Message to the Movement Against Donald Trump: Let the Empire Die

by Danny Haiphong

The Democrats are attacking from the Right, desperate to stir up war fever. “The destabilization of Russia is critical to finance capital's agenda of self-enrichment from the chaos of political catastrophe.” When Wall Street demands that the country be put on a war footing, the Democrats are eager to please. “Only strong ideological opposition to the Democratic Party can challenge the madness of the US empire's anti-Russia campaign.”

Message to the Movement Against Donald Trump: Let the Empire Die

by Danny Haiphong

 “No orange-colored billionaire will be allowed to be peaceful with Russia.”

This is a message to the movement against Donald Trump. More specifically, this is a message to those within the movement who decry Trump's bigotry but not imperialist war. To those who are ashamed that a racist billionaire is president of the US, but completely satisfied with a servant of Wall Street and the Pentagon in his place. This message is directed at the section of the movement that has declared a state of fascism and simultaneously ignored the two-party system responsible for its rise. At no other moment have these errors been so dangerous for humanity. The US empire is dying and any attempt to revive it will mean global catastrophe for the rest of us.

The Obama Administration has used Trump's ascendancy as a reason to escalate war with Russia. First, the Obama Administration blamed "fake news" for giving Trump the Presidency. "Fake News" is considered anything that doesn't parrot the corporate media line, ranging from right wing libertarian media to left political sources such as yours truly. The Obama Administration linked "fake news" to Russia and accused the Russian government of "hacking" the Democratic National Committee's databases and organizations. A secret Central Intelligence Agency briefing backed up the accusation, but no verifiable evidence has been presented to the public. Obama has vowed that Russia will pay for its interference in US affairs. Since then, a Russian Ambassador has been shot dead in Turkey and a new round of US sanctions has been placed against Russian diplomats.

“’Fake News’ is considered anything that doesn't parrot the corporate media line.”

Obama also threw in a holiday surprise in the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017. Under the new Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, the State Department will establish the Global Engagement Center to "collect and store" information that directly threatens the so-called national security interests of the United States. In other words, anyone who distributes information that counters the US imperial narrative will be the target of a new campaign of surveillance and repression. Such a violation of civil liberties is standard practice for the Obama Administration. In 2012, Obama's renewal of the NDAA gave the US military the ability to indefinitely detain citizens without trial or charge. 

Obama has used the unverified threat of Russian infiltration as the primary means to neutralize both the left and Donald Trump. The Obama-aligned section of the ruling class is fearful that Trump will bring about a peaceful set of relations with Russia and that the left is slowly waking up from its eight year slumber. The destabilization of Russia is critical to finance capital's agenda of self-enrichment from the chaos of political catastrophe. Not only does Trump seek warmer relations with Russia, but his inflammatory rhetoric and millionaire cabinet is set to intensify domestic instability as well. And this time around, the Democratic Party has neither the strength nor the legitimacy necessary to manipulate the resistance that is surely to come.

“Anyone who distributes information that counters the US imperial narrative will be the target of a new campaign of surveillance and repression.”

Obama's intensified anti-Russia campaign is but another sign that the US empire is dying. It is dying economically with the stagnant growth and endless poverty of the capitalist economic crisis. The US share of global GDP continues to shrink. The US empire is dying in the geopolitical sense as China and Russia continue to expand in regions of the world once known as US stomping grounds. The bell tolls of death ring even louder now that Donald Trump is in office. The US empire has been rabidly hungry for the destruction of Russia and no orange colored billionaire will be allowed to be peaceful with Russia, if only for a moment.

There are few people in the US anywhere, let alone movement circles, who are discussing the gravity of US aggression toward Russia. Thus, the initial leadership inside of the movement against Trump will likely ignore this pressing question. Or worse, it will gladly participate in the Russo-phobic, Cold War-style red baiting of the Democratic Party and Republican Party war hawks. Those who fight this reactionary political trend will be deemed an agent of Putin and a racist Trump supporter. The present opportunity to sharpen the contradictions between the increasingly impoverished and oppressed masses in the US and the war machine will rot alongside the system that produced it.

However, nothing is set in stone. Trump is president for four years unless impeached by the combined forces of establishment and popular opposition. In the meantime, the movement on the ground has a number of tasks before it. One of them is to develop an opposition to the Trump Administration's capitalist cabinet and whatever policies, whether economic or social in character, that specifically seek to damage the already fractured unity of working class and oppressed people. The other task is to develop a class consciousness of the Democratic Party within the movement's ranks.

“There is a real threat that radical political thought and action could find life again in the coming period.”

This task is much harder to fulfill because it requires an orientation to solidarity with the oppressed around the world. Only strong ideological opposition to the Democratic Party can challenge the madness of the US empire's anti-Russia campaign or any other war being waged by its military institutions. The left in the US has struggled for over four decades to crawl out of the Democratic Party's graveyard of social movements. Obama further buried the entire left in the graveyard for two terms. However, the Democratic Party is in a weakened position and there is a real threat that radical political thought and action could find life again in the coming period.

So now is not the time to empower the Democratic Party. Instead, radical forces in the streets against Trump need to develop and search for leadership that can build a movement capable of winning people over to an independent, socialist-oriented alternative. Some may view my analysis as soft on Trump because a fear of his sheer existence has been deeply embedded in the minds of a great number of Americans. Make no mistake, If Trump should escalate the war on oppressed people, you will find me at the nearest protest. However, this author will not protest without a critical lens of those who decided to sit out Obama's war on the poor and oppressed. Democratic Party fishes will be swimming in our sea. And if we don't confront them, they will surely pollute the water and prolong the left's tenure in the Democratic Party's graveyard for social movements.

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at [email protected]