So, Trump is gone. His four years in office are being lambasted by liberal commentators and others as “the worst four years in American history”. Personally, as a student of history and not liberal reaction, I beg to differ. It is important for Communists to sum up trends and phenomena so that we can effectively organize against them and explain these things to the masses. What will Trump’s legacy be, what laid the foundations for his election, and what will the Biden era look like?
First of all, Trump was and remains a fascist. Fascism has been sweeping reactionaries into office across the West. It is asinine to describe Trump as anything but a fascist — he mobilized all sorts of reactionaries and street fascists, incited them to violence, and allowed them access to the White House. He refused to denounce the activity of reactionaries at the Capitol or in the streets during his term. His election victory was in large part thanks to the influence and internet organizing/propagandizing of the so-called alt-right, who struggled in the streets in his name and committed acts of violence against queer, nonwhite, and progressive people, beginning at his rallies during the leadup to the 2016 election. He pursued coups against the elected governments of Venezuela and Bolivia seeking to steal their resources and enslave their people, following in the footsteps of the Hillary Clinton era. He produced a stream of executive orders that criminalized Muslims, transgender people, and others. He mobilized the reactionary police to beat, harm, torment and abuse the masses who rose in rebellion during the last year of his term in response to the righteous upsurge of the masses during the uprisings after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He praised other fascists such as Erdogan in Turkey and Duterte in the Philippines. During the Trump Administration, the fascist movement in the streets became more emboldened. Of course, many of these elements proceeded to turn their backs on Trump and splinter among themselves. But, during the immediate aftermath of the 2016 Election, they saw their moment and exploited it to get thousands of new recruits, fundraising opportunities, and connections. Fascist founder of the Traditionalist Workers’ Party, Matt Heimbach, called a reporter and declared on Election Night, 2016: “Everything you love will burn”. They saw it as a victory for their movement — they now had someone who openly retweeted and appealed to them. Trump’s rise was rooted in a racist myth about Barack Obama’s citizenship and country of birth. He capitalized on this platform and used boisterous rallies and social media effectively to build a base which propelled him to the White House, coupled with Democratic Party incompetence in running the old and tired hack Hillary Clinton in 2016. In short, the liberals puffed themselves up and their balloon was popped by the revenge of the settler.
Trump stumbled from blunder to blunder during his term. Both of his attempted coups failed, and the major event during his term, the onset and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, he met by saber-rattling against China, engaging in back and forths with health officials on Twitter, and continuing to whine about the media. Naturally, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States died unnecessarily. In regards to actively carrying out directly fascist policies, Trump was a victim of his own ego and incompetence. He fired people via Twitter, quarreled incessantly with the press, and hired people based on their personal loyalty to him. His term was, objectively, a failure, but it served a purpose to the most reactionary bourgeoisie and fascist elements of the petit bourgeoisie, who composed the crowd at the Capitol provocation on January 6th. Now that the “right wing” of the imperialist bourgeoisie has no further use for him due to his incompetence, they have thrown Trump the man under the bus as punishment for his inability to represent their interests at home and abroad.
The movements of the people were sparked by three crises of capitalism-imperialism: the ongoing development of fascism led to the resurgence of the anti-fascist movement, the COVID-19 pandemic itself led to the rise of a mass movement among essential and health workers demanding appropriate PPE, appropriate pay, and appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Tenants also began struggling against landlords who sought to bleed them dry when they were already bloodless due to lack of employment due to the pandemic. Finally, the general crisis of capitalism that would have occurred regardless of (but was exacerbated by) the COVID-19 situation led to a renewed general struggle against landlords and bosses — we have seen just this week the victory of the Hunts Point Strike in Brooklyn, when workers staged a strike and won their demands. Always, under open reactionary rule, the people struggle, organize, and engage in class struggle. What is needed are Communists coming out of these struggles and founding class struggle organizations that can organize ever more of the people for further struggles, conquer gains, and build at the neighborhood level organs of people’s power.
What does the Biden era hold? It will most likely be similar to the late ’00s and early ’10s. There will probably be another Occupy type movement, which will be suppressed using COVID restrictions as pretext. The 2020s will be marked by even more erosion of the already tottering social safety net in the US under the new neoliberal administration, leading to new struggles. It will be important for Communists to engage with and provide real leadership to this movement to ensure that it does not collapse in a heap like Occupy I. There will be continued gutting of the infrastructure of majority New Afrikan cities, schools will continue to be closed, roads will continue to be potholed, and gentrification will ramp up and escalate. The liberals who were already unreliable under Trump will become even more untrustworthy than they already were. It will be important for Communists to form community and city level mass and intermediate organizations such as Feed the People (mass) and For the People (intermediate) to distribute essential resources to the people in the case of the mass organizations and intervene in class struggles in the case of the intermediate. Mass organizations of lawyers, healthcare workers, writers, tenants, and other strata. Mass self-defense organizations should also be constructed to defend against fascists, police, and other reactionary elements. It is essential to bring thousands, then tens of thousands of people into the Communist movement. This can only be done through sequences of mass work, popularizing Communist ideology in a manner that can easily be understood by the proletarian/semi-proletarian, and fighting side by side with the people in their struggles and demonstrating the benefits of Communist organizing. There will continue to be mass movements against police shootings and abuses of New Afrikan and Latinx people. These movements are breeding grounds for Communists, as they are consistently derailed by liberals, opportunists, and others, and the masses have no patience, they want rebellion and liberation, not a New Afrikan Defense Secretary. Always raise class and national struggle. Biden has already declared his intent to repress domestic militancy both left and right, as we know, the Left will bear the brunt. There will also be more blood flowing in the streets as DJT’s angry and upset base continues to attack progressive people and revolutionaries. Remember how the last so-called progressive under whom Biden served as VP sent soldiers to the streets of major American cities, and presided over the smashing of Occupy. Both D and R have a vested interest in breaking the neck of the Communist movement. Communists must continue to train themselves and their communities to meet such threats.
In short, we all must be prepared to escalate, organize, build, and lay the foundation for a Communist Party worthy of the name under Biden. Trump’s open bullshit brought many good organizers to the Communist movement. Now it’s time to consolidate them and sink roots into the masses.