Saturday 5 August 2017
Trump & the Arrogance Of The 1%
People are fed up with the politicians who are running this country. Recent polls show that 58% disapprove of Trump and 81% disapprove of Congress. The figures are probably higher since most people are never polled. People are correct to mistrust and criticize the politicians. Trump continually makes openly racist, sexist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim comments. He runs the government like it is his private business or his reality TV show, where he can do whatever he wants to. But the problem isn’t simply Trump and his arrogance and bad behavior. He represents the corporate bosses and bankers who control the wealth of our society and who use the government to serve their interests. They buy the politicians and use these politicians to do their bidding.
The Republican administration is proposing the largest military budget in history, giving billions to weapons producers and military contractors to wage war on the people of the world. They plan to cut taxes for the corporations and the wealthy and pay for these cuts with massive cuts to social programs, eliminating healthcare for over 20 million people, cutting funding for: food stamps, disability assistance, student loans, and women’s health care. Trump’s executive orders have given the oil companies the green light for their pipelines and to drill in national parks, and expand their operations in the Arctic and the oceans. This will increase pollution and accelerate climate change that threatens our survival. More executive orders and proposed legislation aim at eliminating workers’ rights, deporting undocumented immigrants and preventing refugees from coming to the U.S.
And if the existing laws, regulations or rulings interfere with their profits – these politicians, bosses and bankers break their own laws, ignore regulations, and defy their courts. They usually do this behind the scenes. But Trump represents capitalist arrogance out in the open.
Under the Obama administration and the Democrats we had more civility. But in fact they too carried out the agenda of the corporations and banks, while attacking the standard of living and quality of life of ordinary people. They waged wars, deported millions of undocumented immigrants, and allowed attacks on our civil and labor rights and women’s healthcare. Since the Trump election, all the Democrats do is whine about Trump and focus on Russian meddling in U.S. politics as if this was our biggest problem. Their preoccupation is how to win in the 2018 and 2020 elections. But changing the politicians and focusing on elections will not stop these attacks.
History shows that ordinary people won major gains when we organized in our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and in the streets. It is how workers won labor rights and unions, social security and unemployment insurance in the 1930s. This is how African Americans won civil rights in the 1960s. This is how anti-war protestors, and activists in the military helped end the war on Vietnam. This is how women and gay people won rights.
It is this kind of fight that is needed today. A few large mobilizations are not enough. It means making a fight that the 1% can’t ignore. We are the 99%, the majority. We make the whole society run, produce all the goods and provide all the services. We can also make it stop.
It is time we organized new struggles, using the considerable power that we have. We can stop the attacks and fight for what we need if we depend on ourselves and organize to use our power.
Politicians Threaten Our Health and Our Lives
The headlines have been full of discussion about the Affordable Care act known as “Obamacare”. Will the U.S. Congress led by the Republicans repeal it and replace it with something much worse for ordinary people? Will they do what Trump suggests and simply repeal the Affordable Care Act and remove even the small amount of protections and benefits it gives people? To even ask these questions is to accept a system in which politicians are allowed to threaten our lives for their own political purposes. The real question to ask is – why aren’t we guaranteed the medical care we need? No one should be thrown out in the cold or forced into debt to pay for their family’s health.
The Republican health care bill would certainly be a major attack against working class people. Some 22 million Americans would lose their health coverage within ten years if the bill were to be passed. No wonder they have been debating it behind closed doors. Only Republican congressmen are allowed to see the details so far. What we know about the bill is what they have chosen to release and what has been leaked to the press. Who hides what they are doing unless they are up to no good?
The fact that Republican congressmen would repeal 22 million people’s health care is made even more outrageous by the fact that these same congressmen have full and unrestricted health care plans. As members of congress they are taken care of and the American working class foots the bill through our tax dollars.
Not only would 22 million people immediately lose their health care as a result of the Republican plan, the bill also includes a 25% cut to Medicaid over ten years. These cuts directly impact children, retired people, the elderly, and disabled people who rely on those programs for health care. This would just eliminate access to health care for the most vulnerable.
