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A call to the working class! Stop Trump’s coup d’état!

4 Jun

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party

The White House is now the political nerve center of a conspiracy to establish a military dictatorship, overthrow the Constitution, abolish democratic rights and violently suppress the protests against police brutality that have swept across the United States.

The political crisis unleashed on Monday night—when Donald Trump ordered military police to attack peaceful protesters, threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, and deploy federal troops into states to establish martial law—is rapidly escalating.

Democracy in America is teetering on the brink of collapse. Trump’s attempt to carry out a military coup is unfolding in real time.

There is no other way to interpret the sequence of events that have occurred over the past 24 hours. In a series of extraordinary public statements, high level political and military figures leave no doubt that they believe that Trump is seeking to establish a military dictatorship.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated at a press conference that he opposed Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military throughout the country. The use of active-duty soldiers to patrol US cities, Esper said, should be a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.” Trump, according to an official who spoke to the New York Times, “was angered by Mr. Esper’s remarks, and excoriated him later at the White House…” The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, indicated that Esper may soon be dismissed from the president’s cabinet.

Responding to Trump’s threats, Esper has reversed himself and ordered 750 soldiers from the 82nd currently in Washington DC not be sent back to Fort Bragg, as had previously been announced.

Esper’s comments were followed by an extraordinary denunciation of Trump by former Marine General James Mattis, Trump’s first Secretary of Defense. We quote Mattis’ comments in some detail not because we give any political support to “mad dog Mattis,” who played a leading role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but because he provides a blunt assessment from someone who is intimately familiar with what is happening within the military.

Mattis accused Trump of attempting to overthrow the Constitution. “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

Mattis continued:

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

Mattis concluded his statement by implicitly comparing Trump’s concept of the military to that of the Nazi regime.

Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, wrote in an email published in the New York Times: “We are at the most dangerous time for civil-military relations I’ve seen in my lifetime. It is especially important to reserve the use of federal forces for only the most dire circumstances that actually threaten the survival of the nation. Our senior-most military leaders need to ensure their political chain of command understands these things.”

None of these military figures are devoted adherents of democracy. Their statements are motivated by fear that Trump’s actions will be met with massive popular opposition, with disastrous political consequences.

“Senior Pentagon leaders,” the Times reports, “are now so concerned about losing public support—and that of their active duty and reserve personnel, 40 percent of whom are people of color—that Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, released a message to top military commanders on Wednesday affirming that every member of the armed forces swears an oath to defend the Constitution, which, he said, ‘gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.’”

Statements were also released by all the living former presidents—Obama, Clinton, Bush and Carter. These statements were far more circumspect and made no explicit warning of a coup. They called for no specific action against Trump. It was far less an appeal to the people than a cautious effort to dissuade military leaders from backing Trump.

On the side of the fascistic cabal around Trump, the Times published a comment by Senator Tom Cotton under the headline, “Send In the Troops.” This political conspirator declared, “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.” Since “delusional politicians” are refusing to do what is necessary, Cotton writes, it is necessary for Trump to invoke “the Insurrection Act [which] authorizes the president to employ the military ‘or any other means’ in ‘cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.’”

The political situation is on a knife edge. Never in the history of the United States has the country been so close to a military takeover. Threatening military deployments are still underway. The Times reported on Wednesday night: “Despite calls for calm from senior Pentagon leaders, the troops on the ground in Washington on Wednesday night appeared to be ramping up for a more militarized show of force. National Guard units pushed solidly ahead of the police near the White House, almost becoming the public face of the security presence. They also blocked the streets with Army transport trucks and extended the perimeter against protesters.”

In the face of this unfolding political conspiracy, the Democratic party is acting with its habitual mixture of cowardice and complicity. Not a single major Democratic Party politician has openly denounced the dictatorial actions of the Trump administration. They are doing everything they can to keep the raging conflict within the state out of public view. The line from top Democrats is that Trump’s “rhetoric” is “unhelpful” and is serving to “inflame the situation.” Among the most pathetic responses to the crisis has come from Sen. Bernie Sanders, who merely retweeted the statement of Mattis, to which he attached the comment: “Interesting reading.”

