Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2018-2019: Fighting Trump and his fascist allies in practice and theory

From the May-June 2018 issue of News & Letters

Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2018-2019:
Fighting Trump and his fascist allies in practice and theory

Contents:
I.     Donald Trump’s war show
II.   Spreading revolt opens new doors
III. The reality and the myth of contemporary capitalism
IV.  Marx, Lenin, Marxist-Humanism and the philosophy of revolution in permanence
V.    Organizational tasks

I.     Donald Trump’s war show

To Donald Trump—the billionaire con man for whom all the world is the stage of a reality show—war, like a $30 million military parade, is a spectacle. It is about the assertion of his own power, with no concern for the possibility of millions of deaths.

GLOBAL FLASHPOINT BUILDING

Demonstration in Sacramento, Calif., against the police murder of Stephon Clark on April 5, 2018. Protestors vowed to “Be in the street until charges [against the police who murdered Clark] are filed. Photo: Black Lives Matter Sacramento.

The token bombing of three Syrian installations by the U.S., France and the UK was a sideshow that did not protect civilians or aid opposition forces. It was designed to avoid weakening the genocidal Bashar al-Assad regime and to steer clear of Russian forces and Syrian warplanes, which took refuge on a Russian base.

Nevertheless, Syria’s counter-revolution and the intrusion there of military forces with clashing agendas from Russia, Iran, Turkey, the U.S., Israel and other countries created a potential flashpoint. So has the global buildup of arms, including nuclear weapons.

The assembly of Trump’s war cabinet—with John Bolton as National Security Adviser, Tea Party ex-Congressman Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and veteran torturer Gina Haspel as CIA head—reflects Trump’s reckless militarism. Bolton still holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a great victory, and does not regret his leading role in pushing the lies justifying it.

What scares the Pentagon about Bolton and company is that the appointees who would inhibit his war drive have been expelled from the White House. Pompeo’s secret trip to North Korea does not erase the fact that he and Bolton both advocate “regime change” there and in Iran. Bolton has repeatedly called for bombing both countries. Even the Pentagon is afraid that Trump will start a catastrophic war against North Korea. If trade wars are “good and easy to win,” why not a nuclear war?

The ties of Pompeo and Bolton to hate groups—like the gay-bashing Family Research Council and the Muslim-bashing groups ACT for America, American Freedom Defense Initiative and Center for Security Policy—show they share Trump’s racist worldview.

Clearly, Trump is an extreme product of failing capitalism. It is true that he is making use of the executive machinery—including the surveillance apparatus—built up over more than a half century by administrations and Congresses run by both major parties. He is ramping up the arms race that was continued by Barack Obama’s “modernization” of the nuclear arsenal. The new spending bill continues the trend since the 1980s with military spending more than half the budget’s total—this year nearly $700 billion. He is intensifying the war in Afghanistan, which has been going on longer than the lives of many of today’s young protesters. He is carrying on the war in Iraq, which officially ended six years ago but in reality never stopped. He has expanded covert actions to three-quarters of the world’s countries, while the number of actions in countries like Yemen and Somalia has increased fivefold.

Trump’s extremism has not stopped the Republican Party from falling in line with him in every way, while Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting function as his loyal propaganda outlets.

His ascent is not an aberration but the index of the nature of U.S. capitalist imperialism—which will be cold comfort if he launches one or more catastrophic wars. That is, after all, a standard part of the playbook for rulers in risky positions, as he itches to fire special prosecutor Bob Mueller, silence all the women who name him as their attacker, save the Republican Congressional majority in midterm elections, destroy the Iran nuclear agreement, and prove that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong-un’s.

While the Democratic Party would have us believe that they are “the resistance,” they represent the system that brought us Trump in the first place. The “Left” who have joined cronies of Trump and Putin in a Red-Brown alliance are no alternative. We must turn to the true opposition to Trumpism: mass revolt.

Continued in II.   Spreading revolt opens new doors


Why we print the Draft Perspectives in News & Letters

In 1975 News and Letters Committees printed its Draft Perspectives Thesis in News & Letters for the first time. The organization has continued the practice ever since. What follows is the 1975 explanation of why we decided to take such action and why we continue to do so:

With this special issue, News and Letters Committees are breaking totally new ground for the Marxist movement. Publishing the Draft Perspectives Thesis for our coming national gathering directly in the pages of our paper is unprecedented, not only for all other organizations, but even for our own. We do it because our age is in such total crisis, facing a choice between absolute terror or absolute freedom, that a revolutionary organization can no longer allow any separation between theory and practice, philosophy and revolution, workers and intellectuals, “inside” and “outside.” We ask you to join in the discussion of these Perspectives with us. We are not presenting any “pat answers” to the question, “Where Do We Go From Here?” We are raising the questions that demand answers—and we ask you to help us in working them out.


Continued in II.   Spreading revolt opens new doors

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