USA Presidential Election -Trump/Biden - Future Uncertain

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Spikymike
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Oct 13 2020 11:30
USA Presidential Election -Trump/Biden - Future Uncertain

Time perhaps for a separate discussion thread looking both past and present to what has changed or not as a result of the impact of Trumps election (and others of his ilk) and responses to that in the USA and the world both in terms of ideology and economics and what that means for any more radical or potentially revolutionary working class struggle over the coming decade:
This fairly long text (with a short aside on the UK) asks more questions than answers but is a useful starting point for a discussion:
https://internationalistperspective.org/trump-american-disruptor-in-a-global-kakistocracy/

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R Totale
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Oct 13 2020 18:59

There's the AWW/LGR text, and various more or less favourable responses to it here: https://libcom.org/blog/necessity-revolutionary-working-class-program-times-coup-civil-war-scenarios-10102020

"How do we stop a coup?" from Unity & Struggle : http://www.unityandstruggle.org/2020/10/how-do-we-stop-a-coup/

Analysis from Peter Gelderloos, who's been great these last few years: https://crimethinc.com/2020/10/04/preparing-for-electoral-unrest-and-a-right-wing-power-grab-an-analysis

I haven't read all of that IP piece, and only skimmed over it with reference to the UK section, but this bit jumped out as being dire:

The Labour Party imploded at the election, having been hijacked by the Momentum movement – led by a coterie of anti-Blairite, anti-Semitic and self-deluded Stalinists – who put forward an ineffectual position on Brexit – and hence immigration – that alienated much of the party’s base in the north of England.

Now, I don't think that IP actually think that being "anti-Blairite" is comparable to being anti-Semitic or a self-deluded Stalinist, but it's very difficult to not get that impression from the way that sentence is phrased. And as for the question of whether the LP/Momentum leadership are or were anti-Semitic, I think nuance is vital, and something completely lacking from that sentence. I think the LP/Momentum leadership made mistakes in dealing with antisemitism, and did not deal with it as swiftly and effectively as they would have likely dealt with other forms of racism, and that not all of those failures can be attributed to the sabotage of people like Sam Matthews, although some of them definitely can be. But if you can't articulate that without just saying "Momentum's leadership were anti-Blairite and anti-Semitic", then you have no business writing serious theoretical analysis, imo.

ajjohnstone
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Oct 14 2020 02:02

Obviously not read it but this new book seems to make an interesting point.

Psychology professor Bob Altemeyer and former Nixon White House lawyer John Dean write in their new book, ‘Authoritarian Nightmare,’ that "Even if Donald Trump disappeared tomorrow the millions of people who made him president would be ready to make someone else similar president instead."

They explain that many Trump supporters]are submissive, fearful, and longing for a mighty leader who will protect them from life's threats …They divide the world into friend and foe, with the latter greatly outnumbering the former."

https://www.alternet.org/2020/10/submissive-fearful-and-l/
(original story behind Washington Post's paywall)

Reminds me of Wilhelm's Reich "Listen Little Man"

With all this vote Biden the lesser evil from the Left, what is always missing is just why Trump got such a solid support in the first place that has remained fairly steady and how Biden is going to offer solutions to them.

Spikymike
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Oct 17 2020 14:51

The poor 'throw-away' comment on the Labour Party and Brexit aside the rest is still worth reading.
Edit: In terms of the related situation in the UK, (with Brexit and the impact of the latest Covid-19 border regimes), these 2 texts are perhaps more useful if still in line to some extent with the drift of the content in the main IP article:
https://libcom.org/blog/uk-political-class-between-rock-hard-place-uk-report-october-2020-16102020
and this earlier piece here:
https://en.internationalism.org/content/16919/britain-ruled-waves

Spikymike
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Oct 19 2020 11:46

So IP's Sander takes issue with aspects of the previous IP post in terms of it's interpretation of the Trump transformation of the Republican Party and a view of Trumps 'foreign policy' as less obviously out of kilter with the past and current needs of capital if past it's usefulness internally at this point in time, and seems to lean towards the likelihood of a Biden victory this time round. But more to the point makes a more useful summary regarding the current stage of the crisis in the USA and the likely results of either parties victory in the elections with a further 'kick it down the road' state policy and further attack on the working class. Wisely avoids making too many comparisons so far with the UK. Think I've got that summary about right but worth a second read.
It's hear:
https://internationalistperspective.org/why-trump-was-but-is-no-longer-useful-for-the-capitalist-class-at-the-helm-of-the-state/

adri
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Nov 7 2020 01:31

I see Johnny Rotten's chimed in on the U.S. elections, and I'm beginning to wonder whether the swastikas in the 70s were for more than just shock-value (I always knew he was kind of a stupid reactionary drunkard, but never by this much). I never really got the "outsider" or "not a politician" thing, when Trump's a millionaire-celebrity-businessman who before even taking office was filling his cabinet with Wall Street bankers like Mnuchin after promising to "drain the swamp," whatever that means. I'm not sure how Rotten thinks he's "looking after the working classes' interests" either, and he doesn't really mention anything about Trump's emboldening of the far-right etc., maybe because only these are the "working class" to him, and even then most of them still live in poverty or are not "working class" at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uOwz_UrQ0

