Draft Perspectives, 2024-2025: Part Two, Trump 2.0: A global threat

May 4, 2024

I. A new generation of radicals stands against genocide


II. Trump 2.0: A global threat

Trump 2.0, should he achieve it, would be far more dangerous than a repeat of his first term, with ramifications for every aspect of the global crisis, from growing labor struggles in the U.S. to climate chaos, from oppression of women, and revolt against it, to the war on Ukraine.

Trump, and just as importantly his advisers and well-funded backers like the Heritage Foundation, are determined to run an efficient and effective operation of turning the state into permanent totalitarian control by an ideological minority serving the wealthiest capitalist elites. They aim to avoid what hindered their agenda in his first administration: the rampant incompetence of his appointees and the interference by civil servants and even some Trump appointees who put the Constitution and law above personal loyalty to the “capo.” They plan to begin with a purge of any staff suspected of disloyalty to the right-wing agenda and replace them with an “army” of loyalists picked from a database already being compiled, followed by prosecution and harassment of perceived enemies, including the free press, independent labor unions, and Left or even liberal-to-centrist activists, academics, and politicians.

They intend to eliminate accountability and fatally undermine democracy—not just for partisan supremacy but to enable “extreme violations against human rights, bodily autonomy and free speech; to begin during a second Trump term they don’t envision as the last.”[1]

They would turn schools into indoctrination centers, ban discussions of “gender theory”—that is, taking up women’s history and ongoing sexism and femicides—and racism, ban collection of data on race and sex discrimination, maternal mortality, gender identity, and climate change, rewrite the history of U.S. sexism and racism and struggles against them, politicize scientific research, and enshrine the right of the wealthy and powerful to disseminate disinformation. All of these efforts are already underway, thanks to Trump-appointed judges and gerrymandered state legislatures.

This reactionary drive has already permeated multiple aspects of our lives, in countries across the globe. Fascist organizations are networked internationally, including close links to state powers led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and Argentinian President Javier Milei, as well as once-and-threatened-future kings Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump, and the latter’s advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. And these organizations have mae strides toward power in many countries, whether by heading the government, participating in a coalition government, or setting the political agenda.

We should have no illusions about electoral politics and the Democratic Party, recognizing that they are capitalist through and through, but at the same time no illusions about the threat of a takeover by today’s Republican Party. It has been transformed into an essentially theocratic-fascist party with a mass base—including many in the army and police—and backing by a substantial part of the ruling class, which is a manifestation of capitalism’s deep global crisis. Even if Trump is defeated, this is not easily reversed.

ABORTION ONLY STEP ONE OF FASCIST ATTACK ON WOMEN

Few people were fooled by Trump’s campaign claim that he wants abortion bans left up to the states—this coming from the same creature who frequently takes credit for the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs that overturned Roe v Wade. That was only the first step. The forces that back him and that he empowers, including the judges he appointed, are eager not only to impose a countrywide abortion ban, but also to ban birth control, thus forcing women into a subordinate, subhuman position.[2] That campaign is already underway as anti-abortionists try to falsely claim that many methods of contraception work by causing abortions and that birth-control pills are extremely dangerous.

The pretense of “moderation” some Republicans are making now is because of the shock and outrage sweeping the nation as the implications of Dobbs come into view, from the torture visited upon women like Kate Cox to the extremist Alabama ruling blocking IVF on the fanatical grounds that a fetus is a human being with rights trumping a woman’s. Hospital emergency departments are already turning away pregnant women in crisis.

Women’s March for abortion rights, 7/9/22 in D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

Trump wouldn’t have to put an abortion ban in place; his judges would only have to revive the 150-year-old Comstock Act. That law, passed before women could vote, would outlaw both abortion and birth control as well as sex education—through the mail, but today’s reactionary judges are adept at logical somersaults to twist and expand whatever texts they like. Supreme Court Justices Alito and Thomas have already invited litigants to bring cases allowing the Court to do that.

The other likely tack Trump would take is to stack the FDA with anti-abortion fanatics who would joyfully un-approve the abortion drug, mifepristone—a drug safer than Tylenol that women have been taking for over 30 years—thus throwing abortion access into chaos. As of 2023, medication accounts for over 60% of abortions.

Arizona’s Supreme Court demonstrated just how reactionary the drive for elite minority rule is when they ruled that the state’s long-dead 1864 law banning abortion must be resurrected and imposed on women. That law was passed when the Confederacy dominated half the Arizona territory (which was not yet a state), only white men could vote, and the territory’s laws also mandated that no Indian or Black person could testify against a white person. The speaker of its House was a man who had married at least four girls aged from 12 to 15 and supported the Confederacy.

It’s important to note that the struggle over the right to abortion—the right of women to control what happens to their bodies—has never been only about abortion. Those leading the effort to end all abortions have a worldview that includes women’s subordination, that proclaims sex is only for procreation, that women’s role is subordinate to men’s, that god’s will is for women to have babies, raise the children, support their men, and shut up. They have already shown that they’re more than willing to destroy democracy in the drive to subordinate women and drive them back to before they had the right to vote or own property.

