In the United States of America there has long been a simmering war between the the Republican Party elites and those of the Democratic Party. With the election of Donald Trump to President in 2017, the temperature between the two political wings of the USA’s ruling class, increased from simmering to boiling. The animosity between them was seen by all sides as existential – both politically and personally. Since Trumps election the elders of the Democratic Party have been out to destroy him politically and in this way ensure he can never again seriously damage or debunk their own sham pretensions to care for anything other than their own personal and class interests.
Neither Party is concerned about the welfare of the working classes and the poor, therefore they are both essentially correct when in order to garner votes they vehemently accuse each other of that fact. The primary concern for both these political wings of the US elite is the preservation of their own wealth and status and their retention of substantial control of the state system that guarantees both. Metaphorically speaking Republicans and Democrats are like the two sides of an officially minted coin. After being spun up in the hot air of debate, whichever side lands face up wins and thus the entire coin remains an essential and functional part of the electoral system.
However, during the entire Democratic Party campaign against the Republican Donald Trump, the media commentators covering this political struggle have completely misunderstood the historic nature of the current situation in the US and elsewhere. Political strife such as this animated and ill-disposed jousting between the two sides is just a surface disturbance of a system in structural meltdown. The fact that the Democratic Party has been able to mobilise the US state apparatus to assist in the disarming of Donald Trump may have temporarily assisted Democratic Party ambitions to severely restrict the activities of their elite rivals and thus maintain their own hold on political power. But it hasn’t changed the reality of 21st century economic, financial and ecological living, and reality is ultimately the determining factor.
Moreover, this particular tactic of displacing the Donald in the hope of a future Democratic victory has come at the cost of revealing the underlying economic and political forces now at play in the USA. Trumps pre-Presidential speeches about ‘draining the swamp’ has, of course, earned him the hatred of those government officials who are employed in the bloated bureaucratic state apparatuses of administration and control which all modern capitalist mass societies have found necessary to dampen down the violent social contradictions. But these non-productive bureaucracies along with the theatrical performances by politicians and the media over Trump are not solutions in the making, but symptoms of capitalism in its present crisis stage of dysfunctional control and economic over-production.
Economically and thus also financially, there is too much global productive capacity for their combined products to be profitably sold. This in turn has led to global levels of unemployment and low-paid employment, both of which over decades have reduced even further the purchasing power and tax paying ability of the masses. This reduction in the rate of economic profits and wages has led to a reduction in government income from tax revenue, and thus to a huge pressure on the political aspects of reigning in fictitious government debt. To preserve their own wealth and status, both sides of the political elite are needing to bail out the economically rich and reduce the living standards of the economically poor by reducing their incomes and the services they pay for.
With the arrest of Donald Trump, in 2023, the huge weight of the state has been thrown by the elite against a rogue member of their own class. He is now slightly suffering from what many ordinary people fear most – state persecution, dressed up as prosecution. It is also what millions of people have already experienced in one way or another. Many more ordinary people will now possibly think; ‘if they can do this to a powerful member of their own class, then what chance have we’? Thus, for many Americans the ‘establishment’ by it’s own actions, will be confirmed as being potentially if not actually seriously hostile to nearly everyone except their own current cronies. Moreover, for some US citizens, Trump will be mistakenly seen as a ‘fellow’ martyr and a determined anti-establishment activist. Indeed, his recent histrionic statement that; “they are out to get you, but I stand in their way”, shows that he anticipates that very possibility.
In actual fact, crisis or not, the US system with either elite party in power will be out to exploit and oppress anyone who lives within it, whether they seriously opposes it or not. Despite some peoples hopes, Donald Trump, will not stand in the systems way when it continues to move against ordinary working people. That perception is just the result of repeated verbal smoke and mirrors delivered by Trumps political dexterity. Didn’t he appoint reactionary judges, enthusiastically embrace dictators and make his money by exploiting working people? He is obviously a dedicated supporter of the capitalist mode of production. His only substantial difference with sections of the current US state bureaucracy and the Democratic Party faction, is over who gets what from exploiting the workforce and milking the tax payer and in how to manage the present and future crisis.
Whether Trump eventually gets knocked out of politics all together, or stages an effective come back, he knows as well as Biden and the Democrats, that the anger and disturbance at the Senate, they have now labelled the ‘6 January uprising’, is only a precursor of things to come. The recent events in Britain, France and Iran, indicate that these anti-establishment activities are not restricted to just one country – they have been globally simmering since the days of the Arab Spring. However, it will be the reluctance of the entire US elite establishment to revolutionise their inhumane mode of production, which will actually summon any future sustained uprisings by those in the US suffering from the present social and ecological disharmony. Meanwhile, the politicians and media continue to ignore the glaring fact that an alternative idiosyncratic politician, can only win an election, as Trump did, or trigger followers into a partial or full-blown uprising, if there is already a deep seated and long-simmering resentment among the masses.
It is the human aspiration not to lie down, suffer and die without a struggle which will fuel future rebellions and uprisings. It will not be the whims of a devious man with a blonde quiff and a fake tan. But of course, a criminal conviction by any consistent anti-establishment individual will not be viewed by desperate masses in the same way as the ‘respectable‘ middle classes currently view them. In the 20th century, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and Hitler, with far less power, wealth and influence than any modern politician, had criminal records and/or spent time in jail. However, they also managed to rise to power as anti-establishment figures by appealing to – heightened anti-establishment feelings – and to the desperate plight of the masses. They then easily out manoeuvred and overcame extremely sophisticated aristocratic and bourgeois political and military elites.
And the rest, as they say (including the Second World War, 1939-45) – is history! Except perhaps to add, that history often does have a habit of repeating itself, particularly now that the underlying international crisis has become essentially the same as the one in the 1920’s and 30’s. For example, increasing unemployment and deteriorating conditions. Also, Putins invasion and carpet bombing of Ukraine is looking a lot like a demented cross between World War One trench warfare and a World War Two fire-bombing from the air. Hopefully by now, however, a new generation of working people will have time to learn from history not to trust leaders who naively or mischievously promise improved futures whilst defending and retaining a class based, hierarchical form of mass society, based on capital and wage labour.
Roy Ratcliffe. (April 2023)