We support workers who want to get rid of Trump

Feb. 2020 trump-grimace-ap

The following article was signed and published by La Voz de l@s trabajadores/ Workers Voice and by the Revolutionary Socialist Network. Socialist Resurgence supports the point of view expressed by the article, and we concur on the need for mass action in the streets to oppose the policies of U.S. capitalism represented by the Trump administration and the Republican and Democratic parties.

We think, furthermore, that working people and their organizations need to break with the capitalist parties and to construct their own party—a mass labor party that struggles ceaselessly in the streets and workplaces, as well as in the electoral arena. We argue that such a party, if armed with a revolutionary program, could provide a step toward creating a workers’ government and making a socialist revolution.

More than half of Americans support the impeachment of President Trump, that is, virtually all Democratic Party voters but also half of independents. The impeachment process led by the DP, however, will not solve the underlying and fundamental problems workers face: the growing housing and health-care crisis, the precarity of employment, the increase of racism and Islamophobia, the attacks on women and LGBTQ rights, and of course the outrageous immigrations policies implemented by this government.

If Trump is removed from office through the impeachment process, Vice-President Pence will take office, and this is hardly good news. And if the Democrats win their game, they will successfully use the impeachment to campaign and win the elections. Because this is what this is about for them, ultimately, to opportunistically channel the popular anger against Trump towards the ballot box. Not that much will change if they are in power, especially if Biden is their candidate.

Working People Have Many Reasons to Oppose the Trump Government

Working people have many reasons to mobilize against Trump, starting from the massive $4.5 trillion in tax cuts he delivered to the wealthy and multinationals, and the $2.7 trillion cuts in social spending he proposed for the 2019-2020 budget, including $872 billion in reductions in Medicare, Social Security, Disability spending; another $327 billion in food stamps, housing support, and Medicaid; a further $200 billion in student loan cuts; and hundreds of billions more in cuts to education, government workers’ pensions, and funds to operate the EPA and other government agencies, while he continued to increase the military budget.[1]

Trump has continuously bragged about improving the economic situation, with a record of low unemployment and managing to keep jobs in the U.S. The opposite is true: he has not managed to stop the outsourcing of GM and other companies, and has kept the quality of employment very low. There are today 60 million workers (37% of the total 160 million workers) who are contingent or precarious workers (either part-time, temporary or working for the “gig” economy) and who would like to work full-time but aren’t. Furthermore, Millennials, for example, spend an average of 37% of their income in paying back their student debt.[2] If the U.S. economy is in such a great moment, then it is difficult to explain why some 7 million Americans have defaulted on their auto loans; why credit card, auto loan, and education debts are $1 trillion each; and why the total household debt is approaching $14 trillion.[3]

But this is not just about basic bread and butter issues; the Trump administration has also failed working people by attacking its most basic democratic and civil rights, and fueling racism, sexism and Islamophobia. He has emboldened the far-right and neo-nazi groups, he has maintained an offensive chauvinistic rhetoric against women and appointed to the Supreme Court two judges who could (and probably want to) reverse the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which allowed for legal abortions—and this will happen unless we stop them.

Yet the most outraging actions of this administration so far have been the inhuman and criminal treatment of migrants, the policy of family separation and the caging of children for months and years in inhospitable detention facilities at the border. That, and the now escalating war gestures with Iran, and the idea that Black and Brown people should feel unsafe in the United States, are reasons enough to take to the streets to oust this government. After all, this is what the Chilean, Haitian, Lebanese or the Algerian or French people have done in 2019—just to name a few. They did not wait for elections, they did not resort to complicated and limiting legal procedures, they just reclaimed their power and sovereignty through mass action to say enough is enough.

The Democrats Have Their Own Agenda

These are all good reasons to impeach and remove Trump. But this is not why he is being impeached. The Democrats are not going after him for his most egregious crimes. In fact, they just overwhelmingly passed his latest military budget for over $700 billion and his revised NAFTA (USMCA), which continues the neo-liberal attacks on workers and the environment. They want to continue the anti-immigrant policies pursued by Obama (the “deporter in chief”). In spite of campaign rhetoric, they are not serious about overcoming the climate crisis.

Instead, the Democrats are impeaching Trump for a smaller issue—that he tried to bribe/coerce Ukraine into helping him in his next election. This is bad, but is nowhere near as bad as the major attacks Trump has led, some of which the Democrats agree with Trump on. So the question arises: if you are facing a powerful and dangerous enemy, why won’t you use all the political ammunition at your disposal to get rid of him? The answer is unfortunately clear: Democrats have narrowed the terms of impeachment not for “pragmatic” reasons, as they argue, but because they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to take a diametrically opposed stance on immigration, healthcare, or workers rights; they are still the party of compromise, of liberal capitalism and “bipartisanship.”

