Evan Minniti staff writer
Trump is now president, and with him comes a whole reactionary circus of billionaires and incompetents firmly tied to the rule of Wall Street. Trump’s actions may make him the most rightwing president in recent memory. Because of this, the Democrats and Barack Obama try to cultivate a “left” image around themselves, claiming to be the “Resistance” against Trumpism. However, their ineptitude tends to bungle their mission to rebrand themselves. The truth is, the Democrats will never be able to play the role of the actual resistance to Trump because they paved the way for his rule. Only a revitalized, militant labor movement can defeat Trump.
The fact of the matter is that the Democrats are not the party of the people, they are a party for the billionaires. Their economic policy is designed to assist billionaires, with 95 percent of income gains going to the top 1 percent, not poor, working or middle class people. For a very long time, the Democrats have embraced anti-worker neoliberal policies. As such, the traditional voting bases of the Democrats abandoned them in 2016. To paraphrase Slate Magazine, Trump didn’t win the workers, the Democrats lost them. To find out why, it is necessary to look at the history of the Democrats and how they lost the working class.
Former President Obama has an undeniable charisma. In addition to being the first black President of the United States, he supported legalization of gay marriage. Many think Obama to be a living beacon of progress. Frankly, Obama’s progressive credentials are lacking. Obama embarked upon imperialist intervention in seven different countries, dropping tens of thousands of bombs. While criticizing the EU for imposing austerity programs on Greece, Obama quietly enacted austerity measures at home. As to his supposed support for the LGBTQ+ community, this was one he built out of opportunism, not sincerity. Like Hillary Clinton before him, Obama too used to oppose gay marriage. The same can be said of his last minute donation to the Palestinians. Despite giving them $221 million, he gave Israel billions of dollars in support. Now he wants to use his legacy to continue neoliberalism.
Despite all the brutal neoliberal, undemocratic and disgustingly opportunistic policies and actions of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders claims that the Democrats will change, that they will become a progressive party of the 99 percent. To do so, Sanders has supported Keith Ellison (for no apparent reason) to become DNC chair. However, if Sanders and Ellison think they can turn the Democrats into a progressive party capable of leading working class people against Trump, they are in for a nasty surprise: reality tells a completely different story. In fact, not only is the Democratic establishment not changing, they don’t want to change.
The trade union leaders in America are even worse. After so opportunistically supporting Clinton desspite of the wishes of the pro-Sanders rank-and-file, they now want to cozy in with Trump’s administration. These men and women are absolute turncoats. The labor movement, if it wants to survive, must enter a tooth-and-nail fight against the Trump administration, just like what New York City taxi unions did. To do so, the workers must replace the current rotten leadership with genuine trade unionists from the rank-and-file. Recently, such an effort was only narrowly defeated in the Teamsters union.
Despite the liberal pacifism and general pro-Clinton feelings of the organizers and many of the upper middle class supporters of the Women’s March, the event proved that mass opposition exists and can be mobilized to fight Trump. Workers and youth in their millions took to the streets to oppose Trump and his anti-woman agenda. And while Democratic leaders were eager to tweet out support to the March, it must be acknowledged that the Democrats wanted to use the March as a way for people to let off steam, not as a way to oppose Trump.
In short, the American workers have become rightfully disillusioned with the Democrats. With the rise of European leftists like Podemos and Jean Luc-Melenchon, in addition to recent heroic struggles at Standing Rock, there is no better time for the American labor movement to step up and provide leadership to the workers. They must form a new leftwing party that will fight against both the capitalist establishment of the Democrats and right-populist demagoguery of Trump.