Sunday, November 6, 2016

US Elections and beyond: A Statement from Facts For Working People.

US capitalism's two candidates reflect a deep political and social crisis
US capitalism is an immensely powerful machine.  It is the world’s largest and most powerful economy. The global impact of the US state apparatus has no equal with its 5.1 million Americans that have active security status and $1 billion a year allotted to “public diplomacy” alone. Along with this is its mass media, its research institutions, its spy networks etc.

In spite of this, US capitalism cannot predict the outcome of the coming election.  In comparison, those of us that support this blog, Facts For Working People, have minuscule resources. This makes it even more difficult for us to predict the results of the election. We have to acknowledge therefore that at this time we cannot say with any certainty who will win. We can have an opinion of who is most likely to win and then consider what is likely if one candidate wins or the other candidate wins. We can also consider the bigger picture. That is, the new phase into which US capitalism has entered. This is the best we can do.

In relation to the bigger picture we would like to ask our readers to consider the line by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats who wrote: "Things Fall Apart The Center Cannot Hold." We believe that this is an extremely apt description of what is happening in the US today. The old norms, the old certainties, the old balances, are falling apart. The balance of class forces, the political structures, organizations such as the FBI, that have been based on this balance of class forces, they are rapidly fragmenting and being discredited. Let us put it clearly; all hell is about to break loose in the US. US society is about to blow apart. This is the period we have entered. The center is not holding.

Let us start with the economy. This is the most important foundation stone of the society in which we live. The US economy is in crisis. It is in debt as never before. This applies to the government sector in particular.  Its capitalist class has looted the economy and stashed much of this loot, an estimated $2.4 trillion to $3.0 trillion outside the country; all of this untaxed. Just about every household and every business, with the exception of a small number of large corporations, are in debt. The economy is being kept afloat by borrowed paper  "money." US capitalism is investing at a very low rate and coming out of the 2008 recession at a very slow rate. US capitalism's position as the most powerful economy in the world is under threat. This is no small deal. It is destabilizing world relations.

Understanding this, it is important to reflect on the past. In the early 1980's, US President Ronald Reagan launched an offensive against the US working class in the interests of US capitalism. He did so by breaking strikes and unions. He crushed the Air Traffic Controllers strike in 1980 firing 11,000 workers banning them from working in the industry for life. He broadened the offensive in a generalized assault on organized labor, cutting wages and conditions and moving jobs and factories overseas to low wage non-union countries where workers were systematically murdered by US backed forces for trying to join unions and have a better life.

This capitalist offensive has continued to the present.  Workers at the lower end of the scale made some gains in the 1990’s upswing that were purely market driven as labor was tight, but the general trend downward has continued and from January 2000 through December 2014, 5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost. 

At the same time US capitalism has sought to maintain and even expand its military interventions abroad to hold the resources it has, to seize the resources that were up for grabs with the collapse of the Soviet Union and at the same time to corral Russia and the rising power of China. The problem for US capitalism is it cannot afford its foreign wars and occupations that are necessary to fill its own coffers and at the same time keep its own working class at home at the standard of living to which it has been accustomed.

In other words, it can no longer afford guns and butter.  So at home it has been taking away the butter. It is waging a domestic war against its own working class.  It is this economic and military crisis that lies at the heart of the present political crisis.

US capitalism is driven to attack its own working class by the laws of the system, but the US working class does not like this and resists this assault.

In the main it is through the political arena that this resistance is taking place although there are increasing social movements against the affects of the assault.  But US workers have lost ground under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Millions of workers recognize this and have become so disgusted with this route that they refuse to participate in electoral politics altogether as the class divide becomes more pronounced.

US capitalism's political structures, its two political parties, the Democratic and Republicans, and its institutions such as the FBI etc., are not accustomed to dealing with this new rapidly widening class divide and to the accelerating political crisis.

Both parties are hated. The empty rhetoric of these parties and US capitalism in general is increasingly discredited and sneered at. Washington is increasingly seen as the den of thieves and liars that it is, interested only in filling the pockets of the rich. This is why the candidates for President from these two main capitalist parties are the most unpopular in history. But the reality is that it is not a question of the candidates being the most unpopular ever, it is the system that they represent that is the most unpopular ever. An unprecedented number of people say they favor socialism rather than capitalism. This is when no major party is campaigning for socialism.

So back to this election. Who will be the likely winner? This Blog has said from the beginning that we thought that most likely Clinton would win. We said so because we considered that Clinton with her close links to Wall Street and the financial sector, with the military industrial complex, with the new and rapidly developing high tech sector, would have these huge resources at her back. They would want her given her track record as an experienced and reliable representative of US capitalism on the global stage.

We also said she would likely win because of the increased power of women in society and more open defense of their rights in response to Trump’s crude and violent comments.

