On the Significance of Presidential Elections
Build the Alternative of Political Empowerment
It is not the people who are divisive, racist, anti-immigrant and pro-war — it is the U.S. state and its monopoly media, which repeats and echoes the demands of the state. The working class has shown itself to be against racism and war and for rights, as currently indicated in the united stand clear across the country by workers, especially young workers, in favor of the courageous struggle at Standing Rock. This is a struggle in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples and protecting water and Mother Earth for all. It is growing into a fight condemning the U.S. state and its brutality against the peoples and one widely supported by workers.
It is the single united working class that has the role of blocking the racist U.S. state as it pursues its wars of aggression and anti-social agenda, and of leading the fight for empowerment of the people to govern and decide. The presidential election and all the promotion of the workers as racist is a means to hide this reality and divide and disrupt the struggles of the people for rights. It is to hide the fact that the working class is contending with a situation where its voice is silenced, or portrayed as backward and racist. The class is contending with a situation where existing institutions at all levels are not democratic and are instead blocking people’s democracy.
It is the racist electoral system that promotes voters not as human beings with rights, but rather as voting cattle. There are black cattle and brown cattle and white cattle, all shunted into corrals and reported on as if they were things, not people. We are to believe white workers are to blame for Trump, not the divisive electoral process that routinely whips up racism and divisions while excluding working people and keeping them out of power.
Workers are not voting cattle and this election indicates a rejection of these notions, by the human beings involved, that they will vote like cattle along predictable lines. It also indicates a rejection of a set-up that is not democratic and that sows doubt and divisions rather than arming people to solve problems in a rational and reasoned manner. Not a few both Trump and Clinton voters have said there must be no repeat of this situation in four years. An alternative that empowers the people, not the rich, is in order.
This election is a clear call to step up resistance and advance the fight for politics of empowerment, so it is the people themselves who are elected to govern and decide. It is a call to build up the independent institutions of the working class so that its voice is heard and carries weight. This means joing work to strengthen independent press like Voice of Revolution. It means strengthening independent organizing to raise the level of political discussion and involve fellow workers in it. It is a call to advance our own thinking and our own pro-social, anti-war agenda. This can be done by, for example, by countering the presence of the military in our high schools and universities by demanding an anti-war alternative and providing it in the schools. It can be done using surveys and other means to bring the fight against U.S. wars and for an anti-war government to the fore, at the inauguration actions and elsewhere. Politics of empowerment embodied in political organizing in the interests of the people are the order of the day.
With Trump Presidency Ruling Circles Resort to Government of Police Power
The election of Donald Trump as president indicates that imperialist rule by the oligopolies will be by unfettered police powers. It shows how completely the old arrangements of government of laws, with functioning political parties and a functioning political process are finished. It spells grave dangers for the peoples at home and abroad, as Trump embarks on a presidency to expand police powers and the impunity that goes with them.
U.S. rulers are facing a situation where their previous overwhelming economic power is in decline and where military might alone is not sufficient to maintain and extend their world empire. They are insistent on such empire though, and prepared to risk world war and civil war and potentially drag the world down with them. This campaign brought to the fore that they are not able to sustain a political process that provides legitimacy to their rule, as they reject the need to modernize democracy by empowering the people.
Obama came forward in 2008 in part to unite the warring factions of the military bureaucracy, across all the various branches and various police forces and intelligence agencies. He was to overcome the humiliation and disrepute of the U.S. on the world stage generated by the Bush regime. Instead, with his drone warfare, torture, indefinite detention and other crimes against the peoples, he only succeeded in further lowering U.S. standing in the world. At home people openly spoke during this election of how eight years of Bush and eight years of Obama had done nothing to resolve the issues of poverty and inequality and aggressive wars while making people feel even more powerless and marginalized than before.
