Trump Represents a Split in the Ruling Class

It is good that many on the U.S. left are beginning to see that the clashes between Trump and his supporters against the so-called “resistance,” reflect a “split in the ruling class.”

This is the view of Greg Godels, the prominent American communist journalist who used to use the pen name Zoltan Zigedy. “It is a very healthy advance because it rules out confusion fomented by the Democratic Party leadership, childish sensationalism, and the meaningless simplicity of the capitalist media.

According to Godels, this is a real and fierce battle between different groups among the richest and most powerful. It’s a conflict that gives deeper meaning to the strange mischief of the Trump era. Behind the harsh and illusory images of a corrupt vulgar person like Trump, to whom only by the “heroic” protectors of freedom and security (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.) object, hides a real struggle for ideas, interests and the future. It is good that more people are seeing it as a struggle between the rich and the powerful fighting over their different visions of the future of capitalism: “a split in the ruling class.”

Many times in the last two years, Greg Godels has written about the emergence of alternatives to market fundamentalism such as neoliberalism and globalization in the conventional wisdom of the ruling class. He has argued that the rise of economic nationalism in advanced economies is an expression of that alternative. Intensified competition in energy policy is offered as a material symptom of economic nationalism, as is disinterest in maintaining a relatively peaceful backdrop for securing and promoting trade.

The United States is more interested in selling arms than in resolving its many wars (it is known that Secretary of State Pompeo convinced members of the Trump administration, publicly embarrassed by the massacre in Yemen, not to cut off support for Saudi Arabia because of such misdeed due to the possible loss of $2 billion in arms sales).

A recent reflection by Joshua Green, Bloomberg Businessweek national correspondent, entitled “The Dividends of Anger,” accounts for how the recognition of the changing political terrain provoked by the crisis. Trump’s slogan of economic nationalism “Make America Great Again” explains how it was the anger over the financial bailout that gave Trump the presidency. Green recalls Obama’s infamous meeting at the White House with the CEOs of the major banks, where he frankly told them, “My administration is the only thing between you and the gallows.

Reflecting on Obama’s words, Green warns: “Millions of people lost their jobs, their homes, their retirement accounts and fell out of the middle class. Many more live with an anxiety that gnaws at them. Wages were static when the crisis broke out and have remained static throughout the recovery. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the share of U.S. workers in non-agricultural income has fallen almost to its lowest level since World War II.

This harsh indictment of post-apocalyptic capitalism captures well the conditions that have fuelled the fear of such pitchforks. Make no mistake, those who rule the major capitalist centers pay attention to anger, not to respond to it, but to divert it.

The history of American politics in the last decade is the story of how the forces that Obama and the Democratic Party failed to contain, restructured the world by unleashing energies on the left (Occupy Wall Street) and on the right (the Tea Party). The critical mass of conditions that led to Donald Trump had its genesis in these reactions?

Trump was able to prepare a campaign based on responding to anger with measures of economic nationalism, patriotism and, paradoxically, partisanship for the working class.

Of course, the idea that Trump was planning to build a workers party or intended to transform the Republican Party into a “workers party” is ridiculous, but it is remembered that his campaign was driven by anti-immigrant animosity with the argument that jobs were being taken away from them. When Trump declared his candidacy, Americans of all stripes were bitter with the ruling elites of both parties, and on that rests Trump’s opportunistic position of attacking them, including the Republicans.

Greg Godels concludes that only a concerted effort to create or nurture a truly independent, anti-capitalist movement that addresses the real needs of workers makes sense today, when bourgeois parties voluntarily sacrifice workers’ interests for the sake of capitalism.

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.