Workers' Voice mailing list
January 17, 2017
RE: Trump, Obama, and mass struggle
(Jan. 15 leaflet of the Seattle Communist Study Group for the Jan. 20 and 21st anti-Trump demonstrations)
Billionaire Donald Trump has assembled a rogues gallery of corporate CEOs, Goldman Sachs bankers, generals, "white nationalist" racists and other bitter enemies of the working people to fill his administration. But how far they get in implementing their reactionary political agenda very much depends on the resistance struggles mounted by the masses of people in the coming period.
Indeed, from hours after the election there have been anti-Trump protests, with demonstrators attacking the heart of Trump's demagoguery: capitalist divide and rule. Trump scapegoats and incites violence against national minorities, immigrants and women, seeking to build a reactionary political movement to "keep them in their place" -- especially as super-exploited workers -- and to further strip them of rights. We must strengthen the movement against this. It is key to pushing forward the struggle against Trumpite reaction on all fronts.
* The net worth of Black households fell from 1/11th to 1/13th of white households under Obama, and police killings rose to their highest level in 20 years. Native Americans and African Americans bore the brunt of this police savagery. Donald Trump? He's called for a national "stop and frisk" policy. He's told big lies to support the cops, e.g., "we have to give power back to the police" -- as if they've lost their power. And to isolate resistance and demands for justice, Trump has slandered the Black lives matter movement as haters, etc. As a fitting response, "Black lives matter!" has been one of the main chants at all the demonstrations since Trump's election.
* There were more deportations under Obama than under Bush, and his reform legislation always emphasized police-state "border security" measures. Trump? After preaching fear and hatred of Muslim, Mexican and other immigrants throughout his campaign, he takes office set on turning this into anti-immigrant legislation and executive orders that would force millions of people further into the shadows as super-exploited wage slaves. But a movement for sanctuary cities and churches has rapidly developed, and it's part of a larger movement in defense of immigrants.
* The rights of the poorest of the poor -- women, especially national minority and immigrant women -- have been eroded under both parties for decades. Now, after preaching contempt for women throughout his campaign, Trump says he'll appoint another anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court. This means _Roe v. Wade_ will likely be overturned and we'll be back to the days of "back-alley" abortions. Along with this will come legislative attacks on women by the Republican-controlled Congress. But millions of people are angry at this assault. On December 3 some 6,000 Seattle women marched against the Trump-led onslaught on their rights and dignity, and local and national marches will take place January 21!
* Obama talked about preventing run-away global warming, while opening more lands and waters to carbon extraction and promoting fracking. Trump, whose Secretary of State will be Exxon-Mobil's former CEO Rex Tillerson, wants to take this farther by reducing the Environmental Protection Agency to "tid-bits" (even though it's already polluter-dominated and understaffed). He and the Republicans also want to roll back the EPA's Clean Power Plan, pull out of the Paris climate accord (even though it's actually a disaster for the environment), lift off-shore oil and gas drilling moratoriums, and more. But in every corner of the country environmentalists are in motion, with the fight to stop Dakota Access pipeline a present focus. This broad struggle must be taken farther with demands to rapidly convert to renewable energy sources and keep carbon fuels in the ground. Furthermore, we need to oppose neo-liberal market solutions like the IMF and World Bank supported carbon tax (or carbon pricing). The carbon tax won't work, and it will be passed on to the workers and poor. Instead, we need to fight for direct regulations and economic planning. And there must be mass involvement to ensure that poor, national minority and indigenous communities are not dumped on.
* Obama proclaimed the right of the U.S. President to murder anyone anywhere with drone missiles in the name of fighting terrorism, and he indeed murdered several thousand people that way. Trump will continue, and he's monstrously added: "you have to take out their families." Trump will also continue the wars started by Bush and Obama, and in the oil rich Middle East, he's screamed he will "bomb the hell out of ISIS." Our reply is that U.S. imperialism should get the hell out of the Middle East!
* The biggest war in the world today, Assad's war against the democratic uprising of the Syrian people, has left over 400,000 people dead and millions as refugees. Obama has assisted the dictatorship by actively preventing the rebels from getting what they most needed: anti-aircraft weapons. Naturally, Trump also opposes this just rebellion: "We should keep Assad and Russia in charge of Syria." Our response should be to join the demonstrations in solidarity with the Syrian people's uprising.
* Obama has proposed a "modernization" of the U.S. nuclear war arsenal that would cost up to a *trillion dollars* over 30 years. It would include a new generation of precision-guided mini-warheads that makes their use "more thinkable" according to one of his top strategists. Trump gives the same line: "We have a military that’s severely depleted. We have nuclear arsenals which are in very terrible shape." But we must say no to these war preparations.
* Wages, health care and retirement benefits have long been under attack by the capitalists, with the youth of the country living worse lives than their parents or grandparents did. This is right up businessman Trump's alley. He's appointed Andrew Puzder, the CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast food restaurants, to be Labor Secretary. Puzder bitterly opposes a living wage, and he aims to deny overtime pay to 4.2 million workers. But the leaders of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win don't want a serious class struggle against any of this. In fact, they've worked to prevent, undermine and sell out strikes for generations. For this reason, unionized workers are going to have to organize themselves from below for strikes and other actions, and the non-unionized workers are going to have to organize themselves into unions. This kind of work has achieved small but important victories in recent years, and the decades-long capitalist offensive Trump wants to intensify is going to demand it be stepped up and turned into a movement.
For an independent political movement of the working class
The Democrats are not Trump, and they will be haggling with the Republicans over his program in Congress. But both parties have been moving to the right for decades, with Trump intent on accelerating that process.
But the masses of American people are fighters. It was the large, deep and self-sacrificing mass struggles -- especially in the 1930s and the 1960s and early 1970s -- that brought the economic gains and political rights that both capitalist parties have been taking back. Those struggles were initially built step by step, with the spirit of "we need to organize!" increasingly coming forward in them. This meant organizing activist groups in the workplaces, schools, buildings and communities, and striving to merge the individual struggles into a larger storm of struggle. The great struggles of the 1930s and 1960s also had or produced a leading edge, i.e., revolutionary organizations that not only worked to build ferocious mass struggles to resist the effects of the capitalist system of production and win good reforms, but that also worked to build a liberation movement aimed at overthrowing the source of those effects: capitalism. We should carry this tradition forward in the fight against Trump's right-wing program today. This is what will bring the great change we need.
Seattle Communist Study Group, 1/15/2017 Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resist Trump! Occupy Inauguration! Friday, January 20, beginning at 5 pm at Westlake (4th and Pine), Seattle -- called by Socialist Alternative
Women's march! 10am Saturday, January 21, beginning at Judkins Park,
2150 S Norman St, Seattle <>
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