a “quid quo pro”, a gesture of “good will”, Burisma, Hunter Biden, Hunter’s allowance paid by Burisma, subordinating “national security” to personal political and perhaps financial interests, the impeachment of Donald Trump, the new imperialist overloads of Ukraine, Trump and everything he represents, Trump is hated by around half the American people, Trump’s pardoning of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher, Trump’s racism and racist rallies and demagoguery
By Sam Williams
The class character of the impeachment of Donald Trump
What is the essence — and as Marxists we must ask what is the class character — of the charges it seems at the time of this writing will soon be formalized in articles of impeachment against Trump? And what relationship do they bear to the hatred held by countless millions of ordinary working-class and other Americans — and people throughout out the world — for the same Trump and all he stands for? The workers include all class-conscious workers, a very small category at this time (1), and the most oppressed workers, including African-American workers, Hispanic workers, women workers, and Native Americans — a large and growing category that overwhelmingly despises Trump and everything he represents.
These workers hate Trump’s racism and racist rallies and demagoguery, which have encouraged violence by deranged individuals against African-Americans, Hispanic people, Muslims, Jews, and non-Christians in general. They hate Trump’s locking up of men, women and children fleeing violence in Central America, not only in concentration camps but in cages, which has led to deaths among children.
Trump has on numerous occasions offered encouragement to fascists, most notoriously with his “there are good people on both sides” comment following the Charlottesville, Virginia, fascist demonstration. This racist, anti-Semitic demonstration led to the running over and death of a young woman anti-fascist demonstrator by a fascist.
The most recent example was Trump’s pardoning of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher. Gallagher was turned in by his fellow Seals, a group hardly known for their progressives tendencies. He was charged with murder but acquitted on that charge by a military jury. However, he was convicted of photographing himself with the corpse of a young ISIS fighter. Anybody who has ever studied the origins of Italian fascism and German “National Socialism” knows that deranged soldiers like Gallagher were the first recruits to the fascist movements and formed their basic cadre.
There is also the not-so-little matter of Trump’s repeated physical assaults against women, his use of anti-gay/trans bigotry, and his attempts to kick people off health insurance and food stamps.
All this explains why Trump is hated by around half the American people, according to polls, and probably considerably more if we don’t just count citizens that are likely to vote but residents of the U.S. as a whole. They don’t want to wait until January 20, 2021, which would give Trump more than another year in office.
The Democratic impeachment inquiry is now raising hopes among the Trump-weary masses that Trump will soon be gone, long before January 20, 2021, but by then at the very latest. Millions of workers and their allies who are still far from having achieved full class consciousness don’t particularly care whether Trump leaves the White House through Russia-gate, Ukraine-gate, the front gate of the White House, or the back gate. They simply want this racist demagogue and all he represents gone.
Many other Americans, mostly white, would like to see Trump replaced through the 2020 elections. They believe he should leave the White House through the “front gate” on January 20, 2021 to be replaced by a “moderate” Democrat. In European terms, this means a right-of-center bourgeois politician. However, another third or so of American people, overwhelmingly white, have a cult-like attachment to Trump because he speaks to their prejudices and yearning for the good old days of “white America,” when women were satisfied with their traditional role, black and brown people knew their place, and gays stayed in the closet.
This is the America you see in old 1940s movies you can watch for free on YouTube. In these movies, almost all the characters are white, and if African Americans are shown at all, they are the loyal personal servants of the white heroes and are completely satisfied with their lowly role. Trumpers tend to be aging baby boomers who were by-passed by the 1960s rebellion, retaining instead the values passed on by their white “great generation” parents.
There are, however, younger Trumpers who are outright fascists, or could move in the direction of real fascism if as they see it Trump is betrayed by the Republican Party and/or the economic situation takes a radical turn for the worse. These hardcore Trumpers hope and expect that Trump wins re-election in November 2020 and that he holds office until at least January 20, 2024, if not beyond — which would be illegal under the present U.S. Constitution unless amended. Though a minority, this is a dangerous and not insubstantial part of the population.
