By Sean Burns
The early phase of the Trump presidency has been marked by instability for the capitalist class. Huge pressure is mounting from below as workers, women, young people and oppressed groups are organising to resist his agenda. His Blitzkrieg approach of issuing multiple Executive Orders attacking immigrant rights, women’s rights, health care and much more has provoked a huge backlash.
Millions participated in women’s marches internationally on 21st January. Tens of thousands went to airports across the country on 28th January to protest the ban on allowing people from seven majority Muslim nations into the US, with taxi drivers and shopkeepers in New York taking strike action, which played an important role in scuppering the initial plan. His regressive health plan was defeated largely because of pressure from below.
The election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency left many people distraught. The victory of a candidate who boasts of sexually assaulting women and makes openly racist comments has shocked young people and workers who are searching for an answer to oppression and poverty. Trump is not a sign that the mass of white American working class are inherently racist or looking to preserve its “privilege” over people of colour.
Trump’s promises to restore and create jobs through protectionism won an echo in the deindustrialised areas of the US where working class communities have been devastated. His rhetoric against globalisation and the establishment struck a chord with a section in these areas. In contrast, Clinton was the epitome of a Wall Street establishment politician who offered no change at all. They were the two least popular Presidential candidates in history.
Had Trump faced Bernie Sanders, with his left-wing policies and call for a political revolution against the billionaires, he would almost certainly have been defeated. However, the Democratic establishment sabotaged his campaign, seeing him as more of a threat to their interests than Trump. The pro-corporate, pro-war policies of successive Democratic and Republican Presidents have created the conditions for the rise of Trump.
It is necessary to break with the two-party system and forge a working class party and that can take on Trump’s scapegoating of migrants in a real way by providing solutions to the questions of jobs and living standards. BY connecting to the movements like Black Lives Matter and the women’s marches as well as workers in industrial struggles, such a party could quickly become a decisive force in US politics. If Trump visits the UK this summer, it should be a major focus of protests to show those in the US resisting his agenda that millions stand in solidarity with them across the world.