“At no other time has there been more of a need to organize a political program independent of the two party system.”
The old formula for Democratic Party behavior under a Republican Administration is dead. For a generation, Republican-led wars, economic bailouts, and overtly racist policies generated mass discontent from a wide net of Democratic Party supporters. Democratic opposition to Republicans was mere bravado that created the conditions for future Democratic Party Administrations in Washington. Once the Republicans were disarmed, politics as usual commenced. This was especially evident during the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Administrations, where progressive politics went to die in favor of austerity and endless war.
Politics in the US became so stagnant under Obama that many forgot what real opposition to power looked like. Donald Trump emerged from the political rot to take the highest seat of the oval office from the Republican and Democratic Party establishment. The Republican Party had zero answers for the orange billionaire as candidates such as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush had long worn out their welcome with Republican voters. And the Hillary Clinton campaign couldn't muster any opposition to Trump beyond blaming Russia for his rise, giving voters no reason to vote Democrat at all.
“Non-profit ties to the Democratic Party prevented left-wing activists to move the masses away from Democratic Party politics.”
What few left-wing forces that remained in the US hoped that a popular movement would emerge against the orange billionaire's racist and sexist character. The first few months of his Administration appeared on the surface to indicate a new day in left politics. Protests during and directly after Trump’s inauguration garnered hundreds of thousands of attendees. Many of these protests, such as the Women's March, were organized on a top down basis. Non-profits and foundations played a key role in the turnout. Non-profit ties to the Democratic Party prevented left-wing activists to move the masses away from Democratic Party politics.
On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, we should remember that V.I. Lenin had much to say in relation to spontaneous protest. He explained that spontaneity cannot produce mass movements capable of making revolutionary change. Spontaneous rebellion among the masses indicates a variety of things. As the Ferguson rebellion exemplified, rebellion can signal that Black Americans are becoming increasingly fed up with the police brutality and mass incarceration that dominates their lives. However, rebellion can also reveal the full terrain of struggle. The anti-Trump protests directly following the inauguration of Trump made clear that mass anger exists at the very presence of the Orange billionaire in the White House. However, as Lenin taught us, it is what kind of leadership at the front of mass discontent that determines its political direction.
“Independent media has been blacklisted by Google.”
And because the Democratic Party has been in the lead, politics in the US have moved even further rightward. The anti-Trump campaign has turned into a full blown anti-Russian campaign where Trump is the object of the still unproven claim that Russia interfered in the Presidential election. Independent media has been blacklisted by Google. RT has been banned from advertising on Twitter. And the accusations have only become more absurd. Russia has been accused of everything from using $100,000 to buy Black Lives Matter ads on Facebook to infiltrating Pokemon Go to "divide the nation."
A political environment reminiscent of the Cold War has placed the US at the forefront of a new Cold War. A section of the ruling class desperately wants Russia to return to its Yeltsin-era subservience to US capital. It is believed by the major military contractors and Wall Street firms that war with Russia presents an opportunity to recharge the US capitalist economy, which is in need of a boost. Lust for profit has clouded the potential nuclear implications of such a war. The Democratic Party and its Republican allies are willing to turn humanity into nuclear dust in exchange for short term riches for their paymasters.
“Leadership at the front of mass discontent determines its political direction.”
An example of the level of conservatism brought on by the Democratic Party-led anti-Russia campaign was recently covered by Don Debar's CPRnews on November 7th. Journalist Joe Lauria discussed his piece entitled "The Democratic Money behind Russia-gate." The article was originally posted on Huffington Post. It detailed how the Democratic National Committee hired a private contractor, CrowdStrike, to conduct the investigation of its servers. The FBI was barred from access, raising questions about the validity of an investigation funded by the DNC itself. Lauria's piece was taken down from Huffington Post within 24 hours.
The Huffington Post is owned by AOL. AOL's founder endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections. This act of blatant censorship is part and parcel of the conservatism that has arisen in the age of Trump. Some might call the behavior of the Democratic Party fascistic. The question of war and peace has become the principle contradiction of this era thanks in large part to the Democratic Party. The drive for war has two fronts. On the one hand, radical elements have been targeted by the Democratic Party as agents of the Kremlin. On the other, sanctions have been leveled on Russia in the context of a vast expansion in NATO’s presence along the Russian border.
“Black politicians have fully endorsed the anti-Russian, new Cold War narrative.”
Trump's Presidency has thus been characterized by an even more war hungry Democratic Party than in years prior. Politics in Washington have been consumed by a crisis of legitimacy that plagues both corporate parties. The Democratic Party has no answers for the problems that afflict the growing numbers of poor people in the US, especially the Black proletariat. Anti-Russian sentiment not only fulfills the goal of endless war but also absolves the Democrats of accountability for its role in the crisis of capitalism. Rather than policy discussions about healthcare, austerity, mass incarceration, military spending and the like, the Democratic Party has obsessively attacked Trump on the basis of his unproven ties to Russia.
It is for this reason that politics in the US have only become more moribund since the end of the Obama period. Black politicians have fully endorsed the anti-Russian, new Cold War narrative. At no other time has there been more of a need to organize a political program independent of the two party system. The corporate interests that dictate policy in the intelligence agencies are in full control of Washington’s empire. Trump didn't make the US a more conservative imperialist empire. He is nothing but a product of the prevailing conditions of an empire in decline.
Danny Haiphong is a Vietnamese-American activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at [email protected]