During the long-forgotten impeachment trial that was held in January, the Democrats insisted that it was necessary to remove Trump immediately because he had allegedly withheld military aide to the Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They advocated the removal of Trump because he was seen as insufficiently aggressive in his relations with Russia.

But now, when Trump is attempting to carry out a military coup and the overthrow of constitutional rule in the United States, the Democrats offer no serious opposition to Trump, let alone demand that he be removed from office. When it is a matter of upholding the global interests of American imperialism, the Democratic leaders are full of fire and brimstone. But when confronted with the direct threat of dictatorship, they are meek as church mice.

Underlying their cowardice are basic class interests. Whatever their tactical differences with Trump, the Democrats represent the same class interests. What they fear more than anything else is that opposition to Trump may assume revolutionary dimensions that threaten the interests of the capitalist financial-corporate oligarchy.

The target of the conspiracy in the White House is the working class. The corporate-financial oligarchy is terrified that the eruption of mass demonstrations against police violence will intersect with the immense social anger among workers over social inequality, which has been enormously intensified as a result of the ruling class’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the homicidal back-to-work campaign.

Nothing could be more dangerous than to think that the crisis has passed. It has, rather, just begun. The working class must intervene in this unprecedented crisis as an independent social and political force. It must oppose the conspiracy in the White House through the methods of class struggle and socialist revolution.

The demonstrations that have taken place during the past week rank among the most significant events in American history. In every region and state, tens and hundreds of thousands of working people and youth, in an extraordinary display of multi-racial and multi-ethnic unity and solidarity, have taken to the streets to oppose the institutionalized racism and brutality of the police. The South—the old bastion of the Confederacy, Jim Crow laws, and lynch mobs—has been the scene of some of the largest of the demonstrations. The protesters are giving voice to the deep-rooted democratic and egalitarian sentiments that are the noble heritage of the great American Revolution of the eighteenth century and the Civil War of the nineteenth century.

The only viable answer to the criminal conspiracy being hatched in the White House is to raise the demand for the removal of Trump, Pence and their conspirators from office.

This can only be achieved through the intervention of the working class, which should join the protest demonstrations en masse and initiate a nation-wide political strike.

No to Dictatorship!

Trump and Pence must Go!

The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality Party call on all readers of the World Socialist Web Site to become active in this fight.

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

NO WAR BUT CLASS WAR!

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In the Midst of Covid-19, Elites Have Begun to Prepare For the Uprising.

20 May

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Maybe it’s time we do!

In the wake of a global pandemic that has left ninety thousand people dead and brought tens of millions of people to their knees financially here in the United States, it should go without saying that in the richest nation on earth, the citizens should be able to look to the government for some relief during these unprecedented and traumatic times.

One need only look at the HEROES Act that recently passed the Democratic Majority House of Representatives for the latest example of how our government has failed to take wellbeing of the American people in to consideration. No paycheck guarantee act, no recurring $2000 checks for the duration of the crisis, no automatic stabilizers, and no improvements to ensure people get the relief they need more quickly and efficiently.

With a record 30 million people filing for unemployment over the past couple of months and losing health insurance along with their jobs, at a time when 78 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck before this crisis even began, desperation is growing with each passing day. Government inaction makes it increasingly clear that we will be starved in to submission. The people who have made this the richest, most profitable country on the planet will be sent back to work, risking not only our lives and health but that of our family and friends as well while the government hands the taxpayer money that our labor generated to big banks and corporations. At the same time that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is reportedly projected to become the world’s first trillionaire, his company has cut the measly two dollar an hour hazard pay for his workers.

The American government and the elites who they work for are playing with fire, so no wonder they’ve begun to prepare for the uprising that’s coming.

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Lee Fang at The Intercept writes:

“The Federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show.

The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment for federal police assigned to protect Veterans Affairs facilities. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.”

The Veterans Affairs department, which manages nearly 1,500 health care care facilities around the country, has also extended special contracts for coronavirus-related security services.While the pandemic has coincided with a historic drop in violent crime across the country, analysts have expressed concern that the rapid spread of the virus will fuel confrontations.

