaning towards a mix of increasing Social Security taxes on workers and reducing benefits!

Once again it is clear that absolutely no faith should be placed in American politics' other corporate-dominated party.

In the next period, we will see the re-igniting of a mass movement against Bush. Already, we see increasing resistance from veterans and military families to the war, and numerous actions by high school and college students against the presence of military recruiters on campuses.

On 19 March, anti-war protests will take place around the country. In the next period, the AFL-CIO (trade union federation) and the AARP (pensioners' organisation) will undoubtedly organise huge protests against Social Security privatisation. And when Bush nominates abortion opponents to the Supreme Court, this will lead to huge protests by women.


The current situation brings home the point that elections are far from being the only vehicle for defeating attacks from the right. If the situation in Iraq continues to degenerate, the economy begins to sink again, and Bush is defeated on key parts of his domestic agenda, the Bush regime could implode like the Johnson and Nixon presidencies did during the Vietnam War.

Of course, waiting around for Bush to defeat himself is not an option. Mass struggle is key. But the force that has the social power to stop Bush's agenda is the American working class. Mobilising the working class requires reinvigorating the labour movement.

It is guaranteed that the Democratic Party will do everything possible to stop or neuter a real mobilisation of working people. This is why the labour movement, as well as the anti-war and women's movements, need to break from the stranglehold of the Democrats and lay the basis for our own political party.

Such a party should not stop at opposing the attacks of the ruling class but put forward a bold programme for real change including a national guaranteed income for all workers regardless of age, and free universal health care.

As socialists, we struggle alongside others to establish such a party, while pointing out that all reforms made under capitalism, like Social Security, are vulnerable to attack by the capitalists at a later stage. This is why we need to get rid of the whole capitalist system once and for all.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 5 March 2005:

United action to defend pensions

UNISON leaders vote not to ballot on NHS pensions

Let's have a decent minimum wage!

New Labour - guilty of destroying democratic rights

Can the Tories really win?

Socialist Party election campaign launched

Socialist Party national council report

Troops out of Iraq

Can George Bush's second-term offensive be defeated?

Protests force government resignation in Lebanon

Tsunami relief - the failure of capitalism

International Women's Day: Fighting the system that exploits us

United student campaign attacked in Israel

Northern Ireland: Horrific murder enrages local community


Home   |   The Socialist 5 March 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: USA - Resisting Trump and fighting for socialism

triangleMobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Socialism in the USA

triangleUSA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

Socialist Alternative:

triangleUS: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangleUS: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

triangleBending the knee v Trump


triangleWalkout from undercover policing inquiry


triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents


triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: The fight against the poll tax


triangleThe Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them


triangleItalian elections create huge political shake-up

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry



Hated Blairite mayor ousted: now fight for a no-cuts Newham!



NSSN conference moves

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018