Trump, Charlottesville, Chemnitz and the struggle

Anti-fascists confront racist march in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1.

Sept. 1 — To many progressives among the population, Donald Trump appears to be on the ropes. They are waiting for the establishment to take him down. There is great anticipation that the Democratic Party will make electoral gains and get the chance to further discredit him.

There is the mounting public evidence of Trump’s  corruption. Many in his inner circle have pleaded guilty or been convicted of lying, money laundering, tax and/or bank fraud. There is his growing anxious rage expressed in his tweets against the Mueller investigation. There is also his isolation from ruling-class society as illustrated by his exclusion from the week-long and highly publicized, super-patriotic, militaristic funeral ceremonies for John McCain.

But the fascist march in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 and the recent fascist anti-im/migrant riot in Chemnitz, Germany, show how illusory this view is that the defeat of Trump will solve the problem of racist reaction.

No one knows at this point how the struggle between Trump and his allies, on the one hand, and the anti-Trump forces in the ruling class on the other, will turn out. But it would be fatal for progressives and revolutionaries to rely on the reactionary ruling class to defeat Trump.

Moreover, while the political defeat of Trump is important, it will not be fundamental because it will not deal with the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, national chauvinist forces that Trump has conjured up and consolidated into a reactionary base. This base is not going to go away, whatever happens to Trump. The workers and the oppressed will still have to deal with this reactionary mass.  What will be needed in the future is to defeat Trumpism, not just at the polls but on the ground.

Charlottesville — fascism shows its face

The world got a glimpse of the forces emerging around Trump at Charlottesville last year when the Klan and the Nazis united with other fascist forces in the “Unite the Right” armed torchlight parade through the University of Virginia campus in defense of a statue of Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the slavocracy during the Civil War.

One anti-fascist demonstrator was killed, a Black man was brutally beaten and many were injured as the police watched passively. Trump refused to denounce the fascists and finally said that there were good people “on both sides.”

Fortunately, the movement recovered from this assault and forced the removal of Confederate statues in many cities, from Louisiana to Texas. The Unite the Right forces received an important blow when the movement toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C.

Because of the militant resistance, the “Unite the Right 2” rally in Washington, D.C.  on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville this Aug. 10 fell flat.

Pro-Confederate forces in high places

However, the degree to which the racist, pro-Confederate forces in the ruling class are dug in was shown by the reaction of the University of North Carolina administration to the recent pulling down of a Confederate statue in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The statue of a Confederate soldier was pulled down by students after their campaign to have the authorities remove it went nowhere. After it was pulled down, the university and the board of governors decided it should be relocated on campus. Meanwhile, arrest warrants were issued for student demonstrators.

This incident illustrates how deeply embedded pro-Confederate sympathy is in the ruling class 150 years after the Civil War. Chapel Hill is supposed to be a liberal institution. States all over the South and elsewhere have passed laws forbidding the removal of a statue without the express consent of the state historical society, regardless of the sentiment of African Americans or progressive anti-racist sectors of the population. Liberal Ivy League colleges and universities in the North have refused to budge on this matter as well.

Racism and the face of fascism in the U.S.

The origin of this underlying racism which penetrates U.S. capitalist society goes back to the betrayal of the enslaved people after the Civil War by the victorious capitalist class of the North.

The Northern armies occupied the Southern slave states. There was a period of Reconstruction from 1865 to 1877. Voting rights were granted for formerly enslaved peoples. Many African Americans were elected to various state and local offices. During the brief period of Reconstruction, a Freedmen’s Bureau was created and land ownership rights and other rights for African Americans, such as the right to sue, to serve on a jury, etc., were enforced by the U.S. military occupation forces.

This period of Reconstruction was ended abruptly in 1877 with the withdrawal of U.S. forces after the Hayes-Tilden Compromise, in which Rutherford B. Hayes was given the presidency in return for troop withdrawal from the South.