There have been multiple inmate riots in response to Covid-19 outbreaks in prisons and jails, which have become dangerous hotspots for the disease. The economic upheaval and disagreements over coronavirus-related policy have also fueled demonstrations across the country.

…The federal funding requests contrast sharply with the rosy rhetoric from President Donald Trump, who has lavished himself with praise for his response to the crisis and issued optimistic predictions that recovery is around the corner. Last month, the federal government secured a contract to purchase 100,000 body bags to dispose of deaths related to the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Every step along the way as this crisis has unfolded, the American people have been treated as nothing more than collateral damage. Whether it be the Trump administration turning down an offer for millions of masks back in January, Nancy Pelosi seeking to bail out health insurance companies after the bundled “donations” to the democratic party from their lobbyists, or Mitch McConnell saying he has not yet felt the “sense of urgency” for a new stimulus bill as countless people miss another rent or mortgage payment, at this point it’s certainly fair to say that our government’s actions or lack thereof have been nothing less than criminal.

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If the elites are beginning to prepare for what they clearly know is coming in response to how this crisis has been handled, then perhaps it’s time for us to get ready as well.

For far too long, as a society we have been conditioned to shrug our shoulders and accept that there’s really nothing we can do. For far too long, we have bene conditioned to forget that when a government fails its citizens — as the declaration of independence stated — it is our right, it is our duty to throw off such government. With each passing day, it becomes more and more apparent that we may have no other choice but to do just that. As surreal as it feels to consider, I’m not sure we are in a political or economic situation we’ll ever be able to vote ourselves out of, especially knowing that the government is already preparing to defend it. For months I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that the powers that be have been daring the American people to bring on the pitchforks and guillotines.

With each escalation of the class warfare being waged against the American people, it’s as fascinating as it is frightening to think of what they so clearly see coming right around the corner.

Lu Hanessian, MSc medium.com/@luhanessian

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Latin America emerges as new COVID-19 epicenter!

14 May

Cemetery workers place crosses over a common grave after burying five people at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The new section of the cemetery was opened last month to cope with a surge in deaths. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The Americas have for the first time surpassed Europe in terms of the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday. The total number of officially reported infections in the Western Hemisphere reached 1.74 million, compared to 1.73 million in Europe.

While this shift has undoubted significance, the figures themselves are universally regarded as a gross underestimate of the real spread of the deadly virus, both in the United States and through ever-expanding areas of Latin America.

With five percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for more than a quarter of the confirmed cases across the globe (over 1.4 million) and nearly a third of deaths worldwide (nearly 85,000). There could be no more irrefutable indictment of American capitalism and the criminal incompetence and indifference to human life on the part of the Trump administration and the entire US ruling oligarchy.

But the shift of the pandemic’s epicenter from the Old World to the New is also driven by its increasingly uncontrolled surge in Latin America, where the rate of increase in the number of infections is among the highest on the planet.

Fueling the spread of the deadly virus are pre-existing social and economic morbidities that have made Latin America the most socially unequal region on the face of the Earth. A century of oppression and economic exploitation by US imperialism, along with the rule of rapacious national bourgeoisies determined to place the full burden of the region’s crisis onto the backs of the working class, have left the working masses of Latin America among the most vulnerable to the pandemic.

The spread of the coronavirus has had region-wide impacts, including soaring unemployment and poverty, bloody revolts among the continent’s 1.5 million prisoners trapped in overcrowded jails that have claimed the lives of hundreds, and a growing intervention of the military into political and social life.

 

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The horrifying scenes that first played out in Ecuador’s coastal city of Guayaquil, with bodies left lying in the streets, have been repeated in the Amazonian cities of Manaus, Brazil and Iquitos, Peru and elsewhere. In country after country, health care systems that have been mercilessly cut in the fulfillment of successive structural adjustment programs have been overrun, along with morgues and cemeteries, with mass graves being dug in a number of major cities.

The starkest examples of the uncontrolled spread of the virus and the criminal neglect and indifference of the capitalist ruling classes towards its cost in human life are to be found in the region’s two largest countries—in terms of both population and economy—Mexico and Brazil.

