Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trump and the Judges: The enemy divided

JFK: New Yorker's Protest Trumps ban on Muslims (Not Saudis)
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444,retired

The system of checks and balances set up by the US bourgeois all those years ago may save them yet as the Predator in Chief is backing down on some of his earlier statements. He has reassured China that he will abide by the “One China” policy that recognizes Beijing and not Taipei as the “sole legal government of China”. And he has played a game of golf with Japan’s Abe assuring the Japanese leaders that Japan’s security is still paramount.

That being a head of state is somewhat different to being a real estate speculator seems to be dawning on him although there is no doubt he is coming under intense pressure from the US bourgeois, at times different sections of them, to curb his wild and unstable behavior. 

The tech bourgeois are strongly opposed to his immigration policies as foreign workers and entrepreneurs are heavily represented in this sector. Many Indians are involved in the tech industry as investors in start-ups and as engineers and all things computer. Trump’s immigration laws, walls and nationalist rhetoric has many skilled immigrants and millions of others, on edge. Japan seems to be taking advantage of Trumps nationalist threats loosening its Green card requirements. It will now take just one to two years for skilled foreigners to get permanent residency in Japan as opposed to five years. Other changes are on the table as well to make it easier for foreign workers, companies and investors to come to Japan. US capitalism's global role and the credibility of its government is threatened by Trump.

G.E CEO Jeff Immelt, points out in the latest issue of Business Week that GE is, "….a $22 billion exporter from the US. And we import $5 billion or $6 billion. "  Immelt adds that, “We believe in trade, in the free flow of goods,. Inherently, we don’t think things like walls are good ideas.” The more sober US bourgeois is well aware of the damage to the economy and profits that increased protectionism will bring as well as a potential for violence that can arise if it goes too far and as others retaliate.  We live in a world economy like it or not.

The credit agency Fitch, released a report claiming that, “The Trump administration represents a risk to the international economy and global government creditworthiness….”, the Financial Times writes this weekend.*

Ray Dalio, head of Bridgewater, world's largest hedge fund, is unnerved by the dangers of "nationalism, protectionism and militarism."  Seth Klarman, another hedge fund manager warns investors that markets are “overly optimistic” and he is concerned about Trump’s “high volatility” pointing out, “…investors generally abhor volatility and shun uncertainty.  “ “Not only is Trump shockingly unpredictable…” says Klarman, "...he’s apparently deliberately so; he says it’s part of his plan.” Capitalists like stability and won’t invest, or will certainly curb investment in unstable conditions threatening the global economy with a dangerous slump. Ignoring the real dangers that Trump’s approach brings to the fore could lead to, “a lengthy decline in dollar hegemony, a rapid rise in interest rates and inflation, and global angst.”  Klarman adds. Not a very pretty picture.

It remains to be seen how far Trump will go in his battle with the Judiciary. So far they seem to uniting in opposition to his assault. Even his choice to fill the US Supreme Court vacancy, Neil Gorsuch has publicly commented saying Trump’s comments about the judiciary were “disheartening” and “demoralizing”. One Republican Senator has even claimed Gorsuch said that any attack on the “…..brothers and sisters of the robe is an attack on all Judges.”** Class solidarity in action.

And this is the crux of the matter. The US bourgeois set up the checks and balances to protect their interests as a class, a sort of way of maintaining some honor among thieves. It is the capitalist system of production and the political superstructure on which it rests that the checks and balances seek to maintain by having these different branches of government, legislative (law making) executive (law enforcing) and judicial (interpreting the laws they make) have a level of independence from each other.  History taught them something. James Madison wrote:

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicia[l] in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self–appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” (James Madison, Federalist No. 51, 1788).

There is no difference in the class nature of these branches of course, the ruling class (in our case, capitalists) make the laws, enforce the laws and their judges, the judicial system, interprets them.  The government and the state, “checks and balances” or not, is a capitalist state and the ruling class, capitalists.  We live in what is technically a bourgeois (or capitalist) democracy. Just because a system is called a democracy doesn’t mean it is a democratic system for all its citizens. Athenian democracy is often championed as the bedrock of western civilization but in that democracy slaves could not vote---it was a slave owners’ democracy.

