Mass Protests to Shut Down Trump Hate-Fest
No to the Democratic and Republican Parties of Deportations, Imperialism and War
CUNY Internationalist Clubs and Internationalist Group at April 14 "Shut Down Trump" protest.
Down with Racism and Anti-Immigrant Bigotry!
The following is an Internationalist Group leaflet distributed at the April 14 protest against a fundraising gala for Donald Trump in Manhattan.
Tonight multibillionaire and front-running Republican candidate for president Donald Trump will speak at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. (This was the first building he built in Manhattan, thanks to a 40-year tax abatement). Earlier today he was to speak in a Republican Party rally in Patchogue, Long Island, the village where Marcelo Lucero was killed by a racist mob in 2008. In fact, the site of Trump’s speech is a dance hall only steps away from where Marcelo was stabbed to death.
Meanwhile, the Democratic administration of Barack Obama has formally deported more than 2.5 million people since coming to office in 2009. The actual number deported is over 4.5 million when you include those thrown out of the U.S. without formal removal orders. Among them are over half a million parents of children who were born here and are U.S. citizens. Five million children live in families of undocumented immigrants face constant danger of losing their parents and caretakers should the ICE immigration police strike.
Both the partner parties of American capitalism sow racist terror and immigrant-bashing. Whether it’s done by lynch mobs or black-uniformed migra cops, millions live in constant fear and without rights. The record number of deportations by liberal Democrat Obama has earned him the title of “Deporter-in-Chief.” And while Donald Trump, the bigot with billions who wants to wall off Mexico, paid no taxes on his hotel, low-paid undocumented immigrants have poured $100 billion into Social Security over the last decade, from which they will never see a dime.
Across the country, Trump’s election rallies have become an orgy of racism. Black protesters and others are beaten by thugs, instigated by the candidate himself. He calls Mexicans rapists, a vile smear, while he was accused of rape by his ex-wife and has stolen millions. He accuses Muslims of promoting terrorism, when he supports torture, saying “we have to beat the savages.” His bigoted diatribes, vile attacks on women and gays, and threats and incitement to violence have spurred thousands to come out with utter justification to protest his race-hate rallies.
Yet many of those protesting Trump are backing Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In Chicago, where anti-racist protesters spiked his March 11 rally (which was an outrageous provocation against the mostly non-white students at the University of Illinois campus), many chanted “Bernie, Bernie.” But the Democrats are the governing party of U.S. imperialism, the deadliest terrorist force in the world. Obama has personally authorized the murder of thousands of innocent civilians by drone strikes, which Clinton and Sanders support.
Trump is endorsed by the fascist David Duke and Ku Klux Klans. Trump’s father, it turns out, was a wealthy KKKer. The International Action Center (led by the Workers World Party), which has called a protest today to “Shut Down Trump in NYC,” proclaims, “No Fascist Movement.” The Donald is certainly a raving psychopath, a grotesque misogynist, an odious anti-Muslim Latino-hating racist and dangerous jingoist. He’s all that and a billionaire exploiter to boot. Young people are quite right to protest Trump, and the Internationalist Group and CUNY Internationalist Clubs will come out today as well.
Trump seems to consciously mimic Mussolini, encouraging beating up protesters and talking of possible riots if he’s not nominated. But fascism is not a swear word or a synonym for awful or horrific. Fascism is a mass extra-parliamentary movement of terror that seeks to destroy and atomize the labor movement and do away with parliamentary institutions and existing parties. U.S. rulers today don’t need a fascist movement per se, because they are not facing a combative workers movement threatening their class rule.
While millions are rightly repelled by “Trumpism,” and there are some outright fascists among his supporters, its vile characteristics alone don’t make it fascism. Donald Trump is in the tradition of many right-wing demagogues down through history. Doctrinal right-wing Republicans, many of them frothing reactionaries themselves, don’t trust Trump because they see him as a semi-closet liberal, like taking five different positions on abortion in one week. The Republican establishment and corporate chiefs are having conniptions because he talks of scaling back NATO (it’s only talk), and doesn’t embrace “free trade.”
They call him a populist because they worry that by erratically pandering to some of those ground down by economic crisis he might embrace policies that threaten their own profits. But supposing for a moment that Trump and his “movement” were fascist, what would that imply? First of all, you don’t stop fascist movements by supporting bourgeois politicians. How did Adolf Hitler come to power? German Social Democrats voted for General von Hindenburg in 1932 as president, as a supposed “lesser evil” to stop the Nazis. Then von Hindenburg turned around and appointed Hitler imperial chancellor.
To stop an actual fascist movement one must bring out the power of the workers movement in the streets to smash the fascist squads, and to take on the bastions of capitalist power that finance the fascists. Stalinists label everything from militarists like former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to racists like Trump “fascist” because they have a very different program. They want to build a “popular front,” that would unite “the people” by chaining the poor, the unemployed and workers to their class enemy, the supposed “anti-fascist” sections of the bourgeoisie, and thus be a roadblock to revolution.
