Reflections from afar on the escalation of ideological warfare in the United States. by Max Lane.

The United States, under Trump and likely for the foreseeable future, is on a dominate-the-world-totally (and space) trajectory. This is a consequence of the economic situation where imperialism (as the highest stage of capitalism) is now confronted with intensifying contradictions, whose symptoms are the various crisis on the imperial periphery of Southern Europe and the two temporary collapses since 1997. The capitalists at the center of contemporary imperialism, in the USA, need to achieve the most intense monopoly conditions for themselves possible. This requires maximum political dominance worldwide, both vis-a-vis the 3rd world, including the large 3rd world countries as well as the other imperialist countries (the EU, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) and also Russia.

The economic crisis, while having many aspects and symptoms, flows from the system entering a worsening period in the declining rate of profits, even while there are short term ups and downs.  All costs of production that can be suppressed, must be suppressed. This means extending direct access to primary resources, including energy, with no or minimum middlemen; having almost pay-as-you like access to cheap labour anywhere; subsidized research, directly or through tax cuts, to enable enhanced robotization, especially in imperialist home countries and also cheap money. The latter is more complicated as US debt is unlikely to decrease in any way.  Escalating war budgets (and now there will be a Space Force), increased temporary social welfare spending, and tax cuts will ensure rising debt. All these needs, will in turn require, greater political as well as economic dominance. Competition among monopoly capital (e.g. US vs EU) will increase, and become increasingly political. The economic development ceiling on the advance of the larger and more independent Third World and former socialist countries will need to be both commercially and politically enforced.

In addition, 75 years as the primary capitalist superpower has created a ruling class consciousness whose arrogance and narcissism knows no bounds. In the US, its history as a white settler country provides the ideological and cultural resources to allow the pre-fascist Right to negate the democratic and progressive aspects of its revolutionary history. This is made easier by the fact that liberal America, whose representation is dominated by the Democratic Party establishment, also has minimal affinity with both US’s early revolutionary history and the radicalism of the 60s. The US revolutionary democratic tradition has, as yet, no mass political vehicle. Growth in left-oriented democratic organisations such as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and increased activity by grass-roots activist coalitions are positive signs – as are the growth of cadre organisations such as the Party of Socialism and Liberation and the International Socialist Organisation. But these are not yet at the stage of being mass political vehicles or movements. The big campaign supporting Bernie Sanders serious social democratic politics is also an important positive sign. It too has not congealed into a stable or clear political movement.

Trying to follow U.S. politics from afar, it would appear that the full-blooded and unapologetic defense of the forceful separation of children from their (undocumented) parents as they cross the border into the US has opened a full-scale ideological offensive by the Right, bringing to a head what has been building up. Both the majority of pro-Trump propagandists, many appearing on FOX Television among other places, and Trump himself have escalated their agitation in defense of this policy. Trump’s twits have begun to refer to migrants “infesting” American society. Some propagandists are claiming that the separated children appearing on TV news, are child actors. The “other” are being depicted either as part of an infestation or fake, or both. There seems to be a united response by the Right, including within the Republican Party, in this escalated campaign.

They appear to be playing for a “We win, you LOSE” outcome. If they can get away without compromising on this policy, it will result – and that is no doubt the calculation – in a very big boost to open white supremacist propaganda and agitation.

Again, from afar, the Democratic Party leadership appears not to be serious about defeating this offensive.

Resistance appears to be coming only from those to the Left of the Democrats.

Some greater international co-ordination among the Left, where that is possible, will be needed. The US Left will need international solidarity, alongside the 3rd world progressive movements and states (such as Venezuela and Cuba) that will come under attack from the United States. US aggression against other sovereign countries, most of which will be other capitalist countries, will need to be opposed, for the sake of the welfare and survival of their populations. Identifiable progressive movements everywhere will need to be mutually supportive.

Globalisation is some ways has always been a misdrection: nothing of any use was ever globalised, i.e. spread around the globe. The only thing whose spread  was intensified and extended globally were the tentacles of exploitation, which increased the concentration of wealth back in the imperialist countries, especially the US, and within those, among its “1%”, and its apparatchiks and those segments of the working class bribed with privilege. The Left and progressive movements are not big enough to contemplate yet visualizing an organised global movement against this process of concentration. But that’s where our sights must be set, even if the immediate priority has to be facing local elites.

What is new in this situation is that progressive forces, and the mass of people, outside the United States, have a huge interest in the secular, humanist, democratic and radical section of the US people obtaining a victory over this offensive.  International solidarity  will need now to be a two-way interaction. Proposed demonstrations against Trump in the UK are one example of what is necessary.

What else needs to be done?

Certainly, where possible, escalation of support for national liberation resistance to US domination, as with Venezuela and Cuba, and ant-war activism against US military interventions, open or disguised, as in the Middle East. But also an escalation of reporting in countries outside the US of the activities of the US progressive movements and groups – both their resistance to domestic policies and their own solidarity with national liberation movements and against US war policies. It will be a very demoralising development for progressives and working people outside the United States to think there is no serious resistance within the United States against both its domestic anti-people policies, and its foreign policies. And given the monster that any movement in the U.S. is up against, then strengthening morale both ways will be crucial.


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