Impeachment: The High Stakes and the Future We Must Fight For

| revcom.us


The move this week by the Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry on Donald “Mein Trumpf” Trump is a high-stakes move with unpredictable dynamics and consequences: for the fascist movement headed by Trump and Pence and now holding power; for the liberal imperialists who have made this move; for the system as a whole; and for humanity, here and around the world. Nobody can say where this will all end up—which is precisely the point: while these have been “not normal” times all along, that “not normal” character has just gone to a whole other level.

We know that the different factions of those who rule this empire will act on their interests as they perceive them. But in order for revolutionaries to lead the masses of people to act on their most fundamental interests, we need to be able to distinguish how those find expression in this situation. And that requires understanding what got us here in the first place; and where humanity can, and needs to, go.

To get at this, we have to ask three questions:

What is happening?

Why is it happening?

And what are the stakes for humanity?

What Is Happening: A Crisis with Deep Roots In This System

For nearly three years, Donald Trump has headed up a fascist regime. They have committed one atrocity after another against different sections of the oppressed. They have not just ignored but have assaulted the rule of law and broken “the norms” of how the U.S. has been governed. They have brandished nuclear weapons and threatened countries with “obliteration,” they have run roughshod overturning the paltry and insufficient protections to the environment that did exist, and they have promoted religion and mocked science and the truth itself.

Yet during all this time the main Democratic leader, Speaker of the House Nancy “Piglosi” Pelosi, has refused to even consider impeaching Trump. To draw on Bob Avakian’s important piece “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress,’” Piglosi has feared three things: she has feared Trump himself and his possible defiance of any outcome against him and whether any verdict against him could actually be enforced (and/or whether the attempt to enforce it, successful or not, would set off even bigger cataclysms); she has feared the fascist supporters of the Trump/Pence regime and what they might resort to, or be led to resort to, should Trump be impeached, especially the fanatical Christian fascist core of it; and she has feared the oppressed and/or progressive-minded masses that the Democratic Party is “charged with” corralling and domesticating, should they be drawn into the streets by the heightened political turmoil that impeachment could bring. And so, as Trump violated rule after rule, with one impeachable offense after another… as his whole regime plunged ahead with fascist measures and with their plans to full-out consolidate a fascist regime… she consistently opposed any move toward impeachment.

Then, suddenly, last week, she changed her mind. We should ask ourselves: what may have triggered this?

A whistle-blower with access to the White House complained through channels that there had been a breach of national security on a phone call between Trump and the newly-elected president of the country of Ukraine. By law, such complaints have to go to certain members of Congress charged with oversight of national security. But this was blocked by Trump’s attorney general, and it was only released when word of this had leaked out and political pressure from other members of the ruling class became overwhelming.

What came to light was that Trump had blackmailed Ukraine by holding up military aid and asking them “as a favor” to dig up dirt on Trump’s main rival for the election, former vice-president Joe Biden.

Trump crossed three lines here. One, he blatantly broke the rules of the U.S. election process, drawing in a foreign power to help him defeat his opponent. These elections are seen by the rulers of the U.S. as key to “conferring legitimacy [and] assuring stability” (in the words of an extraordinary New York Times editorial on September 27 supporting impeachment, which was extraordinary both in its length and the prominence of its placement in the print edition).

Second, he was using the unique power of the presidency to subordinate and actually subvert what the rulers had agreed was in “U.S. national security interests”—military aid to Ukraine, aiding them against U.S. rival Russia—to his own individual interests. This not only violated the law, but could weaken the U.S. vis-à-vis its imperialist rivals.

Third, he was attacking Biden himself—possibly setting him up for criminal charges. This too crossed a line—a gangster message to his Democratic Party rivals in the ruling class that “we can take out any of you.” The fact that it was done on the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller who had been investigating Trump testified in Congress and the further fact that the regime brazenly tried to cover this up added even more fuel to the fire.

These are extremely sharp examples of a fascist regime shredding what have been the norms of how society has been governed and directly going after sections of the rulers, and prominent individuals within those sections, who have represented and upheld those norms.  This attack was of such a magnitude that it compelled Pelosi to respond—and could, combined with other factors, lead to even more seismic splits within the ruling class.

