Central Executive Committee, YCL-LJC
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a serious danger to working people in that country and around the world, including Canada. This election has resulted in a shift to the far-right in the White House, as well as both houses of government, and will likely be reflected in the judiciary. There is an immediate need to organize and unite against this dangerous new reality.
Trump is the defacto leader of a fascist movement that has grown quite powerful in the US. We have seen similar movements which organize on the basis of xenophobia, racism and violence in Europe, and they have their seeds that have sprouted here in Canada as well. This includes new groups imported from Europe such as the Soldiers of Odin, Pegida, Right Sector and Golden Dawn, who all have a presence in Canada, as well as groups that already have their own bloody history in this country such as the KKK. The fertile ground of declining economic and social conditions that allows these groups to grow also has an expression in the established bourgeois parties as evidenced by the Conservative Party’s current debate about what level of xenophobia they want to promote which surrounds the leadership campaign of Kellie Leitch.
The rise of the ultra-right is part of the systemic crisis of capitalism, as bourgeois politics turns towards increasingly violent methods of trying to save capitalism by making working people pay for the crisis. Trump’s election has already led to xenophobic and racist violence and a hardening of misogyny and rape culture.
The results of the election demonstrate a deepening crisis within the neo-liberal political framework. Hillary Clinton, who was handpicked by the Democratic Party leadership was widely recognized for what she is, a representative of imperialist monopoly capital, who was both unwilling and unable to put forward a platform that would have real answers to the chronic and worsening economic and social conditions facing the vast majority of US workers.
Bernie Sanders’ social democratic program was rejected by the DNC earlier this year, despite the fact it found a lot of resonance amongst working people, especially young people. While the people demanded real change, Clinton promised more corporate rule and war. The demagogic ultra-right, the religious right, the KKK, the military, the police and the most reactionary corporate interests united around Trump and put forward a message of change based on anti-establishment language with a heavy dose of white supremacy.
This story is apparent among young people as well. Youth have been hit hard by decades of neoliberalism and corporate trade deals resulting in de-industrialization and job losses. Today’s capitalist economy offers precarious and impoverished employment or unemployment to younger generations. Those that manage to make it to post-secondary education graduate into this economy with record level debt loads. For those that don’t manage to make it even that far, especially Black, Latino, Indigenous and other racialized youth due to deeply ingrained systemic racism, the growing prison system is the system’s answer to them. They are then denied the right to vote. 6.1 million people have been disenfranchised because of their criminalization, which includes 1 out of every 13 Black people in the US. Despite the real danger that Trump means for youth, and the generally more progressive political leanings of young people, youth support for the Democrats dropped this election from the last election, and even more dramatically since 2008. While 37% of those 18-29 voted Republican in both 2012 and 2016, 60% voted for Obama in 2012 versus 54% voting for Clinton this election. The youth vote for Obama in 2008 was 66%.
Trump’s big promise to raise wages and create jobs is pure fantasy. His real program is full steam ahead in terms of the corporate agenda. This includes eliminating corporate taxes and any regulation of banks as well as slashing education, healthcare and social security. While “opposing” NAFTA and the TPP, he wants free trade deals that favour US capital to an even greater extent. While opposing a no-fly zone in Syria and saying he wants less hostile relations with Russia, he is proposing a full ground war with ISIS, wants to double military spending, and has surrounded himself with the most extreme imperialist hawks, including his running mate who criticized both Trump and Clinton on being too soft with Russia. Trump is no better than Clinton when it comes to the build up to a potential world war, in fact it is likely an even more dangerous situation.
The struggle against climate change is now more important with a Trump White House that does not acknowledge this immediate threat to humanity and the planet. The Republicans have said they will tear up the Paris Accords, which are already too tepid to ward off some of the worst symptoms of climate change, and gut all environmental regulation.
For women, the new Administration offers to roll back the clock decades. Trump has promised to attack reproductive rights through fully defunding Planned Parenthood and control over the judiciary would likely mean the end of legal abortion in the US. For immigrants, Trump has made his cornerstone promises to deport all undocumented immigrants, build a wall on the border with Mexico, ban Muslims from entering the US, and surveil and close Mosques. For the LGBT community the Republican platform attacks same-sex adoption, opposes a ban on “gay cure” or “conversion” therapy, and supports “religious freedom” laws exempting bigots from anti-discrimination laws. In addition, Trump’s rhetoric on these issues and others opens up the political space for fascist and neo-Nazi groups to flourish and organize. Trump’s white supremacist, misogynist, transphobic and homophobic agenda must be defeated.
The Trudeau government here at home in Canada has responded to the election by saying he looks forward to working with Trump, “including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security”. Trudeau, who condemned Trump’s rhetoric only months ago, now points to Canada’s “shared values, deep cultural ties, and strong integrated economies” as the basis for “advancing our strong and prosperous partnership”. Trudeau’s actions do nothing to stand in solidarity with working people south of the border. In fact, they embolden the far-right in the US and Canada. Trudeau and the Canadian capitalist class are willing to work with Trump. They are now focusing on their real concerns: maintaining free trade agreements, the imperialist NATO alliance, and continuing to build pipelines. Fighting this new danger south of the border means also demanding from our own government an independent foreign policy of peace, climate justice and fair trade not pro-corporate free trade.
As young people in Canada, we not only look to the south with indignation but also inspiration. The Black Lives Matter movement in the US, fighting systemic racism and police murder has inspired and mobilized us here in Canada, where we have our own deeply ingrained racism to fight. The water protectors at Standing Rock struggling against the South Dakota Access Pipeline have shown that it is possible to fight colonialism and environmental destruction and win. The US has a proud working class tradition of resistance and revolutionary organizing, and young people have often played a key dynamic role in these struggles. Now is the time to build solidarity actions to block Trump and his ultra-right agenda right here in Canada. We must struggle against the system that produced this new reactionary offensive. Our solidarity is directly connected to the struggle against imperialism internationally and linked to our own struggle for peace, equality, democracy, social progress and socialism here at home.
Join the 25th Che Brigade!
Since 1993, the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade has offered hundreds of Canadians the opportunity to join an exciting and informative 2-week tour of Cuba. Volunteers are afforded a first-hand view of the gains and victories of the Cuban Revolution through both a tour of significant historical and political locales of Cuba and by working alongside ordinary Cubans. The next Brigade leaves in Spring 2017.