18-11-2016 – The shock result of the US Presidential Election is beginning to sink in. Donald Trump, a rogue billionaire who unexpectedly gained the nomination for the Republican Party, even more unexpectedly won the election, albeit on the basis of Electoral College votes. Despite not having the support of the US ruling class or the US political establishment, Trump’s triumph resembles the Brexit vote in the UK, which was fuelled by large doses of xenophobia. Trump certainly used racism and bigotry in his campaign, but this is not the reason he won. Primarily, US voters turned to Trump as they believed that he represented a break from the ruling class politics which had decimated US society, resulting in the dramatic lowering of living standards as a result of the Great Recession which began in 2008. Hilary Clinton and the Democrats represented a continuation of unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, brutal police killings of African-Americans, an escalating cost of living and much more – which the Barak Obama administration had delivered for eight years.
For the world’s people, the most important bullet which was dodged was that with Clinton’s defeat, World War III has been averted – at least momentarily. Hilary Clinton, tied by a thousand threads to the military-industrial complex and the rest of the US ruling class, was the most dangerous person, man or woman, on the face of the planet. It was virtually assured that with Clinton in the White House, war against Russia, and also possibly against China, would simply be a matter of course. Clinton, who had bragged in 2009 that “if I am President, we will attack Iran”, had openly threatened Russia, referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “the new Hitler”, and claimed that Russia was infiltrating the US elections. For this there was not a shred of evidence. Clinton had openly threatened a “no-fly zone” over Syria, which her own Generals advised would be a declaration of war against Russia and Syria. Clinton, who as Secretary of State, had NATO bomb Libya to smithereens, and then gloated about the murder of its leader Colonel Gaddafi – represented nothing less than nuclear world war.
Due to the fact that Trump was an outsider within the US ruling class, he was able to separate himself from the Obama-Clinton foreign policy nightmare, the central plank of which was the arming and funding of genocidal ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorists throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and further afield. Thanks largely to the intervention of the Russian military, at the invitation of the Syrian government; the US led war for regime change in Syria has come to a grinding halt. Trump, who despite his billions is somewhat detached from the US ruling class, called out and denounced the mass crime of outsourcing US wars. He could also see that Russia was deadly serious about taking out ISIS, whereas the US was not. Russia was almost single-handedly responsible for preventing the threat of ISIS from spreading, and this, more than anything else, exposed the US Empire.
None of this means, however, that Trump’s foreign policy will always coincide with the interests of working people the world over. In fact, indications are that the Trump administration will back the Zionist state of Israel with its horrendous suppression of the Palestinian people to an even greater degree than previously. There are also indications that Trump will seek to start a trade war with China, by lumping huge tariffs on all incoming trade of Chinese products. A military confrontation with China, however, does not at this stage appear to be on the cards. Trump has made numerous statements indicating a desire to make Japan and South Korea pay for US protection in the Asia-Pacific, alongside demanding European members of NATO also pay for their own “protection” from Russia. Of course there is no threat from Russia – the threat is the other way, from NATO members provocatively mobilising troops and missiles right on the border with Russia. NATO also helped to install a fascist-led Nazi government in Kiev, Ukraine, which was directly aimed at Russia.
Working people in the US, internationally, and especially here in Australia, have a military side against US imperialism, and with the states currently holding back the US Empire, and thus preventing World War. That is, working people should militarily ally themselves with Russia, China, Iran, Syria and their allies such as Zimbabwe, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and others. Political support for these states, on the other hand, is conditional. This is because some of the capitalist states such as Iran and Russia, are likely to seek to appease imperialism, perhaps mistakenly believing that imperialism can be negotiated with. In turn some of the socialist states such as China, Cuba the DPRK, can also seek to cut deals with imperialism in order to safeguard their domestic socialism, and act which nonetheless erodes international socialism.
Opposing this axis is of course is the US Empire, with its allies Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and so on. To what extent Trump comes to terms with Russia and Iran, or to what extent the US state will allow Trump to come to terms with Russia and Iran, is an open question. Even though working people can back Trump’s willingness to join with Russia to quash ISIS once and for all, Trump and the Republican Party are of course not reliable allies. Further, it is possible that a further contraction in the capitalist economy in the US and in Europe and the West could lead to the breakout of a world military conflict regardless of the intentions of the Trump administration. Production for private profit drives its own outcomes, unless checked by an active and mobilised working class.
Prospects for working people domestically
With Trump’s election, living and working conditions could decline still further for US citizens. Racists and fascists could be emboldened to organise even further than what they have been. But the conditions which have created this have not been created by the election of Trump. The conditions which have led to economic and social near collapse has been the day to day operation of the capitalist system, which for the last eight years was overseen by Obama and Clinton. Working people fighting back therefore, need to target not only Trump and the Republicans, but Clinton and the Democrats, and the entire US ruling class. Rising up against Trump only will serve to rehabilitate the Democrats, whoever their next leader will be. Racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny – these are all cancers which must be fought by working people. But they cannot be fought by backing one side of the ruling class, or calling for a “people’s movement”, which inevitably becomes class-collaborationist. Voting, or in any way supporting, the lesser evil always means that workers cop the lesser evil and the greater evil together.
It is possible that here in Australia, far-right groups and parties will be encouraged to organise still further by the election of the Trump administration. And like in the US, the racism, xenophobia and bigotry of the far right here – such as that of the United Patriots Front, the Party for Freedom and even One Nation, cannot be fought on the simple plane of their misguided ideas. Working people are attracted to the far right not because they are inherently racist, but because they see no other option to address their plight. Hence, the material reasons for the drift to the right have to be undermined by sustained left wing class struggle.
Some claim that the left cannot fight the far-right because the left is divided. In fact, the “left” – such as it exists, is united – but on a liberal basis, rather than a working class basis. Many leftists believe that a “broad” or “people’s” movement is all that is needed to combat the right. However, a “broad” movement, encompassing anyone from a rank and file worker, up to liberal NGOs and the Australian Greens, will not be able to begin to address current problems because it is tied to the “progressive” wing of the ruling class. Not only will such a movement not be able to counter racism and/or fascism, it will not be able to materially improve the living and working conditions of working people.
What is desperately needed is not to unite the classless “people”, but to unite the workers in struggle. A key demand which could play a huge role is beginning a fightback is the demand for a 30 hour week with no loss in pay! Workers and Unions leading such a mass struggle would draw in other sectors of society who want to find a way out of the current impasse. Other basic demands, such as for free, or at least affordable, housing, health care and education would be discussed in the process. Such a movement would inevitably lead to a discussion amongst workers at to what kind of society needs to replace capitalist decay.
An obstacle to this necessary path of struggle will be conservative Trade Union officials, who can only maintain their self-serving careers by preventing workers from seriously challenging their own oppression. A sustained political struggle against them, and against all the forces of the old world, will unleash workers’ abilities as never before. From mass strikes can emerge the beginnings of a mass workers party, the necessary prerequisite for a successful socialist revolution. Only sustained class struggle can roll back the far-right, and only a workers’ revolution can abolish the daily horrors thrown in our faces.
FOR WORKERS STRUGGLE AGAINST ALL WINGS OF THE ELITE!