Trump bajo fuego: el dilema de la clase dominante

Donald Trump ha sufrido una serie de golpes por las fuerzas anti Trump en la clase dominante y el establecimiento legal. Esto sin duda ha alentado a las fuerzas progresistas y revolucionarias que legítimamente quieren ver a este Trump reaccionario, autoritario, racista y misógino caer.

Los eventos recientes han golpeado a Trump. Su gerente de campaña, Paul Manafort, fue condenado en el juicio por ocho cargos criminales de fraude y evasión fiscal. Su abogado de muchos años y “reparador”, Michael Cohen, se declaró culpable y apuntó con el dedo a Trump por violaciones de la ley de campaña. Estos acontecimientos llegaron el mismo día.

Al día siguiente se reveló que el presidente ejecutivo del National Enquirer, David Pecker, que operaba una hoja de escándalo pro Trump, había recibido inmunidad para hablar sobre cómo trabajó con Michael Cohen para suprimir historias críticas sobre Trump comprandolas y luego no publicarlos.

Veinticuatro horas después se reveló que el CFO de la Organización Trump, Allen Weisselberg, también recibió inmunidad para testificar. Weisselberg ha estado a cargo de las finanzas de la Organización Trump desde los días del padre racista y pro nazi de Trump, Fred Trump.

Wall Street y Pentágono trazan línea sobre Rusia y RPDC

Poco después, el Secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo fue obligado a suspender su viaje a la República Popular Democrática de Corea con una semana de aviso. Pompeo ya había elegido al jefe de Ford Motors para dirigir la delegación. La semana pasada notamos que el desfile militar de Trump fue cancelado y que el Pentágono y la clase dominante se resistían a su intento de realinear la política exterior imperialista de Estados Unidos hacia Rusia, que la clase dominante ha bloqueado. (“Revuelta de los espías”, WW, 23 de agosto)

El último movimiento para cancelar el viaje de Pompeo a la RPDC es la respuesta de la clase dominante al intento de Trump de realinear la política exterior de EUA en la península de Corea. Finalmente, firmando un tratado de paz con la RPDC – para una guerra que terminó en un punto muerto hace 65 años – es una condición para seguir adelante. Todo el establishment militar y político se opone a esto y finalmente gana, incluso cuando Trump estaba siendo debilitado en los tribunales.

La clase dominante ha establecido la línea en lo esencial. Pueden vivir con las atrocidades fascistas de Trump en las fronteras, separando familias inmigrantes. Pueden hacer caso omiso de su apoyo a la brutalidad policial y el asesinato en las comunidades afroamericana y latina. Pueden vivir con sus insultos racistas contra África y Haití.

Pero cuando se trata de lo básico, la agresión hacia Rusia y la apertura de relaciones pacíficas en Corea, Wall Street y el Pentágono trazan una línea cerrada.

Los jefes rechazan la destitución por ahora

Debe notarse que estos acontecimientos han sido acompañados por un esfuerzo concertado para enterrar cualquier movimiento incipiente para la destitución, que ha sido acelerado por los reveses legales de Trump.

Este esfuerzo para anular cualquier conversación sobre el juicio político proviene tanto del liderazgo del Partido Demócrata como de los republicanos por igual. Una larga historia en el New York Times cuenta cómo la jerarquía del Partido Demócrata está tratando de apagar los incendios de destitución entre los demócratas de base. La línea del partido es proteger la investigación de Mueller y dejar que se desarrolle. (25 de agosto)

En este momento, la clase dominante es cautelosa de avivar un movimiento de destitución. Hay al menos dos razones. En primer lugar, están sacando toneladas de dinero por los beneficios de los recortes tributarios y la desregulación por Trump. El recorte total de un billón de dólares reduce directamente los gastos corporativos y va directamente al resultado final de la empresa. Las ganancias se dispararon durante dos trimestres. Ningún jefe o banquero quiere sacudir ese bote.

Segundo, tienen miedo de provocar una rebelión de derecha desde la base de Trump. Escuchan los mítines de Trump, que continúan tal como fueron durante la campaña, a pesar de todas las revelaciones sobre lo que es un racista de mala vida, misógino y fanático, Trump. La burguesía es siempre colaboradora, conciliadora o cobarde frente a la derecha, y esta es una lección que la clase trabajadora siempre debe recordar.

Todas las acusaciones, negociación de culpabilidad, inmunidades, exposiciones, etc., ascienden a esto: las fuerzas anti-Trump en la clase dominante están bailando con Trump. En este momento, la clase dominante está tratando de debilitarlo principalmente con ataques legales y publicitarios. Esto puede cambiar en circunstancias futuras como por ejemplo, si la guerra comercial con China se sale de control o algún otro acontecimiento catastrófico amenaza sus intereses capitalistas. Pero, en última instancia, esperan eliminarlo a través del proceso electoral de 2020.

El mejor escenario político para las fuerzas anti-Trump en la clase dominante es para que los demócratas ganen la mayoría en la Cámara de Representantes. Esto les dará el poder de convocar audiencias, traer testigos, citar testimonios y documentos, y librar una guerra de relaciones públicas contra Trump, mientras deja abierta la cuestión de la destitución.