The three fears of Piglosi had not somehow evaporated. Not only were the reasons above compelling a response, Piglosi also faced losing the allegiance of those sections of the masses whom the Democrats are responsible for politically corralling and domesticating—there was the danger that as this came to light, if she did NOT act those masses might be led to act politically outside the control and “proper channels” of the system.

Where this will now go is up for grabs. But it is certain that Trump will hit back as hard as he can and will be compelled to use the impeachment process to further solidify the fascist movement inside and outside government. These fascists see this as a fight for their lives in which anything is acceptable. In case there was any doubt, Trump showed this on Thursday by invoking treason to characterize those who had leaked this information, and implying that those people who brought this to light should be subject to the penalties for that, including execution! His further invoking of the Civil War over the weekend, in a re-tweet from a Christian fascist minister, underscored how these fascist forces see the stakes and the lengths they could go to enforce their will.

The Democrats may try to walk a certain tightrope: using the impeachment to hem Trump in, to shore up the system’s “norms” of functioning (what have been the accepted rules of the game up to recently), and to keep control on the masses that they are responsible for controlling while trying not to further inflame the fascist mass base. Piglosi is already trying to limit this to the breach in national security and the tampering with the elections process by Trump, as opposed to the main thrust and basic sweep of the fascist juggernaut he rides. She will strive mightily to keep this strictly within the rules, which allows for the Republicans in the Senate to defeat impeachment, if they even allow it to come up in that chamber. She and the Democratic Party machinery with all its tentacles will very likely try to keep masses out of the streets and/or under very tight control if they do go into the streets.

They have not lost their “three fears”: they will still try to work this in a way that does NOT rouse the beast of Trump’s fascist base and that may make deals with Trump himself and/or other elements of the fascist camp. “Victory” in the Piglosi scenario could leave you with a President Pence, or a chastened Trumpf; or possibly a Democrat (Piglosi is in line for succession after Pence) who will also be prosecuting the mandates of empire, with an embittered fascism waiting the wings; and the masses still ground up by the system and, worse yet, with no sense of any larger future than shuttling between the two camps.

But there is a third force in this scenario that has not yet emerged: the masses aroused around an understanding that this FASCIST regime must GO, NOW!—and willing to act on that understanding. It is this force that could change the equation, that could turn this situation into a major defeat for fascism. The speech by Andy Zee in Los Angeles on September 28 gives a very good sense of the dimensions of that.

Further: depending on the work of revolutionaries within this movement, as well as other struggles, how people come to understand the source of the problem and its solution could have profound, and possibly liberating, effects on what right now seems at best a bleak future—if there is to be any future at all.

But before we get to that, it’s important to dig a little deeper into the second question: why is this happening?

Why Is It Happening?

We outlined above the proximate reasons for this crisis. But to understand the driving dynamics of what has led us to this point where we even have a blatant proud-to-be-ignorant fascist as president, you have to go another level down, into the deep and defining contradictions of this system and how they have been working themselves out over the past 50 years.

The United States stands atop a system of capitalism-imperialism. That is not just “rhetoric”; it has meaning for the lives of billions of people, all over the world. This is brought home by Bob Avakian in BAsics 1:4:

Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves. Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, “from can’t see in the morning, till can’t see at night”—until they’ve been physically used up.... These are conditions very similar to outright slavery.... This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well. 

All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.     

This is not static, or without contradiction. On the contrary. These imperialists face challenges—from different forces within the countries they dominate, and from their rivals scrambling to replace them, or to get a bigger cut of the spoils. The attached chart shows the wars and aggression that have been waged by the rulers of this system since the end of World War 2—aggression that has taken the lives of nearly ten million people and that has torn apart the lives of many times that number (see the chart here). Again: nearly ten million. There are no “good guys” on top of this system—however they present themselves, they all must and do carry out mass murder to preserve this “way of life” and maintain the much-vaunted “American dream.”

But this system is in deep crisis, with economic, social, cultural and political dimensions. Again, from Bob Avakian’s filmed speech THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible analyzing the roots of the regime and putting forward the way to drive it out:

The truth—another terrible truth that must be faced—is that, in the context of profound and acute contradictions that are asserting, or re-asserting, themselves in ways that are tearing at the very fabric and deepening cracks in the foundation of this country, at the same time as the American empire is facing serious challenges internationally, fascism is one possible resolution of this, on the terms of this system and its ruling class, even as this is a horror for humanity.