The political dominance of the South by the former slavocracy was restored. The formerly enslaved were resubjugated and pressed into a form of feudalism or land slavery called sharecropping. Lynching ran riot. Rigid racist segregation was enforced. The landowners once again ran the South and did so for 100 years.

There was no attempt by the Northern capitalist class to purge the South of racism and racist officials. There was no reeducation campaign among the white population. No resources were devoted to the anti-racist transformation of the South. The capitalists of the North were quite content to build railroads and shipping lines and to create banks to profit from the land slavery of African Americans. Racism was not only enforced in the South with Ku Klux Klan violence and lynchings, Black Codes, Jim Crow segregation, poll taxes, etc., but it also prevailed in the North.

Chemnitz, fall of Berlin Wall, and end of denazification

Fascists, right wingers, and anti-immigrant racists of all sorts have been mobilized in this country by Donald Trump. He has fomented his anti-immigrant racism on a world stage. This anti-immigrant, right-wing trend has been reflected in Europe among fascist and pro-fascist forces as well. Indeed, Trump sounds much like the European right.

On Aug. 28, the world was treated to the ugly spectacle of a mob of thousands of Nazis and anti-immigrant sympathizers arriving from all over Germany and taking over the streets of the German city of Chemnitz and hunting down immigrants “like wolves,” as the New York Times put it on Aug. 31.

The mob formed after the capitalist press triggered the event with the headline “35-Year-Old Dies after Stabbing in the City.” The rumors were that the man who was stabbed was protecting a woman from sexual assault by immigrants. Even the police had to eventually declare that rumor false.

The following evening a reported 8,000 racists occupied the center of the city and hunted down anyone they suspected of being an immigrant. There were Nazi salutes with “Sieg Heils,” which are outlawed in Germany, and chants of “We’ll get you all.”

The German bourgeois publication Der Spiegel reported that “The police in Saxony likewise hit the headlines with predictable regularity when they, for example, prevent journalists from doing their jobs or fail to mobilize enough officers, thus forcing them to stand by passively as right-wing extremists rampage through the streets.” (Der Spiegel, Aug. 31)

Chemnitz was formerly called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the period of the German Democratic Republic, before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and capitalism was restored as West Germany annexed the East in 1990. It is the third-largest city in the southeastern state of Saxony with a population of 250,000.

Denazification in socialist East Germany

After the Red Army occupied eastern Germany in 1945, the Communist Party was merged with the Social Democratic Party to become the Socialist Unity Party. In 1949 the GDR was established following the establishment of West Germany. The new government undertook a vigorous program of denazification, unlike what occurred in capitalist West Germany, or the Federal Republic.

In the capitalist West, high Nazi officials retained their pensions and got official jobs. “A total of 25 cabinet ministers, one president and one chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany — as postwar Germany is officially known — had been members of Nazi organizations.” (Der Spiegel, March 6, 2012) This list was finally forced into the public by the Left Party.

The GDR, under socialist leadership, took an entirely opposite approach. It was undoubtedly very difficult to construct a state and a society with a population that had lived under Hitler for 12 years. Nevertheless, the attempt was made.

For example, Bruno Bruni de la Motte, no socialist himself, wrote in the London Guardian on March 8, 2007: “I was born and grew up in the German Democratic Republic. Our school books dealt extensively with the Nazi period and what it did to the German nation and most of Europe.

“During the course of their schooling, all pupils were taken at least once to a concentration camp, where a former inmate would explain in graphic detail what took place. All concentration camps in the former GDR were maintained as commemorative places, ‘so that no one should forget.’ The government itself included a good proportion of those, including Jews, who had been forced to flee Hitler fascism or who had been interned.

“In the East, thousands of new teachers had to be found overnight, as those tainted by the Nazi ideology were not suitable to teach a new postwar generation, and this resulted in schools having under-trained and inadequate teaching staff for some years; all lawyers were replaced, too….”

