Trump’s summit with Putin, especially coming right after his nomination of a Fascist for Supreme Court and his bullying at the NATO conference, has administered a shock to the established political order. How should those who oppose the outrages of the present system—all of which have intensified under Trump—understand this? And what must be done by revolutionaries, in this situation, to move things forward?
Trump represents and fights for a fascist section of the ruling class that aims to radically remake U.S. institutions and policies. This group believes that the “world order” that the U.S. has headed for 70 years no longer serves U.S. imperialist domination. And let’s be clear: this old order was one of war, of environmental destruction, of the oppression of whole peoples as well as gender oppression, and of war and occupation. No country in the world comes anywhere close to the total blood shed by the U.S. empire over the past 70 years. But the fascists now in power, headed by Trump and Pence, want the U.S. to go even harder, against both oppressed nations and allies, making it more a matter of direct one-on-one contests between countries, in which the strongest gets even more. This requires them to break up or radically re-set terms for all previous agreements. The previously dominant section of the ruling class thinks this will lead to disaster for U.S. imperialist interests and have been trying to at least constrain the fascists. While their differences over what best protects and advances the interests of the U.S. ruling class as a whole in the contentious global system of imperialism are sharp, what is more fundamental for all of them is their unity in defending the interests of U.S. imperialism.
These fascists also believe that certain basic democratic traditions of U.S. political system and rule of law, no matter how ineffectual, violated, limited, hypocritical and bitterly contested they may be in actual practice, stand as barriers to the extreme, open and unbridled white supremacy, national chauvinism, and patriarchy that the fascists require to reorder society. Trump’s actions in the last ten days are not “inexplicable” but represent attempts to further super-charge all those policies and directions. Whether Putin does or does not “have something” on Trump is not the heart of the matter—Trump’s approach to Russia is part of a larger policy of breaking up the previous way in which the imperialists carried out their interests and replacing it with a radically different one. The accusation of “treason”—about which more shortly—by the former Obama CIA director and similar accusations by mainstream talking heads and Democratic politicians show the depth of the conflict.
These actions of Trump are in fact extremely dangerous for the masses of people, here and worldwide. The logic of Trump’s foreign policy increases the likelihood of war, including catastrophic nuclear war. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court signals the onset of much more vicious attacks against the people and destruction of the rule of law, including as it might apply to Trump and his minions, and through all this sadistic ethnic cleansing against immigrants—concentrated in the separation of children from their parents at the border—has continued. However, the terms of most of the opposition to Trump focus on Trump’s supposed betrayal of American interests and traditions, and his supposed sullying of “hallowed American principles” by lauding “that tyrant Putin.” Through this, people are being trained to think in dangerously distorted, upside-down ways, and being led to go against their best aspirations and clearest understanding.
Such selective outrage ignores the way in which the U.S. not only “meddles” in elections (including in Russia in the 90’s when it backed Boris Yeltsin) but has carried out or backed violent coups in places like Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Indonesia, Honduras, and elsewhere which have cost more than a million lives, and assassinations (Lumumba in the Congo, Allende in Chile, etc.) when the candidate favored by the U.S. lost. Russia may have been behind the recent attempted assassinations of two Russian citizens and two British citizens in Britain, though this has not been proven… but at the same time, the US admits to assassinating hundreds of people a year through drone strikes, none of whom receive due process! And Putin’s murder of domestic dissenters? Fucked up to be sure, but do people really not remember the proven role of the FBI (an institution now being drooled over by people claiming to be liberals or progressives) in the outright assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton while he slept and the at least indirect and possibly direct roles played by it and the CIA in the assassination of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, George Jackson, etc.? The Great Tautological Fallacy pinpointed by Bob Avakian (BA) in this clip—a fallacy which seriously distorts people’s understanding and hamstrings their ability to effectively fight—is in full bloom here.
The question is NOT whether Trump has been “treasonous” to the empire, but what humanity needs and what fascism threatens.
Bob Avakian has also said the following:
The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.
Whoever has ruled this system, it has been an utter disaster for humanity. The “interests” of America have always required war and occupation; the most horrendous white supremacy (savagery unequaled in the world, as Frederick Douglass put it, which still rages); the subjugation of women in both modern and Dark Ages form, along with LGBTQ people; the persecution of immigrants; and the plunder and destruction of the environment, to the point where life may become unsustainable. Neither the fascists nor their opponents have any fundamental answers to these howling outrages. As we say in every issue of revcom.us: we need a revolution, “an actual revolution, which… means not some minor changes within this system but the actual overthrow, yes overthrow, of this system, through actually defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression, when the necessary conditions (a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions) have been brought into being (as set forth in HOW WE CAN WIN), dismantling the institutions of this system and building a whole new society on a radically different economic and political basis; that this is something we (continually involving new people in geometric advances) must be actively working toward, from right now forward; that this system of capitalism-imperialism can be replaced by a far better system—one that is truly emancipatory—as embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America; and that there is the basis, in the new communism and the leadership of BA, to make all this a reality.”
Right now, both because it is a critical battle to defend the interests of humanity and as part of working for an actual revolution, revolutionaries need to support, participate in and strive to give leadership to a movement really aiming to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. The terms of this struggle must be the interests of humanity—NOT the interests of “America,” interests which have always meant disaster for masses of people all over the world and right here. This means plunging into the midst of what people are doing right now, bringing out the true interests of the people as outlined above, and supporting the work of Refuse Fascism in this, while not failing to promote what is needed.