December 17, 2016 - No. 49
Presidential Election Results
the Workers' Movement
Edward Alastair Haythornthwaite
With deep sorrow the Marxist-Leninist Party
Canada informs you of the death of our dear comrade Edward
Alastair Haythornthwaite on December 14, 2016 from cancer. The
Party sends heartfelt condolences to Alastair's family, comrades
and friends at this time of great loss.
Alastair was an industrial worker, a
machinist for 35 years.
He was elected by his peers as business representative for the
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Northwest
District 250, a
position he held for nine years before returning to the shop
floor shortly before he retired in 2015. In the obituary we read:
"Alastair was one of those people who seemed to coax machines,
appliances and vehicles to run better and work properly just by
standing beside them. You hear about people like that but you
don't see them everyday.
"In his working life, he skilfully built
machines which in turn could be used to build and repair other
machines. He was a proud man of the metal trade. He also was a
model train enthusiast and loved the age of steam with all his
"In a program sponsored through his union
he completed his BA
in Labour Studies in 2013 thus fulfilling a long wished for
One of his proudest endeavours was his work
as founder and
chair of the Joseph Mairs Memorial Committee, which holds an
annual political event in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island to honour
Joseph Mairs, a Vancouver Island martyr of the working class who
died in prison after being jailed for his participation in the
Great Coal Strike of 1912-1914. The Memorial focuses on
contemporary political issues in the workers' movement under the
banner "Our Common Condition."
Alastair was a political man, a fighter for
the rights of
workers on the job and for the necessity for the working class to
have its own independent politics, a communist all his adult
life. He eagerly stepped forward in 2015 to run as the candidate
of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada in the federal riding of
Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, focusing on opposition to Canada's
participation in imperialist war and on the necessity for
democratic renewal. In his obituary we read: "He did remarkably
well in that endeavour and he enjoyed every minute of the
He will be missed by his comrades, family,
co-workers and the
many firm friends he made over the years in the fight for justice
and a better world.
...one time he went out in the
wilderness to find his own
soul, an' he foun' he didn't
have no soul that was his'n. Says he foun' he jus' got a little piece
of a great big soul. Says a
wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no
good 'less it was with the
rest, an' was whole.
Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
• Need to
Confront Government of
Police Powers by Building the New
- U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization -
Trump's Program to
America Great Again"
• The Art of the Deal
• Peace Through Strength
• Concern with Manufacturing and
For Your Information
• Election Results
• Positions of Trade Unions
• Increase of Civil War Scenarios
• Eliminating the Human
• Bot Use in the U.S. Election
December 26, 1862
• The Past in the Present
U.S. Presidential Election Results
Significance for the Workers' Movement
On December 10, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
a meeting in Hamilton on the significance of the U.S. election
results for the workers' movement. The keynote speaker was
Kathleen Chandler of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization, and
the meeting also featured Rolf Gerstenberger, President of the MLPC and
former President of United Steelworkers Local 1005.
This was the latest in a series of meetings across the
country organized by the MLPC for Party members, supporters and
friends as well as collectives of working people to sort out what
is taking place and what a Trump presidency will mean for the
peoples of the U.S. and Canada as well as the peoples of the
world. Discussion began in Calgary on November 6 on the eve of
the November 8 election, followed by a public meeting in Ottawa
on November 12 elaborating the statements issued by the Party before
and after the election. Two
meetings were subsequently
held in Montreal, followed by
meetings in Edmonton, Windsor and within the Party's
organizations at the local level. All of these meetings serve to
provide a space for serious discussion and enable participants to
actually think about developments and analyze how to be pro-active in
the current conditions. They counter the constant pressure, during the
elections and since, to react to every comment and action by Trump,
making him, the individual, the problem, while hiding the significance
of U.S. rulers resorting to a government of police powers.
In Hamilton, the main
presentation, by Kathleen Chandler,
focused on this government of police powers that has increasingly
taken hold in the U.S., and the need for the people's forces to
take up the discussion and elaboration of what it means to
establish an anti-war government. Her presentation is reprinted
in full below.
Rolf Gerstenberger brought to the fore the experience
Hamilton steelworkers fighting to defend their rights, jobs and
the steel industry, and how this gives them a perspective on what
is going on in the U.S. He gave the example of President-Elect
Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. He
recalled that as steelworkers fought Stelco's bankruptcy in 2003,
they necessarily had to find out what had happened in the U.S.
steel industry. They had been told that the U.S. steelworkers had
"helped out" their companies and now Hamilton steelworkers should
do the same for Stelco. At that time, some 40 U.S. steel companies
sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or actually went bankrupt and
this was used to shaft 250,000 pensioners who had their benefits cut by
10 to 70 per cent. It was none other than Wilbur Ross who bought up
various steel plants and was responsible for some 190,000 of these
pensioners being deprived of their pensions and benefits, whom he
termed collateral damage.
Gerstenberger explained that Local 1005 categorically
fraudulent use of bankruptcy proceedings to shaft the workers. The view
of some U.S. labour leaders was that, "The house is on fire, you have
four kids, but you can't save all of them -- which ones do you save?"
