“The dominant party of a bourgeois democracy only give up the defence of the minority to another bourgeois party, while the proletariat, in any serius, deep and fundamental struggle, instead of “defence of the minority” at most, gets states of war or pogroms. The more developed democracy is, the closer it gets to the pogrom or civil war in any dangerous political divergence for the bourgeoisie… this “law” of bourgeois democracy could be noticed in the Dreyfus case in republican France, in the lynching of blacks and internationalists in the democratic Republic of the United States, in the example of Ireland and Ulster in democratic England, in the persecution of the Bolsheviks and the organization of pogroms against them in April 1917 in the democratic Republic of Russia”
Translated by Carolina Ferresini exclusively for Izquierdaweb
There’s no doubt any longer: what is happening in United States is not a sporadic explosion, it is not a momentary rage for a single murder, it is not something casual and not lasting. The black smoke from the burned police station in Minneapolis was like the vapors prior to the volcanic eruption, the anticipation that a huge explosion was brewing from the deepest bowels of the earth. The rebellion is born and grows from the deepest roots of USA capitalist social relations. Its consequences will necessarily be long-lasting and will call in question the very bases of the United States. That is, that exploiters and oppressors look with self-sufficiency at the events, calm because this has never happened before. The conviction that the volcano had never erupted before, did not save the inhabitants of Pompeii.
The persistence of the protest and the radicalization of their methods, even under threat of militarization, already clearly tell us that the rebellion is here to stay. Even in the case that the tension in the streets temporarily go down at some point due to the lack of clear perspectives. Such a possibility would serve to reflect on what happened and what was needed, it works like the receding tide before making way for an immense wave. All rebellions need to go through that moment.
The fighting masses have already lay on the table that they do not want to keep enduring a life dragged day by day in the mud of oppression, police brutality, exploitation, mistreatment, poverty and daily suffering. Necessarily, like their rebel peers in the rest of the world, they collided with the political regime, with the repressive forces, with the state apparatus, with all the channels of institutional containment of the popular will that are well oiled mechanisms in the United States.
However, the “democratic” palisade of containment was overwhelmed by the immense tide of the protesters. The «left» wing of the regime, the Democrats, timidly try to become representatives of the demands of the masses to take them out of the streets and redirect them to the electoral maze. They have failed, making Obama and Biden less more than impotent commentators of the events. In this moment there is a «balance» situation in which the institutions have not been completely overcome by the protests but, at the same time, they are unable to contain the state of affairs. The protesters’ clash with the institutions of «democracy» is more concrete and «physical» when it comes to the police.
As we said before, in the case of a power whose tentacles reach every corner of the planet, the rebellion in the United States and its triumph concerns the masses around the world. The internal stability of the American capitalist «democracy», the «consensus» of its dominance for two and a half centuries, have been fundamental to USA settlement as the first world power. The internal democratic facade was essential to establish itself as the dictator of the planet. When the myth of the «American dream» is still upheld, even though daily life says, day after day, that it is not true, the massive consensus with the political system makes internal exploitation and oppression, as well as external domination, immensely stable. It is a certain possibility that the stability of that important pillar in the domination of the American bourgeoisie has been shaken at its very foundations, even if it is not yet defeated.
But the claims expressed by the movilitatios in the streets do not fall within the parameters of what is acceptable by American capitalist democracy. The fiction of «deciding» has become evident as such these days: the structural racism of the United States is not over and to be seriously questioned it is necessary to blow up its retaining walls. If the experiences of every day seem loose facts disconnected from each other, the explosion of the rebellion showed that it is an eminently political and widespread problem. Not even after 8 years in office as a black president was the political regime able to end racism. Capitalist democracy is malleable, but it cannot and does not want to touch or move the social relations of oppression that are a necessary part of its own domination. At the most it can «pretend», as was the case with Obama: eight years of «as if» there was no racism.
The case of the claims of the reactionary white middle classes that served as Trump’s social base is different: although their economic needs and their decline were not resolved, their claim to outrage and humiliate those who see themselves as their natural servants and inferiors was widely contained and moderately satisfied. A swath of the capitalist class could make use of that to impose their orientation on the country, a wilder and clearer way of capitalist exploitation and oppression.
Racism is structural to North American capitalism, the demand to end it necessarily breaks with its social bases. That is why the anti-racist fight had to overflow the limits to be able to really impose its agenda beyond electoral promises that nobody keeps and nobody takes seriously.
The capitalist democracy of the United States is one of the longest-lived in the world, one of the democracies that is most deeply rooted in the mass political traditions. No one thinks about overcoming it and any claim that overcomes it is seen as «impossible»: a week ago, people mobilizing on the streets made it clear that the impossible has become necessary. And what is necessary, then, needs to go beyond the institutions that drown it.
For the oppressed black masses, capitalist democracy has had only bullets to offer, for the fascist bands of white supremacists, support and protection.
Thus, Lenin’s description of the operation of capitalist democracy in 1918 in the quotation that heads this article proves to have a brilliant validity: the opposition, the debate, the dissent is only acceptable in terms of what the bourgeoisie wants and is ready to accept. Rebellion needs to hack down those terms.
This is far from being an easy task. The «democratic» political tradition in the United States is so ingrained that it could even contain within it a movement with fascist features that had not been seen for a long time. The ultra-reactionary white middle-class gangs had Trump’s satisfaction of their demands without the need to remove the election circus and basic democratic rights. Unlike fascism itself, these gangs did not have before them any organized mass movement to crush, but rather millions of disappointed and dispersed by the eight years of Obama’s Democratic administration. In turn, the million tricks of the institutions to prevent this discontent from being expressed in another way worked very efficiently.
The situation opened with the outbreak of the masses in Minneapolis put Donald Trump in the eyes of the whole world. It was a government that was strong until the outbreak of the pandemic and the rebellion makes it tremble for everything it represents: it is the most reactionary and blatantly racist president that has been in a long time. He in himself represents a brutal regression to the most violent forms of white domination with the support of the feces of racist supremacism that came out of the sewers with his arrival to the presidency.
The urgent need to overcome what is allowed by the institutional framework, in addition to the fact that it is headed by a shameless representative of everything fought by the rebellious suffering masses, imposes that the agenda revolves around the fact that Trump must fall.
Such an event would first result in forcing the host of backwardness and oppression to return to their caves. But, more importantly, it would partially sweep the limits imposed by the political regime on the claims of the mobilized people.
It would also be an immense experience, a shock of conscience and prospects for millions and millions, even those who are still skeptical in their homes today: to achieve the popular goals, it is not necessary to appeal to any Democratic official, and to do so is nothing more than a maze without departure.
For the masses of other countries, the fall of Donald Trump would mean a wave of hope for the transformation of the world as has not been seen for a long time. The limits of «what is possible» could begin to be broken in all corners. Symbolically, hundreds and billions of humans could see face to face that the limits imposed by the political regimes of their countries are not insurmountable. If the American government can fall, there is nothing in this world that is not temporary!
Materially, that immense power that is North American imperialism would widely lose its margin of action in the world, paralyzed by the fall of its own head.
Capitalist democracy is flexible and would quickly put its containment mechanisms into operation, making Trump a scapegoat to save the entire system. But there is no doubt about two things: 1. All its officials would be greatly weakened and 2. The masses would have had an immense experience with this «democracy».
In short, the fall of Donald Trump could open the doors to a new world, in which the masses from all corners of the planet will be able to know from their own experience, present, palpable, at hand, that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that they cannot achieve.