Governing institutions like Congress and legislatures more generally are dysfunctional and the political parties and political process that go with them are also dysfunctional (see November 7 VOR, "Campaign Serves to Eliminate Political Parties and Undermine Fight for People's Empowerment," http://usmlo.org/arch2016/2016-11/VR161107.htm#01). None of the actions of the political representatives of the oligopolies, which are endangering life on earth, contribute to the development of an aim for the polity consistent with the needs of humankind and life itself. Indeed the imperialist rulers are blocking such an aim and striving to keep the people from themselves being political and uniting with others to bring the economic, political and social structures into conformity with the modern reality of socialized conditions.
In a situation where a political process cannot be sustained and government of laws is being eliminated, the response of the rulers is to take the country further backward. A Trump government of police powers creates an even more dangerous situation for the peoples at home and abroad.
Extending Police Powers in the Name of Making America Great
A main role of Trump is to further extend the police powers utilized by Obama — such as his drone warfare, torture, mass detention of women and children refugees, militarization of police forces — and to eliminate any fetters that remain. To the degree that Congress still holds the purse strings is one such fetter Trump will strive to minimize, perhaps by using police powers against those who oppose him, as he has threatened. Further extending the impunity of the executive to act is another. Both of these however threaten to increase potential civil war scenarios, as contending authorities among the policing agencies, at state and local levels, and with the presidency, collide. This is something the rulers want to avoid. Trump will attempt to contend with this by using the anger among the people with the current process and with Congressional dysfunction to justify the need for more executive action. In his claim to represent a movement that is anti-establishment, he is seeking to bring the people in line with this direction of government of police power.
The content of Trump’s plan to Make America Great Again can be seen by appointments for his cabinet. Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, named after the president of the confederacy, Jefferson Davis and confederate General Beauregard, is to be Attorney General. His appointment represents an effort to unify forces among the rulers north and south in conditions where civil war scenarios are already evident. Trump's means to do this is to openly embrace those known to support the slave-power of the south. It remains to be seen if this will be successful.
Sessions has also voiced support for Trump’s plans to quickly begin deporting immigrants and to do so even more rapidly than Obama has done. Immigration is one of the areas where the executive can act with broad impunity and take action without Congress.
On this front Trump is already facing contention from local and state authorities, including those in California and New York, home to many undocumented immigrants he seeks to target. Los Angeles police, for example, have stated they will not cooperate with federal forces, as have New York City Mayor de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Emanuel. Various officials from other sanctuary cities, like Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle have said the same.
A main problem the rulers face in imposing a government of police power is precisely that of unifying the various policing agencies and bringing them under federal and military control. This is a main responsibility of the president, charged with preserving the U.S. state. Various recent police actions, including those at Standing Rock where many state police from different states and National Guard were brought together to repress resistance, are part of such efforts. The resistance from state and local forces that Trump is facing in regards to immigration indicate the difficulties the rulers confront in imposing their dictate. The various authorities are all contending for power and Trump may not be so successful in uniting them, especially considering the various mayors have huge police forces of their own.
Trump and Sessions are also backing expansion of the previous government registry, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). It targeted non-citizens living legally in the U.S. as well as those entering legally, many with student visas, from 25 Asian and African countries, many mostly Muslim, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, and Syria. It existed from 2002-2011, with portions of it still in place, including a giant biometric database of registrants, used by the many policing agencies at all levels.
The use of a special registry is not a Trump invention. It is part of the direction of governance toward one of police power that has been developing and that Trump seeks to build on and expand. It is also a means to bring the various agencies involved together, in the name of national security. Such registries and plans more broadly for biometric ID for immigrants, then all workers, are also means by which to criminalize the workforce and enable the imperialist rulers to more readily impose their government of police power. These are among the reasons that stepping up the broad resistance to all such measures is critical.
Internationally, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is a likely choice for Secretary of State. Giuliani is notorious for his use of police powers in New York City, including the racist Stop and Frisk police action directed primarily against African American and Puerto Rican youth. It is an example of police taking action without cause and on an openly racist basis. This then is to be implemented on an international basis. However, just as Obama’s actions along these lines served to further lower U.S. standing in the world, Trumps effort to greatly expand the use of police powers could well do the same.
