Monday, November 21, 2016

THE IMPACT OF TRUMP’S “SURPRISE” VICTORY ON THE U.S. EMPIRE AND THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS

The opening words of our (ROL, USA) first comprehensive statement on the 2016 Presidential Election, back at the very beginning of the year, explain the most dramatic result of the November 8th election, the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA.

At that time, even before the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary, we observed that, “The 2016 Presidential Race thus far reflects the bitter experience of the working class, the urban and rural poor, and the middle class with capitalist austerity for the 99% and the almost unprecedented boom years for Wall Street and finance capital. The assault on our conditions of life has been provided by the bipartisan ‘Republicrats’ under Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama since the economic crisis hit in 2007 and 2008.” (“A Revolutionary Approach to the Sanders Presidential Campaign,” Ray O’ Light Newsletter #94, January-February 2016)

We continued, “… the TV debates, polls, rallies, and constant media coverage have revealed that there is remarkably little support for the ‘Republicrat’ ‘2016 heavy favorites’ (mainstream Democratic and Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and especially Jeb Bush).” “Instead, the strong showing of right wing, fascistic Tea Party candidates such as Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz, Rubio et al. on the Republican side and the social-democrat Sanders on the Democratic side reflects some level of popular mass rejection of ‘Republicrat Rule’ and the Wall Street imperialist ruling class they represent.”(ibid. Emphasis in original.)

Throughout this year, “popular mass rejection of Republicrat Rule and the Wall Street ruling class” has remained a constant feature of the campaign. In the Republican primary season, Trump’s crude, militantly populist, as well as chauvinistic and disrespectful, rhetoric resonated with the angry and desperate white Republican voters and paved the way for his nomination over all the career politicians connected to each other and to wealthy patrons.

During the Democratic Primaries, the Sanders campaign made an excellent showing, attracting thousands of enthusiastic old and young (but also mostly white) voters to his rallies and millions of small campaign donations to his coffers. Like Trump, Sanders, too was angry but his anger was more consistently and constructively focused against Wall Street and its rigged system. On the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, thanks to Wikileaks, the fact that Sanders was being cheated out of the Democratic Party nomination by the Democratic National Committee was exposed. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to abruptly resign and forfeit her prominent role in the Convention. Cynically and brazenly, the Clinton Campaign immediately hired her “because they could.”

Sanders had made a deal to support the ultimate Democratic nominee when he joined the Democrats (he was previously “an Independent”).  Even when it turned out that the DNC had rigged the Democratic primaries against him and in favor of Hillary Clinton, he refused to break with them. During the convention, Sanders tried to convince his disillusioned and devastated supporters to transfer their allegiance to Clinton. But, for the most part, this most enlightened sector of the electorate didn’t buy it. Despite Sanders, and despite the skillfully choreographed Democratic Convention featuring a superstar line-up of entertainers, politicians including the sitting president and first lady, war heroes, military leaders and intelligence chiefs all praising Hillary Clinton to the skies, the Clinton campaign could not hide the fact that it represented “business as usual.” In a year when the voters were passionate about making “change,” could there have been a more compromised and entrenched representative of the status quo?!

In our leaflet passed out at the Democratic National Convention site, we addressed “the Trump menace.” We pointed out that, “In style and substance, Donald Trump is a fascist politician in the classic Adolph Hitler and ‘National Socialist’ (Nazi) sense.” He combined “demagogic populist rhetoric proclaiming the system is rigged against  the majority of us, on the one hand,  with hatred toward Latino immigrants, Muslim religious believers, Afro-American citizens and many other ‘non-white American’ ethnic groups here and around the world , on the other.” We continued, “But Trump’s similarities to Hitler and German fascism of the 1930’s does not automatically make him the main political target who must be stopped at all costs at this particular historical moment. Fascism comes to power through different paths...”

In this context, we then stated that, “Clinton, the Democrat, is the absolute worst candidate to support ‘against Trump.’ As a loyal tool of Wall Street, Clinton will not educate the voters against the financial oligarchy but will apologize and cover up for Wall Street. Coupled with her Democratic Party rhetoric, this will only enrage the voters all the more, moving them further into the Trump camp. It was precisely Sanders’ focus on the rigged Wall Street economy and politics that allowed his candidacy to thrive against all odds. With Sanders out of the race the same old ‘Republicrat’ rhetoric will provide new fuel to the Trump fire.” (“Wall Street Has Rigged the System,” Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA) leaflet distributed at DNC, July 2016)

This is precisely what occurred. As the campaign unfolded, no matter how scandalous Trump’s personal conduct and how massive the media exposures of Trump became, starting way behind after an amateurish Republican National Convention, Trump’s strength continued to grow. Clinton remained the candidate of Wall Street and the status quo; Trump remained the candidate of “change.” The defection from the Trump campaign of such Republican ruling class mainstays as the Bush family, including the last two Republican presidents, 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and so many others, only served to convince impoverished, angry and alienated voters that Trump represents them. In fact, 37% of union members and 41% of union families voted for the billionaire who blatantly stated that workers are paid too much! Indeed, there can be no doubt that many of those who had supported Bernie Sanders, the leftist Democratic candidate, ended up voting for Donald Trump, the rightist Republican candidate.
***

-What was surprising about the Trump Triumph-

What the pollsters and pundits of the monopoly capitalist controlled media got wrong was based on voter turnout. They universally overestimated the turnout of the Clinton voters and underestimated the turnout of the Trump voters, especially the white working class vote that many ignored entirely.

