Letter From America: Clinton, Trump and the future


21/05/2016 by socialistfight

By Janet Estabel


Clinton Vs. Trump for the soul of America: Sawant Vs. McGinn for the soul of Bernie or the reality of Hilary. Might get Trump.

It’s not so much that I can’t think of positions to take but it actually seems questionable to want to get involved in the circus that is U.S. electoral politics. There are state-wide leftish parties who do run and have gotten some local offices, but they’re either foul, or just toothless. Including socialist Kshama Sawant on the Seattle City Council. She is in with the Democrats. I saw another interview with her several days ago, the premise of which was whether to support Sanders or not, i.e. to set up what would amount to being a pressure group within the Democratic Party. It was between her and a former Democratic mayor of Seattle, Mike McGinn, about whether to keep supporting Sanders or throw your weight behind Hillary Clinton. [1]

The ex-mayor was for backing Clinton to beat Tump. Main point Sawant was making was to keep supporting Bernie, as a way to crack the monopoly of power that the U.S. Democratic Party. This was a rationale for what she stands for as councilwoman. But a) aside from said former mayor being obviously foul, and b) Sawant was making make a good point that no, no one who was not just another capitalist candidate with a pasted on smile is a strategically smart way to take on Trump and even if she did get elected, she couldn’t and wouldn’t deliver on her so called promises, and you would just end up pushing more people Trump’s way or towards people like him…but effectively, she was still putting herself and others in the position of being a pressure group on the Democratic party. She wasn’t criticizing Sanders at all, when she should have done so.

My position? It’s your ballot for right now. There is not going to be a good side to take, and it probably will be Clinton versus Trump.

There isn’t and never has been a Labor party in the U.S. and even then, there would be questions around how it would be formed. I think it would be worth the time of a revolutionary in the U.S.to get involved if that started to happen, but to also keep their eyes and ears peeled and reserve the right to object and criticize. But, hmmm…. advocating to form a Labor party? I think that is very tricky and playing with fire…maybe, but again, in a way that raises transitional demands, and it would maybe only be a propagandistic position.

The SWP in the U.S. generally does put up a candidate for President in the U.S. every election. So do the Northites and both have done so this time. But mainly as a propaganda operation. It isn’t the time period politically in the U.S. to do anything more serious than that, but there is also the basic consideration of U.S. electoral politics being a meat grinder that would compromise any serious socialist candidate both by its nature, and because, despite Sanders’s call for a political revolution and the excitement it has generated, it remains to be seen where it will go.

Right now, it just looks like Sanders is being the misleader he essentially just is, and channelling it all into the Democratic Party, obviously rendering the Sawant’s push an idiotic one. What remains of Occupy in the U.S.? Also backed Sanders, but they have mostly gone into social welfare work. And no, “the movement isn’t everything”. They’re engaged quite often in building and helping to organize struggles within potentially promising situations while raising demands and being critical; the whole united front deal, but it remains to be seen where the momentum behind Sanders goes.

It’s not like I can take ever so right and proper political position from behind my computer and take myself remotely seriously. Pontificating from on high is how it would feel, when being a pretensions snit isn’t my thing. I’ll figure something out, but I want to keep doing my homework and think things through. So what I have a better idea of why I’m saying what I’m saying…and have it be something I won’t regret sticking my neck out for. But yes, if you wanted a concrete position, you have one.

Of course we need a more cogent letter about trump, the U.S. political system, the historical precedents to Trump, but what is supposedly so shocking to everyone worldwide or to a lot of Americans as far as his racism, xenophobia, sexism. This is just inimical to propping up imperialism both in manufacturing consent to it in the U.S. or in any Western imperialist country, or it being part of the structure that keeps neo colonial countries in their place, and bolsters the economic machinery of global capitalism.

What Trump expresses is an element of imperialism in any U.S. politics that render Tump nothing new, only existing in the context of the present moment of history.

This situation can have a potentially revolutionary impulse but like anything else, we would need actively to intervened in it, and on that we hope would help to decide where it went.▲



[1] Bernie or Bust? Kshama Sawant Debates Former Mayor Mike McGinn.



On Optimism and Pessimism, On the 20th Century and on Many Other Issues



Leon Trotsky – police mug shot in 1900 at  20


Dum spiro spero! [While there is life, there’s hope!]… If I were one of the celestial bodies, I would look with complete detachment upon this miserable ball of dust and dirt… I would shine upon the good and the evil alike…

But I am a man. World history which to you, dispassionate gobbler of science, to you, book-keeper of eternity, seems only a negligible moment in the balance of time, is to me everything! As long as I breathe, I shall fight for the future, that radiant future in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizon of beauty, joy, and happiness!…

The nineteenth century has in many ways satisfied and has in even more ways deceived the hopes of the optimist… It has compelled him to transfer most of his hopes to twentieth century. Whenever the optimist was confronted by an atrocious fact, he exclaimed: “What, and this can happen on the threshold of the twentieth century!” When he drew wonderful pictured of the harmonious future, he placed them in the twentieth century.

And now that century has come! What has it brought with it from the outset?

In France – the poisonous foam of racial hatred [1]; in Austria – nationalist strife…; in South Africa – the agony of a tiny people, which is being murdered by a colossus [2]; on the ‘free’ island itself – triumphant hymns to the victorious greed of jingoist jobbers; dramatic ‘complications’ in the east; rebellions of starving popular masses in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania… Hatred and murder, famine and blood…

It seems as if the new century, this gigantic newcomer, were bent at the very moment of its appearance to drive the optimist into absolute pessimism and civic nirvana.

– Death to Utopia! Death to faith! Death to love! Death to hope! thunders the twentieth century in salvos of fire and in the rumbling of guns.

– Surrender, you pathetic dreamer. Here I am, your long awaited twentieth century, your ‘future.’

– No, replies the unhumbled optimist: You, you are only the present.

(Leon Trotsky, 1901, at 22 years of age)


[1] The Dreyfus Affair.

[2] The Boer War



3 thoughts on “Letter From America: Clinton, Trump and the future

  1. […] Sorgente: Letter From America: Clinton, Trump and the future […]


  2. The electoral situation confronting American voters is analogous to that confronting the British with Brexit: two unsavory alternatives. Elections usually call for a different tactic than referendums, where abstention is the default for communists. But the U.S. election is based on semi-statized capitalist political parties – and no intermediate-term road to a mass party. The answer is an active boycott of the presidential election. American voters should take a European cue: Spoil your Ballots. Deprive either candidate of a moral mandate! The various tendencies can propgandize their differing analyses while standing together against both capitalist parties.

    An undiscussed obstacle to fighting for political independence through supporting the candidates of one of the sects is the unprincipled character of supporting a candidate unless you think that candidate’s victory would advance the class struggle. I can’t say this for the candidates proposed by the sects.


  3. Ian says:

    I think what Stephen says here makes a lot of sense.


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