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Where is the world going with Trump and his racist and xenophobic ultra-nationalism?

This text is a first attempt to update previous documents of our current. Although it is signed by Pedro Fuentes, it has been discussed with members of the executive and other colleagues of our current. It has to be taken as a first approximation.

Trump’s cruelty of separating children from immigrant parents who seek a better future on the border with Mexico shook the world; to the point of the Time Magazine illustrated that savagery at the top.

We wrote in a previous article that the narcissist, demagogue and erratic president of USA is the expression of the decadence of US hegemony in a more chaotic world. This is Trump, but it would be a mistake to despise that there is also in this character who commands the (still) greater power of the world, an ultra-rightist politics that rests on an imperialist nationalism (nothing to do with the nationalisms of the backward countries), of white supremacism, and persecution of immigrants. It has polarized American society by relying on the racist and anti-immigrant sentiments of the politically backward sectors of workers who have lost their jobs with globalization (relocation of factories) and the more backward and right-wing middle sectors). His slogan “America in the first place” deserves several readings.

A break with the consensus policy

“America in the first place” is the attempt to recover the hegemony that the US is losing by way of an international policy that goes beyond, (or rather breaks), the imperialist policy that was followed by the US governments in which certain consensus prevailed of “moderate” policies with the EU, (France and Germany). That policy of the Obama era sought to rebuild the bourgeois democratic regimes by concessions in the terrain of some democratic demands: some rights of women, policies to combat racism and tolerance of sexual diversity..

Trump has broken up with: the G7, the trade agreements with China and the WTO, the agreement with Iran, the climate of France, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the international consensus that there was on the status quo in Jerusalem … This consensual politics was (and now is) more fragile, something like “patches” before the world crisis, but it gave some inter-imperialist consensus and with China. (For example, there was agreement in the EU to confront Putin’s policy against annexation to Crimea). It was a certain consensus (unstable) of neoliberal globalization. A consensus that also had a general agreement to move forward with the permanent economic counterrevolution in all countries. But for that purpose, it was also intended to soften acute regional and inter-imperialist conflicts.

Trump (like all ruling classes) follows the policy of economic counterrevolution, but he has broken that unstable consensus in foreign policy.

His procedure has been to unite or support the most reactionary and totalitarian in the world. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he supports of the right-wing Zionism of Netanyahu, which is breaking any negotiated solution by preparing a unilateral separation of Israel with its current occupied territories, including its settlements. (Something that even the corrupt caste of Abbas cannot accept). He unconditionally supports Saudi Arabia, his privileged partner in the other part of the Middle East to attack the influence of Iran in that part of the world. Saudi Arabia and its new monarch (king Salman) are carrying a criminal aggression with its direct intervention in Yemen and is willing to attack the port of Hodeidah which can cause a hunger situation for 2 million people they depend on that port to survive. He supports the Hungarian government whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban runs the most racist and anti-immigrant executive in Eastern Europe.

It is a tripod (Trump, Netanyahu, Salman) of Trump policy. Netanyahu is going to leave Syria in the hands of Assad in agreement with Putin. Trump are going to add Putin in this tripod (making a quartet), and possibly Erdogan in a future. In this way, its international politics made it more filled with the fire of global instability. Democratic party, Merkel and Macron are not offering an alternative policy.

The world is not passive in front these “new” leaders

But the world does not passively attend to the growth of right-wing nationalism. There are very important reactions that we have to know how to see in their dynamics. The triumph of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary in New York, as the wave of strikes by teachers in the USA, the massive wave of popular enthusiasm towards AMLO in the Mexican elections (in which he is surely the winner), the general strike of Argentina, the Nicaraguan insurrection against Somoza, show that the world is not passive in front the right. Struggles of workers and democratic struggles are also part of this world situation. And to give some other examples: in Armenia, a country next to Hungary, massive mobilizations imposed Nikol Pasinhyan as the new prime minister against the authoritarian government; in Peru, there were civic strikes in Cuzco and the south of the countr; in France, the stoppages of the “cheminots” (railway) continue. That is, the democratic struggles and against the economic reforms do not stop.