While the Constitution does establish the separation of church and state—and the Christian fascists are wrong, or simply lying, when they insist that the founding documents of this country established it as a “Christian nation”— the reality is that Christianity has all along been the unofficial state religion of this country, and the country’s identity, throughout its history, has been as a “white Christian nation,” grounded in male supremacy as well as white supremacy and driven by a “manifest destiny” to dominate not only the continent of North America but ultimately the world as a whole. All this has been brought into question, and has become the focus of intense struggle, going back to the 1960s and, in some important ways, back to the Civil War. And while developments internationally, including the demise of the Soviet Union, have given further impetus to the globalization of the capitalist world economy, this very heightened globalization has propelled changes that have sharpened contradictions within the U.S. as well as on the world level, particularly with an emerging capitalist China mounting a challenge to U.S. global economic dominance, at the same time as this heightened globalization, under conditions of western imperialist domination, has wreaked havoc in countries throughout the Third World, including the Middle East (and other places where Islam is the prevailing religion), adding fuel to a virulent Islamic fundamentalism that has declared war on the “decadent west” and on “infidels” and others oriented toward the west and facilitating its imperial domination.

In order to bring about any positive resolution to all this, even short of abolishing and moving beyond this whole system, it is necessary and crucial to break with the “normal routine” and the “normal workings” of the political process.

In short: the cause of what is going on today does not lie in the “corruption” of one man and the opportunism of the Republican Party. The fascism we face today draws on the deep and thick roots in this society of white supremacy, male supremacy and ignorant America-first jingoism. And it goes all the way down into most basic economic relations of capitalism-imperialism and the sharp, multi-dimensioned crisis the rulers of that system now face: a crisis for which no section has any answer in the interests of the masses.

Where Do the Interests of Humanity Lie?

The most fundamental interests of humanity lie in an actual revolution to overthrow this system, institute new political, economic and social relations and structures based on uprooting and abolishing exploitation and all forms of oppression, and move forward to emancipate the entire world. The fact that the normal workings of the system that now oppresses billions worldwide, combined with the political maneuverings of its “great leaders,” have brought us to a world on the brink of destruction and a society plunging headlong into a straight-out fascist form of rule, is more than reason enough to do away with this system. At this moment, a key concentrated expression of making that revolution is leading millions to drive this regime from power.

If this system were all that is possible—if all we could do was work within this to tamp down or moderate this or that horror, to get a supposedly more reasonable representative of the imperialists to preside over the plunder and slaughter—that would be one thing. But it is NOT all that is possible: there is the fact that there is a whole other way humanity could be living—one based on tearing up borders and bringing forward a common humanity rather than enforcing those borders in the most heartless ways; on overcoming the outmoded relations where one section of society socially dominates another; on breaking all of tradition’s chains. We really could set out on the road toward a society based on people freely working together to transform the world and themselves rather than forced to compete as atomized individuals.

Bob Avakian has brought forth a blueprint for the road to that world in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. In this Constitution, as BA has said, “a sweeping, and at the same time concrete, vision and plan for a radically different society and world is laid out, embodying a whole new dimension of freedom and whole new relations, among people and between people and the environment, beyond the narrow confines and the terrible consequences of the present system of exploitation and plunder.”

The bridge to that future is revolution, a revolution which the National Get Organized For An Actual Revolution Tour is urgently organizing. All this adds to the importance of revolutionaries being revolutionaries in this situation: that is to boldly put forward their principles, goals and views, to struggle where needed while working to forge unity against the common enemy.

Revolutionary communists participate in everything from the standpoint of hastening the revolution, while awaiting favorable changes in the overall situation. Here, the following from BA’s 2018 talk, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution is very important:

So… how do we go about hastening while awaiting? The means for doing this is concentrated in the formulation: “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” Let’s start with the aim of all this—Revolution. In BAsics 3:1, I put it like this: “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.” That is another simple and basic truth. We need to go to people—not just one or two people, not just a small number of people, but masses of people, reaching all over the country, in every part of society—straight up with revolution—instead of just letting “where they are at” set the terms, and trying to somehow “bring in” some idea about revolution within that limited framework. As BAsics 3:1 goes on to say: We do need to unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution; but it is frankly ridiculous to think that something short of revolution could solve all the monumental problems and monstrous outrages that people face under this system. On the basis of going to people straight up with revolution, then, coming from that place, we need to unite with people in fighting injustice and oppression, and struggle to win more and more people to see the need and the possibility for revolution, and to get with this.