What is the republican response to these questions? Smoke and mirrors. They say that all the cuts will be made up for on the state level with special programs and savings from the canceled Affordable Care Act institutions. This is nonsense! Look around at the state governments! They are cutting budgets left and right, imposing the same sort of attacks at the state level that the Republican congress is launching on the Federal level. These lying politicians are playing three card monte – Now you see the money, now you don’t!
While the Republicans play their deadly game with our healthcare, let’s not forget how the Democrats brought us to this place. It is true that every year, and sometimes every month, the premiums are going up for patients who receive health care through the Affordable Care Act. It is true that the most affordable health care is very minimal and only offers the most basic protection. It is also true that people who can’t afford even that basic healthcare are penalized at tax time. These are results of the Democrats’ agenda when they wrote the Affordable Healthcare Act – to enrich the health insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and all the other healthcare profiteers. The system is broken and the big healthcare companies are the problem. The Republicans only want to deepen this problem. There is no reason for any person not to have health care. The resources of the world are such that everybody could be guaranteed health care as well as the other necessities of life. The ones who stand in the way are the wealthy corporations and banks and their servants – the politicians. Their politicians threaten our lives with their policies and the result is misery and suffering. It’s time to say NO to the politicians and demand the world we want starting with free universal health care!
The Only Ones Who Should Be Deported Are The 1%
Trump’s administration has made attacks on immigrants central to his presidency. Whether it is the increase in Homeland Security funding, more ICE raids, detentions and deportations or the threat to build a billion dollar border wall with Mexico or the prevention of immigrants from six Muslim countries from entering the US – blaming immigrants is a major political focus of Trump’s policies. But we need to remember that the Obama administration laid the groundwork for Trump by deporting more immigrants than any other president. The only difference between the two administrations is that the Obama administration was a little more selective about who they deported and didn’t boast about attacking people who were forced from their homes and came here to try to make a life for themselves.
How hypocritical of Trump to say that people who came here without legal sanction don’t have a right to be here. The U.S. bosses have always hired workers without papers to work in their factories, farms and other workplaces and to take care of their families. They exploit these workers at the lowest possible wage and under the worst conditions.
Big companies have moved their factories to other countries where they could pay lower wages, prevent unionization and treat workers like slaves. These are the same bosses who rely on the US government to install bloody dictatorships and cause civil wars to defend their right to steal natural resources and dominate other economies. Also, many farmers were pushed from their lands when agribusiness dumped their cheap subsidized produce on the market, selling at prices below the cost of production. It is these conditions that have driven workers to seek refuge in the US.
This is a country of recent immigrants, with the exception of Native Americans. But throughout US history, the 1% has used a divide and conquer strategy to turn poor farmers and workers against each other, attempting to prevent us from making a unified fight against our real enemy – the bosses and bankers. The most continuous divide and conquer strategy is racism. Immigrants from Europe were told that Native Americans stood in the way of them owning their own little farms. This led to a genocidal slaughter of the people who were living here. White workers have been told that they were better off and have a privilege to defend against African Americans. The result of this strategy has been the violent and degrading treatment of Black people and other minorities. It has served to help the bosses drive down wages and impose worse working conditions on everyone.
We cannot believe Trump’s lies that immigrants are taking our jobs or are responsible for more crime than those who are born here. This is said to frighten us and to get those of us who have a legal status to go along with or ignore the attacks on those without documentation.
While Trump’s outrageous behavior distracts us, the politicians are preparing to cut the taxes of the rich and the corporations, remove controls over the banks and corporations, reopen pipelines, cut social programs and privatize schools.
The Trump administration has made it very clear – there are two sides. The bosses are on one side, and the rest of us whether documented or undocumented, of all genders, and ethnicities, are on the other. The attack on immigrant workers is an attack on all poor and working people. We need to make it clear that An injury to one is an injury to all. We must stand with and defend immigrant workers against the rich who exploit us all.