Hamilton steelworkers rejected this craven position as an unacceptable
capitulation to the neo-liberal agenda of the rich. He pointed out that
neither parents nor first responders approach emergency situations by
making such calculations. For instance, first responders go all to save
all the victims of a fire. Only by fighting on a principled basis and
putting all the necessary organization in place and devising strategies
and tactics to achieve success, can the result be found acceptable,
Gerstenberger said. Instead, the sacrifice of pensioners in the U.S.
was presented by Wilbur Ross as an economic necessity. Some labour
leaders still consider Ross a friend of the workers and they "have not
raised a peep about his nomination." Gerstenberger pointed out that
knowing this about Trump's pick for Secretary of Commerce gives an idea
of the agenda of the incoming administration, despite its claims that
it will look out for the "little guy" and support the workers.
pointed out that Trump's nominee for
Labour Secretary is Andrew Puzder, who is a fast food oligarch
and CEO of the monopoly that owns the Hardee's and Carl's Jr.
restaurant chains. He is known for his anti-worker positions and
support for the use of "undocumented" workers as "cheap labour."
Gerstenberger noted that the economy of southwestern California
would not be able to function without exploiting these vulnerable
workers. Puzder's openly anti-worker stands have given rise to
objections on the part of organized labour in the U.S., he added.
Puzder opposed the $10 an hour minimum wage under Obama and will
oppose the workers' current fight to raise this to $15 an hour.
Likewise, he will be opposing pensions, saying that no one wants
them anymore and they are a drain on society.
A representative of Ontario injured workers pointed out
that what Trump and his cabinet stand for is precisely what is being
put in place in Ontario under the Wynne Liberal government. For
instance, the Ontario government has adopted Bill 70 that permits
employers to self-regulate on matters of health and safety. He pointed
out that those not considered of value in this business model, like
injured workers, are simply disposed of.
Regarding Trump's disposition to the workers and his
claim that he will "make America great again" by bringing jobs back to
the U.S., Gerstenberger referred to Trump's intervention with the
Indiana factory -- air conditioner manufacturer Carrier -- that Trump
claimed saved 1,100 jobs from being moved to Mexico. Trump tweeted that
this is what he will do for all U.S. workers. The local union leader
responsible for those workers pointed out only 800 jobs will stay and
that hundreds of others will still be lost to a plant in Mexico. For
presenting the real facts, the union leader was then subjected to all
manner of personal attacks, first by Trump and then others unleashed by
Trump's example. Trump used Twitter to attack the union president,
calling him a "union boss" to imply that he is a parasite and claiming
the union is taking excessively high dues, and other anti-union,
anti-worker venom. The polity is then set in motion to either support
or oppose what the Trump tweets set and this becomes the agenda until
the next personal attacks are tweeted against somebody else. People not
only in the U.S. but worldwide are supposed to hang on Trump's every
tweet and the media speculation about them. Reducing politics to
personal attacks and defamation on the part of the rulers is the level
to which U.S. governance has degenerated, Gerstenberger pointed out,
saying that this is how police powers operate where there is no modern
political process of any kind, let alone due process of law when it
comes to crime and punishment.
The main issue in this situation, said Gerstenberger,
take practical measures to change the situation in a way that
favours the workers. In Hamilton, the steelworkers face a sales
process and a company that is using the Companies' Creditors
Arrangement Act (CCAA) to attack the active and retired
workers through a court process that is considered perfectly
legal. How do the workers fight on this basis? The federal
government and MPs say nothing can be done from their point of
view because the matter is before the court and the federal
government does not have standing there. However, once a deal has
been reached, they can give money to the new owner. Once again Wilbur
Ross' line that in order
to "save the company" some of the pensioners and other things have to
be sacrificed is shamelessly followed, Gerstenberger said.
Steelworkers' own bitter experience shows that making the rich richer
has nothing to do with saving companies, he pointed out and anyone who
says differently is merely indulging in self-serving argument to get
what they want.
addressed the positions of some of the main unions in the U.S. Some
labour leaders say
are in disagreement with Trump's values but are willing to work with
him when it comes to jobs. They have written Trump to say that they can
find common ground on the economy. How can the issue of values and the
economy be separate, Rolf asked, adding that all of this
backwardness is being presented to split the working class so
that it does not defend its class interests as a united
front. This is also why the election results are presented as if
the working people of the U.S. do not exist as American workers, but
only in terms of race, gender, religion, and so on. The people are
presented as divided in every possible way with disparate
interests. All of it is to deny that there is one working
class with its class interests, that people have rights by virtue
of their being human and that everyone must unite to open society's
path to progress on this basis.
Rolf Gerstenberger gives presentation at meeting in Edmonton, November
Vigorous discussion followed on themes raised in the
presentations and matters of concern to working people. A young
worker spoke out about her experience of how politics is
eliminated and people are pushed to look at matters like the U.S.
election as entertainment. Concerns about how to put people in
motion to defend their rights gave rise to discussion on the
significance of collective discussion and decision-making so that
the working people sort things out and proceed with
confidence. Steelworkers spoke about the impunity of companies
such as U.S. Steel to attack the livelihoods of Canadians, and
the cynical claims of governments to be concerned with the
people's well-being. Discussion also touched on issues such as
the role of Bernie Sanders, the integration of Canada's economy
and political structures with the U.S. and what this means going
forward, and what it means when Trump says he will run the U.S.
like a business. Another important theme raised by workers was on
questions of war and peace, and how to advance the work for an
Participants noted that having such discussions
situation by providing an outlook from which to assess events in
the U.S. and related developments. People said that such serious,
calm and informed discussion is very important and must continue
at this time when the pressure is to make everything about Trump,
rather than discussing and developing their own agenda.