While opposing Trump, the various Stalinists as well as
social-democratic reformists deliberately evade the call for
struggle against the Democratic Party. Why? Because they want
to use the term “fascism” to frighten people into voting for
“lesser evil” Democrats against the “greater evil”
Republicans. Trotskyists, in contrast, call for a class
mobilization, and fight for revolutionary working-class
politics independent from and against all sections of the
exploiter class. As Marx and Engels wrote in 1871: “The
workers party must never be the tag-tail of any bourgeois
Internationalist demonstrators chanted, "Not Democrats, Not Republicans, Build a workers party."
If you look at politics through the bourgeois prism as if it’s a continuum, there’s always a “greater evil,” thus inducing workers to vote for the “lesser evil” so they never fight in their own interests, and the political spectrum moves ever further to the right. Revolutionary Marxists judge politics by the class line. You are either on the side of the exploiters, the capitalists, or on the side of the exploited, the working people and oppressed. If you’re sitting on the fence, or making a pitch for the “progressive” capitalist politician, you’re only trying to hoodwink people.
So now the “anyone but Trump” caucus in mainstream bourgeois politics has discovered a “lesser evil” even among the Republicans, namely Ted Cruz. Actually, he is a raving religious fundamentalist and ultra-reactionary flat-earther whose earlier claim to fame was to author the shutdown of the federal government in 2013.
Hillary Clinton is being billed as the voice of experience and “realism.” If Obama ran on the phony program of “hope” and “change” with the slogan “yes, we can,” Clinton is running against Sanders essentially on the slogan, “no, we can’t.” (As in: Nice idea, Bernie, but it won’t work.) Her surrogates like the war criminal Madeleine Albright (waged war against Yugoslavia, imposed Iraq sanctions that killed half a million children) and former CIA asset Gloria Steinem are berating young women who are supporting Bernie Sanders as betraying feminism. Actually this shows how the feminist idea of all women as being sisters is opposed to the real struggle for women’s liberation from capitalist oppression.
Hillary Clinton is no friend of working women, and she’s certainly no “sister” to the women workers toiling at less than $5 a day in the Haitian sweatshop she stole earthquake relief money to set up. Hillary Clinton is no friend of women in Libya who saw their country reduced to rubble by U.S./NATO bombers in a war she instigated. Hillary Clinton is no friend of the millions of African American and Latina women she and husband Bill knocked off welfare, or of the millions languishing in jail as a result of their 1996 omnibus crime bill.
Bill Clinton’s sneering put-down of Black Lives Matter demonstrators protesting over those deadly policies was a clear expression of the sinister racism lurking behind their photo ops with black Democratic politicians, whose job is to keep the urban poor chained to the system that impoverishes them.
Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is running as the “enemy of corporate greed” and “friend of labor.” Yesterday, Sanders put on the colors of the CWA and IBEW workers striking against Verizon. This posture used to be standard fare for any and all Democratic candidates, but it’s been so long since they have even made the empty gesture that many on the left see this as somehow a step forward. Despite his “socialist” pretense, Sanders is a standard-issue liberal whose job is to refurbish the Democratic Party, to attract young people and working people to vote for their bosses. He’s literally channeling speeches by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who put together the political mechanism for subordinating the unions, African Americans, Latinos and the left to U.S. imperialism’s Democratic Party for generations.
As an economic populist, Sanders’ tradition has been to turn a “color-blind eye” to issues of racial oppression. So after stumbling over this issue initially, he has added a BLM coordinator and a toothless racial justice program. But this will change nothing, since, as we have stressed, all across the country, from City Hall to the White House, “Democrats Are the Bosses of the Racist Killer Cops” (The Internationalist No. 42, January-February 2016).
Bernie Sanders says he’s for immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and if Congress won’t cooperate, as president he would use his executive powers to the hilt. So said Barack Obama, and look where it got us. Sanders says he will “stop deportations.” What such campaign promises are worth is shown by Obama’s 2008 pledge to shut down Guantánamo or his hints about stopping the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is Sanders a socialist? No way. The most basic starting point of socialist politics is the need for the political independence of the working class against all capitalist parties and politicians.
Revolutionary Marxists stand for workers action against racist attacks, as when last May Day dock workers shut down ports in the San Francisco Bay Area to demand, “Stop Police Terror,” and class-struggle unionists in Portland led a “Labor Against Racist Police Murder” contingent the same day. We fight for workers strikes against imperialist war, as when ILWU longshore workers shut down every port on the West Coast on May Day 2008 demanding an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to defend immigrants’ rights.
A guiding rule of Trotsky’s Fourth International is: tell the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter. The truth is that the Trumps, and Cruzes, and Clintons and Sanders all keep the capitalist electoral shell game running. We fight instead for a workers party on a program of intransigent class struggle to put an end to the system of endless poverty, racism and war through socialist revolution here and everywhere. As Marx and Engels wrote in the 1848 Communist Manifesto:
“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
Help us win it. ■