Even worse, one of the reasons for Trump’s impeachment is actually a conservative militaristic one. The Democrats criticize Trump for not quickly giving military aid to Ukraine to fight against Russia. Ever since the 2016 campaign, it has been the Democrats who want to whip up a new NATO-based Cold War with Russia, while the Republicans want a narrow military defense of U.S. economic interests. The dispute over Ukraine reflects that division in the U.S. ruling class over foreign policy.  Both wings are militaristic and want U.S. domination around the world. We see the Democratic (and some Republican) opposition to Trump’s wanting to withdraw from Syria on one side, and Trump’s trade war with China and his support of the Saudi slaughter in Yemen on the other.

The Democrats are using the impeachment process as an electoral tool: they know the impeachment vote will never pass in the Senate, [but] they don’t care. What they want is to use the process of impeachment itself to discredit Trump, because on their end, they have little to offer and inspire working people, so they prefer to put the spotlight on how terrible, corrupt and unstable Trump is, and how “reasonable” they are to carry on with the country’s political and economic affairs—that is, to continue business as usual.

In the end, the struggle developing around the impeachment has to do with an inter-bourgeois fight, between the two factions of corporate power, and it is a struggle to define the political regime: will we remain in a liberal democracy with basic democratic rights generally (not always) in place and the so-called system of “checks and balances” or are we moving towards a Bonapartist or right-wing populist model, with Trump’s leading an uncontrolled and impulsive executive cabinet, constantly changing, and appealing directly to its supporters? What is not under question is the social and political nature of the society we live in, one founded on labor exploitation, with rising poverty, and with multiple forms of oppression. The Democrats, since the 1930s have preferred to stick to the liberal regime, which has proven to be successful to guarantee stability for the growth of mega profits and the containment of popular mobilizations and union struggles through a combination of cooptation and repression.

The Problems with the Impeachment Process

The impeachment process will not really solve our problems, and it carries problems of its own: first, it puts the future of the government in the hands of the Democrats and not in the hands of working people, and in this regard it is not an empowering process for those who struggle; second, it contributes to the sacralization of the U.S. Constitution.

The impeachment process is a feature of the existing bi-partisan system, where working people do not have a chance to have a meaningful voice in the running of this country, even less to have political parties of their own with real chances to participate in Congress, and thus, must align themselves, or participate through one of the two parties they know they will never democratically control. Furthermore, as it has been established now, this is as a mere electoral manoeuver; the removal of Trump from office will never happen, for it requires a vote of two-thirds of the Senate. The only way to remove Trump and his government is through mass action.

It is worth pointing out that the Constitution is not sacred, as the Democrats pretend. It was the product of class struggle and a balance of forces at the time of the foundation of the U.S. state, and it has since then been modified as a result of struggle, sometimes to inscribe rights won in the streets through mass action in particular amendments. This is why we should not worship the letter of the Constitution, we should defend the principles it claims to enshrine, those of freedom and equality for all, and sovereignty of the people, and we should do so from a class perspective while pointing to the reality that those principles are constantly violated for working people. Today, the U.S. constitution enshrines minority rule (Electoral College, Senate representation, Supreme Court veto, Presidential veto, etc.) not democracy. It protects private property rather than the public good. It originally excluded Black and Native people, women, and even poor white men from voting. It took decades of struggle against the original Constitution to even make it as democratic as it is.

We Will Support Workers Who Want to Remove Trump

The last two years we have seen an unprecedented level of workers mobilizations and strikes, starting with education workers, but also fast food and autoworkers. We have also seen large protests by young people against climate change, and popular mobilizations for immigrant rights, against the Muslim Ban, and of course, for women’s rights. The Women’s March 2017 day of action brought out millions in the streets in an unprecedented manner. Working people living in the U.S. have shown the power they have. Now, we need to use it to remove this government from office by our own means.

While we agree with Doug Henwood [writing in Jacobin] that “the impeachment doesn’t strike at the sources of right-wing power” and that “it papers over but hardly heals the internal rifts in the Democratic Party,” mobilizing to get rid of the Trump government (and not of Trump alone) would not be a “profound waste of time and energy.”[4] We support popular mobilizations in support of the removal of Trump. We ought to participate in them, bringing our co-workers, and calling on the unions and community organizations to join in, and we need to put forward a clear political alternative: we will be most effective at removing Trump if we build mass militant mobilizations and avoid relying on the legal process and the Democratic Party politicians.

We need to remove Trump for the right reasons and by our own collective strength. In order to do so, we need to present an alternative to Trump that is also an alternative to the Democratic Party. The official impeachment process alone will not remove the Trump government, but we, working people can, and should, before it is too late.

Notes:

[1] https://www.globalresearch.ca/trumps-34-trillion-deficit- debt-bomb/5671420 debt-bomb/5671420

[2] https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/16/election-2018- and-the-unraveling-of-america/

[3] https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/some-big-economic-questions- of-the-day/

[4] https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/12/impeachment-donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-democratic-party

 

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