En la actualidad, las masas enfrentan tres alternativas prácticas para eliminar a Trump: acusación, juicio político o elecciones. Las tres son soluciones de la clase dominante en arenas dominadas por el capital. La izquierda radical y revolucionaria definitivamente crecían, incluso antes de que Trump entrara. Pero dada la relación actual de las fuerzas políticas, y dada la relativa debilidad numérica de los revolucionarios y radicales izquierdistas, estas soluciones de la clase dominante son las únicas vías para eliminar realmente a Trump en este momento.

Formas de luchar contra Trump y el Trumpismo

Sin embargo, hay muchas formas de luchar contra Trump y Trumpismo sobre el terreno, como derrocar símbolos racistas, luchar para abolir el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas, sitiar los centros de detención de inmigrantes, apoyar la actual huelga de prisioneros, luchar contra la brutalidad policial, defensa de los derechos de las tierras nativas, exigiendo el derecho de las mujeres a la justicia reproductiva y los derechos LGBTQ, manifestaciones en contra de la guerra, etc. Todas estas son luchas justas que pueden estar directamente relacionadas con la lucha contra Trump. Pueden y deben emprenderse.

La propaganda y la agitación contra la reacción de Trump son otras vías importantes para ser usadas, especialmente a medida que las elecciones burguesas se acercan. Este es un momento en que las masas están abiertas a escuchar a la política. La izquierda real, la izquierda anticapitalista revolucionaria, puede no ser decisiva en la arena electoral, dada la actual relación de fuerzas. Algunos socialdemócratas, sin embargo, se postulan como candidatos del Partido Demócrata.

Es posible que el papel de la izquierda se lleve a cabo mejor mediante una campaña de manifestaciones y propaganda. En algunos estados, o concursos locales más probables, las fuerzas revolucionarias pueden participar en las elecciones sobre una base revolucionaria con fines de propaganda, así como para obtener representación.

La propaganda y la agitación durante la campaña actual deben elaborarse con sensibilidad. Deben tener en cuenta los sentimientos anti Trump de los indocumentados que han sufrido medidas fascistas en las fronteras, incluida la separación de las familias de sus hijos. Estas medidas fascistas no se limitan a las fronteras, sino que las lleva a cabo ICE en comunidades de inmigrantes y en lugares de trabajo en todo el país.

Esta propaganda debe tener en cuenta la ira en las ciudades y comunidades negras de todo el país contra la policía y el apoyo abierto de Trump para la brutalidad policial y el racismo confederado.

Debe reconocer que hay cerca de un millón de destinatarios de DACA (acción diferida para las llegadas de niños) que tienen la amenaza de la deportación colgando sobre sus cabezas. Además, cientos de miles, incluyendo a haitianos, hondureños, salvadoreños, nicaragüenses y otros cuyo Estatus de Protección Temporal ha sido levantado, están esperando la deportación.

Teniendo esto en cuenta, se puede diseñar una propaganda anticapitalista y pro-socialista que no solo condena a Trump, sino que también muestra que la salvación no radica en el Partido Demócrata, un partido cuyo liderazgo está inextricablemente ligado a intereses corporativos y militares.

El socialismo gana popularidad

Hay mucha discusión y publicidad sobre la creciente popularidad del término “socialismo”. Desde la campaña de Bernie Sanders en el 2016, el término se ha vuelto respetable, particularmente a medida que el capitalismo decae y trae sufrimiento y gran desigualdad a las masas. El término “socialista” recibió un impulso adicional cuando Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, una activista puertorriqueña, una aliada de Sanders y miembro de los Socialistas Democráticos de América, ganó una primaria contra un entrometido miembro del Partido Demócrata, Joe Crowley, que estaba en línea a ser nombrado presidente de la Cámara después de Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez representará un distrito que se extiende por el Bronx y Queens.

Mientras su victoria primaria ha inspirado un gran entusiasmo entre los progresistas, también ha creado ilusiones entre muchos jóvenes, especialmente de izquierda, que están en el camino hacia hacerse cargo del Partido Demócrata y presentar un programa para erradicar la desigualdad, ganar atención médica universal, viviendas asequibles, incluso la propiedad estatal de industrias, etc. Estas ilusiones deben ser tratadas con argumentos marxistas, y no deben desdeñarse despectivamente. Por ejemplo, el presidente más progresista del siglo 20, Franklin Roosevelt, sofocó el movimiento independentista en Puerto Rico en la masacre de Ponce de 1934. Roosevelt llevó al imperialismo estadounidense a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, no inicialmente contra los nazis sino contra el imperialismo japonés, y justificó el internamiento de japoneses en los Estados Unidos.

Mientras que Roosevelt es bien recordado ahora por el New Deal, que concedió algunos derechos a la clase trabajadora empobrecida en ese momento, en preparación para la guerra, Roosevelt rompió una huelga por los trabajadores la naves aéreas en la costa oeste, hizo alianzas con Dixiecrats del sur, permitió que la segregación permaneciera en su lugar, incluso en el ejército, etc. ¡Y este fue el presidente más progresista del Partido Demócrata! Se enfureció contra los “realistas económicos” pero cumplió sus órdenes en el Pacífico y más tarde en Europa. Antes de entrar en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, dijo: “Sus muchachos no serán enviados a guerras en el extranjero”, hasta que los intereses imperialistas de Estados Unidos sean desafiados.

Solo la lucha ganará

¿Cómo ganó la clase trabajadora las concesiones de la administración Roosevelt? El New Deal no fue un regalo otorgado desde arriba. Se ganó a partir de manifestaciones de los desempleados en las principales ciudades; marchas de hambre; huelgas generales municipales en San Francisco, Minneapolis y Toledo en 1936; las huelgas de brazos caídos en Akron y Cleveland, que culminaron en la huelga de brazos caídos de Flint ese mismo año, lo que condujo a la organización de United Auto Workers, el Congreso de Organizaciones Industriales y la organización masiva de la clase obrera industrial.