We see that many — though by no means all — of the capitalist ruling class is opposed to Trump. It is also clear that many members — by no means all — of the state apparatus are also opposed to Trump. Trump is a polarizing figure who people from different classes tend to adore or despise, but for different reasons.
So what is the class character of the impeachment of Donald Trump broadcast live on TV and all devices and brought to you by the Democratic Party? The short answer is that the Democratic Party’s campaign has a thoroughly capitalist-imperialist character. This is the case not only because the Democratic Party is a capitalist party in general and a monopoly capitalist-imperialist party in particular, but because of the nature of the charges that are expected to be formalized as articles of impeachment.
The Democrats charge Trump with subordinating “national security” of the United States to his personal political and perhaps financial interests — above all his interest in winning a second term as U.S. president. To fully grasp the class character of this operation, we first have to grasp what is meant by the “national security of the United States.”
Let’s begin with what this phrase does not mean. It does not mean the defense of the North American territory of the USA from a military attack and invasion by some foreign power such as Russia or China. The United States, unlike other imperialist countries, is and has always been extraordinarily well protected by geography against a serious attempt by a rival power to invade and conquer it by military means.
For example, Germany is surrounded by other imperialist and potentially enemy states — for example, France, Great Britain, Poland, and Russia. During World War II, once the Soviet and U.S and British forces reached the borders of Nazi Germany at the beginning of 1945, it took only four months before Germany was completely overrun. Japan, which is made up of a series of relatively small islands, also offers a relatively easy target for invasion and occupation, as the events of August-September 1945 illustrate.
In contrast, to invade and conquer the U.S., a foreign invader would not only have to overcome the obstacles of the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. They would then face the barriers of the Appalachian, Rocky, Sierra Nevada, Cascade and lesser mountain chains. Neither Canada nor Mexico, both of which border the U.S., can invade the U.S. in the foreseeable future, though the opposite could happen.
The U.S. like every other country on Earth is prone to attack by nuclear weapons, which would completely devastate the country. But it would be suicidal for any foreign power to attempt this. Therefore, the current “enemies” of the U.S. such as China, Russia, Iran and so on cannot even consider invading and occupying the U.S. any more than Germany and Japan could seriously consider attempting it during World War II. The truth is that today and for the foreseeable future, no rival state represents a serious danger to the U.S. in the sense of either invading it or reducing it to a satellite or colony.
In class terms, even if the U.S. could be invaded, the “national security” of an imperialist state can only mean the collective interest of the capitalist ruling class of that nation-state. National security in this sense boils down to the ability of the capitalists to continue to appropriate ever more surplus value and transform it into still more capital to appropriate still more surplus value. As long as the current system lasts, the “national security” of the United States can have no other meaning.
However, while there is no prospect of the United States being invaded and occupied by a rival nation-state for as far ahead as we can reasonably see, the ability of the U.S. capitalist class to exploit the working class of the entire globe — what is really meant by “national security of the United States” — is under constant threat. This threat arises, above all, from the global working class itself, including its U.S. section and also to a lesser extent from rival capitalists. If the workers were to overthrow the class rule of the U.S. capitalists, it would be all over for them — and for rival capitalists. While no foreign army can invade the United States, “cheap commodities” can and indeed have “invaded” the U.S. home market. To an industrial capitalist, cheap commodities can be a far greater threat to “national security” than even an invasion by a foreign imperialist army.
U.S. capitalists preparing to seize Ukraine’s ‘black earth’
What has been overlooked not only by Democratic Party propagandists — no surprise here — but also by progressives is the extent to which (since the Euro-Maiden coup) Ukraine, which is incredibly rich in natural wealth, has been transformed into a U.S. semi-colony. Though almost completely ignored by the U.S. media, the pro-U.S. President Zelensky is trying to push through Ukraine’s parliament a law that will allow the free sale of land. This law is designed to allow U.S. agricultural corporations to buy up the “black earth” of Ukraine, much like German corporations did during the relatively short-lived but nightmarish occupation by Nazi Germany.