Nazism revived by capitalist Germany

De la Motte continued, “In [capitalist] West Germany thousands of leading Nazi army officers, judges who had sent Jews and leftists to their deaths, doctors who’d experimented on concentration camp victims, politicians and others, were left unscathed and continued in their professions.”

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the return to capitalism brought a quick shift. From the very outset there were demonstrations against immigrants. Naziism and right-wing politics resurfaced in the form of anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia.

It is no surprise that 29 years after the restoration of capitalist exploitation and with the creeping world economic crisis hitting Germany, including the youth and the petty bourgeoisie, the neo-fascist movement should take on the tone of a racist, anti-immigrant crusade.

In the U.S, even more than in Europe, racism in one form or another has always been the cutting edge of fascism and the face of political reaction.

Capitalist class never tried to root out racism

It is no accident that the KKK and Nazis rallied around Barry Goldwater in his run for president in 1964. It is no accident that Richard Nixon started his presidential campaign in 1972 with a racist “Southern strategy” to bring Southern Democrats into the Republican Party in the wake of the Civil Rights movement.

It should also be noted that in 1982 Ronald Reagan began his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., with Confederate flags flying — in a city where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964 by the Klan during the voting rights campaign in the South. And Bill Clinton, besides passing racist legislation on mass incarceration, the death penalty and “terrorism,” during his election campaign showed his racism by going back to his state of Arkansas to witness the execution of a mentally disabled Black man.

Fascism at the border

Right now ICE and the Border Patrol are carrying out fascist measures against immigrants by deliberately separating families, as well as rounding up workers everywhere.

So the capitalist class has now had 150 years to root out racism and has not made any serious effort to do so. The capitalists have shown that they feel it is in their class interests to perpetuate racism.

They never instituted a thoroughgoing anti-racist educational campaign of making every student in school go to photo exhibits of lynchings to be narrated by families or neighbors of victims. Slave quarters were not preserved as exhibits for mandatory visits so no one would ever forget. And importantly, compensation was not paid to the victims of slavery nor were they given the lands of the plantation owners for whom they labored.

In short the capitalist ruling class has always preserved racism rather than destroy it, just as the German ruling class has never made a determined effort to root out Nazism.

The revolutionary forces in the U.S. must organize for struggle against the revived, concentrated racist base that has been fostered by Trump. The progressives, revolutionaries and advanced workers must also be prepared for struggle after Trump, because anti-immigrant and anti-Black racism is a lethal weapon the bosses keep in reserve for times of crisis.

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.

Trump, Putin and Helsinki

By Fred Goldstein, posted July 25, 2018.  

While beating the anti-Russian drums of war, the paid scribes of the ruling class are all rallying behind the FBI and CIA. These are two of the greatest enemies of the workers and oppressed at home and abroad.


The Helsinki summit represents a new phase in the attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump to forge a rapprochement with President Vladimir Putin and Russia. This summit, however, comes at a time when the U.S. capitalist state is moving in the opposite direction — toward inflaming relations with Russia.

The basis for the attempted rapprochement is partly a common right-wing political orientation. Trump and Putin are both authoritarian, great-power chauvinists. They are both opposed to the European Union and NATO, but each for his own expansionist reasons. And they are both promoting reactionary, racist, anti-immigration forces in Europe as a tool to weaken European imperialism.

Revolutionaries and anti-imperialists are also opposed to the EU and to NATO. They rightfully want to see these imperialist institutions destroyed. But the EU and NATO must be destroyed in a progressive way: by the working class and the oppressed.

If Europe is disintegrated by right-wing, anti-immigrant, anti-working class forces, it could bring about nationalist, inter-imperialist military conflict. Such disintegration would unleash the forces of conquest and war.

Many on the left in Britain mistakenly backed Brexit because they were opposed to the EU. However, they wound up in an unwanted alliance with the likes of racist, anti-immigrant figures like Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and rabid anti-immigrant, chauvinist forces wanting to “make the empire great again.”