Esta fue la fuerza que condujo a la Administración de Progreso del Trabajo, la Seguridad Social, el seguro de desempleo, el derecho de huelga y de organizar sindicatos, y muchas otras ganancias asociadas con el New Deal.

Lo mismo es cierto para la Ley de Derechos Civiles, el Acta de Derechos de Voto y otras ventajas legislativas, incluida la decisión Roe v. Wade del Tribunal Supremo y las que confirman los derechos de lesbianas y homosexuales. Fueron ganados primero en las calles del sangriento Sur y luego por rebeliones masivas y marchas en las ciudades del norte.

Los socialistas que tratan de obtener ganancias al afianzarse en el sistema electoral y el Partido Demócrata necesitan saber que los grandes pasos hacia adelante han venido de la lucha de clases: la organización militante de los trabajadores y las rebeliones de las comunidades oprimidas.

A la larga, solo la lucha de masas puede traer progreso social, y solo la revolución puede traer el socialismo.

 

The lessons of Chicago, 1968

By Fred Goldstein posted on September 1, 2018.

This is the 50th anniversary of the massive street struggles in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention. We reprint here an article by Fred Goldstein from the Workers World of Sept. 13, 1968.

The violence openly inflicted on liberals and radicals alike at the Chicago Democratic Convention confirms that the U.S. ruling class is entering a new phase in which their reliance upon deception is to be increasingly abandoned in favor of the use of force. The use of violence against the white population (after centuries against the Black) is part of the preparations for stepped-up attacks on the oppressed people around the globe.

All attempts to place the responsibility on the insignificant hired thug of the bosses, [Chicago] Mayor Richard Daley, are calculated to mask this fundamental shift.

Thousands of U.S. troops, tanks, jeeps, and all the other necessities of combat cannot be shifted around the country at the cost of creating great political unrest (to say nothing of the expense) on the say-so of such a relatively low-ranking political stooge as Daley. Nor can National Guard troops be called upon by a mayor.

For that matter, the Chicago Police Department would never dare to “mar the image” of the entire Democratic Party unless it had received explicit orders from the party hierarchy to crack heads. The White House, the Pentagon, the Democratic National Committee and the entire capitalist establishment were all involved in the Chicago operation.

In short, Mayor Daley was working for the ruling class and not they for him, as the bourgeois news media imply when they either condemn or condone “Daley’s handling” of the fascist attack on anti-war protesters in Chicago.

(The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Sept. 3 that it had just allocated $3.9 million to the cities for so-called “riot-control.”)

Of course, the billionaires did not shift from fraud to force arbitrarily. It’s just that their bag of tricks is just about empty and their two war candidates are about equally discredited.

It is no coincidence that they started clubbing, gassing and breaking heads just at the moment when the “peace” campaign of Eugene McCarthy was about to come to an ignominious end. (The police attack on McCarthy headquarters was the final humiliation dealt the liberals and served to illustrate the fascist mood of the ruling class.)

The rulers who rigged the convention long in advance knew that McCarthy was to be discarded in Chicago. And they also knew that thousands of youth whom the McCarthy campaign had kept off the streets would be back on the streets, together with thousands of radical youth who had never fallen for the imperialist-liberal McCarthy in the first place.

So the bosses prepared well ahead of time to deal with the anger and indignation which was as inevitable as the Humphrey-Nixon race. They decided to give the white youth a taste of the treatment hitherto reserved for the Black liberation struggle.

But an important by-product of Chicago is the wave of revulsion of new layers of youth for a parliamentary system which has to defend its candidates from the hatred of the population with bayonets and clubs.

Parliamentary illusions went up with the clouds of tear gas as the war party at the amphitheater steam-rolled over popular anti-war sentiment. The flow of blood from the heads of unarmed demonstrators in front of the Conrad Hilton made many a convert to the revolutionary struggle.

The bourgeoisie used strong-arm methods to brush the liberals aside and thus demonstrated the fraudulence and the futility of imperialist democracy.

If the liberal politicians folded up at the first show of force by the ruling class, the militant youth did not.

While McCarthy crept off to the sidelines and McGovern stepped into Humphrey’s fold, the fighting young people who really want and need to end imperialist wars were spontaneously fighting back against the cops. New and militant tactics were being developed simultaneously with the beginnings of change in their ideology.

Several hundred police, who tried to attack a Grant Park rally after someone lowered the U.S. flag, were literally driven away by the youth in the crowd. The cops were hit with everything that could be thrown and then surrounded by barricades of benches and immobilized before they withdrew in defeat.

Mobile street demonstrations were carried out, during which obstacles were strewn about to slow down police cars. Youth at Lincoln Park built such sturdy barricades to keep from being driven from the park that police had to saturate the area with tear gas many times in order to drive them out.

Occasional aggressive forays were made by small bands of youth in search of isolated police on foot or in patrol cars. In general, however, the brutality of the police produced spontaneous retaliation wherever possible.

Many so-called leftists frown upon these new tactics as “adventuristic” and inadequate to defeat such a heavily armed force as the police. But those who are serious about leading a revolutionary struggle against imperialism must take a carefully constructive attitude towards the initial bursts of revolutionary energy shown by the young people in Chicago.