Public meeting in Ottawa on significance of U.S. elections results,
November 12, 2016.
Calgary meeting on the eve of the U.S. election, November 6, 2016.
1. See 2016
U.S. Presidential Election: Statements of the Communist Party of Canada
Need to Confront Government of Police Powers
by Building the
presentation was given by Kathleen Chandler
of the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization at the meeting on the
significance of the U.S. election results for the working class
organized by CPC(M-L) in Hamilton, Ontario on December 10,
The most significant issue to address when looking at
U.S. presidential election results is that the U.S. ruling
circles have resorted to a government of police powers. This has
been developing for some time, especially since the Bill Clinton
administration, with Bush and Obama further developing this
direction. There is clearly very serious contention within the
camp of the rulers in the U.S. and the election did not serve to
sort out the differences between them, as elections are supposed
to do. Nonetheless, Donald Trump has now been selected to expand
police powers, have them streamlined and unfettered -- and to do
so blatantly, openly and with complete impunity.
The election also shows how completely the old
of government of laws, with functioning political parties and a
functioning political process, are finished. A huge effort is
being made by the imperialist rulers and their monopoly media to
have everyone focus on and react to every tweet and comment Trump
makes. This is to make it look like it is just a matter of
Trump's bad policies, which is done to deprive the people of the
outlook which leads them to conclude that it is they who must
give birth to the new. They cannot depend on one camp or the
other within the imperialist ruling class to resolve the problems
The fact that now the peoples of the U.S. and the world
be saddled with a U.S. government of unfettered police powers
shows that the old forms given rise to in the 18th, 19th and 20th
centuries no longer function to provide governments with
legitimacy. They no longer serve to get the people to submit to
the elitist rule. Today this rule is perceived as an instrument
of making the rich richer and the poor poorer while the so-called
American dream lies in tatters. Meanwhile, wanton aggression is
launched against countries that refuse to submit to the U.S.
dictate. As a result, now, the police powers are put forward as
if they are a government of laws. On election night, we saw the
contending factions immediately call for a peaceful transition of
power, hailing the U.S. democracy to the skies.
The situation gives rise to grave
dangers for the peoples at
home and abroad. We need to be pro-active by having our own
program which gives rise to new forms and gives birth to the new.
As we respond to all the attacks on the people, if we are
pro-active, the resistance movement will make great headway.
Political discussion and analysis on the significance of the U.S.
election results is the starting point to creating a political
movement which favors the people.
The rulers have the problem of how to pursue a
police powers while keeping the people in check and the union
preserved. Trump is seen by the rulers as a deal-maker who can
put and keep the U.S. in the game where everyone is threatening
everyone else. He will on the one hand strike deals, likely
behind closed doors and using his executive powers; on the other,
brandish the full might of U.S. police powers without concern
about legitimacy, abroad and at home. In their desperation this
is how the faction of the ruling class championed by Trump thinks
it can make headway.
The president's executive powers include powers to
regulate important issues like immigration; the implementation or
waiver of environmental laws; trade and border regulations to favor
U.S. annexation, as Canada is already experiencing; expanding use of
drone warfare, torture, special forces, criminalization of those
resisting abroad and at home; and more. This enforcing of police powers
will take place internationally,
where Trump will potentially strike deals directly with military
forces, or individual leaders, bypassing legitimate government
channels. The relationship is to be a direct one with the
president and it is one where deals are more an offer that cannot
be refused, as the threat to use nuclear weapons is always on the
It is notable that in appointing South Carolina
Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, Trump specifically said she was a "proven
dealmaker." Her experience as Governor is making deals to bring
monopolies, including foreign ones, into South Carolina, usually
by paying them millions, deferring taxes, etc. Trump's recent
deal with Carrier is an example of more of the same in the
future. He made the deal in secret with the CEO, with the union
having no say. The state of Indiana, where Vice President-Elect
Pence can deliver funds, agreed to pay the monopoly $7 million.
Then, when the union president Chuck Jones made clear the actual
facts concerning the number of jobs to remain, 800, not the 1,100
Trump promoted, Trump attacked him personally. So far, just on
Twitter. But one can see that far more could occur in conditions
where workers refuse a deal, or a state government, or a foreign
government, does. The reason for personal attacks is to incite
passions and reduce the level of political discourse to zero so
that people cannot come together in a political movement for
empowerment, peace and rights.
This mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs has been widely used in
U.S. to give the monopolies more than $80 billion yearly in just
state and local public funds. At least three-quarters of state
and city subsidy dollars go not to local businesses, but to
monopolies like Boeing, Intel, GM, Nike, and Dow Chemical.
Foreign operations like Royal Dutch Shell and Nissan rake in
large amounts as well. Some of these are "megadeals," like the
$5.6 billion that New York State gave Alcoa, or the nearly $9
billion that war monopoly Boeing extracted from Washington State.
These colossal packages carry with them an average cost-per-job
of nearly $500,000. And most of the time, while the funds are
delivered, the promised jobs do not materialize. Trump now is
positioned to streamline and increase such deals, putting the
weight of the presidency openly behind them.
While Trump talks about jobs, the Carrier deal is one
serves the oligopolies, and likely includes promises for future
contracts for government infrastructure projects for example, or
defence contracts and the like. During the campaign Trump
emphasized that he will treat government as a business, which is
another way of saying social needs and services are not a
concern. In his victory speech, he said, "I've spent my entire
life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects
and in people all over the world" and "That is now what I want to
do for our country."
