Donald Trump once remarked that he wouldn’t want a poor person in his cabinet. This fact would make it even more unpleasant for Trump if the country’s poor and working people manage to force through the creation of their own sovereign state.
Capitalism entails the perpetual existence of a class war, one where the poor need to defend themselves from the constant attacks of the rich. There’s no hope for coexistence between the classes under capitalism, because its nature means that the employer class will always vie for more power. This has never been more apparent than now; as eight men have the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, the global poor are getting poorer the more that inequality increases. And this concentration of wealth is linked with modern imperialism. As Professor Peter Phillips has written about the 21st century’s corporate oligarchy: “Regime changes in Iraq and Libya, Syria’s war, Venezuela’s crisis, sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Russia, and North Korea are all reflections of a new global imperialism imposed by a core of capitalist nations in support of trillions of dollars of concentrated investment wealth. This new world order of mass capital has become a totalitarian empire of inequality and repression.”
When the rich have seized the means of state power, the only path to a fair society is to give the same power to the poor. No ruling class surrenders their power willingly, and attempts to compromise with the capitalists will always result in them bargaining their way into a continuation of their rule. The system needs to change at its very roots, and doing this will take a repeat of what past revolutionary socialists have done.
Our time increasingly mirrors the events that led to the Russian Revolution. America’s corporate-controlled government is not interested in appeasing the people through reforms. It’s acting instead like Russia’s Tsarist autocracy did before the old regime was overthrown by a furious citizenry. Trump and his cabinet of billionaires are giving themselves even lower taxes while raisingtaxes on the middle class, deregulating the banks when the financial system is already heading towards collapse, and taking away Americans’ food stamps, health insurance, and social security. Like the tsars who plunged their people into misery during Russia’s imperialist war with Japan in 1904, war is the main thing that our leaders invest in; Trump now plans to raise the military budget to an unprecedented $750 billion as America’s drone strikes have soared throughout the last two years, and as the U.S. escalates with Iran, Russia, China, and Venezuela.
In America and abroad, popular discontent with global capitalism is starting to spill over. In the last year or so, worker rebellions like the teacher strikes have been appearing throughout five continents, and the Yellow Vest protests have been uniting lower class people in France, Britain, Ireland, Russia, and many other countries. It’s only a matter of time before mass unrest breaks out in the U.S, and that will be when we’ll have an opening for systemic disruption.
The crucial steps will be to attach a specifically anti-capitalist agenda to whatever protest movement happens in America. Socialists and communists will need to become intensely vocal, and organizations like the Socialist Equality Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation will need to serve as the representatives of what the people are demanding. The goal of these strains should be to depose the country’s current leaders, and to set up an independent citizens commission that creates a new democratic workers state.
This is necessary because America as we know it is incompatible with the goal of a just society. Right-wing leaders like Trump only have power in America because our politics are authoritarian by design. Surveys show Americans don’t want to let people die from lack of food, shelter and health care, keep the minimum wage at a slave level, or separate families at the border for fleeing dire conditions. But because of the outsize power that gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and money in politics give to society’s most privileged groups, their minority opinion has usually defined where the country has gone. The solution is to create a new constitution that’s centered around the needs of the poor and marginalized, and that makes no room for the selfish wishes of the capitalist class.
Marx and Engels wrote that “The first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.” If Americans accomplish this, their next goal will be to bring socialism to its logical conclusion by establishing communism-a system where class, state, and private property are abolished, and where people can therefore live freely and equally. All of this can happen if we put in the work towards it now.