Thursday, June 29, 2017

US: Social explosions lie ahead as a crumbling empire wages war at home and abroad.

Trump: drumming up business for the war industry.
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

When I was in Europe recently I sensed a mood of concern about the danger that the heavily armed unstable US state apparatus poses to the world.  When I was at the London demo against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 there was a similar mood and wonder at how an imbecile like George W Bush could become president of the most powerful nation on earth. Some younger US travelers were actually putting Canada’s maple leaf on their backpacks.

With the degenerate Donald Trump at the helm now, Dubya almost comes across as cuddly.

Trump has escalated US intervention in Syria (something Hillary Clinton promised she would do) in a proxy war fought on foreign land for influence in the region. The MOAB dropped on-------who knows who in Afghanistan------a bomb with such power it destroys life up to a mile away, was a small test of Trump’s will. The US refuses to publicize the results of that aggression, who was killed, how many etc. The arrogance of imperial power, the environmental damage is not even worth talking about.

After the US claimed Syria used sarin gas on a civilian target in April, Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian airfield.  Both Russia and Syria deny the attack but all the mainstream press in the US took the story and ran with it. The respected investigative journalist Seymour Hirsh writes this week that the attack was not a Sarin gas attack but a conventional attack on a warehouse containing chemical pesticides. (Read Hirsh’s article here)

Despite the back and forth, the White House has jacked up the tension after “the US learned Syria had armed a warplane with chemical weapons” WSJ 6-28-17). The Administration warned that the Syrian government would pay a “heavy price” if it launches another chemical attack despite increased evidence to the contrary. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN also chimed in saying the White House also a warning to Russia and Iran.

For working class people, there is no side that can be supported in this war for the right to plunder this region. Neither Russian imperialism and its ally Iran, nor US imperialism and its allies Saudi Arabia and Israel serve the interests of working class people and the savagery this has meant for the Syrian workers and middle class is tragic. Syria, the reader should recall, is one of the nations marked for regime change by US capitalism, confirmed in diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks where the US state dept. was encouraged to join with the murderous Saudi’s to destabilize Syria. *

While there should be no doubt that Syria’s Assad would use chemical weapons against his own people, any of the players in this game would. The US used chemicals against the Vietnamese, their food supply and sprayed it on their own troops. But it’s hard to imagine that Assad, and especially his Patron Putin, would embark down this road at this juncture, what is to be gained by it? We should be suspicious of these US claims. Younger readers not familiar with the Gulf of Tonkin episode should check in to it. There are no rules in this nasty game played by ruthless murderers on both sides and the Trump administration is in trouble in dire need of a diversion like a new terrorist attack.

We have to be realistic here. At some point in time there will be a catastrophic event that will dwarf the catastrophe in Syria or the mass migrations of people from North Africa to Europe hoping to escape the instability and madness of imperialism and its conflicts.  We brought attention to the consequences that even a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would bring and the global effects of that conflict.  US capitalism, a decaying behemoth, armed to the teeth, is stoking conflict in every region of the world it has an influence and with some 280 installations throughout the globe, its influence is considerable. US capitalism is also the world’s dominant dealer in arms and other weapons of mass destruction and the arms industry is a very lucrative and profitable one.

From the borders of Russia’s west to the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea, Latin America, Central Asia, Africa and beyond, the US war machine ensures tensions remain and one side or the other, at times both sides, need US arms to maintain their positions.

The rapacious US war machine, its architects in the Pentagon and among the US body politic, make the Iranian theocracy seem almost sedate by comparison. In response to this most recent escalation of tensions by the Predator in Chief, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif writes: “Another dangerous US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS, precisely when its being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people.”

It is important for American workers to recall that very few Americans have died at the hands of ISIS nor has our property or public infrastructure been destroyed by the group. It has been a mark of US foreign policy to promote such groups, one’s like ISIS or openly brutal regimes that fund terrorism, so-called “legitimate” regimes like the Saudi’s, and it has been the Muslim people, overwhelmingly workers and the poor, who have been these Islamo-fascist groups main targets. But we will not escape the violence forever.

There is justification for concern about the future and the future for our children and our planet.  It would appear that Americans simply do not care about it but they do. The recent election and the abstention from electoral politics is a reflection of the disgust so many Americans have in their political system, politicians, and the two parties of capital. The main problem is that there is a strong mood in society that there is nothing that can be done about the situation. After all, where can people turn? What can they join? The two capitalist parties are despised and the whole political system deemed corrupt. To challenge it seems such a daunting task. But to not challenge it is the greater danger.

What the future holds for our children
There is at this point no social force that can unite what are a growing number of movements resisting and fighting back against the capitalist offensive. Organized labor has the resources, structure and money to play this role, but is saddled with a leadership that can only be described as a criminal clique of pro-capitalist agents, “Labor Lieutenants of Capital” De Leon called them.  

The capitalist class is in an acute political crisis with its two traditional parties incapable of producing an acceptable candidate in the last election and the leaders of the labor movement do nothing. Well, not quite nothing. A section of them met with the degenerate Trump in the hope of benefiting from the non-existent infrastructure plan as more jobs means continued revenue in the form of union dues that fund their obscene salaries.  The heads of the service sector unions seem to have gone in to hiding. Consequently, through the mass media and the religious institutions, the ideology of the market is brought to the masses unchallenged, this has delayed the movement against the capitalist offensive.

The Trump administration and the right wing Republicans that support him are intent on driving the working class further in to poverty; they will not leave us alone. Living standards, social benefits, what little there are in the US, are to be savaged further.  This cannot continue forever. At some point there will be an explosion as people are forced to break free from the restraints of electoral politics and raucous town hall meetings where they launch in to tirades against the politicians destroying their lives. The Democrats, whose polices differ from the Republicans only in degree, are incapable of stopping the onslaught.

The formation that has benefited most since the betrayal of Sanders and the election of Trump is the Democratic Socialists of America, primarily in the left wing of the Democratic Party and having grown to some 20,000 members since the election by most accounts. It is hard to say how things will develop. Maybe there will be a left split from the Democrats, a right one from the Republicans as the Christian Zionist elements are driven out. It does appear that Trump can’t get much done and his constant tweeting and unpredictable behavior is not good for business. Capital and the markets like stability and Trump is anything but that.

Social movements and revolutions often arise out of great shocks and it appears inevitable that it will be an event like s regional nuclear conflict, an environmental catastrophe involving deaths of thousands, another “terrorist” event in the US or something similar that will drive the US working class to its feet. The heads of organized labor are partially responsible for this scenario arising. The industrial working class has shifted from the West to the East and South East. China, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam are now home to industrial armies, more than 50% of them women. But capitalism will not be relegated to the history books without the US working class settling accounts with the US bourgeois.

* See: The Wikileaks Files, order the book at Verso here 30% off.

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