Impeachment helps the Democratic Party catch a breath of temporary relief from subjects such as Medicare for All or climate catastrophe.
“Corporate Democrats are making the impeachment process nothing more than a rehash of Russiagate.”
The Trump era ushered in a political crisis for the U.S. imperial order. That crisis brought us the ongoing Russiagate saga. Russiagate was a conspiracy theory concocted by the professional class of liars in the U.S. intelligence apparatus who saw Trump’s opposition to free trade and support for détente with Russia as a challenge to the imperialist agenda. Russiagate has largely empowered Trump and further eroded the legitimacy of Washington’s political institutions, especially the corporate media. Russiagate’s architects have finally pulled the trigger on the impeachment process with the hopes that an illusory struggle to throw Trump out of office will strengthen the neoliberal imperialist agenda. Democratic Party elites have nothing to offer the masses and hope to instead gain legitimacy with the U.S. voting population by partaking in a lengthy impeachment proceeding. The logic goes: if you can’t beat Trump, impeach him.
This isn’t to say that the Trump Administration is some innocent actor. The Trump Administration has committed high crimes against working class and oppressed people both in the U.S. and around the world. Trump inherited a regime designed to impose the most acute material suffering on the workers of the world and that’s exactly what he’s done. His mega-tax cut for the rich, racist militarization of the U.S.-Mexico colonial border, and his administration’s continued escalation of tensions with Russia in NATO-occupied Eastern Europe are all legal and approved policies of the U.S. ruling class. Trump has proven himself to be a useful but unpredictable servant of this class. Trump’s unpredictability has compelled the U.S. military state to spend an inordinate amount of resources to control his political behavior while in the Oval Office.
“Russiagate has further eroded the legitimacy of Washington’s political institutions, especially the corporate media.”
The impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky possesses irreconcilable, and dangerous, contradictions for the Democratic Party. Joe Biden’s hands in Ukraine are far from clean. The Obama Administration orchestrated a bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014. Obama and Biden’s coup empowered Nazis and facilitated a civil war that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was awarded a $50,000 per month position to serve on the board of the gas corporation Burisma shortly after the coup. Leaked memos raise suspicions that Joe Biden used his official position to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor responsible for investigating Burisma’s dealings. Biden admitted in a taped speech that he threatened to withhold up to one billion in loans from then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko if he refused to fire the country’s chief prosecutor. The corporate media has since exonerated Biden by accusing anyone who questions the former Vice President’s record in Ukraine of peddling conspiracy theories.
No one taking part in the Democratic Party’s faux “resistance” to Donald Trump wants to admit that the DNC has sacrificed Biden’s campaign to an impeachment proceeding that polls show is perceived largely as a partisan project. The “resistance” maintains its long-held position that Trump is the only evil in Washington. The CIA “whistleblower” who leaked the conversation between Trump and Zelensky has been annointed the hero in the charade, while Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden remain in prison or exile as enemies of the state. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the rest of the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party have lent their full support to Pelosi as she leads the impeachment crusade against Donald Trump. While no one on the left should mourn the de facto end of Biden’s flailing 2020 presidential campaign, lockstep unity among Democrats on the question of impeachment may very well destroy their electoral chances in 2020.
“The ‘resistance’ maintains its long-held position that Trump is the only evil in Washington.”
Masses of people are bearing witness to the Democratic Party’s leading role in an impeachment case that implicates all sides of two-party duopoly. Worse yet, Trump is unlikely to be removed from office under a Republican-controlled Senate. Instead, the orange billionaire is being given another opportunity to pose as an outsider to the establishment after being pumped full of ammunition from Russiagate. The non-voting population, which the Democrats historically have needed to win presidential elections, are unlikely to find inspiration from an electoral process that offers nothing but the potential of a Mike Pence presidency or a corporate Democrat. Impeachment thus offers the Democratic Party a long and winding road to defeat in the 2020 election.
