The Republican Party takes primary charge of the U.S. government this month with Donald Trump sworn in as president, and both houses of Congress under Republican control by a slim majority.
new administration is taking shape with announcements of key
government cabinet posts. These include a combination of professional
politicians, former military officers, and powerful captains of
industry and finance.
in past cabinets, leading billionaire capitalists will be well
represented. They include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a longtime
Wall Street investor and speculator; Linda McMahon, Small Business
Administrator, one of Trump’s biggest campaign donors; and Betsy
DeVos, Education Secretary, who comes from a family of billionaires
and plans to privatize public schools.
name Wall Street industrialists and financiers include Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a hedge fund manager, Goldman Sachs trader,
and Hollywood financier; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, president
and CEO of Exxon Mobile; and Andrew Puzder, Labor Secretary and CEO
of fast-food giant CKE Restaurants.
new team will bring new policies, but the overall goal of Trump’s
Republican government will be the same as that of the Democratic
Party preceding it—to conduct the business of the tiny capitalist
ruling class, and remove obstacles that stand in the way of profits
for Wall Street and the banks.
capitalist parties struggle to overcome years of economic stagnation
and lagging profits. Major divisions have emerged on how to correct
this, but under capitalism new policies can’t solve this issue in a
fundamental or lasting way.
by this crisis, the new administration has only one recourse—to
continue imposition of the severe and ever escalating austerity
offensive that began in the 1970s and has continued through each
succeeding presidential administration. Along with union busting and
economic attacks on the standard of living of working people, the
offensive’s broader features include racist police violence; new
attacks on abortion rights; anti-immigrant harassment, particularly
targeting Muslims; and widespread deportations. In all these areas,
attacks will continue, and likely accelerate.
much is not yet known about the new Trump administration or its
priorities, some of its direction is becoming clear.
can expect big tax cuts for the rich, while regulations on
corporations and financial firms will be eliminated or relaxed. The
appointment of Scott Pruitt, a climate denier and longtime supporter
of the fossil-fuel industry, to head the Environmental Protection
Agency signals full backing of the oil, coal, and natural gas
interests, as well as fracking. Regulation of these industries will
selection of Andrew Puzder for Labor Secretary points to additional
attacks on workers. Puzder is only interested in labor and unions to
the extent that he can limit their power. His goal is to get rid of
unions or minimize their influence, not to defend them. As head of a
big fast-food chain, his job was to exploit workers.
opposes minimum-wage increases above the current $7.25 per hour,
which has been in place since 2009. Earlier this year he proudly
true feelings about workers and automation. The good thing about
machines is that “they are always polite, they always upsell, they
never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a
slip-and-fall or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
promotes “law and order” and giving police departments a free
hand to act with limited constraints. His comments target Black and
Latino communities victimized by a spate of highly publicized racist
police murders over the last few years. Trump believes that local
police departments are not strong enough.
selected Jeff Sessions, an Alabama racist with a long history, for
Attorney General, and retired General John Kelly for Director of
Homeland Security. They will team up to implement this “law and
order” policy. Both back police against opponents of police
violence. They also support the War on Drugs, militarization of the
police, mass incarceration of Black youth, and the growing private
prison industry that sustains itself on slave prison labor.
attacks will be directed against immigrants, with stepped up
deportations and harassment. Trump will continue and likely expand
Obama’s aggressive deportation of over 2 million immigrants. Trump
agrees with Obama’s method of targeting “undesirables” or
“non-deserving” immigrants who may have been arrested or jailed
in the U.S. Using this distinction the incoming administration will
first target the approximately 3 million immigrants in the “bad
idea that a certain category of immigrant in some way deserves
deportation is unacceptable and will only divide the immigrant rights
movement, which stands opposed to all deportations. It also provides
political cover for politicians to unjustly label large sections of
the immigrant population as “criminals.” Nothing can be farther
from the truth.
wants to reverse the 1973 Roe
v. Wade Supreme
Court ruling that affirmed the legal right of women to abortions, and
stated that any candidate for Supreme Court justice must share his
view. Since a new nominee will be selected by Trump early in his
first term, it’s clear that the on-going fight for abortion rights
will be near center stage.
the preeminent world power, the United States under
Republican-majority rule will continue to assert its dominance
throughout the world. U.S. foreign policy is designed to pave the way
for the insatiable drive of powerful corporate giants to dominate
markets anywhere in the world.
capitalist crisis is global, as no nation on earth can boast of a
“recovery” or an economy free from stagnation or decline. Along
with widespread imposition of austerity measures worldwide,
imperialist wars of domination and plunder continue unabated
throughout the world.
