Leftists perennially lament that each successive US president has no clothes, but nobody else is admitting it. With Trump, the CEO of the US empire is clearly naked. This is an organizing opportunity.
The Trump team is filled with inexperienced, incompetent, and incoherent competing operatives. Is that a problem? Would it be better if they could efficiently implement their right-wing agenda? Let them trip over each other.
“Out like Flynn” is their latest contribution to the American lexicon. Andrew Puzder has withdrawn as Trump’s labor secretary nominee. And after only three weeks in office, Pres. Trump’s odds are nearly even of not making it through the full four-year term.
Neither should we be melancholic that US prestige abroad is being sullied. Unless you really do believe the Navy advertisements (recently abandoned) that “our” military is a “global force for good,” the world would be a better place if America’s standing were to be whittled down a few notches. Martin Luther King’s admonition that the US is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world rings truer today than ever.
Class Divide Exposed
Trump has done some of the work for us of stripping the system of its obscuring cover to its naked essence. Liberals are no longer all misty eyed as they were in 2008 when Mr. Obama led them to fantasize that NAFTA would be repealed and a union card checkoff would be instituted. The illusion that all we had to do is elect a Democrat into the White House to facilitate a new era of resurgence for working people is being unclothed.
We now know – or in some cases need to be reminded — these were Obama’s bait and switch campaign ploys, no less lies than Trump’s many fibs about putting Americans back to work with good paying jobs. With the new president, it is becoming increasingly clear to working Americans which side of the bread is buttered and for which class. Financial predator and new Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former George Soros associate and consummate corporate crony, should dispel any lingering illusions of populism in this administration.
Yes, it should be clear on which side of the class divide the various factions of the political class are despite their now openly rancorous internecine bickering. Mr. Obama implored us to give Mr. Trump a chance. Mrs. Clinton chose to sit in a place of honor at Trump’s inauguration, but was AWOL the next day on the Women’s March.
The formerly independent Mr. Sanders has joined the Democratic Party leadership group as their chief recruiter, dropped single-payer health care, and helped vote in Trump’s generals Kelly for Homeland Security and Mattis for Defense. Most recently, Sanders has been tapped by moderate Democrats to “calm down” their constituents angry with the party’s failure to support progressive issues. House Democratic leader Pelosi has nixed impeaching Trump.
Neoliberal Trajectory Intensified
The liberal establishment in today’s political context is about accepting the lesser evil. Liberalism no longer pretends to offer something better. Yet with each successive capitulation to the lesser evil, things get progressively more evil. Now we have Trump, continuing and intensifying the neoliberal trajectory that he inherited from Obama to a yet more naked capitalism with increased privatization and deregulation.
Before any reasonably sane person contemplated a possible Trump presidency, Obama promised comprehensive immigration legislation. Yet once in office, Obama never even tested the waters to see if it could pass. He just did nothing…other than deporting more immigrants than all previous presidents combined, privatizing jails for immigrants, further militarizing the border, and extending the fence between the US and Mexico.
When Trump assumed the presidency, he had no immigration reform bill to reverse. But he had a jump start on intensifying the anti-immigrant measures of his predecessor.
Decent Americans who want this country to at least try to emulate the ideals inscribed on the Statue of Liberty are mobilizing this time around as never before. Let’s see what this coming February 20th, Not My President’s Day, portends followed by May 1st, International Workers Day.
From Resisting Against to Organizing For
Resisting the inherent racism, sexism, and reactionary nationalism, which is institutionalized in the capitalist order and personified by its current CEO, is essential. But these defensive actions can and should be carried to a higher political level of not just resisting what we are against but also organizing for what we are for.
Direct action to resist attacks on immigrants, Muslims, and other targeted identities is imperative. It is also an opportunity to drill deeper.
Poor Mexicans are risking their lives to cross into the US because actions by our government such as NAFTA destroyed small farms south of the border. These were deliberate policies – not mistakes – to drive tillers of the soil off their traditional lands in Mexico in order to make way for industrial farms there. These policies as well served to provide an expanded market for subsidized agricultural goods produced by US agri-business, all the while generating a vast reserve army of cheap labor.
Or take the Middle Eastern immigrants escaping from inhumane chaos, which is a direct consequence of the US government’s and its allies’ regime change policies against the last remaining secular Muslim states. Among the tragic ironies of this humanitarian crisis is that the victims are fleeing to the lands governed by their perpetrators.
Fissures within the Ruling Circles
Not all is hunky-dory, however, with Trump and the other big dogs. The ruling elites are in a fight over the commanding positions of power such as the composition of the National Security Council. They are scrapping over how best – not whether – to dominate the world and subjugate working people. We don’t have a dog in those fights. Choosing our own poison, however procedurally democratic the choice between Democrat and Republican may sound, is not the only option.
These fissures within the ruling circles are opportunities for us to go outside the binary choice of one ruling class faction or the other. Our opportunity is to promote a progressive alternative, which extends beyond just ameliorating the worst excesses of capitalism to one that positively promotes a new order.
The ruling elites may quarrel among themselves, but are united in seeking to perfect their world order. Even liberals within the establishment are relegated to legitimizing the existing order, as with their promotion of “humanitarian war.”
Meanwhile, as more and more of us become dispossessed and disaffected, the time is ripe to carry resistance against repression to organization for a new order. More new people are becoming more actively involved in protest for the first time. The first demonstration one goes to is a big deal; a seminal act, which will have positive reverberations going forward.
The problem with Trump being naked – as repulsive as he is – is not his haberdashery but his hegemony. That is what has to change.