The inauguration of Donald Trump: An event that will live in infamy
Socialist Equality Party, WSWS, Jan 20 2017
The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th POTUS is among the most ignominious events in the history of Pinpostan. More than $100m is being spent on the celebrations of the new president’s installation. In vain! No amount of money can dispel the nauseating stink that pervades every aspect of this inauguration. Nor can the fraudulent orchestration of public festivities conceal the widespread sense that the country, with the installation of the new administration, has embarked on a path that will lead to a disaster of unimaginable dimensions. History has caught up with Pindosi capitalism. The protracted process of economic and social decay has been covered over for decades with democratic phrases that served to disguise the gap between the official political myths and the underlying reality, but the mask has now come off. Donald Trump personifies the corruption, ruthlessness, parasitism and essentially fascistic mindset of the capitalist oligarchs who control Pindostan. Trump will lead a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Joining the billionaires in Trump’s cabinet and White House staff are retired generals, tapped for the key national security positions, and ultra-right ideologues appointed to oversee programs and social services that they have devoted their political efforts to destroying. Working people will pay for huge tax cuts for the super-rich and a massive military build-up, through the gutting of social programs like public education, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, savage exploitation on the job, and the erosion of whatever remains of basic democratic rights. Internationally, Trump’s “Pindostan First” chauvinism sets the stage for escalating economic and geopolitical conflicts. The last quarter-century of war, beginning with the invasion of Iraq in 1991 and continued with the unending GWOT, will prove to have been only a prelude to even bloodier military operations. Even before taking office, Trump has made it clear that Pindostan views even its long-standing European vassals as competitors who, to the extent that they get in the way of Pindosi interests, will be dealt with as enemies.
Within the ruling elite there are sharp divisions over tactics, reflected in the unprecedented political conflicts that have erupted after the elections. However, the attacks on Trump from top Democrats and Republicans are centered not over the ultra-right policy he is pledged to carry out, but rather over the direction of Pindosi war planning. The factions of the corporate elite and military-intelligence apparatus that backed Clinton want to ensure that there is no retreat from the aggressive posture towards Russia, while Trump has directed his rhetorical attacks, for now, against China and most recently, Germany. However bitter the disputes, all sections of the ruling class are united in their conviction that Pindosi imperialism must pursue its global interests even at the risk of war, and that the attack on the social interests and political rights of the working class must be intensified. That Trump speaks and tweets not only for himself but on behalf of the ruling class is proven by the fact that his cabinet selections of billionaires and generals are sailing through the Senate confirmation proceedings with negligible opposition. As for Obama, he devoted his final press conference Wednesday to vouching for the political legitimacy of the incoming president, declaring:
It is appropriate for him to go forward with his visions and his values.
With the accession of Trump, the ruling class anticipates the revival of a mythic Pindosi past, a land where the capitalist oligarchy is free to exploit the population and pollute the environment to its heart’s content; where the working class is deprived of any significant social rights, including the right to public education, medical care and retirement security; where police can maim and kill with no questions asked; where corporations can underpay workers, fire them at will and even use child labor; and where the basest prejudices are cynically encouraged and essential democratic rights are trampled upon. But this nightmarish and dystopian vision of a capitalist hell cannot be realized without the unleashing of social conflict on a scale that will dwarf the great industrial struggles of the 1930s. The coming political and social shocks will jolt the Pindostani working class into action. Skeptics who are to be found in abundance among university academics, and in the anti-Marxist pseudo-left political organizations of the affluent middle class, dismiss the very possibility of mass working-class struggle. Those who reject all efforts to politically educate the working class point to the absence of mass revolutionary consciousness. However, their skepticism expresses their own ignorance of and indifference to the historical processes that lay the foundations for revolutionary eruptions. As Leon Trotsky, the greatest strategist of revolutionary class struggle of the last century, wrote:
The swift changes of mass views and moods in an epoch of revolution thus derive, not from the flexibility and mobility of man’s mind, but just the opposite, from its deep conservatism. The chronic lag of ideas and relations behind new objective conditions, right up to the moment when the latter crash over people in the form of a catastrophe, is what creates in a period of revolution that leaping movement of ideas and passions which seems to the police mind a mere result of the activities of “demagogues.”
For all the bombast and braggadocio of Donald Trump, his administration is in the final analysis the product of the desperate crisis that afflicts Pindosi capitalism. Its reckless policies will set into motion forces both within Pindostan and internationally that it cannot control… (There follows the usual party recruiting call – RB)
Massive police mobilization on eve of Trump’s inauguration
Shelley Connor, WSWS, Jan 20 2017
There is no “specific, credible threat” expected at Donald Trump’s inauguration exercises in Washington this Friday, said Jeh Johnson, outgoing Sec of DHS. Nevertheless, extraordinary security measures will be taken in response to protests. An estimated 28,000 representatives of the Pindo security apparatus, from the Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), FBI, Park Police, Capitol Police, Coast Guard and municipal police, are coordinating operations in order to control and monitor onlookers, according to Johnson. The total cost of this police mobilization is estimated at $100m. Security personnel expect about 900,000 people to gather in Washington on Friday. This is typical of inauguration ceremonies. Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony in 2009 attracted around 1.8 million. Several protest actions have been planned; however, the largest of which, the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, is expected to attract 400,000 to 500,000 participants. Chris Geldart, the director of DHS for Washington DC, has said that his team is preparing for several other smaller protest actions throughout the city. These numbers eclipse demonstrations at any inauguration since the Vietnam War era. In response, the coordination of all layers of security have divided the city into a series of “hard” and “soft” perimeters. Police began shutting down entire roads leading into downtown Washington on Thursday afternoon. Dump trucks, cement trucks and other heavy equipment have been employed to block pedestrian access to the heart of the city. More than 100 square city blocks, equal to roughly to 2.7 square miles, will be closed. Those with tickets to the inaugural ceremony will be required to pass through one of six security checkpoints surrounding the National Mall and the Reflecting Pool, where the most stringent security measures have been taken. Officials have published a list of 40 items, among them drums, whistles, umbrellas, signs, and selfie sticks, that are prohibited in the area. Washington’s largest hospitals have been put on high alert as well.
