The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States is above all an indication of the deep resentment of the American people towards the status quo and the US political establishment.
Trump is one of the most right wing, racist, sexist and demagogic people who have ever been elected president of the United States. But it wasn’t for those reasons that people voted for him. In his election campaign, Trump introduced himself as someone opposed to the existing system, its political elite and hardened politicians from both parties, the media, political lobbying, the ‘Washington’s swamp’ and ‘rigged’ elections. He was the only presidential candidate in American history with no background in government or the military. He entered the campaign as an ‘outsider’, opposed to the established system, parties and politicians. The vote for Trump was a no-vote for the existing system, the result of people’s widespread discontent with the ruling political parties and elite and the system of governance in the United States. This was the vote of a people who are unhappy with their situation, but who find no good option, and so go off track.
The election of Trump took many political observers and analysts, the media and even the Republican Party by surprise. But the Trump phenomenon and his success were not a bolt out of the blue. Trump, and the regression and fascism he represents, were the product of the political and economic crisis of the bourgeoisie in the USA and the West as a whole. Under such conditions, traditional and centre bourgeois parties lose influence, and the stage is set for the rise of ultra right parties and figures, on the one hand, and left parties and forces on the other. We see this in Europe now with political parties from both ends of the spectrum becoming active. The same forces took to the stage in the recent election in the USA. Bernie Sanders entered the race as the most left wing of the Democratic candidates, someone who challenged the might of Wall Street and the rule of the top 1%. He won huge popularity and support. However, the party officialdom with the help of the party’s internal mechanisms was able to stop him from being nominated. Thus a people who were looking for change were forced to choose between Clinton, a hardened politician and representative of the political establishment, on the one hand, and Trump, a critic of the existing situation from an ultra right perspective. People voted for change in the current system.
But the changes Trump plans to introduce are all reactionary and in the interest of the ruling 1% and his billionaire ilk. And if he is not confronted by a powerful challenge from the dispossessed majority, the workers, women and blacks, in one word, America’s 99%, will have very tough times ahead. The impact of the election of Trump worldwide will also be the rise of right wing and racist forces, in particular in Europe.
The election of Trump to president is a reflection of the height of rottenness of contemporary capitalism. This experience once again demonstrates that in the absence of radical socialist parties and movements, even the urge and enthusiasm for change can end up helping the most reactionary bourgeois forces. The experience also shows that the road to emancipation from the existing ruling system is not through elections. The US elections reaffirmed the fact that the current electoral systems have been so designed fundamentally that they cannot function in the interest of the people. As declared by the Occupy movement, freedom will not come from the ballot box. People’s solution is to build a left protest and social movement against the ruling1% for the goal of welfare, freedom and equality. Just the fact that someone like Bernie Sanders enters the presidential race in the name of socialism and gains massive influence and popularity is an indication that the conditions socially are ready for the building of a radical movement with a socialist critique and vision.
Over the past couple of years, in England, Greece and other European countries, we have been witnessing the rise of a left discourse, movement and social tendency. This movement can and must be developed and given organisational and party form so that it can challenge the political and economic rule of the bourgeoisie. In the absence of such a force and movement, the crisis-ridden bourgeoisie will push the world even further down the abyss. The American elections once again highlighted the fact that without the call of socialism, without the hope of socialism and without the ‘threat’ of socialism, the world will be nothing more than a sewer.
Worker-communist Party of Iran
9 November 2016