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A thunderstorm named Trump and what comes ahead

Pedro Fuentes and Thiago Aguiar

A fellow from DSA (Democratic Socialist Party) and Jacobin magazine told us that the US is living “a historical moment” – and that is a fact. There has been a very important change that has consequences not only for the American people, but worldwide. It is no small thing a political storm of great magnitude happening in the country that is the center of the world, the center of neoliberal globalization and imperialist domination. This new political fact deserves much reflection and these are some of our contributions.

The regimes and system crisis is now also in the most important country of the world system

With Trump it is thus confirmed that we are witnessing a generalized crisis of bourgeois political regimes that have dominated the world; And that we are experiencing a crisis of globalization without there being, in our opinion, alternatives to it within this system. A retreat from globalization, a new policy that reverses the course of the globalization of capital, is not in the plans of large corporations that extract surplus value in places where there is cheap labor (in Mexico and in the Eastern countries), nor the reversal in the advances of robotization and other technologies that increase relative surplus value and which mean more unemployment; nor the regression in the financial speculation, that will not accept any control from the state.

This crisis now set in the US doesn’t mean an easier way for socialists. As it is raised in a text that will be released in the third issue of the Movimento magazine,

“The world situation is very complex; The planet is like a pan (or perhaps a dam) where the world system accumulates more and more contradictions without there being a clear release of forces, neither for one side (the dominant bourgeoisie) nor for the other (the workers and the people) , as in previous crises in the world. This concentration of contradictions has two poles: crisis of the ruling classes, the consequence of a global crisis (economic, political and ecological), on the one hand; absence of a clear, revolutionary alternative that is an alternative to radically change this situation. We can say that there is a critical global impasse … “

We can’t fool ourselves, Trump strengthens an extreme right pole within this impasse, and is already setting up a right-wing cabinet, securing key positions in security institutions to reactionary that will kill more blacks, who want to condemn Snowden to death and deport immigrants , among other things. Democrat Krugman has just written in his New York Times column “seduced and betrayed by Donald Trump,” referring to the white working class to whom Trump promised jobs, well-being and cutting off the power of banks. Future ministers are this betrayal. They will end up with Obamacare favoring large health agencies so that millions will lose their plans, maintaining and increasing the freedom of large financial capitals and banks, and the extreme right advancing in control of security institutions and the military . Of course there will also be resistance, this is the other pole.

The super-structural gains of the right have their limits, but they are steps that we can’t ignore in moments of crisis in which there is no consequent alternative pole capable of attracting the social majority that suffers from the crisis.

In the international arena, this means the eloquent increase of uncertainty and chaos. The step back in relations with Cuba and the rupture of the agreement with Iran, the change in relations with China, will lead to an increase in chaos and uncertainty and an even more unforeseeable future in relation to what exists today and the 60 regional or local wars going on the planet.

The striking decadence of USA imperialist hegemony

It is no small thing, since despite of its problems, it is the main pillar on which the domination and the world order is sustained. This decadence or loss of hegemony comes from before, if we put in evidence its failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. But now it is also shaking internally.

The “American democracy” gave birth to an ultra-rightist, a histrionic court-jester poser, who was elected outside the control of the dominant higher bourgeoisie who owns half the corporations that control the world economy and which has the most powerful army.

The crisis of bourgeois democratic regimes and bipartisanship, which had already been demonstrated in other first world countries like England, Spain, France, now comes to the United States. And that makes the world more unpredictable, unstable and chaotic. It is unclear what Trump’s international policy will be. It is not yet known his Secretary of State (whether Giuliani, Ronney or other). But he has already named the former commander in Iraq, a general known as a “crazy dog”, as the secretary of defense, which in itself defines who it is. The banner of the fight against terrorism (where a sector voted for it) will implant more shocks and contradictions both political and economic in the world.

The irreversible erosion of the American bourgeois democratic regime

Trump is an extreme right-wing populist, racist, xenophobic, who has elected president out of the codes of American bipartisanship. This regime of domination is showing great fissures that are consequence of the contradictions that exist in the American society that, as well prognosticated Trotsky, accumulates in its interior all the contradictions of the system. And there they are; The economic crisis that began with the bubbles of financial speculation; Deindustrialization as a consequence of its own policy of globalization; The increase of inequality and poverty and its Latin Americanization, as a consequence of the waves of immigration from the impoverishment of its yard. And, of course, the defeats suffered by his imperial policy in that last period, which we had already mentioned.