No leading Democrat, from Joe Biden and “Mayor Pete” on the right to AOC and Bernie Sanders on the ”left,” has said a word about this crime nor expressed any solidarity with the Ukrainian people now struggling against Zelensky’s law. Yet it is an elementary duty of all true progressives to express solidarity with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters against the attempts by U.S. agricultural corporate monopolies to buy for a song the “black earth” of Ukraine.
More on the Democrats’ charges against Trump
To show its “good will” to the new colonial masters of Ukraine after the 2014 Euro-Maidan coup, the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma appointed Hunter Biden to its board of directors. Now Hunter, like many people of all classes, has had personal problems in his life including a battle with drug addiction. This makes Hunter what President Donald Trump likes to call a “loser.” What seems to have happened is that bosses of Burisma — who themselves we should not forget are in possession of stolen Soviet property created by the labor of generations of Ukrainian and other Soviet workers — agreed to pay what amounts to Hunter’s allowance — about $50,000 — per month, though the exact size of the “allowance” varies according to the source. However, estimates all agree that Hunter’s allowance paid by Burisma far exceeds the size of wages earned by even the best-paid U.S. workers, not to speak of what it pays its Ukrainian workers.
The Biden family only became “card-carrying” members of the U.S. ruling class through Joseph Biden’s successful political career. Biden was elected as a Democrat senator from the “border state” of Delaware, and was a presidential candidate in his own right, and then vice-president of the United States under the administration of Democrat Barack Obama. He has now emerged as a leading candidate to replace Trump in the White House on January 20, 2021. It seems that at the very least Burisma’s agreement to pay Hunter what amounted to an allowance of around $50,000 a month through the device of making him a member of its board of directors was a gesture of goodwill by Burisma to the new imperialist overloads of Ukraine.
Was it something more? Was a “quid quo pro” involved, which would be illegal according to U.S. law? Trump apparently suspects there was — that’s how he would do things after all — and was determined to find out so he could use it against Joe Biden if he should end up as the Democratic nominee. He therefore apparently attempted to order the U.S. puppets who now rule Ukraine on behalf of U.S. imperialism to announce a public investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter. It is also possible that there was no formal quid pro quo but an informal understanding between the Burisma bosses and the Obama-Biden administration that Hunter Biden’s appointment was simply a gesture of “good will” by Burisma toward the new masters of the Ukraine.
However, Trump’s attempts to launch an investigation into the activities of the Bidens could do more than simply embarrass Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign and perhaps lead to his defeat in the 2020 election. It could endanger the puppet Zelensky government just as it attempts to push the bill that authorizes the sale of Ukrainian land to U.S. agribusiness corporations. Had Zelensky agreed to Trump’s demand, it would have exposed him as a puppet not only of the U.S. empire, which he certainly is, but also of Trump personally. This would endanger not only the Zelensky government but U.S. control of Ukraine. Continued control of Ukraine is far more important to U.S. imperialism than what representative of U.S. imperialism sits in the White House.
No wonder the U.S. foreign policy apparatus rebelled against Trump’s attempt to use Hunter Biden’s “service” on the board of directors of Burisma not to, as they see it, advance the interests of U.S. imperialism but Trump’s own political aims.
With discontent within the apparatus of the U.S. empire already fueled by what is seen as Trump’s dangerous protectionist economic policies and his threats to interfere with the operation of the Federal Reserve System, it is not surprising somebody in the CIA — or a group of people in the CIA — “blew” the whistle on Trump’s attempt to get the Ukraine puppet government to investigate the Bidens, since such an investigation could endanger the drive of the Empire to consolidate its grip on Ukraine. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party speaker of the House, who had been resisting an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, was now under pressure from the state apparatus itself to move against Trump.