The Democrats Have Already Said They Will Accept a Trump Election as Legitimate
What Does That Mean? And What Must We Do?
October 31, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
To start with the obvious, this is the most volatile and unconventional election in living memory. Anything could happen. On October 28, James Comey, head of the FBI, took the unprecedented step of releasing word of the fact that an investigation was being conducted of emails of someone in the Clinton camp that could bear on Hillary Clinton herself. This goes way beyond the “norms” of American politics, in at least three ways. First, FBI personnel do NOT customarily release word of current criminal investigations, and Comey’s superiors in the Department of Justice apparently made this clear to him. Second, neither Comey nor anyone else has examined the emails in question to actually see what, if anything, is there. Yet that distinction will be lost on most people, who will hear only the sound bite about “Clinton once again under criminal suspicion.” Third, the Justice Department itself traditionally proceeds with great caution in releasing anything that could pertain to an election less than 60 days prior to that election.
We won’t speculate here on Comey’s motivation, nor on whether there are forces at whose behest he is acting, or who they might be. But the objective effect of this extraordinary act is to greatly benefit Trump very close to the election.
This takes place in an election in which one candidate—Trump—is purveying an openly fascist platform beyond what has been done in American politics before. Trump goes beyond George W. Bush, for instance, in his open and inflammatory pledges to persecute immigrants, to criminalize and demonize Muslims within the U.S., to launch a wave of police repression against Black people and other oppressed communities, and to not only utterly outlaw abortion—Bush also pledged to do that—but to legitimize and encourage the crudest misogyny in everyday life. Bush attacked the press—and Obama has gone after whistle-blowers, who have leaked to the press, in unprecedented ways—but Trump promises to go far beyond that, both with legal measures and through his naked contempt for the press itself. Bush gutted key elements of the rule of law—and with a few exceptions, Obama (despite his promises) let Bush’s attacks on basic rights stand. But Trump goes beyond that, essentially vowing to do away with it altogether.*
Most extraordinary of all in this regard, Trump not only routinely vows to lock up Hillary Clinton, his opponent, but has implied, at least, twice, that she should be assassinated.
As part of this whole package, Trump has for some time been agitating his followers to intimidate Black people, immigrants, and other people of color and to suppress their right to vote. Now at least one armed fascist group has publicly responded. An article in the October 27 Washington Post stated that:
Amid growing concerns about possible violence and vote fraud on Election Day, the Oath Keepers, a national group of former military and law enforcement officers, has urged its members to “blend in” with voters and do “incognito intelligence gathering and crime spotting” at polling places across the country on Nov. 8.
“In particular, we are calling on our retired police officers, our military intelligence veterans, and our Special Warfare veterans (who are well trained in covert observation and intelligence gathering) to take the lead,” group leader Stewart Rhodes said in a “call to action” on the group’s website and in a YouTube video urging members to “help stop voter fraud.”
The Oath Keepers are officially nonpartisan, but their concerns clearly echo Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s warnings about a “rigged” election and his calls for his supporters to monitor polling places for evidence of fraud by supporters of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. (“Militia group calls on members to patrol polls on Election Day,” by Kevin Sullivan)
All of this will mean an intolerable leap in oppression and repression against the oppressed and those who stand with them, and it must not just be resisted... but STOPPED.
Democrats Confer Legitimacy on Trump While Trump Declares the Election to Be Rigged
As part of this situation, there has been the ongoing controversy over Donald Trump’s continuing allegations that the elections have been rigged in advance, and the belief that he has stoked among his followers that any Clinton victory would be illegitimate. Trump refuses to back down; and this has led more than a few of his followers to speculate on civil war should Clinton win.
And what have the Democrats done to oppose this? They have pledged to respect the results of the election, even if Trump wins. Think of the implications. Suppose that Trump does win—which is far from impossible! Every leading Democrat has now declared in advance that this should be accepted. By doing so, they are doing nothing less than paving the way for fascism to be implemented. The reasons for this are pointed to in BAsics 3:11 from Bob Avakian:
These right-wing politicians (generally grouped within the Republican Party) can, will, and do actively mobilize this essentially fascist social base...yet, on the other side, the sections of the ruling class that are more generally represented by the Democratic Party are very reluctant to, and in fact resistant to, mobilizing... the base of people whose votes and support in the bourgeois political arena the Democrats seek to gain. This (Democratic Party) side of the ruling class generally is not desirous of—and in fact recoils at the idea of—calling that base into the streets, mobilizing them either to take on the opposing forces in the ruling class and their social base or in general to struggle for the programs that the Democratic Party itself claims to represent and actually in some measure does seek to implement....
As an amplification of the basic point here, it is important to recognize this: Within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, and with the underlying dynamics of this system, which fundamentally set the terms, and the confines, of “official” and “acceptable” politics, fascism—that is, the imposition of a form of dictatorship which openly relies on violence and terror to maintain the rule and the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system—is one possible resolution of the contradictions that this system is facing—a resolution that could, at a certain point, more or less correspond to the compelling needs of this system and its ruling class—while revolution and real socialism, aiming toward the final goal of communism, throughout the world, is also a possible resolution of these contradictions, but one that would most definitely not be acceptable to the capitalist-imperialist ruling class nor compatible with the imperatives of this system!