LABOR REVOLT AND TRANS PEOPLE TARGETED BY THE RIGHT WING

Trans people are under vicious attack from these same fanatics, whose rhetoric and restrictive laws are encouraging violence against them. Human Rights Campaign reported an “epidemic of violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people” last November. Societal pressure is such that over 40% of Transgender adults in the U.S. have attempted suicide. It is even worse for young people like Nex Benedict.[3]

Just as the reactionaries are motivated by backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement, Women’s Liberation, and Queer Liberation, they want to crush the new militancy of labor in both established unions and new organizing drives. As the hysterical attacks from Southern Republican governors show, they fear the successful union drive that is expanding unions like the United Auto Workers to new horizons in the South.[4] The media narrative granting Trump automatic ownership of workers erases their subjectivity. But the renewed vision and activity of union workers striking and non-union workers organizing has fired a warning shot across the bow of the bosses and their representatives like Boss Trump.

In reality, the bosses and their politicians have been hard at work eliminating restrictions on child labor in state after state, and they have plans for myriad ways to strip protections from workers, such as overtime pay, anti-discrimination laws, and minimum wages, and even the right to organize, which they would like to replace with company unions.

One of the main ways that Republican state legislators have responded to the increasing illness and death from overheating on the job is to pass laws in Texas and Florida to eliminate ordinances passed by municipalities to protect outdoor workers under heat stress.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY: TO BE SOLVED OR EXPLOITED?

Such a response is extreme, and yet it reflects the rulers’ dominant approach to the climate emergency: tender concern for private profits and national military might first, human well-being and ecological sustainability much further down on their list.[5] Meanwhile, the walls are crumbling: heat records keep jumping higher, human disasters and species extinctions are multiplying, climate migrants are on the move, and new but worse repeats of recent disasters like Canada’s extreme 2023 wildfires are being forecast. We are already seeing this spring the deadly force of multiple tornadoes, fueled by global heating.

While the responses of establishment leaders like Biden are both inadequate and contradictory, Trump 2.0 would be disastrous globally as well as in the U.S. This includes not only doubling down on fossil fuel production, export, and use under the nationalistic slogan of “energy dominance,” but exploiting the consequences of climate breakdown such as growing climate migration as a way to further whip up racist hysteria, state repression and surveillance, and militarization. Not to mention repressing truthful discussion of the climate crisis while rolling back environmental and safety regulations.

The April 19 global climate strike is the latest show of force by the youth movement, which has of necessity grown more radical, more internationalist, more class-conscious and anti-capitalist. Some climate activists, such as Greta Thunberg, made clear their solidarity with Palestinians. At the same time there are hundreds of less visible struggles across the globe against fossil fuel projects, against environmental racism, against destruction of local ecosystems, and for self-determination of Indigenous peoples who are protecting those ecosystems. The idea of a “just transition” has become central to climate movements because governments have a track record of implementing “solutions” that are not only half-measures but make life worse for ordinary working people while creating new profit opportunities for capitalists. Of course, politicians are trying to co-opt the concept of just transition too.

The ecological and economic crises are not only making each other worse, they are fully intertwined, integral parts of the total crisis of capitalism. Technology is touted as a savior in both crises, but in many cases makes them worse. The rapid growth of AI is hailed by many tech honchos—and even those who warn of its dangers do not disengage from it. Yet it threatens to wipe out millions of jobs, displacing working people who will not easily recover, while it is also being used for warfare, surveillance, social control, deepfakes, and disinformation, and it reinforces sexism and racism. It sucks up huge amounts of energy, worsening climate change. Society’s failure to restrain these destructive tendencies is yet another proof of the dialectical inversion that Karl Marx discerned as inherent in capitalist society: technology uses the worker, rather than the worker using the technology.[6]

III. Russia’s war on Ukraine and the worldwide drive toward fascism


[1] See “Democracy under Dire Threat” by Buddy Bell, News & Letters, Jan. 24, 2024.

[2] See “Why we call them fanatics” by Terry Moon, News & Letters, Jan. 24, 2024.

[3] See “Outcry over death of genderfluid youth” by Buddy Bell, News & Letters, March 8, 2024.

[4] See “VW workers in U.S. South unionize!” by Bob McGuire, News & Letters, April 24, 2024.

[5] See “COP28 climate summit submits to oil capital’s war against movements and science” by Franklin Dmitryev, News & Letters, Jan. 24, 2024.

[6] See “Excerpts from the Introduction to the new pamphlet on ‘What Is Socialism?’: Marx’s Humanism, Marxist-Humanism and Socialism” by Franklin Dmitryev, March-April 2021 News & Letters. Marx wrote about the dialectical inversion inherent in capitalism in many places throughout his masterwork Capital. For example, see Vol. I (Penguin Classics, 1992), p. 425.

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