Opponents of imperialism will try to assist the militants to improve their tactics, not throw cold water on them.

In general, the Chicago events have shown that the capitalists will always resort to force if popular will stands in the way of their imperialist objectives.

These events have confirmed the Marxist analysis of the state. This resort to violence on the eve of new imperialist crises has pointed out to thousands of young people that revolutionary resistance to boss rule is the only way to stop wars of aggression.

These are the lessons of Chicago.

Trump under fire — the ruling-class dilemma

All the indictments, plea bargaining, immunities, exposures, etc., amount to this: The anti-Trump forces in the ruling class are doing a dance with Trump.


Donald Trump has suffered a series of blows from the anti-Trump forces in the ruling class and the legal establishment. This has undoubtedly encouraged progressive and revolutionary forces who rightfully want to see this reactionary, authoritarian, racist, misogynist Trump go down.

Recent events have pummeled Trump. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted at trial of eight criminal counts of fraud and tax evasion. His long-time lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, pled guilty and pointed the finger at Trump for campaign law violations. These developments came on the same day.

The following day it was revealed that the CEO of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, who operates a pro-Trump scandal sheet, had been granted immunity to talk about how he worked with Michael Cohen to suppress stories critical of Trump by buying and then not publishing them.

Twenty-four hours later it was revealed that the CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, was also given immunity to testify. Weisselberg has been in charge of Trump Organization finances dating back to the days of Trump’s racist, pro-Nazi father, Fred Trump.

Wall Street, Pentagon draw line — at Russia and DPRK

Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was forced to call off his trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with one week’s notice. Pompeo had already chosen the head of Ford Motors to lead the delegation. Last week we noted that Trump’s military parade was canceled and how the Pentagon and the ruling class were resisting his attempt to realign U.S. imperialist foreign policy toward Russia, which the establishment has blocked. (“Revolt of the spymasters,” WW, Aug. 23)

The latest move to cancel Pompeo’s trip to the DPRK is the ruling class’s answer to Trump’s attempt to realign U.S. foreign policy on the Korean peninsula. Finally signing a peace treaty with the DPRK — for a war that ended in a stalemate 65 years ago — is a condition for moving forward. The entire military and political establishment is opposed to this and finally won out, even as Trump was being weakened in court.

The ruling class has laid down the line on the essentials. They can live with Trump’s fascist atrocities on the borders, separating immigrant families. They can shrug off his support for police brutality and murder in the Black and Latinx communities. They can live with his racist slurs against Africa and Haiti.

But when it comes to basics, aggression toward Russia and opening up peaceful relations in Korea, Wall Street and the Pentagon draw a sharp line.

Bosses reject impeachment for now

It must be noted that these developments have been accompanied by a concerted effort to bury any incipient movement for impeachment, which has been quickened by Trump’s legal setbacks.

This effort to quash any talk of impeachment comes from both the Democratic Party leadership and the Republicans alike. A long story in the New York Times tells how the Democratic Party hierarchy is trying to put out impeachment fires among rank-and-file Democrats. The party line is to protect the Mueller investigation and let it play out. (Aug. 25)

Right now, the ruling class is wary of stoking an impeachment movement. There are at least two reasons. First, they are making tons of money in profit from the Trump tax cuts and deregulation. The entire trillion-dollar tax cut directly reduces corporate expenses and goes straight to the corporate bottom line. Profits have been shooting up for two quarters. No boss or banker wants to rock that boat.

Second, they are afraid of provoking a right-wing rebellion from Trump’s base. They listen to Trump rallies, which continue on just as they were during the campaign, despite all the revelations about what a low-life racist, misogynist, bigoted crook Trump is. The bourgeoisie is always collaborative, conciliatory or cowardly in the face of the right wing — and this is a lesson the working class must always remember.

All the indictments, plea bargaining, immunities, exposures, etc., amount to this: The anti-Trump forces in the ruling class are doing a dance with Trump. Right now the ruling class is trying to weaken him primarily with legal and publicity attacks. This may change under future circumstances, for instance, if the trade war with China gets out of control or some other catastrophic development threatens their capitalist  interests. But, ultimately, they hope to remove him through the 2020 election process.

The best case political scenario for the anti-Trump forces in the ruling class is for the Democrats to win the majority in the House of Representatives. This will give them the power to call hearings, bring witnesses, subpoena testimony and documents, and wage a public relations war against Trump, while leaving the question of impeachment open.

At the present time the masses are faced with three practical alternatives to removing Trump: indictment, impeachment or elections. All three are ruling-class solutions in arenas dominated by capital.

The radical and revolutionary left were definitely growing, even before Trump got in. But given the present-day relationship of political forces, and given the relative numerical weakness of the revolutionary and radical left, these ruling-class solutions are the only paths to actually removing Trump at the moment.

Ways to fight Trump and Trumpism

However, there are many ways to fight Trump and Trumpism on the ground, such as bringing down racist symbols, fighting to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, putting immigrant detention centers under siege, supporting the present prisoners’ strike, fighting police brutality, defending Native land rights, demanding women’s right to reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights, demonstrating against the war drive, etc. All of these are righteous struggles that can be directly related to the struggle against Trump. They can and must be waged.

Propaganda and agitation against the Trump reaction are other important avenues to be used, especially as the bourgeois elections get closer. This is a time when the masses are open to listening to politics. The real left, the revolutionary anti-capitalist left, may not be decisive in the electoral arena, given the current relationship of forces. Some social democrats, however, are running as Democratic Party candidates.