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Nov 7 2020 17:27
Spikymike wrote:
So IP's Sander . . . seems to lean towards the likelihood of a Biden victory

This seems to be confirmed today, with the vote in Pennsylvania.

Even Fox News is calling it a victory for Biden.

Black Badger
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Nov 7 2020 18:08

I'm disgusted by all the liberals and progressives who are implicitly and explicitly praising the exact same racist and exclusionary system that brought Boss Tweet to power. Will the Democrats push for the elimination of the Electoral College? Will they reunite the incarcerated children with their parents or guardians? Will the drone assassinations end? Will Guantanamo finally close? Will federal charges against protesters be dropped? Will Biden make good in his promise to round up anarchists and looters? What will the liberals and progressives do about the already mobilized and armed right-wing racist scumbag MAGAs who are guaranteed to be even more agitated and ready for civil unrest, and who have plenty of supporters among law enforcement?

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Hieronymous
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Nov 9 2020 14:28

Black Badger, I agree.

In the winter of 2009, I was at an event about the possibility of anti-capitalist struggles against the economic crisis we were living through at the time. There were a few, extremely brief, presentations about historical and present examples of class-based resistance. 15 minutes later the floor was opened for discussion among the 50+ people in attendance. A couple guys sat quietly at the back of the room. Eventually, one raised his hand and said, "Y'all are probably wondering what two black dudes think about the recent inauguration of Obama as president." The tone was deadpan serious and we were all hanging on his every word. He went on, "well, it's like the excitement you get when a black man is made the manager of a McDonald's." It wasn't just the words, but also his tone. The whole audience bust out in collective, contagious laughter that went on for over a minute. It still brings a smile to my face just reminiscing about it a decade later.

A comrade just texted me with a similar message about today. To paraphrase:

Quote:
Joe Biden's win feels like when I went from a Level 4 maximum security prison to a medium security one.

adri
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Nov 8 2020 00:58

Speaking of Boss Tweet...

The second all-caps tweet pretty obviously is just Trump riling up his supporters (I mean I'm sure he's aware the effects his tweets have and who his supporters are) against anyone who opposes him, which probably won't go so well. If you live in the L.A. area, I'd probably be on the look-out for an agitated, maga-wearing former Sex Pistols member.

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Serge Forward
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Nov 9 2020 22:01

ACG comment on US election: https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2020/11/09/trump-on-his-way-out-but-big-struggles-ahead/

Anticap
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Nov 10 2020 15:48

A different take: https://anticapital0.wordpress.com/bangs-and-whimpers/

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Alf
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Nov 10 2020 21:00

First response to the election result from the ICC. More analytical article, looking more into the historical background to the rise of "Trumpism", to follow later.
https://en.internationalism.org/content/16934/us-elections-democratic-delusion

Spikymike
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Nov 11 2020 11:39

Just briefly looking back to ajj's post #3 in terms of capitalist ideology and Trump's supporters psychology, I thought this short text from the spgb was of interest (the borrowed references to both Graeber and Chomsky, not otherwise favoured by either the spgb or me) aside:
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020/2020s/no-1395-november-2020/trump-and-lying-as-a-tactic/

Spikymike
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Nov 15 2020 13:02

Here are some useful statistical analysis of voter patterns from the recent USA election as between Trump and Biden. Don't fixate on the title of the text or other of the economic analysis from Michael Roberts which is only good in parts as I have referenced elsewhere on this site.
https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2020/11/08/us-election-women-the-young-the-working-class-the-cities-and-ethnic-minorities-get-rid-of-trump/