On the other hand, it would be progressive if NATO and the EU were undermined, not by Trump and Putin, but by a united working class, fighting the European bankers and bosses and their military interventions in Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe. It would be progressive if class solidarity prevailed in the fight against anti-immigrant racism.

Pentagon and spy agencies need an enemy

Trump is trying mightily to reorient Washington’s foreign policy. But the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI and the military-industrial complex are trying to sabotage these efforts. They need to inflate the sense of danger from an “enemy” in order to sustain and expand war preparations and keep military profits rolling in.

The Soviet Union used to be the main Cold War enemy of the U.S. and European ruling classes. Actually, the Cold War was a genuine class war — a struggle between two antagonistic social systems. The USSR was a socialist country that was under pressure around the globe from capitalist Washington’s spy agencies, military and diplomatic corps in over 100 countries. As long as the USSR existed, the entire ruling class feared for its property and profits. They feared the spread of socialism.

Capitalist Russia poses no such threat.

Now the U.S. military is driven by the goal of reconquering territories it lost during the Soviet period. That is what the attempted takeover of Ukraine was about. This would have moved the Pentagon to Russia’s southern border. It is why Washington moved NATO into the Baltics in 2004 and established a northern military cordon in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And the U.S. has made Poland into a forward base in Central Europe. It is the strategy of encirclement. Washington also attempted a takeover of Georgia and has now incorporated Montenegro into NATO.

The ultimate goal of U.S. imperialism is to restore its own pro-U.S. regime in Moscow.

Russia’s contradictory role

Because of its strategic interests, Russia plays a contradictory role in its struggle with U.S. imperialism.

Putin partially rebuffed the attempt by U.S. and European imperialism to take over Ukraine. It has supported the resistance in the Donbass region and has protected its strategic naval base in the Crimea.

It has also backed the Syrian government in its drive to stop a U.S. takeover of that country. Putin is trying to protect Russia’s only land ally and seaport in the Middle East.

Russia has helped Cuba with export credits, automobiles, locomotives, oil and other exports on a strictly capitalist basis. It has forgiven much of Cuba’s $3 billion debt left over from the Soviet era. Russia has also helped Venezuela with debt forgiveness, allowing Caracas to retain oil that it uses to pay debts.

It is perfectly understandable for oppressed countries under U.S. sanctions, blockade or military attack to ally with Russia and take aid from it. And revolutionaries and progressives should support and defend that aid. But this does not change the class character of the counterrevolutionary oligarch regime in Moscow.

Publicist lackeys and anti-Russia storm

The ruling-class publicist lackeys of all types have rushed to the public megaphone to do the bidding of the Pentagon and the spy agencies. Bourgeois journalists, news anchors, “expert” panelists, former and present government officials, retired generals and admirals turned “commentators” and “analysts,” think tank pundits, even late-night show hosts — all have vied with each other to attack Trump for being a tool of Putin and Putin for being a master manipulator who “interfered with our democracy.”

While beating the anti-Russia drums of war, these paid scribes of the ruling class are all rallying behind the FBI and CIA. And who are they? These agencies are two of the greatest enemies of the workers and oppressed at home and abroad. The FBI has infiltrated and framed up generations of communists, socialists, African-American civil rights organizations and liberation groups. It has hunted them down on their jobs and in their homes, imprisoned and even killed them.

For decades the CIA has overthrown governments, too numerous to list. It has carried out assassinations, set up torture sites and disrupted national liberation struggles all over the world. Because Trump is attacking it while trying to save his skin from the Mueller investigation, some liberals and progressives somehow got hoodwinked into defending these two cutthroat organizations.

Trump, the Pentagon, the CIA and FBI all must be equally condemned and fought against as enemies of the people.

Trying to undermine Trump

The Democratic Party leadership and many progressives are hoping that the campaign of Russia baiting will undermine both the Trump administration and the Trump Republicans in Congress, as well as erode his base. In addition to Russia baiting, they are hoping that the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign will end up with the ouster of Trump.