Business is run on the basis of the "bottom line" and
treating human beings as things, even products, to be disposed of.
Steelworkers are very familiar with being treated as things, to
permanently losing jobs and pensions, and to whole communities being
destroyed. The choice of Wibur Ross as Secretary of Commerce brings to
that it was Wilbur Ross who made billions in the United States
buying up bankrupt steel companies and eliminating the retiree
benefits of 190,000 steelworkers before repackaging and selling
the plants. Responsibility to society and to meet the needs of
society are not main considerations of a government of police
In looking at these developments,
it is important to
recognize that police powers by their nature are arbitrary and
implemented on the basis of broad impunity. It is not just a
matter of police and military forces of various kinds taking
action, but rather a means of governance in a situation where the
rulers have no solutions and where they are compelled to block
the striving of the people to modernize and broaden democracy.
From its origins the U.S. state has had two aspects making a
single unitary power. One is the government of laws, including
the Constitution, treaties, legislation, courts, etc. The other
is police powers. What we are seeing now is the elimination of a
government of laws, with Trump positioned to do so even more
blatantly and with greater impunity than previous presidents.
It is also the case that while a government of laws
least have the appearance of legitimacy and concern for social
needs, a government of police powers does not. Its concern is to
punish all dissenters so as to preserve the state.
Legitimacy of government is also not a main concern.
powers are to criminalize, destroy, even whole nations and the
human productive powers they encompass. This is what happened
with Libya, what is happening with Iraq and Syria. The election
also showed that at home, the rulers are no longer concerned with
maintaining even the appearance of a functioning political
process, with functioning political parties, which are all part
of legitimacy. Trump is the embodiment of this reality.
This issue of legitimacy is a very important one when
considering our tactics for resistance and advancing our own
program of fighting for politics of empowerment in the course of
defending the rights of all. A government concerned about
legitimacy appears to "listen" to the public and to uphold the
constitution, with freedom of speech and assembly and the right
to life and liberty. A government of police powers has no such
concern. It acts to criminalize protest and to make clear that
you, as individuals and collectives, are to do as you are told or
face the wrath of police powers. The current struggle at Standing
Rock is an example of both this government wrath and of building
the resistance. And it is being done by the Obama administration
Despite repeated claims by the federal government and
that the water protectors of Standing Rock are on federal lands,
the fact is that the U.S. maps themselves show the land is
unceded Sioux land. It is also the case that the government is
required to do an Environmental Impact Study, which the Army
Corps of Engineers has refused to do. Numerous other laws and
treaty obligations are being broken, and this is being done
openly and repeatedly. It is the federal government that sent a
letter to state and local police forces saying the water
protectors were trespassing.
Hundreds have been arrested and serious injuries to
resisting, including women and children, have occurred. Yet in
the face of National Guardsmen arming check points on public
highways, repeated use of tanks, the chemical weapon tear gas,
concussion grenades, a sound cannon, and water cannon blasting the
resisters with water in freezing temperatures, Obama said he will
"let things play out." We are all to get used to the exercise of
police powers with no regard whatsoever for the law and we are to
keep sacrificing until Obama, or whoever is President, deems it
And while the Army Corps
has now said they will not issue the
permit until they do the Impact Study, they did not deny building
of the pipeline. The monopolies involved, which include Canada's
Enbridge, backed by billions in credit lines from major
financiers, have said the pipeline will be completed. These
monopolies can try to carry forward and simply pay the fines
involved -- and you can count on them not facing armed attacks by
the state. Police powers are to protect and preserve the state,
with the interests of the people having no consideration. This is
why many of the water protectors have remained and said they are
organizing to remain through the winter in order to protect the
interests of the people.
This struggle also provides an example for resistance
present. The Indigenous peoples involved, including mainly the
Sioux but also hundreds of other tribes, together with many
others from across the country have all rejected the police
category of protester. For the police, a protester is a thing
that can be told where they can protest, where they cannot, for
how long, etc. At the Democratic and Republican conventions over
the summer, people were told they could not have backpacks or
gas masks or metal poles or lengths of string, etc. That is, we
were being regulated like things, not people with rights.
At Standing Rock people have taken the stand to have
humanity reflected. They are water protectors, for the water of
millions. They are pro-active, organizing to demonstrate where
needed, in various ways. They have organized to be
self-sustaining and urged others across the country to join with
them in being so. They have developed their own means of
communication and organized to unite people in action across the
country, all standing firm for their just demands for
sovereignty, for no pipeline, and to defend their rights and
Mother Earth. They have been and are acting to deprive the
oligopolies of their ability to deprive the people of what
belongs to them by right.
Most recently, thousands of
veterans came to join the
resistance at Standing Rock and defend the camps from threatened
eviction by the state. This readiness of the vets to join in, to
stand against the government, no doubt frightened the rulers.
They need their soldiers, active and inactive, to be dutiful,
submitting soldiers, not part of the organized resistance. It is
to the credit of the Indigenous peoples and their undaunted fight
for their right to be and to be protectors of the land and of
rights, that they have inspired such support. And the overall
level of consciousness being developed against the state and its
imposing of police powers is an important contribution to all
Imposing Government of Police Powers While Maintaining
Constitutional Form of Governance
The struggle at Standing Rock is also indicative of the
effort of the U.S. imperialist rulers to impose and consolidate a
government of police power, while maintaining the constitutional
form of governance. There is an effort not to declare martial
law, or have open military rule. Trump himself is a civilian with
no military background. As the executive, he has responsibility
to preserve the union, while breaking the bounds of the
constitution. This responsibility is given right in the U.S.