Corporate media’s arrogance and complacency was strengthened by the following:  The rich and powerful and the political, cultural and media movers and shakers of both the Republican and Democratic parties were promoting Clinton. And it served the interests of the Wall Street ruling class to offer as few promises to the voters as possible while getting their candidate elected. What resulted was a “scandal of the week”campaign by Clinton, echoed and magnified by the monopoly capitalist-controlled media, that played into the hands of the petty, ignorant and imperious Trump.

Moreover, the Trump campaign was amateurish from beginning to end. By contrast, the Clinton campaign, was the slickest and most traditional that money could buy — so slick that even the labor leaders at the Democratic National Convention were prevented from saying “working class” or “TPP.” Thanks to the Sanders campaign, the Democratic National Platform was the most progressive in memory. But once Sanders was disposed of and Clinton was battling Trump, there was hardly any mention of issues that might motivate desperate and dissatisfied voters to support Clinton. On the contrary, reflecting the widespread difficult circumstances of the 99%, Trump wanted to make “America Great Again.” In a year that voters were seeking “change,” Clinton countered with, “America is still great – everything’s coming up roses.”

Clinton and the Democrats also allegedly had a strong “ground game,” a well organized machine for identifying, mobilizing and turning out their voters. But the union men and women who generally staff such a machine were especially uninspired by the status quo candidate and the campaign. Many top bureaucratic and corrupt AFL-CIO and Change to Win union leaders were privately concerned about their members’ alienation from Clinton and the Democrats but kept their mouths shut and continued to play the same old game with the Democrats. Likewise, most Congressional Black Caucus members, NAACP leaders and other privileged Black leaders had fronted for Clinton in helping to block and cheat the Sanders campaign and they did the same. In light of Obama’s record number of deportations of undocumented workers and their families, a point emphasized by Trump in the last debate, the fact that Clinton clung so tightly to President Obama’s coattails, also had to have diminished her Latino support. Thus, the corrupt and bureaucratic labor, Afro-American and Latino leadership tied to the Democratic Party’s corporatist candidate played right into the hands of the white supremacist Republican forces carrying out voter suppression efforts.

The powerful influence of the monopoly capitalist-controlled mass media was reflected in the expectation among all strata of the population that the question was not whether Clinton would defeat Trump but by how much Clinton would win the presidency and whether she could lead a Democratic sweep that would bring about a Democratic Senate and maybe a Democratic House. Indeed, though he received a phenomenal amount of TV time that amounted to tens of millions of dollars of free advertising, only one major city newspaper in the entire USA endorsed Trump.
-The white working class vote-

Elsewhere we have pointed out: “In the post World War II period, during sixty years of U.S. imperialist hegemony in the world capitalist camp, the U.S. working class, especially its more privileged sector, was bribed out of the U.S. imperialist super-profits. Even more problematic for the U.S. working class was the dissolution of the socialist camp as well as the dismantling of the international communist movement. Taken together, this resulted in extreme political isolation of the U.S. working class from the rest of the international working class.” (page xviii, Introduction to Ray O. Light’s “Nothing to Lose But our Chains – A World to Win!,” 2013)

Especially the white sector of the U.S. working class became politically subordinate to the U.S. monopoly capitalist ruling class, helping to provide a relatively stable home base area as U.S. imperialism expanded its exploitation and domination of the world’s peoples. Thus, as the U.S. Empire has begun to decline and the workers, under “Republicrat political rule” on behalf of Wall Street have been forced to shoulder the main burden of economic crisis and decline, it is “natural” that many white workers would seek to “make America great again” under the baton of an egotistical, perhaps maniacal, billionaire bully such as Donald Trump who offered a chauvinistic path backwards and even appeared to be “independent” of Wall Street. Trump’s flights of fancy and combination of chauvinism and populism is reminiscent of Adolph Hitler’s appeals to the defeated and humiliated German people in the 1930’s.

While Sanders was in the running, there was the opportunity for some union workers and others to rally around pro-labor, pro-worker demands on Wall Street finance capital in unity with the Afro-American people, Latino immigrants, and Muslim workers. Once Sanders was out of the race, however, Trump was the only “serious” candidate for “change.”

SOME CONCLUSIONS:

During this 2016 election campaign, the voters, especially those who backed Trump and Sanders have expressed their disgust with Wall Street and its Republicrat political puppets. And this disgust and rejection of Wall Street needs to be nurtured and activated in the period ahead. In the 2016 presidential election, after critically supporting the Sanders Campaign in the primary season, ROL, USA urged a boycott of the presidential vote coupled with down ballot voting or promoted a third party (Green Party, etc.) presidential vote in opposition to the Republicrat Parties with the most unpopular “major” candidates in memory.

