The end of the First American Republic?

Submitted by Zac Muddle on 2 June, 2020 - 11:00 Author: Charlie George
A protestor compares Donald Trump to Hitler (Photo by Chris Boese on Unsplash)

With Biden currently well ahead in the polls for the November US Presidential Election, we should be very concerned about how Trump’s cult of street thugs, simpletons, and Klansman are going to react when he loses the presidential election.

They are convinced there is a conspiracy from the “deep state” and that the election will likely be rigged against him, despite all the evidence suggesting it is in fact his Republican Party who are attempting to rig it through attacks on the press and voter suppression.

We have seen over the past month two different sides of America, both prepared to forcefully disobey the rule of law. One side centred around white supremacy, individualism, and hatred for minorities. And another — in an extremely nebulous sense — standing for some level of solidarity and redistributive justice.

The far right around Trump is organised and has an established base with its own media and collective culture, and perhaps most importantly, a very large section of the oppressive state apparatus. The left does not have that unifying force — the Democrats do not want to do it: the role of Democratic Governors and Mayors in brutally crushing resistance to Trump and racism in response to the George Floyd murder has shown which side they are on – there is no labour party let alone a revolutionary vanguard to play that role. The formation of such an organisation capable of uniting much of the left and oppressed groups through the coordination of existing political groups and campaigns and the activists of the local protests is imperative in the next few weeks to carry forward the necessary tasks of the coming period.

A resolution to the social and economic problems of the US is unlikely before the election. Judging by how Trump is reacting now, however, the most likely of any such resolutions will be a very oppressive, indeed fascistic, one. Either way, there is a very real chance this could be the final year of the First American Republic.

In the absence of real revolutionary leadership capable of creating a socialist economy and delivering working class supremacy, it may be necessary to start advocating for a constitutional convention. In this, transitional demands centred around ending the hyperexploitation of Black people through the criminalisation of their existence and their subsequent enslavement in the prison system must be a priority.

This may involve constitutional recognition of America as a multi-national, multi-racial state with special rights and representation for minorities; redrawing the borders of counties and states to better reflect the demographic realities; police under community control and prison abolition; reparations for Black Americans; access to universal healthcare as a right; statehood for Puerto Rico; and the abolition of a federal military force.

Such demands would fundamentally undermine the present basis of American capitalism and as such, American imperialism, creating a space in which a militant and revolutionary labour movement could thrive, both within the US itself and the wider American Empire.

But any such peace would be a temporary one, and those on the left must avoid the temptation of focussing on such a short-term fix. Socialists must continue organising in their workplaces and in their communities for the total overthrow of capitalism: the economic system which makes the current economic, racial, and political reality in the US a necessity.

It is within the reach of the American working class in the coming period to unite, as culturally and racially heterogenous as it is, and to take power for itself and reorder society and the economy on a socialist basis. This will be the first such victory for our class in a major, developed imperial power; the whole world socialist movement must be ready to come to its defence.

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