Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump's election will mean massive struggles ahead.

"A few other 2016 election facts for you:
• As a percentage of eligible voters, Clinton received 26.27% (60,839,922) of all votes compared to Trump’s 26.02% (60,265,858) and Did Not Vote’s 43.1% (110,450,842).
• Total voter turnout was estimated to be 56.9%.
• It is the 5th election since 1820 when the winner of the popular vote lost the presidency (the others being 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000)
• Donald Trump received 667,646 fewer votes than Romney did in 2012, but Hilary Clinton received 5,075,873 fewer votes than Obama did in 2012." (thanks to George  Hayduke for these)

by Richard Mellor

Afscme Local 444, retired

The era of the two party monopoly is over. Americans have opted out of this trap. We are in for a tumultuous period ahead as various sections of the Trump base don't get what they thought was coming their way. The right wing neo Nazi white nationalists that he's conjured up out of the darkness will not go away easily and its possible their own conjurer may have to use the state to push them back. Those white workers betrayed by years of voting for Democrats and getting nothing back for it will get even less from Trumpism and their anger will soon be turned on him but can also be won by reactionary elements given the absence of any prominent social force that speaks for working class people. Black folks that bother to vote at all (those not intimidated by racists and racist laws) are trapped in the Democratic Party with nowhere to go.  Global competitors, especially China but also the EU, Russia, India and Latin America, will not sit idly by if Trumps actually acts on his promises. The Chinese have already warned him that his threats could lead to them buying Airbuses as opposed to Boeing, not a positive sign.

What will happen when he viris Merkel? He's endorsed buyt eh KKK and the Nazi Party? This is no small matter in Germany.

There is not a doubt in my mind that an alternative party and movement that spoke to the needs of all workers as a class would attract workers across racial, religious and gender lines. It would have prevented these developments.

But the betrayed and the millions that have opted out will take to the streets as the assault on workers deepens. US workers have never had a national political party and what we have has been won through mass direct action on the streets in the face of extreme violence from the US ruling class. The only group United We Stand applies to here is the US 1%. They're united against us.

I believe history shows that when workers move in to struggle we tend to seek class allies, we seek to overcome the imposed divisions of gender, race and other divide and rule strategies of the 1%. The gains and successes of the movement determine the outcome of this class solidarity, how temporary or permanent it will be, whether it turns to reaction or not. There have been many opportunities missed in our history due to the betrayals of our own leadership from the Communist party here in the US and in the General Strike in France in 1968 to the role of Syriza in Greece and many more.

There are no guarantees in this world. But we can learn from our mistakes assuming we're aware of them and we have to know our history to be aware.

Leadership is a crucial element in determining our future successes. Shall our goal be to reform the system or change it?  When workers move in to struggle it is our tendency to make things better, to make what we have work. But capitalism cannot work. It doesn't even work for the wealthy as it is their environment too and capitalism as a system will destroy the earth as an inhabitable planet for human life in the not so distant future. In the main we learn through struggle. We learn in the struggle for reforms as the state in all it violent forms, police, courts, prisons, increasingly militarized domestic security, punishes us for our insolence in thinking we can control our own destiny, collectively posses the wealth we create and live a decent secure life in harmony with nature of which we are but a small part.

Mass consciousness has to learn this lesson through struggle, through the experience. This lesson, that we have to change the system itself, can and will be learned very quickly in this era of capitalist decay. Workers move naturally to collective solutions and a leadership that has absorbed our history of struggle, learned from it, is crucial to our success in building a genuine democratic socialist global society. Despite de-industrialization, global capitalism cannot be overthrown without the US working class settling accounts with the unnelected clique that run this country.

The responsibility for these tragic failures from the electoral choices of Trump and the warmonger  Clinton to the endless wars and phony War on Terror, rests on the shoulders of the head of organized labor whose ingratiating responses to this election are nauseating to say the least. They see the unions as employment agencies with them as the CEO's. Labor's rank and file must clean house but not around vague slogans about democracy in the abstract or fairness but by building rank and file fighting oppositions in the workplaces, communities and union halls based on a platform that confronts the capitalist offensive and drives it back and that includes, and indeed cannot be successful without international working class solidarity and unity in action.

We could never expect either of the two capitalist parties to unite the working class as it is their role to divide us, keep racism, nationalism and sexism simmering but not boiling over. The present political crisis is also a crisis for the two capitalist parties. Because of the failure of the trade union leadership with 14 million members and a huge apparatus under their control, the struggles ahead will not be smooth, but confused, divided at times and moving further toward class unity at others.  But out of them will arise new leadership and political lessons will be drawn.

Trump is about to savage all workers. He will destroy the environment quicker, he will undermine social services faster. Out of the direct action struggles ahead there will emerge and must emerge an independent working class political formation that can begin the journey to a democratic socialist economy and society. I am in the Green party and I urge the GPUS to learn the lessons of the disastrous showing in this election, transform its internal life and act like a real party, orient to the working class of this country, campaign for its eco-socialist principle and become that working class alternative. 

It may, or it may not, that has not yet been determined for me. If not, some other formation will, one needn't be wed to a party, it's the class composition, orientation and program that matters. Either way, I am optimistic that the US working class will rise to the occasion and accomplish the task history has set for it. The alternative is the end of life as we know it. This is not an exaggeration.

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