But, as we repeatedly pointed out, even while we critically supported the Sanders campaign, none of the candidates of either the Democratic or the Republican wing of the Republicrat party, including Sanders, opposed the U.S. Empire and its brutal imperialist wars and occupations in the Middle East and North Africa, in Latin America and elsewhere across the globe. It is this international dimension of the U.S. Empire that has been the leading edge of the drive toward fascism in the USA. 

In that light, a Clinton presidency would have been more dangerous for the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world. One example: The anti-Russia hysteria fomented by the Clinton/Democratic Party campaign in concert with the monopoly capitalist-controlled mass media turned Clinton’s Wikileaks problem into a Trump problem of allegedly being “soft” on Russia and promoting Russian interference in the U.S. election. A President Clinton could have led in short order to a major war between Russia and the USA, as Clinton’s bloody record as Secretary of State in Libya, Syria, Honduras et al. demonstrates. Certainly the Trump election has made this specific horrific prospect less likely at least in the near future.

 Indeed, all the world’s forces outside of the USA that are in contradiction with the U.S. Empire, with U.S. finance capital, with the U.S. state apparatus, including the international working class and oppressed peoples, should have a period of opportunity to advance their causes and to hasten the decline of the U.S. Empire. For Trump’s orientation is that of an isolationist, and an ignorant one at that, and it will take time for the Republicrats to take control of his foreign policy, including his military policy. But proletarian revolutionary forces should be seeking maximum proletarian internationalist unity in the struggle against international capital. Comrades around the world should be awakened to their own narrow nationalism and self satisfied sectarianism that has plagued international communism for decades and helped create the electoral base that produced Trump in the USA.

In our view, a fascist was elected U.S. president, but strong elements of fascism had already arrived here long before Trump’s election. In our leaflet at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA) pointed out that, “U.S. fascism has significantly advanced on the shoulders of every U.S. president at least from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama.”

While Clinton was more immediately dangerous regarding the U.S. Empire’s unceasing war abroad against the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world, Trump represents a more immediate danger to the workers and oppressed nationalities within the U.S. multinational state. The Trump campaign with its outrageously chauvinistic attacks on Muslims, Latino immigrants, Afro-Americans, its misogyny toward women as well as antipathy toward LGBT, disabled and other marginalized folks, the violence encouraged toward so many by Trump himself, all point toward an increasingly fascist culture and society to match the fascistic bipartisan Republicrat foreign policy that has included an unending war of terror over the last 15 years against the peoples of the world, including those of us in the belly of the beast itself.

Certainly, the unprecedented role of the FBI, the domestic national police arm of the U.S. Empire, during the last week of the campaign, helped carry Trump to victory. And it is a sign of  Trump’s capacity to be the catalyst for a consolidated fascist U.S. society.

At the same time, with Trump as president, promoters of harmful illusions about Obama, Clinton and the Democrats such as the social democratic gatekeepers at the helm of the AFL-CIO unions, most Afro-American and Latino NGOers, etc. will be in a weaker position to subvert and defuse anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and democratic struggles against Wall Street capital and the U.S. state apparatus. So activist forces around issues like Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15/hour and a union, and opposition to deportation of Latino immigrants should immediately take on a more militant and determined character. The spontaneous protests following the election of Trump reflect this potential to a degree.

Even though Trump ran “against Wall Street,” there is little doubt that accommodation is already well under way. It should not take too long before the white working masses who voted for Trump have had enough experience to begin a serious struggle against this reactionary billionaire. Proletarian revolutionary forces around the world, including the few in the USA, should reach out and struggle for the hearts and minds of all the workers in the USA, including those who voted for Trump, to point out the need and path toward a Socialist USA.

In the meantime, militant Afro-American, Latino, Muslim, Native American and white workers, men and women, need to unite in struggle against Wall Street. As we concluded in our leaflet to the DNC protesters in Philadelphia and is even more urgent as the Trump Regime takes the helm of the U.S. Empire:

    We need to organize to oppose the drive toward fascism in the USA — including defense of the Afro-American people against police brutality and Latino immigrants against ICE raids, against increased militarization of the domestic police and U.S. society [and against the tyrannical TPP and other international treaties that “legally” deprive us of our rights.]

    We need to stay in the streets and ... protest the ... U.S. imperialist wars, including the current wars throughout the Middle East.

    We need to involve our newly organized political groupings in Referenda campaigns on Sanders Campaign-type issues like single-payer universal healthcare, defense of the environment and breaking up the big banks, and run independent candidates in local elections around the country.

    We need to expose and isolate the Democratic Party [which set up the U.S. population for the Trump presidency] and work to build an anti-fascist labor/oppressed nationalities Third Party.

    We need to make “a political revolution.” If you are serious about a political revolution leading to socialism, we would love to hear from you.

Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!



ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #99

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any comment that does not include death threats, threats of harm, or name-calling will be approved.