Spikymike
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Nov 14 2020 17:23

Also posted elsewhere on this site:
https://libcom.org/blog/election-over-capitalist-class-has-won-14112020

adri
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Dec 6 2020 23:22

Roberts' pieces are often good, though I haven't got around to reading his most recent ones. The ACG piece also hits on some interesting points related to extractive industries. There was also the construction projects for oil pipelines like the Dakota Access Pipeline that Trump claimed would "create thousands of jobs," which was just a lie and actually created ~51 permanent jobs. Another interesting aspect of the fossil fuel industry, such as coal, is that deregulation might very well lead to some employment, but also exacerbate climate change and lead to other negative environmental effects. In some cases the environmental effects might cancel out the "economic benefits." It seems under capitalism workers' livelihoods, and the economy itself, depends on rendering the planet uninhabitable. Most of the employment in extractive industries is also not ever-lasting, one because the resources themselves are not ever-lasting. Resources under capitalism are often squandered just on this reproduction of capitalism itself (in contrast to a socialist/communist society where resources would be intelligently used for people's needs). Continued operation of mines also depends on economic factors such as global competition. Competitiveness is often cited by the mining industry as a reason we must not hinder mining with regulations and so on, pointing as always, and not without justification under capitalism, to the economy, employment, mineral/energy independence etc.

Spikymike
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Dec 3 2020 13:27

The spgb provide a short summary of all the inconsistencies and weaknesses in the USA's system of capitalist democracy in this article here;
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020/2020s/no-1396-december-2020/material-world-exercise-in-democracy-not-exactly/
but if this is the best ''well-entrenched system of voting' that another of their members in the same edition considers guarantees the possibility of socialism through capitalist elections it surely counts as a demonstration of blind faith rather than rational certainty. Maybe the spgb takes some comfort from the experience of the likely outcome of this particular election but that is surely its strength in maintaining capitalist stability rather than any openness to international revolutionary change as I think is suggested here:
https://critisticuffs.org/texts/never-gonna-give-you-up-trump-and-what-elections-are-for
Beyond all that it remains that the global capitalist world is divided up into many competing national and imperialist blocks which demonstrate inconsistency in time and space in their degree of 'democratic' administration none particularly suited to the practical needs of a growing international revolutionary working class movement.

ajjohnstone
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Dec 4 2020 04:24

One aspect to note that despite voter suppression efforts of various kinds plus the threat of the Covid-19, many lined up for hours to cast their ballot.

Both candidates received record-breaking votes...Biden 80 million-ish, Trump 75 million-ish.

It is clear despite the many obstacles placed in their path, the American worker is determined to use his or her vote.

How many now question the integrity of the voting system, is the question that now should be asked, that the "stability" is being challenged by the accusations of fraud. Certainly it is a substantial minority who have fallen for conspiracy theories of a rigged election. Another minority that believes in the "stab-in-the-back" plots of the "deep state."

Should anarchists who never had any trust or faith in the electoral process in the first place applaud this "illumination"?

I don't think there are many in the SPGB who doesn't recoil in trepidation from such antics of declaring the election result invalid and the winner as illegitimate, even if we do recognise certain weaknesses in the system, overall though we do consider it a fairly accurate measure of current political consciousness.

What i find most pessimistic is the liberal, progressive left vote for the lesser evil and how it has only grown stronger over time. Our spoil the ballot and the anarchist abstentionist position didn't even register in the debate.

As comparing with other countries, America, as always, represent exceptionalism with its "States Rights" on the running of elections.

But i will end with what one SPGBer pointed out to his Trotskyist pal, Isn't Trump copying what Lenin did with the result of the Constituent Assembly?

Spikymike
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Dec 4 2020 13:22

The ''record-breaking'' number of votes in this election surely does signify the still deep illusions of most workers in the USA in the power of such to promote or safeguard their interests as workers, rather than replying on their own independent collective class organisation which is indeed pessimistic from a revolutionary point of view. In that respect at least I would agree that it does on its own (ignoring other working class collective action in the USA and elsewhere) represent a ''fairly accurate measure of current political consciousness''. Mind about 37% of eligible voters didn't do so, but I'm not claiming most of those were any kind of conscious revolutionaries! We all have a long way to go.

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R Totale
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Dec 4 2020 14:34

I suppose one thing anarchist or indeed SPGB arguments have to contend with is that widespread voter suppression does change the context of these arguments. Like, I think on a fundamental level the underlying truths still hold up, electoralism and particularly voting for Joe Biden is not a great way to achieve anything, but it is worth being mindful of the fact that someone who faces voter suppression linked to their race may well relate to their vote differently. I'm not an expert on what anarchists and other ultra types were arguing at the time of the various suffrage or civil rights movements, but I suppose that's one relevant point of historical reference.
Looking on the bright side though, the anarchist critique of elections was never just about the act of voting as such, but more about the pacifying effect of electoralism and the tendency to drain energy away from extra-parliamentary movements into the electoral circus, as with Corbynism. Looked at from that perspective, you'd expect an election year to be relatively quiet on other fronts, so the fact that there were also record-breaking numbers of people willing to cast their vote with paving stones this year suggests that even if lots of people were voting, not everyone was fully buying into the mindset of seeing that as their only or most powerful form of political action. Horribly long and convoluted sentence there but you get what I mean.
Of course, that still leaves open all the other questions about rioting vs forming lasting collective organisations and so on, as alluded to in that AngryWorkers text, but those are still a different kind of question than the electoral one.