Both these paths are a dead end for the working class and the oppressed.

This mentality of getting rid of Trump, no matter how, is very dangerous. Russia baiting plays into the war drive of the military. It will only drain the funds that should be used for social spending and reduce the already starved social safety net. It runs the increased risk of war, in which the working class of both countries would be the primary victims.

It will aid the Democratic Party establishment in its drive to maintain its political dominance over the broad masses of progressive forces, as well as reinforcing bourgeois chauvinist ideology. Using war propaganda to divert Trump’s anti-immigrant, pro-cop followers only substitutes one capitalist evil for another.

Subverting ‘our democracy’ by interfering in elections?

One of the most pernicious propaganda narratives of the anti-Russian propaganda is that the Russians interfered in “our democracy.”

First of all, it is not “our democracy.” This is the democracy of the capitalist class. The rich control every platform of publicity, TV, newspapers, radio, film, etc. The bosses own all the major halls, arenas, theaters, stadiums. They own the newsprint, the presses and other forms of print media. They control the ideological and political content of every major public propaganda organ.

Democratic rights that may exist for the masses under this constricted, truncated capitalist democracy have been won through organization and struggle, at the cost of much blood, whether it’s union rights, civil rights, women’s rights or LGBTQ rights. Nothing has been given by the ruling class without a fight.

Democratic rights in the U.S. are in fact being taken away — but not by Russia. Voter suppression by every means possible has reduced the votes of African Americans, Latinx, Native people, Asians and poor whites.

This has been done by the imposition of voter ID laws, closing polling stations, gerrymandering electoral districts to reduce the electoral weight of oppressed communities, and just plain illegally purging voter rolls. The mass incarceration of millions of Black, Latinx and poor white workers is a shortcut to disenfranchisement, and not just during their term of imprisonment. Many states take away the right to vote of so-called felons for long periods afterwards.

And this is to say nothing of the police killing of Black, Latinx and Indigenous people that goes on day after day across the country.

And where are the democratic rights of millions of migrants to be free from persecution by Border Patrol stormtroopers and from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who roam the country, raid workplaces and neighborhoods? They kill, brutalize, imprison and deport with impunity.

The rights of women to control their bodies are denied every time a new anti-abortion law is passed; every time a women’s health care clinic is shut down. Every time a batterer is ignored by the authorities, women’s very lives are at stake.

These are real-life examples of interference with democratic rights that so many people have been jailed or died in order to realize.

Trump and democracy

Trump is an authoritarian, right-wing, racist, misogynist, militarist bigot. He is trampling on institutions and rights that were established for society’s protection. The numerous government agencies that have been created over the years to curb corporate abuses are being completely destroyed by Trump.

These agencies and institutions have been regarded as riot insurance by the bosses. They were set up to limit the damage done by the capitalists in the jurisdictions indicated by their names. Corporate bribery and corruption have always allowed the bosses to weaken and circumvent various regulations. But Trump has taken it to a new level.

He keeps the loyalty and acquiescence of big business by destroying all progressive limitations on capitalist plunder and reducing the funds spent on regulation, such as the trillion-dollar tax cut, the transformation of the regulatory agencies into permissive enablers of the plunder of the environment, the destruction of public education, removing government oversight of public transportation, drugs and pharmaceuticals, Big Oil and mining, etc.

With all the tumult about Trump and Russia, the rights of the masses are under attack on a daily basis. The movement must turn its attention to combating these attacks. The enemy is not only the Trump administration and the capitalists who support him, but the capitalist system of plunder and exploitation as a whole.

Trump engineers right-wing takeover

By Fred Goldstein posted on March 26, 2018.

Trump has demolished the original loose coalition that included establishment figures in the White House and the Cabinet. This coalition had been put in place by the broader ruling class to balance the ultrarightists around Trump, and Trump himself.