Trump’s misogyny and his racist attacks has strengthened our belief that Clinton will  win. If Clinton does win it will be on account of her backing from the most consciousness and decisive sections of the capitalist class and the support of women and minorities. Never before will women have played such a central role in US politics.

Trump and his cohorts like Steve Bannon of the extreme right wing, if not fascist, Breitbart website make their racist and anti-Semitic  position clear. When these extreme right wingers write of Jewish writers they identify them as Jewish by putting brackets like these either side of their names ((( Bill cohen))), three on each side. They also viciously attack women writers. This Blog opposes Clinton because of her capitalist and imperialist policies.  But we do, and have, unconditionally opposed any and all attacks on her because she is a woman. We agree with Edward Luce who wrote in the Financial Times, "If there is one constant to public abuse, it is that women get it more harshly. For better or worse, technology has made it easier to pour old wine into new bottles”. * We oppose all misogynist attacks on Clinton. 

While events lead us to be more cautious, we still think that Clinton will defeat Trump and for the reasons we have stated from the start. We are more convinced of this given the surging vote of Hispanic people against Trump who has attacked them so viciously. However we have to be careful. It is not excluded that Trump can win.

That the most powerful and decisive sections of US capitalism could end up with the candidate they don’t want is a confirmation of the crisis that US capitalism finds itself in. How is this possible?

Capitalism is not omnipotent. It does not always get what it wants. There are a number of reasons why it might end up with Trump. One is that a large section of the population hates Wall Street and Washington and Trump has managed to partially portray himself as being opposed to these forces. Clinton has had great difficulty in doing so what with her Goldman Sachs and Wall Street ties and speaking fees. There is a positive feature in this hatred of Wall Street and the capitalist class. However Trump the multi millionaire and briber of politicians dishonestly exploits this with his claims to be an outsider. 

It is here we have to go to the dog that does not bark. And ask ourselves the question: How is it that with such discontent in the country one of these two right wing capitalist politicians will win the White house? How come it is one of these who is set to fill the vacuum? This hatred of Wall Street and the capitalist class need not have gone to a degenerate like Trump. It could have been tapped in to and mobilized by other forces. There are 14 million members in the trade unions in this country. There are many millions more that could be recruited into the unions. These unions have thousands of people in their full time apparatus. They have hundreds of thousands of people active to one or extent or another in their ranks and the workplaces. They have hundreds of millions of dollars and headquarters in just about every city.

Where is this force in the election for the Presidency and congress? This is the most important question of this election. We know this is so because it is the question that’s never asked by the capitalist media, the capitalist class, or their apologists in academia. It is also never raised by traditional left or socialist organizations.

Where was this potentially gigantic force, or its leading representatives, when these two right wing capitalist politicians were fighting it out for the White House?

Look what could have been. 

If the heads of the 14 million strong trade union movement and the new forces which it could have organized, had taken a stand against the racist, sexist, anti-worker Trump; if this mass force had taken on Wall Street and the big corporations, if it had mobilized in mass direct action to stop any closures of workplaces, any cuts in wages or benefits or conditions. If this force had defiantly and if necessary physically taken on any racist and sexist forces and beat them down, then Trump would have been left with only a handful of cranks and Clinton with only the big capitalist forces.

With this approach, a new movement and a new mass party of working people could have been built and US capitalism could have been thrown back. But this was not done. The trade union leaders have betrayed the working class and placed us at the mercy of the degenerate Trump or the vicious capitalist representative Clinton. The US working class will suffer for this betrayal by their leaders. The working class worldwide will suffer for this betrayal by the US trade union leaders. What the US does affects every nation on earth, mostly negatively.

Whether Clinton or Trump wins, either one of them will continue with the military interventions and occupations abroad. This will increase the insecurity of the US population and the lives and security of the population of the world. The US working class will see its living standards attacked even further. And the reason the US will be ruled by either Clinton or Trump is because the trade union leaders refuse to build an alternative, a mass Labor Party, a mass Workers' Party, and a mass movement.  We must be clear on this. The responsibility for the election of one of the two most hated candidates in US electoral history is not the existence of independent parties or the Green Party, it falls squarely on the shoulders of the trade union leadership at the highest levels.

Trump has tapped in to the anger that exists in US society as Sanders did. This was anger which could have been harnessed by the trade union leaders. In this way, the positive features within this anger could have been separated out from the support given to Trump and developed to strengthen class-consciousness and build a new mass workers’ movement. Alongside this, the extremely divisive and negative features could have been opposed and fought with the most extreme and savage determination. This still must be done.

Trump has also been exploiting the resentment of a section of the white male population, especially older white male, population, who resent the fact that women have greater rights than in the past and that an African American man was the president and that all minorities have won greater rights over the past decades.