Democratic Party elites appear perfectly fine with defeat so long as impeachment dampens the expectations of their class enemies below. The U.S. ruling class is more concerned about maximizing profits and mitigating the many crises currently plaguing the imperialist system than about securing the 2020 election for the Democrats. In this election season, U.S. imperialism faces a political dead-end. Neoliberal austerity is no longer a legitimate way forward for broad masses of people in the United States. Yet the Democratic Party is completely and entirely beholden to the forces of neoliberal austerity that occupy Wall Street. Wall Street recently threatened to back Donald Trump or withhold their bundles of money in the general election should Elizabeth Warren win the nomination. Wall Street wants complete loyalty to their austerity agenda, not a candidate such as Warren who, while useful as a moderate counterweight to the anti-austerity candidate Bernie Sanders, relies on throwing rhetorical bluster at Wall Street for political gain.
“The Democratic Party is completely beholden to the forces of neoliberal austerity that occupy Wall Street.”
Wall Street’s regime of austerity requires endless war abroad and intensified state repression at “home,” both of which are rooted in the white supremacist underpinnings of U.S. society.
The impeachment inquiry further exposes the hypocrisy of the white supremacist state. As Hood Communist author Erica Caines remarks, “This impeachment inquiry has absolutely nothing to do with Black working class interests. As revolutionary socialists, instead of viewing this shit-show from the sidelines, we need to expose these contradictions of imperialist capitalism and build mass class consciousness within our communities.” The impeachment inquiry gives the Democratic Party an outlet to suppress political discussion that centers the contradictions of imperialist capitalism, including impeachment’s virtual irrelevancy to the material oppression of Black workers and oppressed people around the world.
Perhaps the most significant contradictions of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump reside within the inquiry itself. The U.S. is a sworn enemy of both Ukrainian society and of domestic whistleblowers. The so-called Euromaidan “revolution” received direct U.S. support. Former U.S. Ambassador to Europe Victoria Nuland discussed which opposition forces the U.S. would support after Yanukovych’s ouster just weeks prior to the 2014 coup. Furthermore, John McCain traveled to Ukraine to lend his support to Nazi opposition groups and stood hand in hand with Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok during his speech to the far right masses. Far from a revolution, the Obama and Biden’s successful coup turned Ukraine into a “failed state” beholden to international finance and the rule of Nazi hordes. At home, the Obama Administration prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than any other presidential administration prior.
“The Obama and Biden’s successful coup turned Ukraine into a ‘failed state.’”
The suffering of the Ukrainian people is currently being used as a cynical ploy for the Democratic Party to regain political legitimacy in the age of austerity and endless war. Trump’s foolish phone call has left him at the mercy of an intelligence apparatus that sees him as nothing more than a political inconvenience. Impeachment helps the Democratic Party catch a breath of temporary relief from subjects such as Medicare for All or climate catastrophe. Notice too that the narrative against Trump specifically condemns his decision to withhold military expenditures from Kiev in its mythical war against invading Russians. Pelosi and the rest of the corporate Democrats have united to narrowly condemn Trump for pushing a foreign power to interfere in the U.S.’ so-called “democratic” electoral process, making the impeachment process nothing more than a rehash of Russiagate. Like Russiagate, impeachment is an intra-elite struggle that normalizes Obama, Biden, and the rest of the Democratic Party’s leadership in the destruction of Ukraine and the other maladies of imperial capitalism.
It remains to be seen whether these impeachment proceedings against Trump will work in the Democratic Party’s favor. The charge against Trump is a relatively standard practice for U.S. presidents. As Chris Hedges explains, Reagan and Obama used their political positions to influence international politics in a manner that benefitted their individual electoral pursuits as well as the interests of their party. U.S. imperialism has staged coups, invasions, and proxy wars abroad and empowered corporate lobbyists at home to ensure favorable political conditions for capitalist rule. Furthermore, the impeachment effort against Trump does not address the pressing needs of the poor and working class, especially those of Black America. Mass incarceration, racist policing, and the numerous forms of desperation and repression created by the twin evils of white supremacy and capitalism have been relegated to the margins. The hypocrisy of the Democratic Party shines bright for all to see, which gives Trump a potential boost in his bid for re-election. Revolutionaries and radicals should avoid getting sucked into the charade and focus on explaining to the masses how the power of the people can only be realized by organizing around the needs of humanity, not the capitalist interests of Pelosi’s Democratic Party or Trump’s Republican Party.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing).He can be reached at [email protected], on Instagram at danny_haiphong, and on Twitter at @SpiritofHo.
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