It may be that the role of the left will be best carried out by a campaign of demonstrations and propaganda. In some states, or more likely local contests, revolutionary forces may be able to participate in elections on a revolutionary basis for propaganda purposes as well as for gaining representation.

Propaganda and agitation during the current campaign have to be sensitively crafted. They must bear in mind the anti-Trump sentiments of the undocumented who have suffered fascist-like measures on the borders, including the separation of families from their children. These fascist-like measures are not restricted to the borders, but are carried out by ICE in immigrant communities and at workplaces across the country.

This propaganda must bear in mind the anger in the cities and Black communities all over the country against the police and Trump’s open support for police brutality and Confederate racism.

It must acknowledge that there are close to a million DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients who have the threat of deportation hanging over their heads. In addition, hundreds of thousands, including Haitians, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and others whose Temporary Protected Status has been lifted, are awaiting deportation.

Bearing all this in mind, anti-capitalist, pro-socialist propaganda can be fashioned which not only condemns Trump, but also shows that salvation does not lie in the Democratic Party, a party whose leadership is inextricably tied to corporate and military interests.

Socialism gaining popularity

There is much discussion and publicity about the growing popularity of the term “socialism.” Since the campaign of Bernie Sanders in 2016, the term has become respectable, particularly as capitalism decays and brings suffering and gross inequality to the masses. The term “socialist” got a further boost when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Puerto Rican activist, a Sanders ally and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won a primary against an entrenched Democratic Party hack, Joe Crowley, who was in line to be named Speaker of the House after Nancy Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez will represent a district that spans the Bronx and Queens.

While her primary victory has inspired a great deal of enthusiasm among progressives, it has also bred illusions among many young people, especially on the left, that they are on the road to taking over the Democratic Party and bringing forward a program of wiping out inequality, winning universal health care, affordable housing, even government ownership of industries, etc.

These illusions must be dealt with by Marxist arguments, and should not be contemptuously dismissed. For example, the most progressive president of the 20th century, Franklin Roosevelt, put down the independence movement in Puerto Rico in the Ponce Massacre of 1934. Roosevelt took U.S. imperialism into World War II, not initially against the Nazis but against Japanese imperialism, and justified the internment of Japanese people in the U.S.

While Roosevelt is well remembered now for the New Deal, which granted some rights to the impoverished working class at the time, in preparation for war Roosevelt broke an aircraft strike on the West Coast, made alliances with southern Dixiecrats, allowed segregation to remain in place, including in the military, etc. And this was the most progressive Democratic Party president ever! He raged against “economic royalists” but did their bidding in the Pacific and later on in Europe. Before entering World War II, he said “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars” — until U.S. imperialist interests were challenged.

Only struggle will win

How did the working class win concessions from the Roosevelt administration?

The New Deal was not a gift granted from above. It was won beginning with demonstrations of the unemployed in major cities; hunger marches; municipal general strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo in 1936; the sit-down strikes in Akron and Cleveland, culminating in the Flint sit-down strike the same year, which led to the organization of the United Auto Workers, the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the mass organization of the industrial working class.

This was the force that led to the Works Progress Administration, Social Security, unemployment insurance, the right to strike and to organize unions, and many other gains associated with the New Deal.

The same is true for the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other legislative gains, including the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and those confirming lesbian and gay rights. They were won first in the streets in the bloody South and then by massive rebellions and marches in northern cities.

Socialists trying to make gains by getting a foothold in the electoral system and the Democratic Party need to know that the great steps forward have come from the class struggle — the militant organization of the workers and the rebellions of oppressed communities.

In the long run, only the mass struggle can bring social progress, and only revolution can bring socialism.

Revolt of the spymasters

By Fred Goldstein, posted August 20, 2018.

Bulletin, Aug. 20: Some 170 additional former government officials, including ambassadors, U.S. attorneys and other officials, have asked to have their names added to the protest letter over Trump’s suspension of the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

Donald Trump has provoked a revolt within the department of dirty tricks. The Central Intelligence Agency, which overlaps with the Pentagon officer corps, has issued a protest signed by over 70 former CIA officials denouncing the removal of the security status of former CIA chief John Brennan.

Why would such a rogues’ gallery of assassins, torturers and spies suddenly unite on an unprecedented scale and become partisans of the “free speech” of John Brennan? Brennan denounced Trump as dangerous and unfit, and he described Trump as “drunk on power” after the president revoked his security clearance.

The CIA is not an agency unto itself. It is deeply connected to the ruling class and its officialdom. Trump is acting more and more like an authoritarian ruler and making sections of the political and military establishment nervous.

He is using the powers of the presidency to endanger imperialist interests and capitalist commercial interests without deliberation or consultation with the most powerful elements in capitalist society.

The letter defending the “free speech” of former CIA director John Brennan can be seen as a message to Trump concerning his authoritarianism and his flouting of basic capitalist procedures of behavior established by custom and by law.

This letter is also a defense of the agency itself. These 70 plus cutthroats consider themselves defenders of U.S. capitalism around the world. It is perhaps hard work setting up eavesdropping, torture sites, assassinations, kidnapping, etc. In fact, it can involve risks. (Although the higher-ups who order the dirty tricks do not expose themselves to personal risks at all.) These CIA criminals want to be treated with respect by the chief executive of U.S. imperialism, but Trump has demeaned them and the FBI repeatedly.