“Make America Great Again” is code for back to the good old days when the man was the boss, the white man was the boss, all women, all African Americans and all minorities were inferior and to be kept " in their place." These are utterly reactionary backward ideas, they damage and increase the exploitation and the suffering of all minorities and they also increase division in the working class and so increase the strength of the capitalist class over society. All these forces are extremely and unconditionally reactionary and Trump appeals to them.
“All kinds of prejudices we thought were disappearing are suddenly OK again because the Republican presidential nominee is saying it……Trump has given them a green light.”, says Jean Twenge, author of The Narcissism Epidemic. **

It is in the interest of all workers
to oppose these ideas by every means at the disposal of the working class.

What Next?

Whoever wins on Tuesday, is certain to be faced with a new recession in their first term. This will most likely be worse than the 2008 recession. It is likely that a much stronger opposition will develop to bailing out the system again. It is likely that whoever is President might come to rue the day they won the White House. 

If Trump is elected there is no doubt this will encourage his forces. But we are in a period of rising struggles here in the US. Struggles, against racism and police brutality, against sexism and racism, against attacks on the environment, against the Native Americans. These forces will not stand down after a Trump victory if there would be one. On the contrary, they would be mobilized. Increased conflict would take place, and in this increased conflict the change in the class balance of forces and consciousness would come to the fore. The forces around Trump and co would be driven back.  Also, given the huge amounts of arms in this country  the US capitalist state would have to step in to prevent the Trump inspired forces from going over the top and opening up a violent nightmare. That would be for later.  

Sometimes the revolution needs the whip of the counterrevolution. A victory for Trump would be an immediate and open step to the counterrevolution. A victory for Clinton would also be a step to the counterrevolution but of a slower and less crude type. But both would be faced with the need to cut the butter. Both would be faced with the new recession. A period of enormously increased class struggle lies ahead in the US. The youth, the minorities will play leading roles, eventually the pressure will become too great and the workers in the workplaces, the rank and file of the unions will also be driven to take action. The rank and file of the trade unions will throw the dead weight of their leaders off their shoulders. Splits will take place in the union leadership and new leaders will be able to emerge. There are many workers out there today who have no concept that they will be leading mass movements in the immediate and medium period ahead. 

At the same time we will have the splitting and break down of the two capitalist party monopoly. This has already begun. Depending which candidate wins, the nature and tempo of the splits will be determined, but splits will come. In the Republicans we see the old capitalist guard like the Bushes refusing to support Trump. The Ryan wing half supporting and half not supporting him. The party may even split formally and organizationally into two parties with a new party around the fascist nuclei of Steve Bannon and Breitbart. If Trump loses, the splits are liable to come sooner rather than later. 

The Democratic Party also has its fault lines and there will be splits. If they lose, the openly Wall Street Clinton wing will be blamed.  There is the Warren/Sanders/Reich wing that will push forward. There are the African American and Latino caucuses. There will be the shocks and splits that will come from the trade unions and which will in turn explode back into the Party. 

The authors of this Blog advocate a vote for the Green Party in this election. But we do not leave it there. We also advocate that our readers should join the Green Party. And we do not leave it there either. We advocate and are helping in the building of a non sectarian left network in the Green Party. We stand for a mass workers party. We believe that working in this way in the Green Party can help make the case for such a party whether this comes out of the Green Party or not. We advocate that this non sectarian left network in the Green Party stands for three basic points. One the clarification and campaigning for the Eco-socialist plank in the party's platform. Two the transformation of the party into a workers party with its foundation in the rank and file of the unions, in the workplaces, in the working class communities in the schools and colleges. Three the transformation of the internal life of the Green Party from the undemocratic consensus method to a democratic life where decisions are made after open and free discussion and where decisions are made by majority vote and where minority views are heard. 

The authors of this Blog also advocate the building of mass united fronts of working people and youth to bring together the many struggles that are taking place. We advocate that these would use the methods of mass direct action, both in society as a whole and in the workplaces with mass strikes and occupations. We also advocate that these forces would organize and take on the extreme right wing forces that are likely to come out of the most backward sections of the Trump movement.

US society has entered a new period. Out of the shocks and processes that lie ahead the US working class will in one way or another rise to its feet. The US is the only advanced industrial country with no mass workers party. Now that US capitalism is losing its dominance world wide and losing its economic power and its ability to buy off a significant section of its own working class, it will be forced to drive its own working class to its feet and a new mass workers party will be built and a new mass workers movement will emerge.

The old two-party capitalist monopoly which has ruled US society for a century is coming apart. The economic dominance and the class balance of forces which made this possible are receding into the past. A new era has opened up in US society. We should all fasten our safety belts. it will be a wild ride. 

* Age of Vitriol: Edward Luce, Financial Times 11-5-16
** ibid

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