Obama leaves office, the U.S. is engaged in at least seven wars
(Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia),
either by direct military intervention or through client states and
mercenary armies. In many, drone warfare prevails, and the CIA
provides leadership utilizing covert methods. In others, U.S.
military Special Forces provide training and support for local troops
or intervene directly on their own. Meanwhile, regular U.S.
imperialist troops remain stationed at some 1100 military bases
around the world, from which drone attacks and a myriad of deadly
covert actions are regularly planned and executed.
policy will be led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon,
one of the most powerful multi-national corporations. Tillerson has
strong ties to Russian government officials and oil magnates from
years of partnership managing their shared oil interests. Tillerson
and Exxon are sure to prosper mightily.
policy will also be shaped by two retired generals, Secretary of
Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and National Security Advisor
Michael Flynn. Mattis was a central leader of U.S. wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq, which destroyed those countries and killed
hundreds of thousands in the process. Flynn, an Islamophobe who
believes fear of Muslims is “justified,” supports targeting
Muslim organizations and mosques with surveillance and spying. Both
will be instrumental in executing and possibly expanding involvement
in U.S. wars.
foreign policy theme of the new administration will be “America
First.” Trump raised this slogan during his campaign largely as a
false promise to U.S. workers that his administration would remedy
stagnant job growth by means of a system of tariffs and other
protectionist devices aimed at increasing the volume of products that
are “Made in America.”
“America First” also has a military connotation. Large doses of
anti-Muslim rhetoric are used to project a strong image of U.S.
military strength and dominance worldwide. This posture demands
subservience from less powerful nations. It will be a foreign policy
that “respects” authoritarian figures such as Russian President
Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump also seeks
closer ties with Philippine dictator President Rodrigo Duterte, whose
government has overseen extrajudicial killings of thousands of
suspected drug dealers. In accepting a congratulatory call from
Duterte following Trump’s victory, the president-elect communicated
approval for these police actions.
Party administrations also have a long history of supporting tyrants
and dictators. The Obama administration provided full-throated
support for dictatorial regimes like the Saudi monarchy, Hosni
Mubarak in Egypt, Persian Gulf states including Qatar and Bahrain,
and Idriss Deby in Chad. Obama greatly expanded funding for apartheid
Israel—which has 1.8 million Palestinians under siege in Gaza,
rules by military occupation, regularly tortures Palestinian
political prisoners, and has a long history of human rights abuses,
including extrajudicial murders.
“America First” approach is at odds with Obama’s foreign policy
posture, which uses different methods but is designed to achieve the
same result. Obama’s program ostensibly focused on “building
trust” with other countries. The Dec. 29 Washington
it as a “collaborative approach and emphasis on international norms
[to] convince other countries to partner with the United States to do
things that were not always popular.”
these differences are purely tactical. The goal is to force
compliance with U.S. interests, and the differences concern how best
to posture on the world stage to achieve that result.
is little doubt Trump plans a massive buildup in military spending,
exceeding spending during the Obama years. He has called for 90,000
more Army soldiers, dozens of new Navy ships and hundreds of
warplanes, and bolstering nuclear and missile defense. As expected,
justification for this massive buildup is the “heightened threat of
an expert analysts on the cost: “[a] good ballpark estimate … is
about $800-900B higher over ten years than the most recent
president’s budget requests. Foreign
Policy Magazine estimates
about “$100 billion more than the Pentagon has currently budgeted
for Trump’s first term.”
is proud to admit that a big chunk of military spending will go to
upgrading the military nuclear arsenal, continuing and expanding
Obama’s work in this area. In fact, Trump is calling for “a new
nuclear arms race.” He wants the U.S. to “expand its nuclear
capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding
nukes.” The U.S. currently has 4500 nuclear warheads, including
1800 deployed strategic nuclear weapons, far surpassing all other
countries that have them.
new administration will build on the work of their predecessors.
Despite Obama’s carefully crafted statements posing as an opponent
of nuclear weapons, he has taken major steps to strengthen the U.S.
nuclear military capability with an extensive “modernization”
program, which the Dec. 22 New
York Times reported
“may cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. It features new
factories, refurbished nuclear arms and a new generation of weapon
carriers, including bombers, missiles and submarines…”
“modernization” means replacing older and outdated missile
systems with smaller more streamlined versions equipped with newest
technology that makes them much more accurate in hitting targets and
more difficult to shoot down.
support to Israel
bipartisan military support for Israel, the only military nuclear
power in the Middle East, has further heightened the risk of nuclear
war. Former President Jimmy Carter estimated in 2014 that Israel’s
nuclear arsenal totaled somewhere near 300 warheads, with ample
delivery systems to deploy them.
award to Israel of a record $38 billion in military aid over the next
10 years will greatly strengthen its nuclear capability and poses a
grave risk of nuclear war in the region. To this day, Israel denies
it has a nuclear program and it refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation
Republican electoral victory reflected the absence of class-conscious
political leadership within the organizations of the U.S. working
class and the oppressed. That’s why revolutionary socialists raise
the pressing need for a Labor Party in the United States, based on a
fighting and re-energized labor movement.
Such a party, fully
independent and opposed to capitalist parties, could have filled this
void and presented a political program that fights for working-class
issues, demands an immediate end to U.S. wars around the world,
opposes all forms of racism and sexism, and champions the struggles
of all those oppressed under capitalism—a program that relies
solely on the independent power of working people and their allies
organized in mass struggle.
>>> The article above was written by Mark Ugloni and is reprinted from Socialist Action newspaper.