Johnson has said that disruptive actions have been anticipated and planned for. One protest group, #DisruptJ20, has called for a “bold mobilization against the inauguration of Donald Trump.” The group has been granted permits for a number of small protests, but has also alluded to other “actions.” Lacy MacAuley, a spokesperson for #DisruptJ20, stated, “We intend basically to set the tone of resistance here for the coming years.” In response, says Johnson, “special precautions” would be taken by law enforcement. “We are going to have a lot of resources. We’ve got pretty sophisticated ways to monitor groups and keep tabs on groups and make sure things don’t get out of hand,” he boasted. He stated that law enforcement has been using social media surveillance to keep abreast of planned actions by both protesters and pro-Trump demonstrators. In another statement, although Johnson admitted that there existed no “specific, credible threat,” he stated that the DHS is concerned about “lone wolf, self-radicalized” attackers. He cited the killing of 86 people in Nice, France, when a truck driver ploughed through a crowd gathered for Bastille Day in June of last year. Trump has brayed loudly about the great crowds he expects to turn out for his inauguration. He praised Bikers for Trump, an assorted group of motorcycle-riding Trump supporters that has vowed to patrol the nation’s capital and prevent protests. The group functioned as a vigilante security force for Trump at various rallies during Trump’s campaign. The heightened state of alert amongst the nation’s security apparatus, as well as the number of demonstrators, points to both the growing disaffection of Americans with the electoral process and to the mobilization of police and paramilitary forces in response to that disaffection. The gears of the security apparatus had been well oiled by both Bush 43 and Obama. The response of the ruling class to growing social inequality and discontent is the ever-greater expansion of police powers. The security measures put into place to protect the inauguration will not simply dissolve on Saturday. They will become increasingly focused and determined, and increasingly equipped to shut down any ongoing demonstration of citizens’ dissatisfaction. Said Geldart:
We’re basically not going to stand anything down after the inauguration. We’re leaving that stuff in place.
Finally, an edited version of another editorial
Joint Russian-Turkish bombing campaign in Syria deepens NATO crisis
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Jan 20 2017
The launching of coordinated air strikes by Russian and Turkish warplanes against Daesh targets in northern Syria Wednesday has further exposed the crisis gripping Faschingstein’s intervention in Syria, as well as the deepening contradictions plaguing the NATO alliance on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration. The bombing campaign struck targets around the Syrian town of al-Bab, the scene of bloody fighting between Turkish troops and Daesh over the past several weeks. From a political standpoint, the joint action by Russia and Turkey is unprecedented. It stands in stark contradiction to the anti-Moscow campaign being waged by Faschingstein and its principal NATO vassals, which has seen the cutting off of military-to-military ties, the imposition of sanctions, and the increasingly provocative deployment of thousands of Pindo and other NATO troops on Russia’s western borders. Just last week, Pindostan sent 3,000 soldiers into Poland, backed by tanks and artillery, while hundreds more Pindosi Marines have been dispatched to Norway. Lt-Gen Sergei Rudoskoy of the Russian Defense Ministry said:
The joint air attack was carried out under the terms of an agreement reached between the Russian and Turkish militaries on Jan 12, designed to prevent incidents as well as to prepare joint operations … in Syria to destroy international terrorist groups.
At the end of last year, Turkey joined with Russia in brokering a withdrawal of the last “rebels” from Aleppo and a nationwide ceasefire, which continues to prevail in much of the country. Faschingstein was pointedly excluded from the negotiations surrounding both Aleppo and the ceasefire. Only at the last moment has Moscow invited the incoming Trump administration, Despite Iran’s objections, to participate in talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, next week. This crowded and geostrategically tense battlefield is likely to grow even more dangerous following Trump’s ascension to the White House. Trump has reportedly called for the Pentagon to come up with proposals to deal a decisive defeat to ISIS in Syria and Iraq within 90 days. JCoS Dunford said on Wednesday that he would “present options to accelerate the campaign” against ISIS to ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, Trump’s incoming Sec Def. Citing unnamed Pentagon boxtops, CNN reports:
The Pentagon is prepared to provide the new administration with military options to accelerate the war against Daesh in Syria that could send additional Pindosi troops into direct combat. One option would put hundreds if not thousands of additional Pindosi troops into a combat role as part of the fight to take Raqqa. … In the coming months, the Pentagon could put several brigade-sized combat teams on the ground, each team perhaps as many as 4,000 troops.
Plans are also reportedly being drawn up to escalate military provocations against Iran, which Mattis, in testimony before the Senate, described as the “biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East.” He said the Trump administration must “checkmate Iran’s goal for regional hegemony.” There is every indication, despite Trump’s rhetoric about improving relations with Moscow, that Pindo imperialism is preparing for another eruption of militarism in the Middle East that will pose an ever greater threat of spilling over into a new world war.