March 24 — With the appointment of racist, militarist warmonger John Bolton to the position of national security adviser, Donald Trump has virtually transformed his regime into a bastion of ultrarightists.

With this transformation, Trump has demolished the original loose coalition that included establishment figures in the White House and the Cabinet. This coalition had been put in place by the broader ruling class to balance the ultrarightists around Trump and Trump himself.

The transformation has sharply increased the dangers of war and economic hardship for the masses. Leaders of the workers and the oppressed should take this development seriously and prepare for resistance now.

Trump and his handpicked, ultraright yes-men are basically in charge now. With the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser, virtually all the key positions in the White House and the Cabinet are now headed by extreme right-wingers and Trump lackeys.

The single exception is Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis. Known as “Mad Dog” Mattis, this Iraq war criminal and butcher of Fallujah has nevertheless sounded caution about nuclear war or first strikes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Mattis has also advocated for the U.S. staying in the Iran nuclear pact and has differed with Trump’s pro-torture statements.

The key foreign policy positions in any administration are secretary of state, secretary of defense, national security adviser and chief of staff. The head of the National Economic Council and the trade adviser are also key positions.

Trump has used his firing and appointment powers to see to it that each of these positions is now occupied by an ultrarightist who is compatible with his belligerent, racist, militaristic program.

Hawk replaced by superhawk

Trump pushed out Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser even though he was a war hawk. The reasons are partly political, partly personal and partly factional.  But the details are not as important as the fact that he has replaced McMaster with a superhawk, John Bolton.

Bolton on Feb. 28 wrote a major piece for the Wall Street Journal falsely arguing that there is a legal basis for making pre-emptive war against the DPRK. He is for regime change and for militarily removing the government of the DPRK, saying the south, which has been occupied by U.S. troops since 1945, should take over the north.

Not only does Bolton want to get the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, but he also wants regime change in Teheran, and would use bombing to try to accomplish that.

He was an architect of the war in Iraq and still defends it. He was one of an influential group of neocons in the George W. Bush administration, along with Paul Wolfowitz, who gave policy fuel to Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to start the Iraq war.

Bolton was so right wing that he could not get confirmation from the Senate to be the permanent U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He was acting ambassador for a year in a so-called recess appointment by Bush. But he had to resign when his recess appointment was up because he could not get confirmed.

This ambassador to the U.N. once said, “If they cut the top 10 floors off the U.N. it wouldn’t make any difference.”

Purge began with Priebus and ended with McMaster

The “moderate” side of Trump’s initial coalition consisted of such establishment figures as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican National Committee; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former head of ExxonMobil; Gary Cohn, number two at Goldman Sachs, who was head of the National Economic Council; National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster; and Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis. They are all gone now, with the exception of Mattis.

Priebus was pushed out early to be replaced by Gen. John Kelly — a racist, pro-Confederate, immigration hawk and former head of Homeland Security and the U.S. Southern Command.

More recently, Tillerson was ousted and is to be replaced by Islamophobic, Iran war hawk Mike Pompeo, who was brought over from head of the CIA and is closely connected to the Koch brothers. Trump and Pompeo have talked on a daily basis for months.

Next to go was Cohn, who had worked with Trump to push through the gigantic corporate tax-cut giveaways. But Wall Street has opposed Trump’s trade war policies of imposing tariffs, especially on imports from China. However, Trump imposed the tariffs anyway, siding with anti-China tariff hawk Peter Navarro, his trade guru, and billionaire wheeler-dealer Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Cohn was forced out, replaced as head of the National Economic Council by Reaganite fringe economist Larry Kudlow. This vicious, anti-working-class, right-wing economist advocates for even greater corporate tax cuts as the cure-all for the economy.

‘Moderates’ are exploiters and war makers, too

It would be politically foolish to regard the ousted group of bankers, generals and corporate exploiters as “moderates.” Certainly, with respect to the workers and the oppressed at home and abroad, they were anything but moderate.

