Following the Women’s March in London on January 21, which drew over 100,000 to protest President Trump’s regressive attitude towards women, February has seen two more protests against the ‘Muslim ban’ which, before being overturned by a federal judge last Friday, blocked anyone from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen from entering the US.
Why did the Trump administration pick these seven countries? Is it because the US fears the backlash from indiscriminate bombing, and their tacit support for terrorists groups that can destabilise the US regime’s key opponents in the area? Is it because Trump hates Muslims, but not enough to get in the way of his business interests in other Muslim-majority states?
In reality, neither Trump nor his cabal selected the countries on the ‘Muslim ban’ order. In February 2016 the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is “continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.” This added to the current countries on the list, barring people “who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, at any time on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions).” While Trump’s implementation of US policy in the executive order is jarring, the content is hardly new.
Some at the demonstration criticised Theresa May for being an ‘appeaser,’ about as useful as asking an alcoholic not to visit the off-licence because the new owner no-longer sells their favourite poison. Others made a big show of supporting the European Union and opposing Brexit. Both demonstrate how easily the media and opportunist organisations can mislead workers into supporting imperialist projects and fighting for elements of the ruling class, against their own interests as workers.
Red Youth distributed the classic leaflet ‘Who stole our future?‘ to explain the reality of the class system, as well as the latest CPGB-ML leaflet on Trump, reproduced below.
Trump… loose cannon on the imperialist deck!
Capitalism is in crisis
Shocking his party, the US media and most of America’s ruling class, Donald Trump, business tycoon and media personality, secured the Republican party’s candidature, won the 2016 presidential election, and has now been inaugurated as ‘the leader of the free world’.
There is no doubt that Trump is racist, sexist and intolerant in the extreme, which, in part, explains why he was able to become president – a post only accessible to those who are willing to be complicit in the crimes of the US ruling class. What causes such outrage from the media, rival politicians, and his fellow billionaires is that he has no tact whilst implementing the policies that are the lifeblood of the imperialist US.
Moreover, while canvassing for election, Trump criticised the constant warmongering of the US, its membership of Nato, and its neoliberal trade deals. These criticisms are the real reason that so much of the establishment is now presenting him as an exceptionally dangerous and deranged anomaly; a miscarriage of democracy. But the reality is that all previous presidents have followed policies that were just as racist and vile, and this turning of Trump into a stage villain is an attempt to disguise the ferocious nature of the system itself and to whitewash previous US regimes.
‘Land of the free’
The USA puts itself forward as a ‘democracy’; it calls itself the ‘land of the free’; it considers that it has the right to police the world and to label other countries as ‘undemocratic’ or lacking in freedom; it imposes sanctions and wages wars in the name of ‘human rights’. There is no corner of the world that the US does not consider to be within its jurisdiction, exempt from the Geneva Convention and UN treaties.
And yet the US state, along with its fellow imperialist vultures in Britain and elsewhere, is the worst violator of human rights in the world. By waging unjust wars for economic and geopolitical advantage, the US and its allies deny millions of people the most fundamental human right: the right to life. Through its economic stranglehold over the oppressed world, imperialism is responsible for the extraordinary poverty that leads to the death of 13 million children a year from malnutrition-related diseases.
Even today, African Americans, along with the few native Americans who have managed to survive a series of massacres and holocausts, continue to be among the victims of the ‘free’ American republic. It was less than 50 years ago that US workers secured legal protection against racial or national discrimination, yet such discrimination has been thriving under the US’s first black president, Barack Obama. One only has to look to the uprising in Ferguson, the water crisis in Flint, or the attacks on the Standing Rock protesters to see the contempt in which the US ruling class holds the American people.
‘Hope’ and ‘change’
Obama became president in 2009 after a campaign based on empty phrases such as ‘hope’ and ‘change’. Promising to pull the US out of its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to close Guantánamo bay, Obama oversaw, among many other atrocities, yet more bombing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria, dropping at least 26,171 bombs in 2016 alone (three bombs per hour, every day, for the entire year).
Obama’s regime also built on the draconian laws implemented by his predecessors that allow the US to spy on, assassinate, detain, and deport workers, earning him the title ‘deporter in chief’ for expelling over 2.5 million migrants and refugees.
Obama’s flagship healthcare project, known as ‘Obamacare’, was in reality a ‘progressive’ smokescreen. The act allowed millions of people access to insurance, with the downside of much higher premiums, meaning patients still have to pay thousands of dollars for care. In effect, it has become another method of funnelling public money into private pockets, trapping the poorest workers in poverty.
Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democrat opponent in the election, offered no change from the status quo. A fierce war hawk, backed by Wall Street and the military-industrial complex, and running on a platform of ‘more of the same’, she failed to inspire trust in the millions thrown under the bus by successive US regimes.
While Hillary’s blood-soaked record in the service of imperialism had the backing of the majority of the ruling class, her absolute refusal to even think about addressing working-class interests sealed her fate. So desperate for a war against Russia are Hillary and her backers that they have whipped up a media frenzy claiming that ‘the Russians’ managed to rig the election.
The left wing of imperialism
“The working-class activists who follow the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeois than the bourgeois themselves.” – VI Lenin
Most people demonstrating against Trump are doing so for important and just reasons: in defence of their fellow human beings, and against prejudice and discrimination. However, the social-democratic left, which objectively serves the interests of imperialism, is hijacking and perverting the movement against Trump, turning it into a movement to support Hillary and other ‘acceptable’ imperialists.
The imperialists are working overtime to manipulate public outrage at Trump’s every act, and he is indeed a nasty piece of work, but it is clear that that is not the reason for their rage. Most ordinary decent people may care about racism, sexism and human rights, but these are not priorities for capitalism. Many of those crying foul at Trump’s racist ‘muslim ban’ were happy for those same people to be bombed in their thousands on a daily basis in their countries of origin. The hypocrisy is staggering.
To effectively oppose Trump, the entire system that created and enabled him must be destroyed. This is the only way to secure any meaningful and lasting progress for ordinary people across the world.
The bourgeois answer to the capitalist crisis is to encourage workers to blame immigration for their problems, to step up wars of plunder abroad, and to fight any backlash with anti-terror laws, separatist and racist ideology, and a culture of working-class self-policing and informing.
While 8 billionaires have more wealth than the poorest half of humanity, there can be no justice and no peace in the world – regardless of which corporate puppet sits in the White House, or in 10 Downing Street.