Not Our President, Not Our Democracy
The many demonstrations across the country and those planned for Trump’s inauguration indicate that government of police powers is not acceptable to the people. Signs read: Not My President, with many also expressing, not our democracy.
Those fighting against war and for rights are contending with the reality that the dysfunctional political process and rise of police powers also means that a civil society based on government of laws is being eliminated. The tactics based on these old arrangements, such as notions of pressuring politicians to meet the needs of the people and take their views into consideration are also coming to an end. New forms and tactics are needed in the situation. Resistance involving efforts to deprive the rulers of their ability to deprive the people of their rights are vital.
The struggle at Standing Rock is an important example of such efforts. The Sioux and those with them are rejecting the police category of protester, and standing up as water protectors. This struggle too is an example of focusing on using demonstrations as a means to strengthen the level of organization and consciousness and to raise the level of political discussion and politicization of the polity as a whole, all of which are needed.
Trump’s presidency indicates that U.S. rulers can no longer sustain a political process with government of laws. They are instead compelled to impose a government of unfettered police powers, a dangerous and undemocratic direction. The times demand instead advancing the cause of democracy by organizing today, in our many actions and fighting organizations, to enable the people themselves to be the decision makers. The new direction needed is a pro-social, anti-war direction and bringing it about requires a democracy of our own making where we the people decide.
Police powers by their nature are arbitrary and implemented on the basis of broad impunity. It is not just a matter of police and military forces of various kinds taking action, but rather of a means of governance in a situation where the rulers have no solutions and where they are compelled to block the striving of the people to modernize and broaden democracy. Unlike a government of laws, which must at least have the appearance of legitimacy and concern for social needs, a government of police powers does not.
In this vein, Trump voiced his disdain for social needs by emphasizing that he will treat government as a business. In his victory speech he said, "I've spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world" and "That is now what I want to do for our country." Business is run on the basis of the “bottom line” and treating human beings as things, even products, to be disposed of. Responsibility to society and to meet the needs of society are not main considerations.
Legitimacy of government is also not a main concern. Police powers are to punish, criminalize, destroy, even whole nations and the human productive powers they encompass. This election showed that the rulers are no longer concerned with maintaining even the appearance of a functioning political process, with Trump the embodiment of this reality.
U.S. rulers are contending with a situation where, as Trump said, the U.S. is in decline as an economic power and has yet to impose its hegemony over all those who resist. It must contend with rivals and allies alike as it strives for world domination and does so by continually threatening and upping the ante. This brings on more violence and contention, as is already occurring at home and abroad.
Obama was seen as a more reluctant force, more on the sidelines in this striving for domination. Trump is seen as a deal-maker who can put and keep the U.S. in the game where everyone is threatening everyone else. He will on the one hand strike deals, likely behind closed doors and using his executive powers. On the other, brandish the full might of U.S. police powers without concern about legitimacy, abroad and at home. This is the necessity of U.S. rulers today and it is hoped that Trump can meet it.
The End of "Business As Usual"
On November 4, just prior to the U.S. presidential election that took place on November 8, CPC(M-L) wrote the following:
"... the campaign has revealed the extent to which the U.S. state and system of governance operate through corruption and coercion as well as how people are deprived of political power." CPC(M-L) noted that how the people are deprived of political power is "the other very important aspect of the state power in the hands of the financial oligarchy. The ruling imperialist elite achieve this by depriving the people of an outlook, a way to look at the world and the problems that have arisen so that they can be calmly sorted out and provided with solutions."
The same applies to the verdicts on the election results. Everything is being done "to deprive the people of an outlook, a way to look at the world and the problems that have arisen so that they can be calmly sorted out and provided with solutions."
