With the swearing-in of Donald Trump as president of the United States on January 20, working class people in the US and across the world are set to face an intensification of severe attacks. The questionable portrayal of Trump as an “outsider” to the Washington establishment is at best a half-truth useful for mobilising sections of the working class on a nationalist platform to “Make America Great Again” including with jobs creation.
From all indications though, American workers are not likely to make much gains from a Trump presidency. A showman, no doubt, Donal Trump is a smooth operator that does not bat an eye in laying false claims. At the end of December for example, he had claimed that his policies would enable Sprint Coorp., a telecommunications company and OneWeb, a US satellite company to create8,000 new jobs.
But the management of Sprint Coorp. have pointed out that these are jobs which had been in the pipeline long before the elections that brought in Mr. Donald Trump. Earlier in December, he had equally inflated the number of jobs saved by reaching a deal with Carrier, a division of United Technologies not to move part of their operations to Mexico. He also failed to mention the huge costs of the deal.
But the sharpest demonstration of what a Trump presidency has in stock for American workers might be his appointment of Andrew Puzder. Labour unions in the country have described this choice as “cruel and baffling.” Mary Kay Henry, president of the 2-million members strong Services Employees International Union (SEIU) described the appointment as one of “anti-worker extremism.”
The reason for this is not farfetched. Mr Puzder is the CEO of Hardees and Carl’s Jr, a fast food chain which has terrible terms and conditions of service for workers. He has been vehemently opposed any increment of the minimum wage and a lower threshold for overtime pay. Mr. Puzder has, thus not surprisingly, been a major stumbling block against the SEIU’s Fight for $15 campaign.
Along with attacks on workers, the nationalist spirit of a Trump presidency will definitely raise the tempo of racist attacks as well. Already, the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups have been celebrating him as a victory for White Supremacy. The only way to stem the tide of populist right-wing ascendancy which Trump represents, is struggle.
Radical groups and social movements are rising up to fight. On January 20, mass demonstrations will take place across the US with the main manifestation #J20 Washington DC aimed at shutting down the inauguration ceremony. The J20 campaigners stand: Against Racism, Against Sexism, Against Oppression and for a better world.
Donald Trump becomes president at a time of global crises. The long worldwide depression has further deepened the crisis of US Imperialism which started with its ill-advised invasion of Iraq in 2003, for oil. Since then, inter-imperialist rivalries have been on the increase. The European Union has been trying to exert more influence, but is itself now facing worries as Britain is set to exit from the EU.
The Middle East remains a tinder box of inter-imperialist rivalries, with hundreds of thousands of lives consumed in the Syrian Civil War, where Russia is trying its best to maintain its ally, Al-Assad in power. While the counter-revolution for now has managed to stem the revolutionary tide in Egypt embers of the fires of 2011still spark and could lead to raging spread of resistance in the coming period.
This is part of the context which Trump would be coming into with his nationalistic rhetoric which could also bring about a trade war with China. All these would most likely contribute to the weakening of the US ruling class hegemony, on the international theatre, sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry on one hand and generally undermining the legitimacy of the current order.
This could lead to a resurgence of new versions of Third Worldism. Working class people in neo-colonies like Nigeria must however not fall under the illusion of any commonality existing between us and “our own” local bosses. We must stand with the working class in the United States against Trump, and call on them to stand with us in the struggles against the bosses at home as well as multinational corporations from countries like the US, in Nigeria and Africa.
The emergence of Trump is cause for worry, but it could also open a floodgate of opportunities in struggle – against the bosses as a whole and their dreary capitalist system.
by Nnamdi Ikeagu