Despite recent traction the left appeared to be gaining in the cultural sphere with its inclusion in the opposition to the “fascist” Trump administration, the opposition and its left-wing have since run into very serious political roadblocks in the form of directionless and immaterial calls to “oust” the president and his cohorts. Informal linkages between disparate groups of various ideological tendencies has consistently failed to produce any viable path to victory for the left, much less any extended plan for what comes afterward. Instead, what it has created is a political confusion among revolutionaries as well as well meaning anti-state forces which could potentially serve as allies to the revolutionary movement. In towing the line of the opposition, identifying Trump and the particularities of his administration as the chief enemies, they have subverted genuine anti-imperialism and wed reformism and anti-fascism in its place.
The opposition as a whole has floundered in its inability to propose any concrete method of actually removing the Trump administration, and have failed spectacularly to even remove Trump himself from office. This may still happen, as a lot now rides on the midterm elections, at least in the eyes of the neoliberal opposition, yet the conquest of the house and senate looks so far to be an underwhelming success, if it turns out a success at all. Practically nobody outside of the democratic party has any reasonable strategy to actually eliminate and replace Trump or his administration, and so far even those who have made independent calls for his overthrow have no ability or intention to replace his government.
This is certainly the case with the Revolutionary Communist Party and their mass organization “Refuse Fascism” which has made calls for a popular uprising to ostensibly force the resignation or removal of Trump and his cabinet. Lacking any capacity or plan to build a new order post-Trump, they have given a silent nod to the democratic party to resume control in the aftermath of this make-believe revolution. Groups like the RCP and Refuse Fascism have been some of the primary contributors to the immense confusion on the part of genuine revolutionary leftists, as they and others have fronted a vague “anti-fascism” as the primary contradiction, and worse, they have labeled Trump the primary enemy, as if his removal is equal to a fundamental change in amerikan politics.
Most of the opposition is not pushing for any fundamental change in amerikan politics. The opposition, by and large, has the unspoken aim of restoring the rulership of the democratic party, either through weakening republican control over the executive and both houses, or through physically removing them from power through trials and state mechanisms. The “left-opposition” has been, and continues to be, wary of this segment, yet the predominate tendencies among them have proven useless in challenging the majority. This is primarily the fault of exaggerated fears of an authoritarian consolidation of power and a qualitative change in material conditions following Trump’s ascension.
Unprincipled unity under the pretense of “anti-fascism” has compelled members of this left-opposition to identify general truths of the amerikan state as peculiarities under Trump, such as his militarism and rabid anti-immigrant sentiment. In doing so, they have allowed the primary enemy of the movement to shift from the amerikan state as a whole, to Trump. Those who have not subordinated their goals completely to the opposition’s majority position have identified a primary need to defeat Trump, leaving the question of the amerikan state as a whole open-ended for the moment. Their justification is that Trump’s so-called fascism is an existential threat to the left, that deserves particular attention and the widest possible opposition—even if the unity that entails is deleterious to our long-term objectives.
In order to maintain unity with the great majority in opposing Trump, organizations like the RCP have smothered important ideological struggle on the question of how and for whom he will be overthrown. The RCP has taken the position that not only he, but his entire administration, must go. Yet, despite this relatively advanced position in comparison to other opposition groups, they have said nothing of how this must take place, and whom it will serve. As a result of their inability to lead a coalition capable of taking power directly, they leave the responsibility of building a new regime to the only capable political body: the democratic party. This is the same path taken by all others at their side, communist and socialist, who have suppressed larger questions in favor of small, reformist ones. Rather than reinvigorating communist politics, those who have chosen this road instead enlist themselves in the unwitting service of the democratic party, and lead others down the path of liquidation.
So while those at the helm of left-opposition have long opposed the democratic party in power, they are now inadvertently leaving the field wide open for their return. Their approach to unity has put primacy on the overthrow of Trump, with a great deal of disunity still remaining on questions of the overthrow of the amerikan state and capitalism-imperialism. This is the inverse of what should be. Now more than ever, unity must be built on questions fundamental to the defeat of amerikan imperialism, even while we operate in the auspices of a loose anti-Trump opposition. Rather than focusing critique on those elements peculiar to the Trump regime, we should highlight the innumerable ways his administration works in perfect continuity with amerikan imperialism in general. That is not to say we should not understand his peculiarities, but that we should not give them primary importance when the primary enemy is still amerikan imperialism, not simply Trump.
We must work to uncover these liquidationist tendencies among the revolutionary faction of the left-opposition, and to build greater unity within it on those questions vital to the seizure of state power and overthrow of capitalism-imperialism. Meaning that while we criticize Trump in his own concrete application of the existing imperialist dogmas, we must put primacy on the continuity of his administration with all others. Critique of Trump’s militarism alone feeds a reformist understanding of imperialism as policy, and assists the democrats in regaining control of the state. While we endorse calls to overthrow Trump, we must make clear to all opposition groups that the democratic party shares most all the ills we see in the Trump administration, and often more. From the drone program to coups to caging children, the democrat regimes, that is to say, amerikan imperialism in general, have usually done it first and done it better. This last is more important than ever, as the the democrats continue an intensifying rightward shift in the midst of a new looming crisis in imperialism, critiquing Trump for overseeing a declining u.$. empire, de-escalation with N. Korea, an Assad victory in Syria, and defeat on virtually every front of soft power available to the u.$.
Additionally, we must cut through the obscurantism of certain “anti-fascists” who work to confuse the revolutionary movement with claims that Trump’s administration represents a qualitatively new fascist threat that begs unprincipled unity with liberals to defeat him. Certainly our new predicament, and the looming threat of inter-imperialist war, necessitates greater unity among revolutionary forces, this must first and foremost be for the purposes of ensuring the defeat of the u.$. in all conflicts and colonial holdings, in and outside north amerika, and ultimately of taking power. Trump is only the figurehead of u.$. Empire for the moment, and while the power he wields is real, overall control over the direction of amerikan imperialism belongs to an authority greater and more general—the whole constellation of relations of moribund imperialism, settler and neo-colonialism, and inter-imperialist rivalry. Unless and until the u.$. state is overthrown, its ruling classes suppressed, its sovereignty over captive nations ended, then amerikan imperialism will continue, till total victory or total ruin, no matter who is in power.
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