The opposition to Trump is mounting among the US bourgeois and former supporters are beginning to turn on him, not because he’s a misogynist a racist or because he will savage unions and workers in general---that’s not a real problem for them as long as it is well thought out---- but because he is threatening, and did so during his campaign, to undermine the integrity of the system, to undermine the legitimacy of their rule.

Lawrence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard had this to say:  "Were dealing with a president who has no respect for the basic institutions of our society, including an independent judiciary and the Fourth Estate"

Readers will remember the shock after he suggested during the debates with Clinton that he might not accept the result of their “democratic” election process. This is very dangerous as if he can reject the result of their so-called “democratic” elections, so can any other force in society, most notably, the working class. This is why, all the partisan bickering aside, “reaching across the aisle” is so crucial to maintaining power. This is why Gore never challenged Bush and why Hillary Clinton, despite being called nasty names and treated in the most unprofessional way by the predator, accepted the result, undemocratic as it is.

It is why she turned up at the Inauguration as did most of them.  For others, the pressure form their constituents was too great, the hatred of the racist Trump too pronounced, to allow them any room to reach out a hand to Trump or give him any credibility. But even Obama, as he always has, gave the election result credibility. He learned much at Harvard on how to defend the capitalist system.

Trump has brought in to the Executive Branch, a number of characters that threaten the stability of US capitalism, Nazi’s, white nationalists, Klan elements and other out and out racists. It is unquestionable that the big bourgeois, sections of them at least, are meeting and talking privately about what to do about this crisis as Trump is somewhat of a fool.  In response to O’Reilly’s reference to Putin being a killer, Trump blurts out, "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?"  Trump is absolutely correct on that. I will not give him credit for it however, as a broken clock is right twice a day, but that is dangerous talk from the top representative of US capitalism that presents itself to the world as the champion of democracy and justice, (or more accurately to its own citizenry as the rest of the world doesn’t believe it).

As we point out in our After the Women's March: A Statement From Facts For Working People, we are in an historic turning point in the US. We saw an unprecedented three million or more people demonstrating against Trump on January 21st.  People, especially women, who had never taken any political action in their lives other than at the ballot box, went on marches in hundreds of locations throughout the US.  There were huge protests at numerous airports against Trump’s ban on mostly Muslim people entering the US.

The present gang in Congress will continue their racist agenda and their attacks on women, workers rights, immigrants, LBGQT and all those that oppose their policies. What we witnessed on January 21st will not go away. Trump is the representative of a decaying system and US capitalism is driven by the laws of the system to wage an aggressive war against its own working class.  Sometimes the working class needs the whip of a counter-revolution to force it to its feet and Trump and his gang is that whip.

The resistance will not go away, it will suffer setbacks, steps back but also leaps forward. The trajectory is determined to a great degree by leadership.   But we learn through struggle. As workers move to change our conditions for the better we are met by the force of the state in all its forms, the police, the media, and at times the military, a more dangerous option for them as they are not as reliable when used domestically.  We draw conclusions about the world around us and the system in which we live.

Trump was correct with his statement about US capitalism not being “innocent”, having plenty of killers in its midst. He needs to be careful, US capitalism is a violent machine and will resort to any means to protect the system. The Kennedy brothers and others are proof of this; they will remove recalcitrant members of their class if they have to.

Workers must see these developments in this way. What we are witnessing is a both a political and economic crisis of capitalism---a squabble between our enemies. There is opportunity for us and we can be optimistic. It is inevitable that as a movement develops there will be all sorts of confusion, that there will be opportunism and other elements. In the women’s march we saw the influence of the liberal middle and upper middle classes, film stars, performers, Hollywood lefties and such. We should not be pessimistic simply because they are present, if we have the right approach and help build the movement correctly this will separate the wheat from the chaff and also, allies can come form unexpected places. The absence of the trade unions in any major way allowed the liberal middle class types to play a larger role than they should.  The trade union leaders that met with Trump are a disgrace as is the leadership of the public sector unions.