Both saw their largest single-day confirmed COVID-19 death toll on Tuesday, 881 in Brazil and 353 in Mexico.

In both countries, these new highs in fatalities are largely of a symbolic character. Everyone knows that the real number of dead is far, far higher.

In Brazil, the 881 deaths represent not the number who died over the previous 24 hours, but the number of deaths that were confirmed, some of them from days earlier. At the same time, the government acknowledges that it still has 2,050 fatalities that are presumed to be from COVID-19 but have yet to be confirmed. On top of this are countless thousands more impoverished Brazilians who have died in their homes in the crowded working-class neighborhoods and favelas of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities without any medical care.

A study done at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School estimates that the number of infections is 15 times higher than the official figure; in other words, close to 3 million. There has been barely one-tenth the amount of testing done in Brazil, compared to the US, where testing is still grossly inadequate.

In Mexico, the 38,324 confirmed infections and 3,926 confirmed deaths are a fraction of the real toll of the pandemic. In Mexico City alone, medical authorities have tallied thousands of deaths that have gone unreported by the government. Hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 victims, unable to admit new patients. Caskets have been piling up outside the city’s crematoriums. Mexico has done the least testing among the 36 member nations that make up the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Despite this reality, the governments in Brasilia and Mexico City have joined with capitalist employers to force workers back into factories and workplaces, exposing them to disease and death to further profit interests.

 

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Brazil’s fascist President Jair Bolsonaro has expressed the interests of the Brazilian capitalist class and world finance capital in the most brutal fashion, proclaiming all industrial and construction activities “essential services.” He joined leading capitalist businessmen in a “march” on Brazil’s supreme court to demand that it strike down limited quarantine measures imposed by the states.

While previously derided as a lunatic for dismissing the coronavirus as “a little flu,” Bolsonaro has now emerged as the most consistent spokesman for capitalist interests. On Wednesday, he crudely summed up, in a speech to his far-right supporters, the ultimatum being delivered to the Brazilian working class: “The people have to go back to work. Whoever doesn’t want to work, then fucking stay at home. End of story.”

Meanwhile, 4,000 miles to the north in Mexico City, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held a news conference Wednesday in which he proclaimed that there was “a light at the end of the tunnel” and a “new normal” was dawning in Mexico. What he meant was that Mexican workers are to be herded back into the maquiladora sweatshops and auto plants on the border, as well as into mining, construction and other industries, after hundreds of workers have already lost their lives to COVID-19.

López Obrador was not only acting in the interests of Mexican capitalists, but on the orders of the Trump administration and the US automakers, arms manufacturers and other US industries, whose supply chains are dependent upon production in Mexico.

Workers in both Mexico and Brazil have already struck and protested against the attempts to force them to keep working even as their co-workers grow sick and die on the job, from the maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Mexicali and Reynosa, to the call center and delivery workers across Brazil. The redoubled back-to-work campaign in both countries can only lead to an explosion of class struggle.

In the face of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the sociopathic and fascistic ex-army captain Bolsonaro and López Obrador—who has been promoted by the international pseudo-left as a “progressive”, “left-wing” and even “socialist” representative of the Mexican people—have arrived at the same policy, defending the interests of native oligarchies and international finance capital at the expense of workers’ lives.

Nothing could demonstrate more starkly the indispensable necessity for the independent political mobilization of the working class throughout Latin America against all of the existing political parties and institutional structures representing the interests of the capitalist ruling classes and imperialism. This includes not only the far-right governments of Bolsonaro, Piñera in Chile and Duque in Colombia, but also the supposed “left” bourgeois nationalists like López Obrador, the “Bolivarian socialists” of Venezuela and the corrupt bourgeois apparatus of the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil.

The decisive task posed by the coronavirus pandemic and its sharpening of the class struggle is the building of a new revolutionary leadership in the working class based upon the fight to unite workers across Latin America, together with workers in the United States and internationally, in a common struggle to put an end to capitalism. This means building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Brazil, Mexico and across the hemisphere.  by Bill Van Auken

 

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

 

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