What is "the Resistance," Anyway?

by Danny Haiphong

Who is “resisting” what, and on whose behalf? Among folks that claim to be leftists, resistance has become a catch-all term that is “useless” – or worse – “without definition.” Much of the so-called resistance owes allegiance to Hillary Clinton, a true champion of the One Percent. The War Party’s troops also claim to be “resisters” -- resisting the very idea of peaceful coexistence with Russia and an end to U.S. regime-change wars.

What is "the Resistance," Anyway?

by Danny Haiphong

“Any ‘resistance’ to the Trump Administration that includes the Democratic Party can only be seen as an effort to empower the ruling class through its preferred political party.”

The 2017 Left Forum made "resistance" the central theme of the annual gathering of left thinkers, activists, and organizers. The term has become increasingly relevant in the midst of the instability surrounding the Trump Administration. "Resistance" has become the catch-all phrase for any force that opposes Trump. Only a small segment of those who attended the Left Forum attempted to spell out the dangers of such "resistance." Yet an important task of any self-proclaimed "left" movement is to define what the word resistance actually means in this period of confusion and crisis.”

Any conversation about "resistance" must start with the state. The state, better known as the interconnected institutions of governance, is the central force that manages oppression in society. Under US imperialism, the state manages oppression through a variety of mechanisms. Special bodies of armed men play an especially critical role in the maintenance of oppressive social relations. Police, military, and private security forces all serve to violently enforce ruling class law and generalize submission to the interests of the ruling class. However, "the resistance" finds itself entangled in another form of state power.

That form is the non-profit industrial complex and its attending Democratic Party paymasters. "The Resistance" has significant support from the non-profit industrial complex and the Wall Street-stuffed coffers of the Democratic Party. Such support is evident in the organizations MoveOn.org, the Town Hall Project, and Indivisible. The Democratic think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP) assists each of these so-called anti-Trump focused organizations. On CAP's Board of Directors sits Democratic Party elites Madeline Albright and John Podesta.

“The ‘Resistance’ has significant support from the non-profit industrial complex and the Wall Street-stuffed coffers of the Democratic Party.”

This is the same Albright who helped enforce brutal sanctions against Iraq as Secretary of State under Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was Albright who commented that it was "worth it" to murder over 500,000 Iraqi children by way of US-sponsored starvation. Podesta was Hillary Clinton's campaign chair during her losing Presidential campaign in 2016. Leaked Podesta emails revealed that the Clinton campaign rigged the Democratic primaries against Bernie Sanders. They also outlined how Clinton used her extensive connections with Wall Street firms to expand the influence of the Clinton Foundation.

Any real "resistance" to the Trump Administration's policies in this period must be equally opposed to the machinations of the Clinton camp of the state. Anything less should warrant suspicion from resistance forces. One cannot separate the rise of Trump from the failures of the Democratic Party. It was the Democratic Party, not Trump, that pushed the political trajectory of the US even further rightward through its incessant collaboration with capital. Since the 1980s, the Democrats have led the way in the projects of austerity, mass incarceration, and war. These policies have understandably bred a high degree of cynicism among more left-leaning Democrats, requiring the intervention of the first Black President to keep "hope" for the party alive.

“Any real ‘resistance’ to the Trump Administration's policies in this period must be equally opposed to the machinations of the Clinton camp of the state.”

Non-profits have been deployed to maintain the illusion that the Democratic Party represents the "left" wing of the two-party duopoly. Because the Democratic Party is in fact the War Party of the 21st century, it has attempted to utilize a well-funded opposition to achieve the material interests of its ruling class donors. The opposition to Trump based on alleged connections to Russia is case and point. For all of the reasons to oppose Trump, his rhetorical gesture to ease relations with Russia was not one of them. Even so, the Democratic Party has relentlessly pursued an anti-Russian campaign against Trump in a bid to unite their disenchanted voters with ruling class aspirations and paint it as “resistance.”

The Democratic Party's consortium of non-profits have made war against Russia a top priority. Indivisible makes "investigating" Trump's ties to Russia one of their agenda points. So does MoveOn.org. Yet the FBI's nearly 8-month investigation on Trump has yielded no conclusive evidence. What is conclusive is the Democratic Party's commitment to escalating war with Russia. Under Obama, US provocations against Russia reached crisis levels. The 2014 US-sponsored coup in Ukraine placed a fascist nightmare state right on Russia's doorstep. World War III became an imminent threat to humanity under a Black Democrat.

“Since the 1980s, the Democrats have led the way in the projects of austerity, mass incarceration, and war.”

"Resistance" to Trump on the basis of alleged ties to Russia is a continuation of this war project. The Democratic Party is steering the wheel on behalf of the rich. Not even the New York Times can deny the Democratic Party's support from the top ten percent of income earners. In the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton received 47 percent of votes from the top ten percent, as opposed to 46 percent for Donald Trump. Any "resistance" to the Trump Administration that includes the Democratic Party can only be seen as an effort to empower the ruling class through its preferred political party.

And the Democratic Party and its arsenal of non-profits may succeed in toppling Trump or weakening his Administration to the point of irrelevancy. Hillary Clinton's "resistance" Super PAC could pay dividends in future elections. A war with Russia is certainly possible, if not imminent. The question is, what does any of this have to with "resistance?" Islamophobia, patriarchy, and racism certainly won't eviscerate with Trump’s demise. In fact, they stand to intensify should the Democrats and their Republican allies get their way.

The contradictions of the current period make clear that the word resistance is useless without definition. Resistance must target a specific problem, issue, or system to be called resistance at all. Real resistance includes tangible goals and objectives that materially benefit the people. Resistance to Trump alone is not resistance. Not only does such narrow activity fail to grasp the complexities of the moment, but it also paves an open path for establishment Democrats and Republicans to shape mass consciousness. This form of “resistance” leads directly to the normalization of war with Russia and the nuclear disaster that would follow.

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. Hecanbereachedatwakeupriseup1990@gmail.com