The movement began with retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven. He had been commander of the Joint Special Operations Command and oversaw the 2011 raid by Navy SEALs that “took out” Osama bin Laden and had his body dumped into the sea. McRaven is now a chancellor of the University of Texas system.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, McRaven denounced Trump for “McCarthyite tactics” and, as an act of solidarity with Brennan, asked that his own security clearance be taken away, too.

To show how the CIA was primed for this attack, one of the signers told a Slate reporter on Aug. 17:  “[T]he statement was circulated to all living ex-directors and deputy directors at noon on Thursday, with a request to reply by 6 that night.” All but four responded.

Who is Brennan?

According to Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Guardian on Jan. 7, 2013, President Barack Obama had to withdraw Brennan’s nomination for CIA director because of his record under the George W. Bush presidency of defending torture, as well as “rendition” (sending prisoners to third countries to be tortured at secret sites), electronic surveillance of civilians, targeted drone strikes in which the “targets” were unknown, etc.

This quarrel amounts to one section of the state defending its right to speak against the president. The CIA, which has overthrown governments, destroyed movements and assassinated leaders is claiming First Amendment “free speech” rights for Brennan.

Trump is screwing up the job of protecting U.S. imperialism

But more important, as defenders of U.S. capitalism, they feel that Trump is screwing up the job. In this, they speak for a large section of the military, the diplomatic corps and the capitalist brain trust.

They fear that Trump is moving in an authoritarian direction — against them!

When Trump abuses the masses of people with his racism, misogyny, anti-immigrant fanaticism and cruelty, there is no mention of the freedom to live, let alone to speak of the victims of racist police murder. They said not a word about the kidnapping of women and children at the border and the wholesale violation of domestic and international asylum laws. Nor did these butchers mention a thing about the innocent civilians killed by U.S.-made drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and U.S. bombs in Yemen.

They said nothing about the rights of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier to be protected from unjust imprisonment, or the right of the incarcerated masses to be free of sadistic prison guard persecution.

Trump’s grand military parade canceled

It is no accident that the same week this CIA protest letter was circulated, Trump’s Washington, D.C., grand military parade was cancelled. It had been an authoritarian move, characteristic of dictators. Trump claimed he wanted a parade like the one he saw in Paris during his visit to French President Emmanuel Macron last year.

He forgot that the parade he saw was not for Macron but for Bastille Day, a national holiday which the French ruling class uses annually to pump up patriotic war sentiments.

The fact that Trump wanted the Pentagon to back a parade aimed at glorifying himself was not greeted kindly among the brass, especially since he is trying to discipline them. Even though Trump has given them hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons and soldiers, they were not buying his extravagant appetite for pomp and ceremony dedicated to celebrating — Trump!

Secretary of Defense James Mattis denied that the price tag for the parade would be $92 million, but all other government and department estimates were around that figure. Trump tried to place the blame for the cancellation on the majority African-American city. They rebutted his argument, showing that the D.C. part of the cost was miniscule.

So Trump had to suffer a public humiliation at the hands of the brass. They don’t want to fan the flames of Trump’s authoritarianism at a time when he is wrecking their alliances in NATO and blocking them in their drive against Russia.

Clearly, the capitalist state is deeply divided with differences over what the crisis of imperialism is and how to deal with it.

Trump and Turkish crisis

Looking at the crisis from Trump’s point of view, Turkey under President Recep Erdogan is turning into an enemy that has to be subdued. Turkey is holding a U.S. operative under house arrest. He is a pastor under suspicion of participating in the anti-Erdogan coup in 2016 and of being linked to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania whom Erdogan accuses of engineering the coup.

Regardless of the merits of the case, Trump reduces the issue to one of bringing a small, defiant government in Ankara to its knees, in order to let the world know how allegedly all-powerful Washington is.

Looking at the same crisis from the Pentagon’s point of view, Trump has made an enemy of an important NATO ally that is desperately needed in the struggle for the military to regain some of its foothold in the Middle East. To complete the argument, the strategic Incirlik NATO air base is in Turkey. Trump has jeopardized all this in order to put Turkey “in its place.”

Looking at it from the vantage point of Wall Street, Trump has doubled the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, escalating a tariff war when Turkey is in the middle of an economic crisis that is leading to a debt crisis. The Turkish ruling class is in debt to many European countries, especially Spain and Greece. As the value of the Turkish lira falls, its debt to Europe becomes more burdensome. Furthermore, by squeezing Turkey, Trump runs the risk of triggering defaults, both in Turkey and in continental Europe.

Indeed, all sectors of the ruling class are watching Trump’s attack on Turkey with great trepidation.

Trump and Saudi-Qatari conflict

Or look at the crisis in the Gulf states, where Saudi Arabia is in a virtual war with Qatar. Saudi Arabia has blockaded Qatar because it is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, a political rival to the Saudis in the Middle East.

In this conflict, in spite of mediation efforts by Secretary of Defense Mattis, Trump has come down heavily on the side of the Saudis, especially after they wined and dined him, giving him the royal treatment on his early visit there.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, intervened last year to stop the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates from carrying out a joint invasion of Qatar. This may have been what led to his firing by Trump. (Al Jazeera, Aug. 1)

Qatar is the site of a strategic U.S. air base, Al Udeid, which is home to the Air Force Central Command and some 10,000 American troops.