The democracy of American imperialism was built after two great bourgeois revolutions; The one of the independence and the civil war that ended with the slavery. That was the basis of the country’s potent development that has lived under this regime supported by the bipartisanship of Republicans and Democrats, and so had more critical moments, as in the 1970s with the Nixon government’s Watergate scandal. This scandal already showed Nixon’s authoritarian methods and his tendency to Bonapartism, a process that was interrupted by the investigations and his resignation in the face of imminent impeachment. [1]

This decline or attrition is now more irreversible, as it is part of the crisis of bourgeois regimes on a world scale. And Trump is an expression of that. When Sanders speaks of political revolution, although it is a rather concrete proposition, it is touching on a central problem of the American regime, under which the capitalist system is sustained, and which may have stains, temporary arrangements (impeachment in the short term can’t be ruled out, not even a relative domestication of the outsider Trump), but are remedies for a patient who has no cure within capitalism. This erosion in relation to the electoral system is now perceived by large sectors of the population. In the counting of the popular vote, which in the United States is delayed by courier vote, Hillary already has more than 2 million votes of advantage and if the delegates to the electoral convention of each state are strictly according to the number of inhabitants (there are favored smaller states that elect more representatives than big industrial ones). Hillary would have a majority in the electoral college, not to mention also that in some states, by their own laws, the winner takes it all, there is no proportionality. In the United States, as in other advanced countries, tasks of a political or democratic revolution connected with anti-capitalist tasks are now also placed.

The rise of social and political polarization: if there is Trump on one side, Sanders and his program are in the other

Trump can’t be explained by himself, he is the product of this crisis and also of social polarization. There is an organically reactionary sector that in its extreme materializes in the armed civil guards that take care of the Mexico border and also in a certain “rekindle” of the KKK, and the active militants who joined Trump inheriting the Tea Party, thus these aren’t very organic. But aside from the vote of the backward regions far from the coasts and big industrial cities, he was voted by a large mass of white workers who suffer from the deindustrialization brought about by globalization and the subsequent crisis of 2008.

This time, the Democrats “blue belt” which used to be formed by the industrial states that make a bow around the great cities of the East, (Michingan, Penysilvania, Wisconsin …), in which Trump won, was broken. A sector of white workers desperate or semi-desperate who due to the crisis opted for right-wing neopopulism. [2]

But this right ascension based on the capitalization of a working-class sector is not all that happens in the US. The other side is Sanders great vote on Democrats’ interns, which we won’t repeat, as this is sufficiently written. More important than his figure and his location in the left wing of the Democratic Party [3] is the program he sustained and still sustains, which is with the huge amount of votes that have meant a conquest of the American masses.

It is not a finished program, and those Marxists who analyze it in this way to discard it do it very badly. It is a program of action, a set of slogans that respond to the needs raised; Defense of immigrants, women, from a position against neoliberalism and financial speculation, said in a country that is the center of imperialism. It is a program that puts again the theme of socialism in a country which is the power of capitalism; Which in itself indicates the crisis of credibility that exists in it. Sanders’ $ 15-an-hour minimum wage program to attack the power of banks, immigrant and black defense, was in a better position to challenge the working class that Trump won than Hillary, known to be a part of the establishment and which was supported by financial capital.

Resistance has begun

Sanders was the continuation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and now we think that there is another continuation coming from the large amount of votes that Sanders had. It lives on the street, in the work places; that’s what is felt in New York, where 90% voted for Hillary: resistance to Trump.

How will this resistance be? We know very little. Some symptoms are the mobilizations that happened after Trump’s victory. Another is the feeling that we can call “citizen resistance” or community defense, democratic rights that have not been fully acquired but have existed since discriminatory laws against blacks were concluded and later extended to the Latino community after the great strikes of the 2000s. Unstable rights, which exist and now they want to liquidate. An example of this action of community solidarity happened at the priests’ meeting at a Manhathan school. The director called all the parents (many blacks, Latinos or foreigners) and at the meeting spoke of the need to be united, to defend the community from any attack. Sanders’ supporters appeared there (who, making a parenthesis, we must say that in order to dialogue with the working class, he spoke more about it during the campaign than about the oppressed sectors, although he is now emphasizing this aspect). The director appealed clearly to the solidarity and this is felt in the whole city. One feels that the people want to organize themselves.

The women suffered a heavy blow with the election of Trump and are reacting. Several feminist organizations were the first to begin the march to Washington on January 21 when Trump will assume the presidency.

Another minor example. We were in a bar waiting to start the lecture organized by Jacobin magazine that we were going to give and two young men started talking to us and they would not let us go, they wanted to tell us that they had voted for Sanders.

It is undeniable that American society has become politicized, it is afraid and uncertain of what lies ahead, but at the same time it is raising its guard to resist. An 80-year-old woman who watched our debate over Brazil (which was also a debate about Trump and the US) told us that what she feared most and why she was there was to organize against Trump’s policy of rejecting agreements on climate and global warming. The feeling of rejection of Trump’s policy (which puts as a minister a character who is part of the school of geographers who maintain that there is no global warming) will undoubtedly unleash the struggle for environmental protection. This is already happening, one of the most important mobilization campaigns that exists is against the pipeline that is being built with Canada.