What are the verdicts being pushed? From the side of the Clinton campaign, the verdict is that the result is the apocalypse, and the values and vision of Clinton remain all that stand between "you and the apocalypse" as she said during the campaign. From the side of the Trump campaign comes the explanation that he led "a movement" which is anti-establishment, wants the problems of the economy dealt with and an end to "all the bullshit." From both sides comes the agreement that now that the election is over, everyone's duty is to abide by the Constitution, ensure the transition of power is peaceful and unite America.
Clinton Concedes Nothing While Trump Sets Forth to "Make America Great Again"
In Hillary Clinton's concession speech, besides the presidency itself, she conceded nothing, not even her defeat. Far from it, despite the fact that Clinton failed to unite America behind her vision and values, she said that going forward it is this shared vision and values, which she will continue to push and she calls on her supporters to do likewise. This vision uses aggression and war as negotiation, blames the U.S. economic decline on China and maintains Russia as the main enemy of the United States. It was captured in her slogan that the U.S. is the "indispensable nation," which, of course, makes all others dispensable. It was expressed by Clinton in 2008 when she said the U.S. could "totally obliterate" Iran, and in 2011 when she greeted the assassination of the leader of Libya with the phrase "We came, we saw, he died."
In his victory speech, Trump made sure to mention the large number of generals who support him, as well as the National Rifle Association and New York City Mayor during 9/11, Rudolph Giuliani and others who stand for the unfettered police powers Trump thinks are necessary to "Make America Great Again." The central points of his campaign were basically that the U.S. system is broken or rigged, that the U.S. has been weakened on the world stage and that only a man of Trump's force of personality is capable of putting things right. His strategy is to be "engaged" and that the art lies in how you make the deal. In his victory speech he said, "I've spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world" and "That is now what I want to do for our country."
Blame the State, Not the People, for Racism, Sexism and Anti-Working Class Attacks and Outlook
Everything is done to hide that it is the U.S. state which is anti-worker, sexist and racist and anti-immigrant as well as profoundly anti-communist, which is why in the rendering of the election results, the defeat of Clinton is blamed on the working class.
Meanwhile, every state-organized and spontaneous white supremacist formation and unhinged individual and psychopath is given a green light to attack the targets of their personal hatred and psychotic nightmares. This is due to the boorish and inflammatory reality TV rhetoric on the basis of which Trump ran his election campaign, but also its ceaseless promotion by U.S. media, and especially the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign spent twice as much money as Trump to make Trump the issue for the American people during the election. It is the Clinton media and entourage which now use every epithet in the book to portray the working people of the United States who voted for Trump as rabid, crazed zealots who are trampling the rights of the people in the mud.
It does not behoove those who devote all their energies to fighting for the rights of all to fall victim to this official, which treats people as categories of "things" and divides them on that basis.
All Out to Support the American Working Class and People Fighting for Empowerment and the Rights of All
CPC(M-L) denounces the attacks against the people which have taken place since the election, both those which are spontaneous and the ones organized by a crisis-ridden state which has now given itself a green light to govern through unfettered police powers. Police powers do not recognize members of a body politic made up of a civil society with a government of laws. Police powers do not recognize rights by virtue of one's membership in that body politic, let alone rights by virtue of being human. Police powers only recognize categories of "things" slated for some form of punishment. In scenarios which have been unfolding in the U.S. for some time, people are portrayed as "thugs," "protestors," "trouble-makers," "enemy aliens," "blacks," "Latinos," "Hispanics," "Muslims," "terrorists," "deviants" and other categories designed to dehumanize them and target them for attack.
CPC(M-L) takes this occasion to profoundly sympathize with all those in the United States who are targets of the racist, anti-worker and anti-people attacks and are waging valiant protests and acts of resistance proclaiming loudly that this is not their democracy, Trump is not their President and that attacks against the people are "Not In My Name." … It calls on all to analyze the significance of the results and prepare for the battles which lie ahead. (cpcml.ca)