The social base of Trump and the new proto-fascist movements

Trump is the main figure of a new type of politicians and right-wing authoritarian parties that are disseminated in Europe (the German pro-Nazi ultra-right, of England, Austria, the Northern League in Italy, etc.) and that are already in power in Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia and Italy (in this case with fewer edges because it is a country inserted in Western Europe).

These governments find their social base defending a reactionary nationalism in the face of the phenomenon of refugees, which is displaced by the wars of the Middle East, the violence in Central America in Honduras, Salvador, Mexico and the massacre perpetrated by the Ortega government In Nicaragua. These populist direitists capitalize on the desperate immigration of workers and the poor who are trying to flee in search of a better life because of the wars and hunger that is spreading in semi-colonial countries and backward development. In the world there were 60 million displaced people, refugees or immigrants last year. It is about 1% of the world population.

Immigration is the source of cheap labor in the imperialist countries. It still is, although now the process is more uncontrolled because it increases the desperation with barbarism. That is why immigration, as were the Jews in Germany, is also a pretext for developing the nationalist imperialist xenophobic policy.

Governments of the billionaires and financial capital

In the Trump government more than in any other, the billionaires have taken over the US economic policy. This has led to a tax counter-reform that benefits them long and that creates greater inequality, liquidates the health service, and erodes public education. Financial capital has no reason to claim from this government. The same phenomenon occurs in Turkey and the countries governed by the extreme right. There is no difference with neoliberalism when it comes to favoring financial capital and large corporations.

Protectionism and trade war

The other side of the “America in the First Place” – contradictory with neoliberal globalization, and that reflects its contradictions – is the fact that Trump’s ultra-nationalism leads an economic protectionism and break with the trade agreements obtained by the great powers with the globalization. In this way, it intensifies the intercompetence of the great powers to the state of a commercial war that clashes with economic globalization, the interests of the other powers and even in the United States. On the issue of trade protectionism, Trump is subject to more pressure from the big bourgeoisie and the corporations of his country that are the protagonists of globalization. That is why this policy may be more doubtful than the political terrain. In any case, the beneficiary of both international and economic policy is the Chinese government of Xi Jinping, which has been strengthened both in the economic and political fields.

Social and political polarization

These governments provoke a growing social polarization and cause confrontation between popular sectors and sectors of the working class, especially the most backward ones. The nationalist extreme right (as we said) drags the backward sectors and the unemployed working class of the metropolis, and strengthens the racist and anti-immigrant sentiments of the right wing of society. This certain fracture occurs more in the electoral field and less in the class struggle.

It happens because there is no global alternative, because of the absence of leadership and because of the delay in consciousness that makes workers not act as an international working class. The right-wing nationalisms always have as a base of support the fragmentation or division of the class due to the absence of a strategic perspective with which to confront capitalism in its phase of neoliberal globalization. The current context of the class struggle is different from that of the 1930s when fascism emerged in Europe. That was supported by defeats of the workers, (Germany, Spain, Italy, France) at present this has not happened, that is why there is mass resistance. What there is is that vacuum of anti-capitalist alternative, but at the same time there is a growing feeling of democratic solidarity before the nationalisms of rejection, of democratic struggles like the feminist wave.

The confrontation is open, nothing is consolidated as happened in the 30s. On the one hand, because there is a general confrontation against the economic aggression against wages, labor reforms, etc. And on the other hand, there is a battle against authoritarianism and extreme right-wing reaction, a struggle that has not yet originated anti-capitalist alternatives but is shaping resistance and opposition based on the rejection of the authoritarian right.