At the same time, there is an urgent need for revolutionaries to join with people very broadly to drive out this regime. To again return to Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, in a passage that the Revolution Clubs and the National Tour should be really working with applying in this whole coming period:

To come back to the most fundamental point: “All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation.” What we are doing now is making revolution—it is all part of, and must be consciously and systematically carried out as, an overall strategic plan and approach to getting to the point where millions can be brought forward to wage the all-out fight to overthrow this system, with a real chance of winning.

A great immediate challenge that bears heavily on the prospects for revolution is what is represented by the Trump/Pence regime. In another talk (THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible) I have spoken to how this is in fact a fascist regime; the basis on which it has risen to power in this country; how, so long as it remains in power, this regime will commit ever greater atrocities and poses a very real threat to the future and very existence of humanity through its assaults on the environment and its arsenals of nuclear annihilation; and why, in the name of humanity, it is necessary, and how it is possible, to force the removal of this regime through a massive, nonviolent but sustained mobilization of people demanding that this regime must go! Here, I am going to speak to the relation between this and the fundamental goal of revolution.

If this regime is able to further consolidate its power and more fully implement its horrific agenda, the prospects for revolution could then be greatly set back and the conscious revolutionary forces decimated—or completely destroyed—at least for a time. On the other hand, if a mass movement is built to drive out this regime, and if the revolutionaries work to build this movement from the perspective of how it relates to the revolution that is needed as the fundamental solution, then the situation in society (and the world) will become much more favorable for the fight against injustice and oppression, and crucial advances can be made toward the overthrow of the whole system. To a significant degree now, the conflict between the sections of society upholding this fascism and those opposing it, from various different perspectives, is shaping the terrain on which the struggle for revolution must be carried out; this conflict is likely to intensify, and could erupt further in violent confrontation, and in any case it would be a significant factor in the context of an all-out struggle between revolution and counter-revolution.

The relation between the struggle against this fascist regime and building the revolution is not a “straight road” or a “one-way street”:  It must not be approached, by those who understand the need for revolution, as if “first we must build a mass movement to drive out this regime, and then we can turn our attention to working directly for revolution.” It is crucial to unite and mobilize people, from different perspectives, very broadly, around the demand that this regime must go, but it will be much more difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is required to meet this objective if there are not, at the same time, greater and greater numbers of people who have been brought forward around the understanding that it is necessary to put an end not only to this regime but to the system out of whose deep and defining contradictions this regime has arisen, a system which by its very nature has imposed, and will continue to impose, horrific and completely unnecessary suffering on the masses of humanity, until this system itself is abolished. And the more that people are brought forward to be consciously, actively working for revolution, the growing strength and “moral authority” of this revolutionary force will in turn strengthen the resolve of growing numbers of people to drive out this fascist regime now in power, even as many will not be (and some will perhaps never be) won to revolution. So, both to meet the immediate challenge of creating a political situation in which this regime will be removed from power—and in which the political initiative has been seized to a great degree by those who are determined to turn back the assault on humanity that is being carried out by this regime and to strive for a better world, however they understand that—and to advance toward the fundamental goal of revolution, it is vitally important that all those who have come to understand the need for revolution actively contribute to building the movement to drive out this regime, and do so from the perspective and in the overall framework of building for revolution.

The days and weeks ahead could be, and must be, momentous. To drive out the regime would be a victory on a huge scale; to go further and advance the struggle to emancipate all of humanity in the course of that would be an even larger one. We must do both.




The following is taken from a recent talk given by Bob Avakian

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

Read more

Now also available in Spanish

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 2-sided as 5.5x8.5" brochure

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 8.5x11 pamphlet




The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go–NOW!

Andy Zee for the national meetings of Refuse Fascism
Read text of speech here.

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"


Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.