The Republican Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Although there was a virtual tie between him and Hillary Clinton among the popular votes, Trump had a clear majority of representatives in the Electoral College. It is still early to take all the conclusions of a political fact of this magnitude, but we want to start an analysis – that should be further developed.
The triumph of a bourgeois right-wing populist character (with xenophobic, racist and sexist positions) against the apparatuses of both traditional parties has caused a strong impact in the US and the world, as much as intense debates on its significance.
All the analysts agree in pointing out that Trump’s election had its base in wide sectors of white voters from rural regions; of small owners, and specifically impoverished white workers that were affected by the deindustrialization process, the crisis, the low salaries and precarious jobs or unemployment; a social downfall that was not reverted by the economic “recovering” during Obama’s turns, neither by the decrease of the unemployment rate.
Among this sector, the racist, xenophobic and reactionary speech of Trump against the immigrants made echo, as much as his attacks to the system of the “politicians” and his fake promises that “it is enough to work hard and seriously” to recover the “greatness of the US” and to return to “the American dream”. This populist rightist speech allowed him not only to win the traditionally Republican states but also the “oscillating” ones, even the historical white industrial workers’ ones, like Michigan (Detroit). This workers sector expressed like this its frustration and discontent with “the system”, broke with the Democratic Party and turned to the right, supporting Trump electorally. It is necessary to properly dimension the real importance of this process: all Trump voters represent only the 25% of the real electorate (including the agrarian and middle class bases of the countryside). And this white workers’ vote also shows the absence of a clear independent alternative, a classist and revolutionary leadership to call for the unity of the working class, fighting the racial preconception and the bourgeois ideologies, starting by the ones inside the imperialist country itself.
Thus, it cannot be explained why Trump was elected if not considering, at the same time, the electoral wear process of the Democratic Party and the rupture ‘through the left’ of part of its electoral base, which did not vote for Hillary nor for Trump. The base of this wear is the deep disappointment with Obama’s turns and the great expectations the masses had on him. Obama ruled “for the rich” and did not solve any problems most felt by the masses, he kept a hard repressive and persecution policy to “illegal” latin@ immigrants, and supported the wave of violence, repression and murders of the black youth by the police.
In addition, Hillary is clearly a rightist (unconditionally supports Israel and the crimes of Zionism; she encouraged all the wars and invasions of the last two decades; she supported the persecution to latin@ immigrants and the repression to the black), and she has no charisma to reach the masses. On the contrary, she generates strong rejection.
The socio-economic decline we have analyzed did not only caused a turn to the right but also the turn of a massive sector to the left, which was expressed in the high voting of Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Beyond the true role of Sanders, he did present himself as something “new”, a “socialist” critical of the consequences of the financial capitalism. He caught the sympathy of millions among the youth. Some analysts even consider he could have won of Trump.
But Hillary’s candidature closed that door causing a rupture of many with the Democrats: according to the research, only half of the youth that supported Sanders voted for Hillary. Another important rupture was of part of the black population and youth (expressed in the movement Black Lives Matter), which did not support her either. In both cases, these are extremely progressive ruptures through the left.
Most world leftists are looking only at the elections and taking the conclusion that Trump’s election is the expression of a “reactionary turn” around the world. We do not agree with this. There is a growing polarization, now expressed also in the US.
To carry his proposals, Trump must face two barriers. The first one is the class struggle. Beyond his populist promises, Trump has no alternative than to attack the masses and workers as a whole in benefit of the imperialist capitalism. It can happen that a sector of white workers that voted for him supports the attacks to latin@s and black, but other sector can be rapidly disappointed and turn the initial support into the opposite.
The other sectors (that did not vote for him) already see him as an enemy. For example, one day after the elections, young activists of several cities in the country made numbers of demonstrations of thousands against the future president (something without precedents in the history of the country). They are young people that did not vote for Trump nor for Hillary, and do not feel represented by any of them. A foretaste of the future…?
The second barrier is the center of the imperialist bourgeoisie itself, which tried to avoid Trump’s election because it does not see him as “reliable” and does not agree with his proposals. Some of those affect the interests of the heart of the imperialist US economy (the financial bourgeoisie and its parasitism). Is Trump willing to face this onslaught? If he is, hard clashes are inevitable.
Other proposals go against the policy of “democratic reaction”, essential imperialist tactic for the world over the last decades confronting revolutions and struggles, since the harsh defeat in Vietnam’s War, in 1975. The democratic reaction means to defend the imperialist interests combining and smoothing the repression with negotiations, pacts and elections. In 2001, Bush tried to change that policy for the “war against terror” (so, a much more warlike Bonapartist policy), but he was strongly defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, generating a deep crisis of the imperialism around the world (and also internally). The bet on Obama and his election were an attempt to respond to this situation, as much as an intention of recovering the democratic reaction policy stronger than before (now with the help of Pope Francis).
Is Trump ending the policy of agreements with the Castro in Cuba, with the FARC in Colombia, with Iran in Middle East; or the policy of supporting elections in semi-colonial countries? Let us recall that Bush tried that partially and he crushed against the masses of the world, affecting the regime of the US itself.
In its Spanish issue, The New York Times (linked to the imperialist financial bourgeoisie), analyzing the situation and some Trump’s proposals, warned: “The next elected president will face the demands of a fractured country. If he tries to impose repressive measures to some minority groups he campaigned against, specifically Muslims and Latin@s, this will cause a ferocious resistance (…)”.
The European imperialism also expresses its concern: the French president François Hollande (with acid humor) stated: “I congratulate the new president of the United States because it is the standard process, but I cannot hide our uncertainty”.
So, besides the dynamics of the class struggle in the US and the world, Trump’s election shows a deep crack inside the imperialist US and world bourgeoisie. Crack from which, as Lenin said, the mobilization and struggle of the workers and the masses can slip through.
Thus, with a dynamic that is still open, we think if the election expresses something it is precisely the development of the crisis elements of the political US regime. To us, far from closing this crisis and strengthening the regime, Trump’s election can increase it.
As revolutionaries, we ought to encourage the struggle against this new enemy in the US and the world. As we saw, in the US the demonstrations already started. We need to avoid the xenophobic, racist and male-chauvinist division among the workers that they try to impose, and unify the struggles and demands against the new government: the youth already mobilizing, the support to the struggle for US$15, the defense of public health and education, the immigrants’ struggle for rights (specially Latin@s), and the demands of Black Lives Matter against the repression and police murders, and in defense of the black people’s rights.
In this path of struggle, it is necessary to move forward with the construction of a workers’, socialist, revolutionary party to express the interests of the sectors of the working class and to incorporate the struggle against oppressions.
Around the world, the hypocritical “nice guy” mask of Obama (that confused the masses so much) now falls to the ground with Trump. The imperialism once again shows its real, ugly face: xenophobic, racist, male-chauvinist, exploiter and arrogant. All of this can be a lever to the consciousness and the anti-imperialist struggle all over the world, as it happened during Bush’s turn, when giant crowds expressed repudiation in each country he visited. Let us fill the world with demonstrations against Trump and the imperialism!
São Paulo – November 10, 2016.