McMaster and Mattis were commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as war planners and war criminals. Tillerson was head of a global oil empire that plundered the resources of countries on all continents, especially in the MIddle East.

Cohn was the number two executive in Goldman Sachs, the firm with a high degree of responsibility for the economic collapse of 2007-09. Among other things, it had bundled and sold bad housing loans and then bet that the loans would fail. Those failed loans resulted in foreclosures and evictions for hundreds of thousands of homeowners and tenants.

Priebus, Tillerson, Cohn, McMaster and Mattis had been pushed into the Trump administration early on to ensure that the broad ruling-class establishment would have policy input. The strategists of imperialism did not want Trump to wreck their world political, economic and trade apparatus. They have nurtured this apparatus, which includes the U.N., the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, NATO, the Organization of American States, the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement and various imperialist trade agreements, immigration practices, etc. All this has been carefully constructed and painstakingly maintained for decades in the interests of fostering U.S. imperialist interests.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric was directed against all these institutions and policies. The ruling class was especially afraid of Trump’s attacks on China, NAFTA, NATO and immigration policy, among other things. The bosses and bankers felt they needed a group in the administration who would give them a voice. They needed a way to counter Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, etc., as well as Trump himself.

Trump has now silenced the voices of the establishment inside his administration, except for Mattis. No one knows where the dominant forces in the Pentagon will come down on the question of attacking the DPRK or Iran. But all mass organizations have to prepare themselves to resist an escalation in the war drive.

Tariffs, trade wars and the working class

The ruling class always carries on its wars at the expense of the working class and the oppressed. This goes for military wars as well as trade wars.

This fact is invisible to the labor bureaucracy. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Vice President Leo Gerard, head of the Steel Workers Union, have hailed the tariffs on steel and aluminum as a victory for creating jobs. These labor lieutenants of the ruling class are trying to protect their comfortable positions and their oversized salaries.

Meanwhile, tariffs will cost jobs. And not just the jobs of U.S. workers, but the jobs of Chinese, Japanese and Korean workers due to the contraction of steel and aluminum production.

China has already imposed limited tariffs on U.S. goods. The producers of those goods will engage in layoffs if the bosses are not stopped. Workers World newspaper of March 15 reported that when, for 13 months in 2002, President George Bush imposed tariffs, 200,000 workers lost their jobs.

Instead of hailing tariffs as a way to get jobs, true labor leaders would be fighting for all those steelworkers, coal miners and other industrial workers whose jobs have been destroyed by the bosses’ technology and offshoring. They would make the capitalists responsible for layoffs and unemployment and demand a jobs program for displaced workers.

The narrow-minded, selfish labor bureaucrats are hailing the tariffs in the same way they fought for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which trampled on the rights of Indigenous people and was a blow to the environment. A true working-class mentality puts the interests of the entire class ahead of the narrow interests of a tiny section of higher-paid workers.

It is worth noting that Trumka and company did little to support the teachers of West Virginia, who waged a heroic strike in a “right-to-work” (for less!) state.

People below move in opposite direction from Trump

Trump, the ruling class and the do-nothing heads of labor are all moving in the direction of political reaction. But the people are moving in the exact opposite direction.

Over a million students came out in hundreds of demonstrations against the National Rifle Association on March 24. Their slogans were moderate, but the spirit of determination to push back the gun lobby and expose the politicians who take their blood money was something new.

Over a million women came out for the Women’s March last January to answer Trump’s hateful misogyny.

The Black Lives Matter movement laid the basis for the societywide consciousness about racist police murders.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals solidarity movement has raised consciousness about the inhuman deportations and the destruction of immigrant families.

The reactionary current emanating from the upper echelons of ruling-class society is bound to eventually clash with the progressive current coming from the lower echelons — the poorer sections of the workers, the oppressed communities, the immigrants, the women, the LGBTQ community and the students. Reaction cannot hold forever.