Tasks of the Progressive Movement for 2024

In Case Trump Wins

January 6, 2021 was the dress rehearsal. The working class must prepare now for a possible Trump fascist coup
January 6, 2021 was the dress rehearsal. The working class must prepare now for a possible Trump fascist coup.

By David Sole

Concerns are widespread with what Donald Trump may do if he is elected president in November 2024. People are rightly worried about Trump’s fascist tendencies and the storm troopers who support him. He and his co-thinkers are quite open about how they intend to rapidly transform the country should he defeat Biden.

Trump has even said he would “be a dictator on day one” of his presidency. Teams are  reportedly scouring Federal laws and regulations to determine what steps he could immediately take to take firmer control of the government. Pro-Trump think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation are creating “Project 2025” which Wikipedia says  “envisions widespread changes across the entire government, particularly with regard to economic and social policy and the role of the federal government and federal agencies. The plan proposes slashing U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) funding, dismantling the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and eliminating the cabinet departments of education and commerce. Citing an anonymous source, The Washington Post reported Project 2025 includes immediately invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement and directing the DOJ to pursue Trump adversaries.”

Trump has made no secret of his desire to purge the military of officers who might refuse to follow unconstitutional or autocratic steps he might take. A favorite target of Trump and the ultra-rightwing has been former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Trump called for Milley to be tried and executed for “treason.” It is well known that Milley actively opposed Trump’s attempted coup culminating in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.

Trump has called for a mass round up of undocumented workers and placing them in concentration camps for deportation.

He is also open about purging the civil service to stack it with “loyalists.” Of special interest to Trump is filling the Justice Department with people who have no concern for “democratic” values. He also has voiced his plans to go after media outlets, such as MSNBC, which constantly criticize him and his policies.

Progressive lawyers and voters are demanding that Trump be barred from running under Amendment 14 of the U.S. Constitution. Section 3 prevents any officer who made an oath to protect the Constitution and subsequently “engaged in  insurrection” from holding office. On December 19 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump is disqualified and his name cannot appear on the ballot in the state’s March 5, 2024 Republican Party primary. Courts in some  states, however, have dismissed such lawsuits while other states’ courts are still adjudicating the issue. It is inevitable that the Colorado ruling will go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the recent historic UAW strike, Trump announced at a rally held at a non-union plant his total hatred of unions and union leaders. Along with organizing drives going on across the country, particularly in the “right to work for less” South, every local, regional and national union can and should pass resolutions supporting the movement to disqualify Trump from the ballot.

Liberal Capitalists Cannot Be Depended Upon to Stop Trump

The majority of the capitalist ruling class in the United States is quite aware of the danger that Trump poses to the “democratic system” of government. It has been exposed in many news media, including the New York Times.  A special issue of The Atlantic magazine “Warns of the Consequences If Trump Wins a Second Term.” It features a variety of authors “on how a second term could shatter norms with the courts, education, the military, foreign policy, immigration, abortion rights, science, gender.”

This faction of the ruling class is quite satisfied to rule under the present system where the majority of the population believes they can change things through the electoral system. Marxists call this “bourgeois democracy” because it appears to be democratic while the billionaire class actually has virtual dictatorial control. It allows endless profits to flow to the Wall Street banks and corporations without the expense and difficulties of maintaining a military dictatorship.

Trump and the current Republican Party serve a useful purpose to the capitalists by promoting racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant, anti-disabled ideology that keeps the exploited working class weak and divided. While a second Trump victory is not to their liking, the billionaire class is having trouble curbing Trump’s excesses.

To stop Trump they are using two tactics. First is the filing 91 felony charges against the former president in four different jurisdictions. The capitalist class hopes to either jail Trump or to erode his support so that he loses the 2024 election. The second tactic is to try to mobilize the Democratic Party base to defeat Trump at the polls next November.

Both tactics have problems. The court cases are subject to endless delays. Some of the judges are eager to proceed but are beset by motions and appeals. One judge, Aileen Cannon in Florida, is a Trump appointee overseeing his classified documents case. She is openly working to delay these proceedings until after the 2024 elections. Then there is the reactionary majority in the Supreme Court – no friend of poor and working people.

Mobilizing the Democratic base to come out for Biden is coming up against several factors including the growing opposition to the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine and Biden’s support for Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people. There is also anger against the Democrats for not fighting vigorously against voter suppression.

Some on the left will undoubtedly fall in line and back Biden. This “lesser evil” position has been followed for decades and has ensured that no independent action has been developed by the working class and oppressed people. It also further divides the progressive forces since many will not be comfortable “holding their noses” while promoting Biden. The working class certainly will learn nothing from such a position nor will it develop any independent initiative. Not to mention that Biden very well may lose.

It would also be a grave mistake for progressive and revolutionary forces in the U.S. to stand by and ignore the very real danger posed by Trump, especially since he has already announced his fascist plans. What, then, can be done independent from just watching the court cases unfold or giving support to the other imperialist capitalist party?

Organize Now for a Working Class Resistance to Fascism

Starting now progressive forces should begin building support among trade unionists and the many millions of unorganized workers for a general strike to confront any widespread suppression of peoples’ rights by a Trump presidency. The starting point should be to contact the unions and central labor councils who, in 2020, threatened a general strike if Trump tried to carry out a coup to stay in office.

The idea of a political general strike got much media attention at that time, although the national unions refused to support this tactic. Today the concept should be promoted and popularized to carefully explain just what a general strike would look like and what ought to trigger such action. If the national labor leadership still refuses to address this issue, there is time now to pull together a broad coalition of local, regional and state union bodies to coordinate this effort. A national conference should be convened in the months leading up to November 2024 to pull these forces together. Such a conference ought to include civil rights and other community organizations whose support would be critical to such an eventual confrontation with Trump fascism.

A second area of focus should be to direct an appeal to U.S. military personnel, especially rank and file soldiers, to be prepared to refuse illegal orders. Such propaganda needs to be clear and persuasive. It should start going out now to the troops. We should recall that during the 1960’s some troops refused to go into U.S. cities to suppress popular movements. Especially well known was the refusal of Fort Hood, Texas soldiers to go to Chicago. GI resistance was also widespread in the Vietnam War.

A third organizing effort should be for progressive organizations to build defense units to protect union and community meetings, rallies and protests. These popular security committees should be prepared to use all reasonable methods to carry out their assignments. Most unions have “sergeants-at-arms” to maintain order. This can be expanded, if necessary by including members of union veteran committees.

Most rallies and marches also organize some security “marshals” already. This duty can be expanded and broadened to build city-wide or county bodies that meet and train over the coming months. It should be remembered that rightwing Trump supporters have in the past come carrying weapons. Thought has to be given to what steps are needed to deal with this threat. It should not be forgotten that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not restricted to the fascist elements, but any such actions taken by progressive forces must be worked out carefully and with proper training.

Depending on the police to defend democratic rights would be a fatal error. Only organizing among poor and working people will allow independent working class action. Such organizing on a national level will also give pause to the ultra-right elements of the ruling class who are financing and encouraging the Trump movement. After all, the very last thing they want is an independent, militant and organized working class.

And even if the Democratic Party candidate does win the 2024 election, it would still be useful to have an independent mass, national organization of poor and working people to forcefully promote a working class agenda that the Democrats fall short of implementing.

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