Constitution, where the oath for the president has two parts. One
is, to the best of his ability, preserve and protect the
Constitution. But the other is to execute the office of the
presidency. Executing the office involves use of police powers,
to protect the state, against the Constitution.
Now, the rulers face a situation
where the fetters of the
Constitution, such as Congress holding the purse strings, such as
treaties being law of the land, such as the arrangements in the
Bill of Rights, need to be eliminated. The way the rulers hope to
do this is to demand that everyone submit to their version of the
Constitution, and any emergency powers they may dictate in the
name of national security. Such powers are the president
executing the duties of his office. The rulers want to maintain
the constitutional form, while breaking the bounds of the
A recent example includes Obama's order to authorize
Special Forces to carry out their assassinations, raids, torture
and other Black Ops anywhere in the world against any person the
government decides is a "threat." This includes inside the U.S.,
it includes U.S. citizens, as Obama's drone attacks already made
clear. These Black Ops are known to be completely illegal and
arbitrary with no due process. People are put on a kill list at
the discretion of the president -- again putting them in a police
category of a "threat," with no regard for law. Operations of
various kinds have already been conducted in at least 147
countries. This order opens the space for them to be anywhere and
Obama basically declared that the whole world is open
attack by these Special Forces and that Black Ops are the new
normal. Significantly, he also streamlined the chain of command,
eliminating regional commanders and basically creating a direct
tie between the president and general in charge of Joint Special
Operations Command (JSOC). The order also speaks about direct
relations between JSOC and police and military forces abroad,
such as in Britain, Germany, France and Turkey, all bypassing the
usual government channels and creating these direct ties among
the military forces. This streamlining, which also further
concentrates power in the president's hands and imposes U.S.
command on foreign forces, will no doubt be expanded under
Need for Anti-War Government
Recently there has been a lot of promotion that Trump
appointed three generals to his cabinet and that this somehow
changes the long-standing practice of civilians at the head of
the Pentagon, for example. It is being presented as a
constitutional issue, when it is not. There have been presidents
who were generals, like George Washington and Eisenhower. There
have been military forces in the cabinet, like Colin Powell. The
issue is not the individuals appointed but rather that there is a
huge military bureaucracy that remains essentially the same from
president to president. This bureaucracy, which has great
conflicts and contention within its ranks, as seen during the
campaign, has to be united as part of preserving the union. The
appointments are connected to this effort.
As well, the two key issues to examine are not
are generals or civilians, but the fact that a government of
unfettered police powers is being imposed and these individuals
are instruments for this. All the talk of civilians vs. generals
hides this reality. As well, it diverts from the fact that, as
during the campaign, the issue of war and ending all aggressive
U.S. actions, bringing all U.S. troops home, is not discussed at
all. There is silence on this issue.
It is up to organized forces like ourselves to bring
issue of U.S. wars to the fore, raising the need to organize for
the alternative of an anti-war government, something we will do
at the inaugural actions. And, just as a government of police
powers is not simply police actions, an anti-war government is
not simply one that opposes a particular war, like the ones in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather it is one that stands against the
permanent war economy and war government that serves it. It is
one that addresses the problem of how to have the anti-war stand
of the majority implemented -- what are the social forms and
electoral process needed for this direction? What would be the
features of a new constitution where government is constituted on
an anti-war basis? These are issues that our program for an
anti-war government is addressing.
U.S. rulers are facing a situation where their previous
overwhelming economic power is in decline and where military
might alone is not sufficient to maintain and extend their world
empire. They must contend with rivals and allies alike and all
those who resist. They can only do so by continually threatening
and upping the ante, including the possible use of nuclear weapons.
This brings on more violence and contention, as is already
occurring at home and abroad. The U.S. is insistent on such world
empire though, and prepared to risk world war and civil war,
potentially dragging the world down with them. In such
conditions, where they face decline, have no solutions and are
not able to sustain a political process that provides legitimacy
to their rule, a government of police powers is a necessity --
and very dangerous to the peoples.
It is also the case that in current conditions, the
are not able to predict the outcome of various actions on their
part. This was evident for the Iraq war, where it was announced
the job was done and today the crime of U.S. war continues. They
cannot predict the outcome, for example, of impeachment of Trump,
which has been mentioned. There are too many contending forces,
at the federal and state levels, all with armed forces to back
them up. Already, for example, California, including the head of
its assembly and senate, police chiefs and mayors of Los Angeles
and San Francisco, are all openly challenging Trump on
immigration. The same is true in Chicago, New York City,
Philadelphia, Boston and elsewhere. Impeachment could actually
trigger the break up of the U.S. along state and/or regional
lines. The same could be said for possible elimination of the Electoral
College, which is a mechanism to preserve the union, as
is Congressional certification of the election. Eliminating these
mechanisms could also trigger a break up. And for those who find
this hard to imagine, just remember the rapid breakup of the
Soviet Union. And that states like California have economies
large enough to easily be their own countries. There are various
other examples of civil war scenarios where the outcome cannot be
Similarly, while the U.S. threatens use of nuclear
the outcome of such use can also not be predicted, both in terms
of the potential for world war and civil war. The rulers are
hoping a government of police powers can help them escape their
crisis and the crisis of their whole system.
But for the interests of humanity, contending with this
situation and resolving it in a manner that favors humanity can
only occur on the basis of the organized struggle of the people
themselves for their rights, including their right to govern and
Key Conflict of Interest Is that of the Rulers vs. the
Another important issue being promoted is that Trump,
all his business interests, has more "conflict of interest"
problems than previous presidents. Two things are hidden by all
this talk. One is that the conflict of interest that needs to be
addressed is that between the imperialist rulers, with their
state that protects and preserves the oligopolies, and the
working class. It is the interests of the rulers vs. the
interests of the working class, and which will move society and
all humanity forward at this time. Instead of focusing our
attention on identifying these interests of the working class and
how to defend and advance them, we are to continually react to
everything Trump says and does and look into his many business
The problem to address is
that the voice of the working
class has been silenced and blocked. The problem to address is
how to develop and strengthen our own independent institutions,
for the press, for research, for political discussion, for
developing our own thought material so that the interests of the
working class are defended and our own institutions built. It is
not our job to side with one faction of the rulers or another in
their conflicts to sort out which is to emerge as the most
powerful. The working class instead has the duty to lead the
struggle for a democracy of our own making that serves the
interests of the working class and people.
It is advancing the interests of the working class to
eliminate wage slavery and all slavery by refusing to be slaves,
by organizing to defend the rights of all on every front, that
provides a way forward. All the talk about Trump's "conflict of
interest" diverts from this most vital task. It serves to hide
the actual social relations and block workers from themselves
organizing in their interests, with their own program. These
social relations have produced massive wealth and power, yet the
people are blocked from harnessing it and utilizing it to
guarantee the rights of all, at home and abroad. The U.S.
economy, for example, has doubled in size since 1970. But more
than half of all families have seen no increase in their wages
since then, while the wealth of the oligopolies has doubled and
inequality has greatly increased. Such things are not in the
interests of the working class, but the debate about Trump does
nothing to assist in finding solutions to these problems.
It is up to the working class to lead the struggle for
new, for modern social relations, for a modern democracy that
empowers the people to govern and decide, for modern definitions
that affirm rights by virtue of being human. We cannot replicate
and remain stuck in the old, the old way of having elections, the
old way of looking at problems. We need to strengthen our own
thinking, our own discussion about our interests and how to
advance them. We need to rally the people to strengthen their
ability to refuse the old and begin to conceptualize modern
political arrangements. Steelworkers here have the experience of
the Thursday meetings as one means to activate the human
factor/social consciousness and take independent political
stands. This elevates the level of political discussion and
unites workers behind solutions which favor them, not the rich.
This is an important accomplishment, which we applaud and think
should be replicated. We need more such forms to engage workers
and youth in advancing their own cause for empowerment.
Across the U.S. the youth in
their tens of thousands are
already standing against this brutal direction, proclaiming Trump
is Not Our President! Democracy Not Oligarchy!
will not be silenced. There is recognition among them, as among
the water protectors at Standing Rock, that the political process
in place is not acceptable.
We are intervening in a pro-active manner, to advance
fight for a political process that does empower the people, which
brings into being an anti-war government, an anti-slave
government, a government that serves the interests of the working
class and people at home and abroad. We are taking steps in that
direction now, organizing to raise the political discussion, to
focus it on the interests of the millions upon millions of
working people, to involve more youth and workers in it, to
insist that a democracy of our own making is required, not the
one of the rulers. This fight is a necessity of the present and
it is the working class that can lead this battle forward.
Thank you very much for having me here to explain our
Trump's Program to "Make America Great
The Art of the Deal
Donald Trump campaigned using the slogan "Make America
Great Again." In discussing the significance of the U.S. election
results, CPC(M-L) has pointed out that according to statements
made by Trump himself, he plans on doing this by running the U.S.
like a business enterprise in which "the art of the deal" becomes
a central element. According to the vision Trump enunciates, the
person of state and the person of Trump become one and the
same. The slogan also plays an important role in the effort of U.S.
rulers to whip up U.S. chauvinism so as to eliminate the anti-war stand
of the majority. It is to convince workers especially, in the name of
jobs, to support war against China or others.
CPC(M-L) noted in its statement on the election
central points of his campaign were basically that the U.S.
system is broken or rigged, that the U.S. has been weakened on
the world stage and that only a man of Trump's force of
personality is capable of putting things right. His strategy is
to be 'engaged' and he says the art lies in how you make the deal.
In his victory speech he said, 'I've spent my entire life in
business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in
people all over the world' and 'That is now what I want to do for
What this means was amply illustrated during the
campaign and after, and his methods are, in fact, well known.
Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Maryland Republican
Party during the primaries on June 23, 2015, Trump said the problem
with Obama is that he "is not a negotiator. I don't want him
negotiating for me. Everything he makes, he makes bad deals. He doesn't
know what a good deal is."
During the campaign, his contempt for, and scathing characterization
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy as a weak negotiator revealed
what he thinks should be done once he takes office. In a speech in
Mobile, Alabama on August 21, 2015 Trump said:
"Japan is back; They have
Abe, he's the new Prime
as you know. And Abe is really smart, I mean, I met him one time,
he's really sharp. And he's negotiating against Caroline Kennedy.
.... With Japan, the Ambassador is a very important position,
because we negotiate, and, you know, you need somebody sharp. You
need a killer, right? A smart killer, not a dumb killer. ... [60
Minutes asked her,] 'how did you get the ambassadorship?' ...
[She replied,] 'Well, I don't know, I wanted a job, and I had
nothing to do, so I went to the White House, and I said, could I
have a job? Do you have anything for me to do? And they said, how
would you like to be ambassador to Japan?' And she said, 'Really?' ...
She said 'I'll do it.' She couldn't believe she got
it. The rest of the show is her being wined and dined by Abe and
all of these killers. ... She'll do anything they want. Anything.
So I have the smartest, toughest, meanest -- in many cases the
most horrible human beings on earth. I know them all. They're
killers. They're negotiators. Some are nice people, very few,
some are nice people. But I will put the keenest, smartest -- we
have the best in the world, we don't use them -- we use political
hacks, diplomats, we use people that don't have any business
ability, we use people that have never done a job [...]" The indication
here is that negotiations will be in the form of killers who make
offers that cannot be refused, backed up by threats to use nuclear
was further indicated in Trump's view of how
and who could do it, putting forward his close
associate U.S. billionaire Carl Icahn, saying "He's an unbelievably
brilliant, tough business guy. So I call him. I had dinner with him two
nights ago. I said, 'You know Carl, I'm doing pretty well, I'm leading
every poll.' He said, 'You're doing great.' He can't believe it,
either. And I said, 'If I ever get there, I want you to oversee the
negotiations with China -- I can give him two, he's extraordinary --
China, and Japan. 'I'll do it, I'll do it.' He's like: [Trump makes
wide-eyed, open-mouthed face with his hands in the air] 'I'll do it.'
... He is an unbelievable negotiator. And I know others. I know the
best, I know the worst, I know the ones that are overrated, I know the
ones that you have never heard about or read about that are better than
all of them."
early hours of the morning
to bet about $1 billion on U.S. equities."
The New York Times reported on November 15 that
leaders have been calling the reception desk at Trump Tower
in New York City to reach the President-Elect, and "scrambling to
figure out how and when to contact Mr. Trump." In his first
conversations with world leaders he was "working without official
State Department briefing materials," reports said. According to the
Trump transition team, Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence have
spoken to some 50 world leaders since November 8. The first calls were
with the leaders of Egypt and
This follows spin during the campaign portraying world
leaders as terrified of Trump. In April, a report by Edward-Isaac
Dovere and Bryan Bender for Politico claimed that Trump
had put foreign leaders "in full-boil panic." "They're scared and
they're trying to understand how real this is," one U.S. official
allegedly said. "They all ask. They follow our politics with
excruciating detail. They ask: 'What is this Trump phenomenon?
Can he really win? What would it mean for U.S. policy going
forward or U.S. engagement in the world?'" Adding to the mystique
of Trump's supposed negotiating skills are the constant
portrayals by media of his actions as amateurish, improvised and
On December 2, Trump was reported to have spoken by
with Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan (officially the Republic of
breakaway state from China founded by the reactionary Kuomintang
government of Chiang Kai-shek after losing the Chinese Civil
War), the first time contact between a U.S. president and leader
of Taiwan has been acknowledged since 1979. Trump was portrayed
by media as naive. On December 3, China lodged an official
protest and the current U.S. administration issued assurances
that policy has not changed. Trump responded on Twitter to
dismiss the issue, saying that the President of Taiwan called
him, not the other way around. By December 5, media reports said
the call had in fact been months in the planning. Articles in the Washington
Times and New York
News then characterized the move as "brilliant," "a new
start" and "the right thing to do," respectively.
Later in a December 11 interview with Fox News Trump
that the longstanding one-China policy of the U.S., which
nominally recognizes Taiwan as part of China, could be revisited.
He said that the issue could be used as leverage in negotiations with
China on other issues. "I don't know why we have to be bound by a
one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do
with other things, including trade," Trump said. He listed
currency devaluation, border taxes and "hostile behaviour" in the
South China Sea as "irritants." Provoking the Chinese in this manner is
also potentially an opening salvo to test the waters, at home and
abroad, for war with China. Trump has consistently used China as part
of his efforts to promote chauvinism inside the country and prepare the
ground for possible aggression.
On November 17, Trump met with Japanese President
Shinzo Abe in
Trump Tower residence, his first meeting with a foreign leader as
President-Elect. According to media the meeting was "arranged
only at the last minute" and until shortly before it took place,
"basic logistics such as the time, the place, and who would be in
the room were still up in the air, causing anxiety for Japanese
officials." One Abe adviser said that he had spoken to Trump
advisers since arriving in the U.S. and found out "We don't have
to take each word that Mr. Trump said publicly literally." After
the meeting, Abe said, "He made time for me, even though he is
busy with personnel matters. I am convinced that President-Elect
Trump is a leader we can trust." The U.S. has long occupied Japan and
uses it as a base of operations for potential attacks on both China and
the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In a situation where there
is great opposition in Korea and Japan to the U.S. bases, having
Japan’s "trust" is important.
Trump has likewise explained that his public
declarations are to be taken as the opening bid in negotiations. On
September 2 following a meeting with Mexican President Enrique
Peña Nieto, Trump said the Mexican President "disagrees on who's
going to pay for the wall. But that's a negotiation and I will tell you
that the United States will not be paying for the wall. Mexico will be
paying for the wall."
