Friday, February 3, 2017

"Trump will be a disaster for the US working class" - Interview with Zoltan Zigedy

On the occasion of the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency and the recent anti-Trump demonstrations throughout the United States, we asked from the US-based blogger and activist Zoltan Zigedy* to share his views. 

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Q: Generally speaking, how do you think Trump's Presidency will affect the U.S. working class?

ZZ: Thank you for inviting me to discuss these questions with you. While the views are mine, they benefit from extensive discussions with my comrades at  Marxism-Leninism Today. We believe that the election of Donald Trump reflects a multi-faceted crisis of growing inequality and insecurity, of systemic economic instability, and of the two-party electoral charade. Unfortunately, the broad US left-- a potential counterforce to the crisis-- is ideologically immature and organizationally splintered. Because of its failure, other forces have leaped in to address the crisis. We see Trump’s right-wing populism as such an attempt to offer an alternative.

In our view, the Trump phenomenon is very much akin to the radical right-wing populist parties that have emerged in Europe, where a similar bankruptcy of existing “left” parties has driven many desperate workers towards demagogues and false friends.

Trump will be a disaster for the US working class. He has surrounded himself with a cabal of counselors, advisors, and cabinet members who count as the most rapacious and anti-worker elements in the upper echelons of capitalism. The idea of a worker-friendly bourgeois billionaire and his billionaire colleagues as a savior to working people is an absurdity. The corporate leaders recently called to the White House to meet Trump have all left with a confident smile. In the short run, Trump, a master at public relations, will secure some moral points with gestures in the direction of workers, but that will fade quickly.

We are confident that Trump will fail to pull the US out of its deepening crisis.

Q: On Trump's inauguration day, as well as in the following days, we saw numerous mass demonstrations throughout the States against him. How do you evaluate this "anti-Trump movement"? Is it a temporary reaction without any class characteristics or it could possibly have further development in the future?

ZZ: The anti-Trump movement is complex and contradictory. On the one hand, it has produced demonstrations and marches unprecedented in size. It has brought many people with no previous engagement with activism into the streets. The movement has shown some resilience and sustained passion.

On the other hand, it has yet to surface any advanced positions. It has drawn mainly from the white, urban middle strata. It’s leadership has been moderate and centrist. And it has lacked working class leadership and the embrace of working class issues.

Some see the not-so-hidden hand of the Democratic Party and its enormous resources actively hijacking the anti-Trump movement.

Still others sense a whiff of Maidan and the Color Revolutions in the anti-Trump mainstream media hysteria, the activities of George Soros, and the intervention of US security services in recent politics.

Nonetheless, the mass actions offer an occasion to engage those new to or returning to activist politics. Like the earlier “anti-globalization” movement, the Occupy Movement, and other movements hostile to organization and ideology, it is up to Marxist-Leninists, our friends, and allies to liberate as much of this political development as we can from opportunism or hijacking.

Q: Do you think that the US labor movement needs a strong Communist Party and how the existence of such a vanguard party can be achieved?

ZZ: We believe that a strong, revolutionary Communist Party is vital, essential to restoring class struggle unionism to the US labor movement. The purging of Communists from the labor movement during the McCarthy period left the working class movement in the US harnessed to class collaboration, a yoke that the movement has not cast off to this day.

The absence of an authentic, revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party is felt in every arena of struggle, on every political moment. We believe that only a militant Communist Party can deliver working people from the labor misleaders and from the Scylla and Charybdis" of two party tyranny, as our Greek comrades so aptly say.  

The legacy of McCarthyism and the lure of “American Exceptionalism” have infected the left with opportunism, making the task of building a new, militant Communist Party a formidable task.

We look to create a pole of resistance to the reformist, opportunist left that vacillates on US imperialism and its wars, on class struggle unionism, on not-for-profit health care, on the two-party system, and, of course, on socialism.

At the same time, we are seeking unity-of-action with individuals and some organizations of a Marxist-Leninist orientation. While differences exist and surely will further surface in the future, we feel that practice and dialogue will determine the next steps in founding a revolutionary vanguard party in the US.

While we see this as a pre-party period, we recognize the urgency of providing our working class with a beacon for its liberation. We are optimistic that we are on that path.

* "Zoltan Zigedy" is the nom de plume of Pittsburgh-based writer Greg Godels who serves on the editorial board of Marxism-Leninism Today where many of his articles appear. You can read his personal blog here.