On 20th January the extremely reactionary, sexist, nationalist racist and protofascist politician Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the USA.
He is confronted with rejection and distrust of the masses worldwide. Right after the election already, tens of thousands of people in at least 50 cities took to the streets with the slogan: “Not our president”. Many people in the USA as well as in Germany are upset and ask anxiously what will follow from the presidency of Trump.
What kind of foreign policy can be expected from a man who expressed: “If we have nuclear weapons, why can we not use them?” Many people are asking how it was possible that Trump has won the election. Has the US American people and and the working class in general shifted to the right? Which forces of the US finance capital support Trump and his new government team? He scored points in the election campaign mainly by setting himself up as “adversary of the establishment”. But in reality he appoints to his future government people like Rex Tillerson, general director of the energy monopoly ExxonMobil, former generals, investment bankers, misogynists, people denying the global environmental crisis and adversaries of social concessionsi. He carries to extremes his disgusting nepotism and favoring of his own family by having appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as advisor of foreign affairs. Kushner himself is with only 36 years an immensely rich real estate agent. Among others, it was his father who made sure this happened. A man who had been behind bars for 14 months for tax evasion, illegal political donations and subornation of witnesses. The fact that according to law a US president is not allowed to give family members governmental posts does not bother Trump. His government represents the most reactionary and most aggressive parts of US finance capital. Petrol and armaments corporations like Exxon and Lockheed are more orientated towards the home market than for example the car industry.
Trumps slogan “Make America Great Again” is a reaction to the growing questioning of the role of US imperialism as superpower. The new government stands for an aggressive foreign policy and rearmament, for a roll-back in environmental politics as well as for a general attack on the social and democratic rights, on migrants, on the women's, environmental and peace movement. All partial achievements of the working class – from pensions to health insurance and minimum wage - are up for debate. As a matter of fact, Trump wants to abolish the right to abortion and expel millions of migrants.
Reactionary electoral system
While the USA often describe themselves as stronghold of “democracy” and “liberty” the masses experience that in reality the “Wall Street”, that is to say the solely ruling international finance capital, has established a dictatorship over the entire society. The parties connected with it make the decisions. The whole electoral system in the USA is focused on the sham alternative between the party of the “Democrats” and the “Republicans”. Millions of migrants and people who are not registered were excluded from the elections from the start. Trump becomes president even though only 25.5 per cent of the persons eligible to vote voted for him - and although he even got 2.9 million votes less than Hilary Clinton nationwide.
Many people were disappointed and disillusioned after 8 years of Barack Obama – in spite of the “health reform” and the Nobel prize that has been awarded to him. The social contrasts have further sharpened. For the masses of working people this means decreasing or stagnating wages, second and third jobs, loss of company pensions etc. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their houses financed by loans. Nothing has changed regarding the racist arbitrary police actions against Afro-Americans. Despite the empty phrases of Obama about environmental protection the USA have risen to become the biggest supplier of gas and petrol of the world during his period of office by the fast proliferation of fracking. This intensifies the global environmental crisis.
Trump – also a response to the trend to the left
The overwhelming majority of the population in the USA says that things cannot go on like this. Since the deepest world economic and financial crisis in the history of capitalism from 2008 to 2014 there is a growing mood among the masses against the Wall Street. Especially among the youth there is a growing search for a societal alternative and openness for the idea of socialism. In an opinion poll of YouGov.com in February 2016 48 per cent of the participants expressed that they had a “positive opinion” about socialism. In the USA there is a strong and partially militant environmental movement, a growing anti-racist movement as well as a nationwide movement for a minimum wage of 15 dollars (about 14 euros).
Bernie Sanders, who was narrowly defeated in the preliminary elections within the “Democrats”, expressively declared his sympathy for socialism and even spoke of a necessary “revolution”. That instilled mainly young people with enthusiasm. However, outside the election campaign Sanders defends social democratic positions and wants to reform capitalism. The fact that Clinton presented herself as “experienced” politician – of precisely the hated establishment – was her undoing. This even was an important reason for many disappointed people to vote for Trump. “After an exceptional media campaign for months in the end there was only the choice between pest and cholera left for the masses”, the revolutionary world organization ICOR established in its resolution from 11th November. The working class and the population of the USA is composed of people from different nations. Afro-Americans and Hispanics are a big and further growing part of the population. It were mainly parts of the better-off intermediate strata and white, older workers in states with the biggest job cuts during the last 10 years who voted for Trumpii.
