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The crack, The Elections and The Street

by Sophia James 2 years ago in politics
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Racist crimes, the continuation of the Black Lives Matter movement, Trump's provocations, and the mediocrity of the Democratic Party, are shaking up the US electoral campaign.

In the nine weeks leading up to November 3, the U.S. presidential election, in which Donald Trump is up for re-election to his second term, will continue to be a topic of forced political analysis. It's not that things don't happen in other regions. In the Mediterranean, Greece and Turkey are playing a dangerous war game, with the dispute over energy resources and geopolitical preponderance as its background. In Belarus, the revolt against the eternal president Aleksander Lukashenko is recreating the war of attrition between the European Union representing the "West" on one side, and Putin's Russia on the other. In the South China Sea, a rain of missiles fired by Beijing to reaffirm its claim to sovereignty showed the growing military trend that the strategic rivalry between the Asian giant and the United States is taking on. This is without mentioning the crisis in Lebanon, where France is playing its role as the ruling power in the framework of a fluid situation in the Middle East.

But it is precisely this panorama of growing social conflicts and geopolitical tensions, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, that gives the dispute for the White House its crucial defining character. With good reason, allies, partners, and enemies of the United States perceive that an eventual change of command will have consequences in the foreign policy of the main imperialist power - schematically the continuity of Trumpeterian unilateralism or the return to some variant of Democratic "multilateralism" with Biden -, as a recipe for confronting the decline of US leadership.

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Undoubtedly, Trump set up this scenario with the virulent anti-China bias of his campaign and the accusation that Biden is "lazy" in meeting the challenges of the emergence of this strategic competitor. But the key to the election lies in domestic politics, with the novelty that the battle is over the "management" of the class struggle, something that has not happened since 1968 when Richard Nixon was elected with the vote of the conservative "silent majority.

The centrality of the "street" in the dispute between Trump and Biden shows that the elections are taking place in the shadow of the explosion of an impressive mass movement against racism and police violence, combined with the social and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. This process is rooted in the depths of US society, which is evident not only in its persistence but in unprecedented events, like the historic strike of the NBA and other premium leagues, in response to the brutal police attack on Jacob Blake in Kenosha that rekindled the flame of protest.

So it is not surprising that Trump has adopted an electoral strategy very similar to Nixon's in the face of the anti-Vietnam War movement, to polarize between "law and order" and "chaos. As Vice President Mike Pence said in his speech at the Republican National Convention, "law and order is on the ballot.

Trump even spoke of "revolution" in an interview with bizarre definitions he gave last Monday to the Fox network, in which he exposed his conspiracy theory that behind "Sleepy Joe" ("Dormilón Joe", as he calls Biden) would be crouched the "extreme left. Of course, the outsider pose worked for Nixon because he hadn't held executive positions in several years, while Trump is charged with four years at the head of the White House in which social and political polarization has only deepened.

In Kenosha, a small town in the impoverished "rust belt," the joint action of extreme right-wing armed gangs and the police to suppress the protests against the attack on Blake ended with the murder of two demonstrators. Kyle Rittenhouse, the shooter, is a young Trump supporter who is seen on video getting lost behind police lines with his assault rifle.

Days later in Portland, a caravan of Trump supporters clashed with a protest against police violence. In a confusing situation, a militant of the extreme right-wing organization Patriot Prayer, which supports the re-election of the president, was killed. These radicalized right-wing groups, which include white supremacists and nativists like the Proud Boys or the Q'Anon supporters, among others relieved by the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right, are developing independently of the Republican Party but are fervent supporters of Trump.

The president rewarded them for their support both from their Twitter account and in real life. In an act that can only be read as a political provocation, he traveled to Wisconsin, indicating the actions of the police, the National Guard, and the armed "vigilantes" who supposedly acted in "self-defense.

The Democrats and "liberal" media use the "fascist danger" to unite their electoral base through the fright behind Joe Biden's "center-left" candidacy. Star Democratic leftist congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio Cortez used the minute she was given by the establishment at the Convention to argue that the November election should "stop fascism in America. There is no doubt that fascist tendencies, expressed in racism and hate crimes, are incubating in society. But as sociologist Dylan Riley explains in a New Left Review editorial published at the beginning of Trump's presidency, the conditions do not exist today for the development of classical fascism: inter-imperialist war and socialist revolution (triumphant in Russia and defeated in the West). Riley prefers to use the Weberian category of Bonapartist "patrimonialism" where the key is loyalty. In a similar sense, in a recent book on the American right-wing, the authors define the Trump phenomenon as a "plutocratic populism", a product of the inequality and concentration of wealth that has been developing since the 1980s. And they say that the polarization has been asymmetrical, with the Republican party turning much more to the right than the Democrats to the left.

Political polarization and organic crisis tendencies are producing new political phenomena on the margins. The radicalized right is today contained in the Republican Party in its Trumpist version. The Democratic Party may impose itself electorally as the lesser evil but it does not cover the whole spectrum on its left. To the existence of the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), a social democratic party that attracted some 70,000 young people to its ranks, one must add the constitution of a new populist party (Movement for a People's Party), a sort of "flag-waving sanders. These new political phenomena are subsidiary to the Democratic Party and have as their strategy the "accumulation" within the imperialist bourgeois-democratic regime to achieve some reforms. The perspectives of the radicalization of the class struggle, and the warning signal of the extreme right, reaffirm the need to set up a revolutionary socialist party. In that fight are the comrades who are promoting Left Voice.

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Sophia James

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