A bitter conflict between the two major political parties representing U.S. imperialism looms in the coming year. They will fight their first round in the U.S. Senate, at the trial following the U.S. House of Representatives vote to impeach the president. The second round will be the November presidential election.
Both the Republican and Democratic Parties are enemies of the laboring people of the world. They are both enemies of the working class in the United States. Nevertheless, the whole world will be watching this conflict. It affects everyone.
Will this conflict − internal to the U.S. imperialist ruling class − take place in a way that allows ordinary working people in the United States to intervene in their own interest? This seems unlikely at present, but more surprising things have happened.
According to the U.S. Constitution, to impeach a president the House of Representatives must vote, by simple majority, to bring charges against a sitting president, charges they consider serious enough to remove him from office. The Senate then conducts a trial based on those charges. To convict and remove the president from office requires at least a two-thirds vote in the Senare.
In U.S. history President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate. Republicans control today’s Senate. There are no signs at present these Republicans will find Trump guilty.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democrat, says she will send the orders of impeachment to the Senate only when the Republican leaders there guarantee a “fair trial.” Pelosi means a trial where Democrats can call on Trump’s former collaborators to testify under oath. And who do the Democrats want to call as witness? None other than warmonger John Bolton.
Imperialist strategists before 2016 − including Bolton − had based U.S. world domination on an alliance with other imperialist powers (West Europe, Japan, Australia). As in NATO, the U.S. is the hegemonic power and does the heavy military work and take the lion’s share of imperialist plunder. Trump antagonized these strategists when he appeared to threaten NATO.
For completely different reasons, Trump has earned the hatred of large sections of the U.S. population − and of the world. He has made incessant comments that are insensitive and crude, slandering Latin Americans and Africans, insults women. He provokes ultra-rightist violence.
In his political programs he has waged war upon the poor. He has appointed anti-women federal judges. Meanwhile he has given handouts of tax cuts to the rich, while opening up Indigenous lands and natural resources for corporations to plunder; for this the 0.001% of the richest people continue to pour contributions into Trump’s political campaign.
Of all his crimes, the Democratic leadership purposely picked one where Trump confronted the Cold War strategists. He withheld military aid from the right-wing, anti-Russian regime in Ukraine. Trump squeezed the Ukrainian president to make him investigate Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, who had a cushy job at a Ukraine company. Trump did this for narrow electoral advantages.
By choosing this crime, the Democrats are trying to show they are more effective at representing imperialist interests. They also did this by giving almost unanimous support for the new Pentagon budget, which passed the House for a whopping $738 billion in December. This was at the same time a presidential edict was about to kick nearly a million people, many children and seniors, off food stamps and into hunger.
One of the few progressive Democrats who opposed this giveaway to the military-industrial complex, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said she “cannot support a bill that provides $738 billion for wars and defense contractors while this year we provided only $190 billion in discretionary funding for health care, education, and workforce development.” Rep. Tlaib, who is one of the four women representatives of color known as “the squad,” also criticized the U.S.-funded war against Yemen, the new planned Space Force and new nuclear weapons provided in the bill.
Trump lends political support to imperialist and racist politicians worldwide, like Boris Johnson in Britain, Marine Le Pen in France, Matteo Salvini in Italy, who disrupt working-class solidarity. With his racist tweets, the U.S. president has poisoned the political atmosphere, dividing U.S. workers on the basis of race, gender and religion.
There are many people in the U.S. who hate — and some who fear — Trump for good reasons. Thousands of people all over the United States demonstrated on Dec. 17 in dozens of cities supporting the impeachment process. At other times during the past three years, these or similar forces protested in the millions against the president’s misogyny, expressed solidarity with migrants or defended the environment at different times.
For these people, the Democratic Party leadership has provided only the choice of siding with the reactionary Ukraine regime and U.S. imperialism against Russia. It was the Democratic Party under the Barack Obama government that overthrew the former government of Ukraine, even allowing pro-fascist forces into the new regime. Taking sides with this effort has nothing to do with the real interests of the U.S. working people.
Not only people in the small anti-imperialist left in the United States, but even some Democratic Party Congress members, like Democratic Rep. Al Green from Texas, an African American, have urged that Trump be charged in the impeachment process for inciting violence based on his racist comments.
The Trump presidency has aroused progressive protest in the U.S. against the president’s agenda of hatred. People with disabilities have led the struggle for health care; teachers in states that voted for Trump have held defiant strikes. Women have led protests against sexual abuse and for women’s liberation. People of Latin American origin have led demonstrations in solidarity with migrants. Indigenous people have led protests against climate crisis and to protect the earth.
Will it be possible for the Democratic Party leadership to restrain the struggle against Trump and limit it to attacking his crime of seeking narrow electoral advantages? Or will the people break through these boundaries and start to fight for their own interests?