In U.S.A. and in other countries there is increasing polarization. Trump (formerly an outsider answered even in the ranks of the Republicans) has managed to become the exponent of the republican right that has taken force through this reactionary impulse. The traditional leaders of the Democratic Party do not seem to be the alternative. But there is polarization and search for alternatives. We wrote for months that the bipartisan regime was in crisis and that the poles would be Trump and Sanders. That characterization appears. New social expressions are still atomized, and new socialist candidates emerge are now part of that growing social polarization in the country of the North. On the 26th, we attended the triumph of Our Revolution candidate and member of the DSA Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a 28-year-old native of Puerto Rico who defeated the historic Democrat who was the fourth in succession of this match and Nancy Pelosi’s dolphin. A fact that the entire US press speaks about. and worldwide. The repercussions have been enormous. The newspaper El País of Spain talks about the collapse of the old regimes referring and comparing it to the crisis that Merkel is living.

We saw it also in Colombia with Petros, in Turkey with the big electoral acts of the secular party and the results of the HDP that with its imprisoned leader passed the clause of 10% and conquered more than 60 deputies.

Latin America in this context

Latin America deserves a special reading. Here there is a lesser rejection of immigrants and there are no racist movements like in the other continents. The Venezuelans who are the ones who for the South because of the crisis under the Maduro regime end up being welcomed in Brazil, Peru and Argentina. Here, right-wing neoliberal governments have no ability to be “nationalist,” or to dump what would be progressive. On the contrary, they are in crisis also because Trump’s protectionism does not help them.

The new phenomenon that opens in Mexico (which is very difficult for a new Lázaro Cárdenas), means a breath of fresh air against the old regimes that also channels anti-Trump sentiment and perhaps also in a certain progressive economic protectionism.

In Peru, Veronika Mendoza grows in the polls, as Keiko Fujimori goes down. In Brazil, Bolsonaro tries to be a copy of Trump, sharing similar elements in his homophobia, misogyny, racism and defending the armament of the population. But his program is far from being protectionist or nationalist. It is inspired by neoliberalism and agro-industries.

In Argentina Macri’s neoliberalism is melting. In that country the high points were the feminist mobilization and the general strike that places the need to build a new alternative to the old and worn out Peronist justicialism. We have to see up to where the Chinese neo-imperialism becomes, before the protectionism of Trump, in the center not only economic that already partly it is, but also political. It is not a coincidence that the government of Xi Zingjin is inviting to meet China new leaders and movements that have emerged in Latin America.

Where are Ortega and Maduro in this framework?

Nicaragua lives an insurrectional situation where there are cities where power is in the hands of students and the people as in Masaya. The repression of Ortega is brutal. At the same time that it beats and kills the movement, it negotiates with the bourgeoisie. If the insurrection continues, the fall of the government will be sealed. Maduro and Ortega are on the same path as Trump or Erdogan (saving the differences)

An increasingly authoritarian regime that is consolidating as shown by Maduro in his gesture of being the first president to congratulate Erdogan: “from Caracas I send him a Bolivarian hug and our firm commitment to continue deepening our bonds of solidarity and cooperation”.

The unity of action against the right and the construction of new alternatives

Faced with these neoliberal governments in our continent or ultranationalists in the advanced countries, we must make unity of action around the defense of democratic rights and of course in the defense of workers’ demands.

But this tactic can not become a strategy. Both in the field of mass organizations and in politics, new leaders and leaders are needed. This is happening in the mobilization in the mass insurrection that confronts an autocrat in power. There is a unity in that country among the new leaders of the student movement and that includes representatives of employers. But the only possibility that the movement does not end in an agreed exit or conciliation with Ortega and his murderous regime is to continue the popular insurrection and to bet in the new direction that is emerging as posed by the genuine leftist currents in Nicaragua. As in the Argentine general strike there is unity of action, but also confrontation. Essential for the construction of new alternatives. And the need for independent alternatives of the old left or the so-called progressivism is very important also in elections.

Mexico, the USA UU and Nicaragua are key points in our continent. The triumph of the DSA in NYC is something unprecedented in that country; for the first time the left reaches the Chamber of Deputies. Surely it will mean a new geometric growth of the DSA as it happened after the triumph of Sanders. Hence also the need to build strong militants in that party with internationalist and Marxist positions.
In Mexico, the López Obrador process will surely open up new possibilities for the socialist movement in that country. There is a lot of room for that in Latin America.


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Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder