The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Impeach the System

Sep 30, 2019

Well, it looks like the Democrats in the House are actually moving forward on impeaching Donald Trump.

After two years of waiting for the Mueller Report and months of sifting through results, Democrats have been handed an impeachment packet gift-wrapped by Trump himself. This consisted of a rough transcript of a phone call to the president of Ukraine in which he very clearly demands that Ukraine help dig up dirt on a political rival. Trump asks for this help in the 2020 election—in exchange for the military aid he had been holding back.

In other words, Trump used the office of the president, and carried out foreign policy in the name of the U.S., purely for personal political gain.

A whistle-blower complaint that shed light on this phone call implicated a number of other administration officials in the effort to pressure Ukraine, and in covering up the attempt. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, made trips to Ukraine to discuss Joe Biden with its president—and he freely admitted this on national television!

According to the whistle-blower, immediately following the call, legal advisors and others close to the president recognized he’d stepped over the line and violated the Constitution and broken the law—and they sought to bury the call by sticking the transcript in a “top secret” computer folder. Attorney General William Barr, who is named in the complaint, refused to allow its release for over a month.

For the representatives of the ruling class, this all may be a bridge too far. They fully expect a certain amount of self-dealing to go on—this is capitalism, after all, which is based on thievery—but the president is supposed to be acting in the world on their behalf, not turning the office into a personal slot machine. That 400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine is supposed to be benefitting the ruling class as a whole, by tying Ukraine more tightly to the West and its money interests; holding up that aid and using it as a tool for purely personal reasons threatens all of that. Not to mention, they’d at least like the elections to have the appearance of legitimacy, and such obvious meddling in upcoming elections rips a big hole in that.

Trump’s obvious corruption and self-dealing threatens to tear the democratic mask off the system and expose it for all to see. Democrats and others are frantically trying to stick the mask back on, to “restore the dignity of the office.”

 So, faced with evidence this blatant, Nancy Pelosi and other politicians and pundits reversed themselves and called for impeachment proceedings to start immediately.

It’s anybody’s guess how far this will go in the next weeks and months, or how long it will take. Trump may be removed from office before the election, or through the election, or the impeachment process may even reinforce him.

Absolutely, Trump is corrupt. So sure, go ahead and remove him. But what if he is removed? Whoever replaces him will still be at the head of the system that created him in the first place. Even at its best, the system and its representatives work against the working class. Just look at the Obama administration—a nice, squeaky-clean administration. Deportations, war, incarceration, racist attacks and the slashing of our standard of living were still carried out and expanded.

Living and working conditions have been deteriorating for the working class for over 40 years, through Republican and Democratic administrations. For the working class, the president or other people in the government are only a symptom of the problem—the system itself is the problem.

In all, the impeachment proceeding presents a giant distraction—for how many more months or a year—leading into a dead-end alley for the working class. Imagine how this will dominate the news in the next year or two, while issues relating to our pay and living standards are tucked away and forgotten.

Removing or retaining Trump will be all that the news media talks about. But workers’ problems started long before Trump, and they will continue after Trump—especially if we wait on other politicians to fix it for us.

Workers can’t afford to wait. Our fight is going on right now.