Revolt of the spies

On the international scale, the CIA and the Pentagon have significant overlap. A number of Pentagon generals and admirals have been appointed directors of the CIA. In any case, both agencies share the task of securing the U.S. imperialist empire, using different means.

While they are always at war with one another over turf, resources, etc., they are both deeply concerned with how Trump’s policies affect them. Trump blames members of the CIA and the FBI for the Mueller investigation. In fact, Trump removed former CIA director Brennan’s security clearance because he was part of the “Russia witch hunt.”

Trump’s military policy, which seeks to weaken if not to destroy NATO, strikes at the heart of U.S. military strength in Europe, up to and including on the borders of Russia.

Trump is attacking the CIA and FBI as part of a “Russia witch hunt” while also attempting to weaken the U.S. strategic military alliance with NATO.  These two policy conflicts alone could bring about a bloc from above to interfere with Trump’s poorly thought-out strategic view of how to ensure U.S. imperialist world domination.

Trump, the Pentagon and the establishment

According to Marx, the capitalist government is the executive committee of the ruling class. That truth still holds. But that executive committee is by no means politically homogeneous or unified. In fact, the greater the crisis in imperialism and capitalism, the greater the divisions within the government and within the state itself.

Aug. 11 — The latest round of U.S. sanctions on Russia illustrates how the Pentagon and its allies in the capitalist government are moving independently of the U.S. president to undermine his personal diplomacy when it conflicts with the military’s goals.

For reasons that are a matter of much speculation, Trump has tried to realign U.S. imperialist foreign policy to include a rapprochement with Russia. He has done this since he began his election campaign. This attempt at realignment was expressed dramatically at the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit in July.

Make no mistake, Donald Trump is no partisan of peace. He is bellicose, belligerent and an impulsive warmonger when it suits him. He is a bully in international relations as well as an authoritarian promoter of racism, sexism and bigotry at home.

Trump feeds war machine

Trump has done much to feed the Pentagon war machine. He has given the brass record budget increases, with the 2019 military budget officially topping $716 billion. He has authorized modernization of nuclear weapons. He has funded increases in jet fighters, ships and troops. In short, he has done everything to keep the military-industrial complex satisfied and on board with his administration.

“The increase in military spending is one of the largest in modern U.S. history, jumping by 9.3 percent from 2017 to 2019,” according to Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank.” (Washington Post, June 10)

This marks an increase of $136 billion just from 2017 to 2019.

Meanwhile, the masses of people are losing their health care, their child care, their food stamps and their housing while suffering from poverty, joblessness and underemployment. But Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, United Technologies, Northrop Grumman and other merchants of death are bingeing on profits.

Pentagon still dominates U.S. politics

Perhaps Trump thought his generosity to the generals and admirals would keep the Pentagon and the high command in sync with his personalized diplomacy. Not so.

As for softening toward Russia, the Pentagon is having none of this. The military’s conventional right-wing allies in the administration, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have subverted Trump’s personal diplomacy.

For example, Pompeo and the State Department just recently notified Congress that the administration considers Russia behind the poisoning of two former Russian spies in England with a chemical agent last March — six months ago!

Washington claims that Moscow violated the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. This is the act that U.S. imperialism used against Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and is now using against Russia.

The sanctions imposed on Russia involve hundreds of millions of dollars on so-called “dual-use” products that could hypothetically be used for military purposes. More draconian sanctions, denying Russian banks access to U.S. markets if Russia does not prove that it no longer uses chemical weapons — a charge that Moscow vigorously denies — will be imposed in 90 days.

DPRK-Trump agreement sabotaged

Trump has seized on the diplomatic overtures of Kim Jong Un, head of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Kim tried to defuse the crisis on the Korean Peninsula by offering to meet on denuclearization. Trump accepted the invitation and promoted a bilateral summit meeting held in Singapore on June 12.

Trump was trying to achieve “historic” status by bringing about an end to the crisis. When he came back, he spoke about the Korean War being over and mentioned a possible peace treaty to finally end the war, begun way back in June 1950. The fighting ended in August 1953 with a ceasefire agreement, but the U.S. had never before agreed to even discuss a formal peace treaty.

Trump actually called off the annual war exercises carried out by the U.S. and South Korean military that exerted military pressure aimed at bringing down the DPRK.

Since the Singapore summit, however, virtually the entire U.S. ruling class, media and military have tried to undermine the process toward ending the Korean War. They call the DPRK leaders liars who can’t be trusted. Lately they have clamored for increased sanctions because the North won’t “denuclearize” now.

U.S. refuses to sign peace treaty

There is a simple explanation for why the denuclearization process has not begun.

Two prestigious reporters for the imperialist New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad, admitted in an Aug. 10 article that Washington has reneged on pledges made during the Singapore summit and subsequent talks:

“On Thursday [Aug. 9], North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called the declaration of the end of the war ‘the demand of our time’ and that it would be the ‘first process’ in moving toward a fulfillment of the June 12 deal struck between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. Pyongyang also wants peace treaty talks to begin before detailing its arsenal.”

In other words, reactionary hawks in the Trump administration and the military are deliberately sabotaging the precondition for denuclearization that must have been verbally agreed to by Trump, and perhaps by Pompeo — that talks first begin on a peace treaty to end the now 68 years of warfare by U.S. imperialism before the DPRK gives an inventory of its nuclear weapons. Thus, the right wing is now trying to reverse Trump’s Korea diplomacy.