In the source of this struggle people will become more open to socialist ideas if we explain them in a non-sectarian way as we build a revolutionary current in movement and do not make the mistakes that the left does of placing the building of a small group ahead of building the movement as a whole.

Revolutionary activity is being able to understand the period we find ourselves in and develop perspectives based on this analysis. I do not describe myself as a Leninist but recognize Lenin as one of the great leaders of the working class in history. We have to be on our guard, and Lenin pointed out during the summer of 1917, ‘We must be especially attentive and careful, so as not to be drawn into a wrong move on our part can wreck everything...’ Perhaps the Black Bloc can benefit from that advice.

No ruling class commits itself to the garbage can of history and the capitalist class is no exception. But capitalism will destroy life as we know it if it is not overthrown and replaced by a democratic socialist world, a global federation of democratic socialists states.

We appeal to our readers that if you agree with our ideas in general, join Facts For Working People, help build our blog which is very successful so far having over 1 million views, a following on FB and other outlets and weekly phone conferences where we discuss events and perspectives for the movement. We want to contribute, as our statement above says, to the strengthening and building of the Resistance Movement that Trump has unleashed.

We can be contacted at: or on Facebook at:

* US President’s  Aggressive Tone Poses Global Risks: FY 11-2-17
** ibid


G de Leon said...

you quote Lenin's warning: We have to be on our guard, and Lenin pointed out during the summer of 1917, ‘We must be especially attentive and careful, so as not to be drawn into a wrong move on our part can wreck everything...’ and add "Perhaps the Black Bloc can benefit from that advice." you also state that the "resistance will not go away".

the Bolsheviks did in fact have such a moment during the July 1917 demonstrations. Lenin went into hiding. Trotsky was jailed for a period of time by the provisional government. it wasn't fatal. the Bolsheviks recovered and carried out the defense of Petrograd and then the October (November) Revolution.

you begin the article by noting that the bourgeoisie can make adjustments and recover their equilibrium. they did so after Nixon's Vietnam escalations. the mass demonstrations evaporated once the particular irritant (the Vietnam War) was removed.

if the planned demonstrations have the effect of removing Trump from office (a possibility i dearly hope for), the flagrant irritant will be removed and for a period of time we'll have a right wing equilibrium.

the left has yet to develop a following in the organized working class--i don't give much credence to the Labor Notes' low level economism...sorry. less than 10% of workers in the USnA are unionized. the left has more resonance in movements against the Dakota Pipeline, the fight for 15, immigrant rights and Black Lives Matters.

you and others on the socialist/ communist left are correct to point to the power of the working class in general and, hopefully, in the future this class will act for-itself as opposed to being a mostly inert (or worse) class in-itself. that will happen (i think) when the movements of the oppressed and less privileged layers of the working class population are championed by unions with socialist/ communist leaderships. with some notable exceptions, we're not seeing that...yet.

i've enjoyed the articles posted by Facts for Working People and hope my comments are taken in the comradely sense that i intend. i share your optimism for this period and hope the left can use it to regroup while playing a greater role in the various movements. at the same time, my enthusiasm is tempered by long experience.

Sean said...

Richard another excellent article. Thank you. Thank you also Comrade De Leon for your very helpful comments. I feel we have a lot of agreement. I particularly agree with your last statement where you write"I share your optimism for this period and hope the left can use it to regroup while playing a greater role in the various movements. At the same time my enthusiasm is tempered by long experience." We in Facts for Working People are paying particular attention to this. Trying to see how we can develop a non sectarian revolutionary current in the working class. We have some ideas on this which i would like to share with you. And will when i get the resources put these on the Blog. Our statement which is on the Blog on the women's march movement gives an idea of how we see things: Advocate for a mass Alliance, a mass United Front against the Trump agenda and within this build a non sectarian revolutionary current. To perhaps paraphrase yourself, this is easier said than done. But to refer to Trotsky the crisis of humanity is the crisis of the proletarian leadership. We have no alternative but to try to do this. Sean O'Torain.