Jun 19, 2017
The Trump administration might be mired in multiple investigations. A special prosecutor appointed by Trump's own Department of Justice might be investigating Trump himself. The U.S. news media might obsess over Trump's every rant on Twitter. Top business executives might decry Washington "gridlock," that is, the inability of the Republican-controlled Congress to pass even one "reform" that would hand over trillions of more taxpayer dollars to the biggest companies, in the form of supposed "health care reform," not to speak of massive tax breaks, infrastructure giveaways and other capitalist scams.
But in the real world, the wheels of the U.S. government and its massive state apparatus continue to grind. For example, in mid-June, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that the Pentagon was developing a plan to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan with Trump's blessing. Never mind that the war in Afghanistan has already lasted more than 16 years, the longest war in U.S. history. Never mind that there are already 10,000 U.S. troops stationed there, along with tens of thousands more U.S.-paid mercenaries and U.S. allies, patrolling, bombing and strafing, leaving this extremely poor, war-ravaged country in ashes. That is not enough for U.S. policy makers. No price is too high for peasants, workers and the poor in Afghanistan to pay in order to maintain the U.S. imperial order, that is, the profits, wealth and domination of the U.S. oil companies, banks and military contractors.
That war is only one of many that the U.S. military is carrying out in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia. And even as U.S. officials decry Russian meddling in the U.S. election, the U.S. military and CIA are fueling the ongoing civil war in Ukraine and the Crimea, on Russia's doorstep.
Certainly, the U.S. working class pays for these wars. It is our sons and daughters who the U.S. ruling class sends to fight and die or often come back partially broken in mind and body. And it is the working class's tax dollars that pay for everything from the bullets to bombs and missiles.
Meanwhile, here at home, more budget cuts for vital programs for working people are on the way. Sure, both Democrats and Republicans alike denounced Trump's original budget proposals that came out in early May for decimating every single social program and even minimal regulatory protection, proposals that made a mockery of Trump's campaign promises to protect the poor and the vulnerable. But that doesn't mean that the final budget won't go in the same direction, as ever more U.S. tax dollars that were supposed to pay for education, health, retirement pensions, disability payments and infrastructure will be swallowed up by the capitalist class in the form of rich contracts and subsidies, thus pushing down working people's living standards ever more.
Of course, to force people to accept this decline, the Trump administration is also boosting the repressive state apparatus here at home. For example, that repression is aimed at the millions of immigrants, whose only supposed "crime" is to live and breathe without full documentation. The government is hiring more prison guards to staff more detention centers, run by private prison companies – one of the few "growth" industries in a rotten, declining economy.
The U.S. capitalist class would like nothing better than for U.S. workers to get sucked into all of the Trump melodrama. But what is it really all about? Nothing but a fight over which politician will be the public face of a government and economy built on the backs of the working class in this country and all over the world.
No, for the workers, the real question is how to organize together in order to fight to defend our own interests against a capitalist class and its government that will never, ever stop attacking us. And workers can begin that fight, no matter what politician happens to be at the top of the heap.