NATO and Bolton

A further example of the military going around Trump occurred when, ahead of last month’s NATO meeting, Trump’s national security adviser, right-wing militarist John Bolton, sent instructions to European imperialist defense ministers to work out a joint declaration before Trump got to the meeting. Its aim was to prevent Trump from blowing up the meeting with his hostility to NATO.

An Aug. 9 New York Times article detailed how Washington worked with Brussels to get in place an agreement by which Europe pledged to provide 30 battalions of troops, 30 squadrons of aircraft and 30 battle-ready ships by 2020. The goal of this deal was preparation for a NATO war with Russia.

A North Atlantic Command was to be set up in Norfolk, Va., to be ready for such a war. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reinforced Bolton’s directive during a gathering of the ambassadors on July 4. By the time Trump arrived in Brussels, all the deals had been agreed to. Usually, these deals are haggled out at the very end of such meetings.

Converging against China

The Pentagon is carrying out provocative war maneuvers against the People’s Republic of China. The Navy has been sending warships to within 12 miles of Chinese islands in the South China Sea, and on Aug. 10 the U.S. sent a spy plane over them. A CNN crew was aboard the plane recording the events.

“During the flight the crew received six separate warnings from the Chinese military, telling them they were inside Chinese territory. … ‘Leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding,’ a voice said. And each time the Navy sent the same message: ‘I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state.’”

That means that some 6,000 miles away from the U.S. and less than 10 miles from China, the Pentagon claims “sovereign immunity.”

The point is that this provocation comes at the same time that Trump opened up a trade war with China. In this case, his aggressive economic policy is in sync with the Pentagon’s military policy, so there is no sabotage from either faction.

Trump, Marxism and the state

Marxist analysis is needed to unthread the complicated political relations inside the Trump administration and with Congress. According to Marx, the capitalist government is the executive committee of the ruling class.

That truth still holds. But that executive committee is by no means politically homogeneous or unified. In fact, the greater the crisis in imperialism and capitalism, the greater the divisions within the government and within the state itself.

Trump’s presidency itself is a reflection of the crisis of capitalism. Even though he lost the popular vote by 3 million, his entire political rise was based upon the political demoralization of a section of the masses and the bankruptcy of the corporate leadership of the Democratic Party. After voting for Obama in 2012, millions fled to vote for Trump in 2016. Among those voters were many who had supported Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful bid in the primaries, but then switched to Trump.

A civil war now rages within the Democratic Party leadership over how to overcome this bankruptcy. But in any case, there is nothing the Democratic Party leaders can do to eliminate the crisis of capitalism, which is at the root of the problem.

Trump appealed to anger following years of wages being driven down and unions undermined. At the same time he attacked the setbacks for imperialism abroad, including the failed attempt to completely take over Ukraine in 2014. His election is part of a widespread racist, anti-im/migrant wave generated across the capitalist world, including Europe.

Right-wing appointments broke up Trump’s coalition

Trump was a total outsider who triumphed over the Republican establishment. At first, his government was a coalition between that establishment and the right wing. Over time, Trump ousted the establishment figures who could tell him no: Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, who had been his secretary of state; Gary Cohn, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was his chief economic adviser; and Gen. H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser.

He replaced them with anti-establishment rightists: National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow.

Trump thought he was now free to pursue his program to revive the fortunes of imperialism. His program was to pull out of the Paris Agreement on the environment; pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; bully NATO into submission; open up a racist war on immigrant workers; align with the anti-immigrant forces in Europe; blow up the Iran nuclear treaty; wage a trade war with China and other countries; tear down and renegotiate NAFTA, etc.

Of course, his program is at odds with the traditional ruling-class policy of keeping alliances with European imperialism, while holding these allies in subordination. The establishment is largely hostile to the People’s Republic of China, to Iran and unified in its opposition to Russia. But even his right-wing advisers stepped in to save the NATO alliance from Trump.

Two false programs to revive imperialism

Obviously, Trump’s policies are completely detrimental to the long-standing strategies of the U.S. capitalist establishment for world domination. In fact, however, the establishment has a totally erroneous analysis of its own crisis and could not solve it with its usual approach. Both the establishment view and Trump’s view of the crisis are false.

Only a revolutionary Marxist understanding of the crisis corresponds to objective reality. And only such a view leads to a resolution of the crisis favorable to the workers and the oppressed.

The crisis of U.S. imperialism and capitalism stems from the insatiable, aggressive need of Washington and Wall Street to reconquer and recolonize the vast territories they lost during the Soviet period in the 20th century. It is a failed attempt.

They cannot turn the Pacific into an “American lake” again because China has risen up. They can do horrific damage, but they cannot recolonize the Middle East or Iran because the oppressed in the region will not let it happen. They cannot turn Latin America into a U.S. “backyard” despite their “regime change” aspirations. Their brutal treatment of Puerto Rico and of Latinx im/migrants explodes their false promises. And socialist Cuba still stands in their way.

The crisis stems further from the ruling class’s insatiable thirst for profit and the resultant growing inequality and grinding poverty of the masses in the U.S. These masses are the ultimate social base of imperialism, a base that is eroded with every tax cut for the rich, every attack on social services, every act of racist police brutality and mass incarceration. The ruling-class parasites are desperate to suck every last nickel of profit out of the masses as their system declines.

So both views of the crisis, Trump’s and that of the broader capitalist ruling class, are false. Capitalism has no solution to its own systemic crisis.