The role of the USA as single superpower called into question
After the Second World War the USA became the absolutely dominating power within the capitalist camp. They developed to an economic, military and and political superpower. After the restoration of capitalism in the former socialist Soviet Union and its development to a social-imperialist superpower the world was characterized by a bipolarity from the middle of the 1950ies to the 1990ies. Already at the beginning of the 20th century Lenin discovered the law of the uneven economic and political development as an “absolute law of capitalism” in his analysis of imperialismiii.
Today the policy of the USA in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria has all come to nothing. The USA have fallen behind economically. In 2000 there were still 185 international supermonopolies in the USA belonging to the 500 biggest monopolies worldwide. In 2015 there were only 134 supermonopolies. The share of the USA in direct investments in foreign countries worldwide has fallen from 32.5 per cent in the year 1990 to 23.9 per cent in 2015. The enormous expenditure on armaments and the financing of various imperialist wars are more and more coming into conflict with the immense amount of state debts. It presently amounts to 105 per cent of the annual gross domestic product.
Why is Trump turning against China?
Since the turn of the millennium a growing number of new imperialist countries have developed including the BRICS and MIST statesiv and some others. Their share of worldwide industrial value creation doubled from 20 per cent to at least 40 per cent between 2000 and 2014. In the struggle for markets and spheres of influence they are aggressively pushing forward. This severely calls into question the structure of the present imperialist world system.
China has taken the place of the USA as biggest national economy. The biggest banks of the world, as measured by the balance sheet total, are no longer from the USA but from China. The “Industrial Construction Bank of China” is number one. Chinese banks are massively buying up companies worldwide. Chinas share in the 500 biggest supermonopolies has increased by leaps and bounds since the year 2000 from 12 to 103 in 2015. Today China is the economically most expanding imperialist power in Asia, Africa and Latin America and has increased the volume of its arms production by multiples since the turn of the millennium.
Is it all just (electoral) clamor?
Already under Obama US imperialism developed a reorientation of its global military strategy shifting the main focus from Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. The cooperation between China and Russia in the so-called Shanghai group is what threatens most the global claim to leadership of the USA. In the election campaign Trump announced the beginning of a trade war against China and a policy of rapprochement with Russia. He wants to introduce customs duties of 45 per cent for commodities from China and radically reduce company taxes from 35 to 15 per cent so that the US-American supermonopolies have an edge in the competition. The fact that Trump is striving for a cooperation with Putin aims at weakening the Shanghai group and the present Russian ally China. This change of the geopolitical strategy of US imperialism would have worldwide repercussions.
The widely held opinion that Trump is only a “crazy clown” who is not to be taken serious misjudges the fact which forces he represents and in whose interest he pursues his policy that becomes more and more apparent. It is also naive to think one has to “give him a chance” first. The federal government of Germany is already reaching out for cooperation. As in the case of the fascist Erdogan dictatorship, it will also practice a cooperation with Trump.
The USA as well as Russia have announced the modernization of their nuclear weapons since some time. Apart from Syria and Ukraine the conflict between US imperialism and China in the South China Sea has the potential to develop into a focal point of the danger of a third nuclear world war.
The real alternative is on the left!
The shift to the right of those in power in the USA, but of many other governments as well, like the Merkel/Gabriel government in Germany, is far from an expression of their strength. It is the reaction to the deepening general crisis-proneness of the imperialist world system. The deception by the system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking is becoming more and more ineffective. The general tendency towards reaction inherent to imperialism becomes more and more obvious. The societal polarization is intensifying on a worldwide scale and challenges the international massive protest and resistance.
In the USA, progressive and revolutionary forces of the working-class, women's, environmental, students- and peace movement are mobilizing people in the whole country for regional protests and a mass demonstration in the capital Washington D.C. The women's movement calls also for nationwide protests on 21st January. The understanding that the progressive movements and revolutionary forces have to unite more is spreading. The development of a societal force for democracy, freedom and socialism requires the strengthening of the revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist forces also in the USA – to overcome their still existing fragmentation and to unite in the revolutionary world organization ICOR. The MLPD supports the call of the Internationalist Alliance of progressive and revolutionary forces in Germany and of the coordinating group of the Monday demonstration movement to take to the streets also in Germany nationwide on 23rd January against the shift to the right of the US government and the Merkel/Gabriel government as well as against the AfD.
ii2) They also constitute a big part of the few workers organized in trade unions. The degree of unionization in the USA fell to a latest value of eleven per cent. For this reason the share of Trump voters among the workers organized in trade unions was much bigger than among the non-organized workers (see p. 20).
MIST states: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey.