US President Trump is currently on a state visit to the UK. Theresa May, in her final act as Prime Minister, is pulling out all the stops to impress him. His last visit in July 2018 cost British taxpayers nearly £18 million. May treated him to a dinner at Blenheim Palace, amongst other ostentatious activities. Now his second visit is set to be marked by as much wealth and obscenity as the last.
Join Socialist Appeal supporters in London tomorrow to demonstrate against Trump's visit: 11am, Trafalgar Square.
Few politicians provoke such powerful responses with the mere mention of their name as Trump. To some, it is unbelievable that a man like Donald Trump sits in the White House today.
Liberal commentators cry that he is undeserving of his position. We say the opposite: Trump embodies the ugly truth of capitalism. With his racism, misogyny, corruption, and greed, he is the ideal representative of a system that seeks to divide, attack and exploit the working class.
To tackle Trump and his bigotry, therefore, we must tackle the root of the problem: the rotten capitalist system that spawns reactionary politicians - such as Trump and his ilk - across the world.
Anger and disappointment
Despite his so-called anti-establishment rhetoric, we cannot separate Trump from the rest of the establishment. He won because he claimed to be different from all the billionaires in power, despite being one himself. He even mentioned the ‘working class’ in his presidential campaign – a term almost banned from American politics.
In this respect, we can see the Trump phenomena as a distorted expression of the resentment and anger that has built up over years amongst the American working class.
This is the result of the disappointments experienced by workers and youth during two terms of Barack Obama’s presidency, which failed to address the devastating impact of the 2008 crash.
Far from bringing the change he promised, Obama’s leadership oversaw the explosion of the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements, alongside other radical movements with anti-capitalist sentiments.
Despite his talk, Obama proved himself no different from other big business politicians. In turn, the much-hated Hillary Clinton was seen as yet another political representative of Wall Street.
The Democrats lost the election to Trump precisely because they tried to fight his right-wing demagogy with calls to defend the broken status quo. By choosing Hillary Clinton as their candidate, they simply confirmed that they are a party of big business. The Democrats are certainly not a party of the working class.
Socialism on the agenda
Whilst Trump himself is a particularly vile specimen, he is only a reflection of the system. And it is overthrowing the system, not just the individual, that must be our focus.
Something must be deeply wrong in society if a figure like Trump can make it into the White House, emboldening the likes of the KKK.
Some have blamed the masses who voted for Trump, offering nothing but pessimism. If we look beneath the surface, however, we can see that society is not becoming more right wing, but is polarising.
The United States, the belly of the beast for capitalism, saw Bernie Sanders give Clinton a run for her money in the 2016 primaries by putting socialist ideas back on the agenda. This represented a huge shift for a political arena that has been dominated by the Clintons and Bushes over the decades.
Polls indicate that had Sanders been fighting Trump in the final round, his slogan of “political revolution against the billionaire class” would have won over Trump’s vicious right-wing rhetoric.
Today, with the 2020 elections on the horizon, surveys show that a greater proportion of young people in the US prefer the idea of ‘socialism’ to ‘capitalism’.
By putting forward a class position - one that exposes the bosses rather than migrants as the real reason for low wages, housing shortages, etc. - it would be possible to create a mass movement that unites the working class.
To do this, the American working class needs an independent party, armed with a socialist programme. Building a mass socialist party in the US is the key task that lies ahead.
Shutdown Trump’s visit!
We must fight Trump with internationalism and class solidarity. In Britain, we can do this by mobilising to overthrow our own ruling class.
The Tory government are incredibly weak. The labour movement in Britain should go on the offensive to bring this decrepit government down. In its place, we must fight for a Corbyn victory and the election of a socialist Labour government.
The coming to power of a socialist government in Britain would send shockwaves throughout the world, inspiring the working class in America and elsewhere to follow suit.
So tomorrow, let’s get out onto the streets and bring London and other cities across the UK to a standstill. Taking inspiration from the recent climate strikes, students should mobilise to walk out of schools, colleges, and universities, linking up with teachers’ and lecturers’ unions for support.
In this way, we can build a movement against Trump and the bankrupt system he represents.
- Shutdown Trump’s visit!
- Kick out Trump! Kick out capitalism!
- For a revolution against the billionaire class!