There are many community associations of all kinds, some even Marxist, such as The Marxist Education Project, for example, organized by a former SWP activist in New York (and certainly in all major metropolises). Resources and does activities of Marxist formation. There are many community organizations, and there is this tendency for organization. It is a characteristic of the USA, which, as a country of advanced capitalist development, believes in the organization. The union militants are called “organizers”. The march of January 21st will be a first step that will measure what has been achieved.

To add a few other things, it has to be considered that the US should be the most federal country. For example, each state decides the composition of the representatives for the electoral convention that elects the president. In some it is proportional, in others majority takes it all. Hillary lost in some states with a narrow margin and Trump led all the delegates in those states. This federalism reaches the cities that have their autonomy. The mayor of Los Angeles has already warned that he will order the police not to deport immigrants. Di Blasio, the mayor of New York, who is part of the democratic left, went to Trump Tower without prior hearing to warn him that in his city no immigrant will be touched. Therefore, it is not surprising that cities rebuke themselves against Trump’s orders, for example, in the case of deportation. And to this must be added the black movement. Deaths at the hands of police officers will increase and Black Lives Matters is already a national black movement organization.

Is there a possibility of a new political movement that will dispute the masses?

The idea of building a third party has often been set in US history; In fact since the founding of the Socialist Party. Is it possible that conditions are now in place to make this happen? There are new objective conditions for this, but it is not an easy task. There are left-wing Marxist organizers who have national range that could be important elements of their constitution. From what we know so far its central policy before the peak of that first moment of activists were radicalized positions and that is reflected in the growth of their meetings and, therefore, rise their own construction. There are others who strive to stir up a new party, but in this way it appears as something already trodden and worn. There are also left-wing activists who claim the green party that, with its candidate, obtained 1% of the votes.

What is needed is a policy for action, for the concrete dispute of the masses, and for this, raising a third party sounds generally as propaganda. An important section of the black and immigrant movement will continue to vote in the Democratic Party despite the crisis it is experiencing, as a lesser evil to stop Trump, and within it are prominent figures such as Senator Warren and Sanders himself, who has his own candidate for the party presidency.

It seems to us that a better call for the construction of a new party is to try to start from what you have and conquer a broad sector; The Sanders action program that permeated large sections of the population. The best way to present a policy that addresses this situation is to organize a movement, rather than a party (to collide less with the militants who want to follow Sanders in the Democratic Party). A movement that is very anti-Trump and against the right rests on the Sanders program, which is more actual than ever, and do it without breaking with Sanders, to organize everything he can. It seems like “Our revolution” by Sanders is not this movement, but a good scheme of money collection and supporters of network without organization.

In short, to challenge mass sectors and organize more and more activism, it would have to be in the first row of the resistances that occur and launch representative independent candidates in the upcoming municipal elections. This would be a good tactic as we listened to different organizations and activists, in particular the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA), who were the political organization that most involved and sustained the Sanders campaign, and therefore has the authority to do so. And from these tasks, build the movement.

A new relationship North / South and South / North

In this new US framework, we believe that all the processes that occur on the continent will be spread over and that these processes will be linked to what is happening in North America, including the US and Canada. As we wrote a few months ago in a text on Latin America, the north-south relationship changes, especially now that Trump has won. The wall he will try to build will unite the Chicano population of the two banks of the Rio Bravo instead of dividing it. And, on the other hand, we note that a close relationship is emerging between US and Latin American activists, a new relationship from Trump. The history of Latin America is full of examples of how our peoples and workers have fought against imperialism, that is, the US ruling class, dictatorships or authoritarian regimes, and is now a more common task of the workers and the oppressed sectors of both sides. This is how the fellows of the Jacobin magazine and the DSA have showed us, and so we believe that the PSOL must also take on this new moment and this new political cycle that has opened up.

[1] Wikipedia. The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that happened in the United States in the 1970s, following a document theft at Watergate, Washington, DC, headquarters of the National Committee of the United States Democratic Party, and the subsequent attempt to Cover-up of the Nixon administration. When the conspiracy was discovered, the United States Congress initiated an investigation, but the resistance of Richard Nixon’s government to collaborate led to an institutional crisis. The end of Watergate then began to cover a wide range of illegal clandestine activities involving US government personalities headed by Nixon. These activities included the persecution of political opponents and persons or officials considered to be suspects. Nixon and his closest collaborators have ordered the pursuit of groups of activists and political figures, using police organizations or intelligence services such as the FBI, the CIA and the IRS. The scandal revealed several abuses of power on the part of the Nixon government, which resulted in his resignation as president of the United States in August 1974.

[2] In those states, Democrats’ interns had been won by Sanders and now Hillary loses fitly to Trump. Michigan (10 thousand votes), Pennsylvania (19 thousand), Wisconsin (70 thousand).

[3] The Democratic Party has a major left wing, such as Senator Warren or New York Mayor Di Blasio. Sanders has a candidate running for the party presidency. However, despite the support of various unions and immigrant associations etc., the PD has no organic functioning. It has no premises, it is an apparatus controlled by those who raise the money lobbyists.

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