Anticap
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Dec 6 2020 22:22

More on what to expect(?)

Back to Back

Spikymike
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Dec 7 2020 14:42

I'm listing this text here as I prefer to keep some discussions going on a themed basis even though it's also included elsewhere on libcom:
https://libcom.org/blog/us-election-over-capitalist-nightmare-continues-07122020

Spikymike
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Dec 7 2020 16:15

And following some of the issues raised briefly in earlier posts #3 and #14 in relation to irrationality in working class behaviour and support for authoritarian politics in terms of the recent elections and the devastating experience of the virus on working class health this short text from IP paints a realistic and sobering reflection on prospects for radical change in the USA in particular:
https://internationalistperspective.org/four-horsemen-of-capitalism-racism-plague-poverty-and-democracy/

Spikymike
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Jan 1 2021 11:15

As it's the start of a new year 2021 this seems relevant as a short summary looking back to the Trump years and forward to the years ahead written from a European, post Brexit perspective:
https://brooklynrail.org/2020/12/field-notes/The-American-Crisis-A-Trans-Atlantic-View
Follows up on a previous text from Paul Mattick junior in the same publication .

Spikymike
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Jan 26 2021 17:22

Further comment from IP here:
https://internationalistperspective.org/the-storm-that-gave-biden-wings
I think it reinforces some of the points made elsewhere on this site.

adri
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Jan 27 2021 18:20

I'm interested in how much sites like Parler are motivated by ideologies like "free speech" versus an awareness that there's money to be made with right-wingers in need of a platform (i.e. just business as usual), and where other platforms do not require them (or rather it would be more costly to keep them on their platform) to maintain their revenues. I imagine operating sites like Parler can be pretty profitable, "their" merchandise for example, but I haven't really looked into it that much or know all about the details. I recall Facebook ran the Trump campaign's ads possibly referencing Nazi symbols used to label political opponents, which like any other advertisement is a source of revenue for Facebook.

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Khawaga
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Jan 27 2021 22:17
Quote:
I imagine operating sites like Parler can be pretty profitable, "their" merchandise for example, but I haven't really looked into it that much or know all about the details.

It really isn't unless you get really big. Parler was a Twitter clone/competitor. Twitter famously struggled with turning a profit until 2018. From what I've gathered, running such a site is quite costly and you'll be burning through cash for a long time. Selling merch simply won't be sufficient. It is ads and packaged big data that brings in the money.

Parler is an exception to this:

Quote:
an awareness that there's money to be made with right-wingers

The grifters on YouTube, twitter, Facebook etc, are probably in it just as much, if not more for the money, but they also don't have massive overhead like a site like Parler had/has.

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Reddebrek
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Jan 28 2021 05:36

I think I remember reading Parler and Gab and several of the other Trumpist far right spin off sites can only run for so long because they receive funding from one or more of those 20 or so mega rich right wing crusaders the US is famous for, like the Kochs and Mercers. If so that isn't great for their long term survival especially since the shear number of bridges Trump has burnt other the years has been catching up with him in the rightwing hate spheres.

And that was before he made that grovelling speech and condemned his would be storm troopers in the aftermath of the DC invasion attempt.

On the other hand that gofundme for the border wall raised tens of millions of dollars, which nowhere near border wall building money does appear to have been grass roots based albeit a grass roots funding campaign that mainly targeted upper management and up. Incidentally it was this scam that led to a dozen former leading lights in the Trump administration including Steve Bannon spending time in prison because the US postal service police force(which I didn't know existed) busted them last autumn.

adri
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Feb 1 2021 17:29

It would be nice to actually have all that earnings info, such as funding from sympathetic millionaires like Rebekah Mercer and others as Red mentions. I would think people funding/investing in Parler would expect some kind of return, like how advertisers buy ad-space on Facebook/Twitter because they expect it will encourage purchases of their products, or how mining companies donate to certain politicians to push through short-sighted deregulation policies for the mining industry, etc. Much of what anyone does under capitalism obviously ends up being commodified, and must be to support whatever it is they're doing, so it's sometimes difficult telling what people's motivations are.

Spikymike
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Feb 11 2021 16:22

As usual a sound well written postscript from Paul Mattick junior here;
https://brooklynrail.org/2021/02/field-notes/Editors-Note-The-Coup-That-Wasnt