What Must NOT Be Done?
We said at the outset, and we’ll repeat, that what Trump is threatening must not be tolerated. These would represent leaps in the oppression even beyond what is now being endured.
What must NOT be done is to rally round Hillary Clinton and throw ourselves into her election, or even vote. First off, as just pointed out, Clinton does not fundamentally oppose Trump. Why else has she bent over backwards NOT to attack his essential legitimacy, while he has never ceased to attack hers? Why has she refused to take him on on his most egregious attacks and remarks (for instance, his threat to re-imprison the Central Park 5, who served long years in prison framed up for a crime for which they were totally exonerated—a frame-up which Trump actively abetted)? Why have the terms of her criticism focused on Trump being too unstable to defend the blood-soaked interests of U.S. imperialism around the world, and too crude to tamp down the very explosive contradictions of a society wracked with oppression of many different kinds?
Second, Hillary Clinton is a major imperialist tool in her own right. If anything, her foreign policy is much closer to “traditional” Republican positions than Trump’s. She is very gung-ho on using U.S. military power to trample on and dominate people all over the world, and this, too, has been a major part of not just her campaign but her actual history. Within the U.S., Clinton and her husband out-Reaganed Reagan by not just cutting welfare but abolishing it, and by pouring 100,000 cops into the streets and presiding over (and helping to foment) a major leap in mass incarceration. Last Friday she didn’t even bother to pay lip service to the righteous protesters at Standing Rock—her national campaign headquarters refused to even accept a letter from a Native American youth delegation and had them bum-rushed by dozens of NY pigs instead. (See “Cold Shoulder and NYPD at Clinton HQs... Pepper Spray at Standing Rock.”)
Both Clinton and Trump are products of this capitalist-imperialist system. They are fighting over which program will best preserve and extend it. Both of them aim to, and must aim to, control and repress the people, not unleash and liberate. Voting for Clinton not only will do nothing to actually deal with the root causes, it will make things worse. It will ideologically disarm and corrupt the outlooks of those who get into this.
To again quote BAsics:
If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.
And what they are are instruments of imperialism: the very system that got us into this mess, the very system that’s a HORROR for the seven billion people on the planet.
A Way Out—A Way Forward
Should Trump get in, it may well fall to the revcoms to lead the defense of certain institutions of bourgeois democracy (the rule of law, for instance, or basic legal rights of Black and other oppressed nationality peoples, the right to abortion, etc.). And even if Trump does not win this particular election, and even if there is not an immediate aggressive assault by the forces he has brought forward, one thing is very clear: this fascist movement is not going away any time soon and will be moving in different ways and has to be resisted.
But this cannot be done on the basis of defending bourgeois democracy itself. Such resistance must be built as part of the movement for revolution, to get beyond this madness. This will be a challenge, as other forces will contend to bring this back into the terms and framework of returning to the status quo—the way things are right now. Moreover, people will spontaneously tend to frame things in those terms, as they have been taught to. But the status quo—”the way things are”—is a) intolerable for the vast majority of humanity, b) what got us to this nightmare point in the first place, and c) is way far short of what could be wrenched out of a crisis like this.
We need right now to be agitating around the fact that America Was NEVER Great, that this system is a horror, that it must be overthrown at the earliest possible time, and that the choices being dictated to people in this election are evidence of that.
A crisis sparked by a Trump victory or a contested one by Clinton could act as a jolt on people, jarring them out of their normal way of looking at things and leading them to question and resist what they normally accept. We need to come from behind to be ready to seize on whatever does happen to hasten REVOLUTION, preparing and organizing masses of people to respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.
This will mean not only uniting with people when and where they rise up, but calling on them to fight sharp injustices coming down where they are not yet acting. This means continually bringing forward to people in living ways that it is the system of capitalism-imperialism that got us into this horror in the first place, and that this system has been nothing BUT horrors for the people of the world since day one. This will mean bringing out that there is a WAY OUT—that we have the leadership, in Bob Avakian and the party that he leads... that we have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that Bob Avakian has written and that charts out a society that is on the road to emancipation and that will be a society where people can truly flourish, together, as that struggle goes forward... and that there is a strategy to repolarize and realign the millions needed for an actual revolution and a way to fight and defeat the enemy when that possibility emerges.
And it means right now moving forward, with urgency, to lead others to confront—and act on—the developing situation.
AMERICA WAS NEVER GREAT! OVERTHROW, DON’T VOTE FOR, THIS SYSTEM!
*Trump has called for torturing people suspected of links to “terrorists” and kidnapping and murdering their family members. And Trump recently made a point of calling for the re-imprisonment of the Central Park 5—despite the fact that the railroad of these Black and Latinos youths was a notorious racist frame-up in which Trump himself was a major player, and that they have been convincingly exonerated. [back]
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