In an April 27 speech on foreign policy, Trump referred
the need for the U.S. to follow through on threats when
challenged. "In negotiation, you must be willing to walk. The
Iran deal ... is the result of not being willing to leave the
table. When the other side knows you're not going to walk, it
becomes absolutely impossible to win."
On U.S. relations with Russia, L. Todd Wood, "a former
operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader,"
addresses Donald Trump's modus operandi in a September 8
article for the Washington Times:
"Anyone who has followed this 2016 election cycle
that Donald Trump is always negotiating. When the GOP nominee was
talking about preventing Muslims from coming into the country 'until we
can figure out what is going on,' he was laying out a
hard-line negotiating position that could be softened down the
road if need be. [...]
"When he talks of deporting 12 million illegal
is doing the same thing. Now amid hints of possibly softening
that stand, he is seen as moderating and appeals to a larger
swath of the electorate. I believe Mr. Trump will do the right
thing for America when it comes to immigration, but the point is
a negotiator starts negotiating long before the media spotlight
highlights and the actual bargaining begins.
"I think Mr. Trump is doing the same thing with Russian
President Vladimir Putin. He is laying the groundwork for what he
believes will be future success dealing with Moscow. Mr. Trump
has spent time in Russia. He has done business with Russians. He
understands how they think. He understands they respect strength,
not weakness. He understands they also want to be respected. Mr.
Trump's comments complimenting Mr. Putin as a strong leader 'in a
different system' are stroking the Russian president's ego at a
time when it will do the most good. The liberal media have
freaked out because Mr. Trump refuses to follow the Obama
administration line on Russia, but all he is doing is speaking
nicely while carrying a big stick. [...]"
According to Wood, Russians "have a deep need to be
and a desire for prestige. Mr. Trump is playing to those
psychological needs. He's not being naively gushing like George
W. Bush, or incompetently appeasing the Russians as Hillary
Clinton and President Obama have repeatedly done. He is not
narcissistically demeaning Russia as a third-rate power that
doesn't make anything, as our president has insinuated. He's not
making fun of Mr. Putin's slouch. He is treating the Russian
president as a leader worthy of respect, while at the same time
looking out for the best interests of the United States."
It is important to keep in mind that the negotiations
involve not only business deals, as indicated by Trump’s choice of
Exxon/Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, but also manoeuvring for advantage in
the event of war, against China or Russia. There is an effort to play
China and Russia off against each other, so as to prevent an alliance
between them against the U.S.
On May 8, 2009, CBS News carried an item on "Donald
Negotiation Mind Games." The author, Geoffrey James, relates the
story of a friend of his who had just sold his company to
"Rather than meeting immediately with Trump (the
plan), my friend was taken to a conference room to discuss the
final terms with some staffers.
"A message was then brought to the meeting that Trump
be arriving at the meeting in a few minutes. A staffer took my
friend aside and said: 'You need to understand that Mr. Trump
never shakes hands with anybody. So don't be offended if he
doesn't offer his hand, and don't offer your hand when he comes
in the room."
"While my friend digested this tidbit, the staffer
continued. 'Mr. Trump is a very busy man and prefers to make decisions
quickly. So if the meeting lasts less than five minutes, please
don't take it amiss, because that's normal for him.'
"Finally, Trump makes his appearance. He walks right
my friend and warmly shakes his hand. Then Trump proceeds to
spend 40 minutes with my friend, discussing the business and
then, at last, ironing out the final terms.
"And those terms were, as you probably guessed, less
advantageous than my friend might have hoped."
"On the Significance of
U.S. Presidential Election Results: The End of 'Business As
Usual,'" TML Weekly, November 12, 2016.
Peace Through Strength
In order to "Make America Great Again" Donald Trump also
plans to pit one country against another and re-establish U.S.
hegemonism by weakening others. Suggestions are he will pick up from
where Ronald Reagan left off with his docrine of "peace through
This is evident in the policies advocated by Peter Navarro, Trump's
only economic advisor with academic credentials. Navarro is a professor
of economics and public policy at the Paul Merage School of Business,
University of California, Irvine and received his degrees from Harvard
University. His main preoccupations as an economist are fear for the
loss of U.S. global domination -- which he specifically blames on China
and an impending military conflict between the U.S. and China -- and
making predictions to score on the stock market.
Navarro co-authored, with former George W. Bush
adviser Glen Hubbard, Seeds of Destruction: Why the Path to
Economic Ruin Runs Through Washington, and How to Reclaim
American Prosperity. The book deals with "the
most important problem of our age," Navarro says: "a decade-long
its full potential,
giving rise to fears about the nation's future prosperity."
A 2011 book by Navarro, later turned into a Netflix
film Death by China, also describes the economic
relationship between the U.S. and China as "the most crucial
issue of our time." His 2015 follow-up book, Crouching
Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World, claims
that it provides "the most complete and accurate assessment of
the probability of conflict between the United States and
[China]," and "lays out an in-depth analysis of the possible
pathways to peace."
Navarro's book "stresses the importance of maintaining
military strength and preparedness and strengthening alliances,
while warning against a complacent optimism that relies on
economic engagement, negotiations, and nuclear deterrence to
ensure peace." Navarro says that China's claims on the South
China Sea, if allowed to stand, would "effectively run the U.S. Navy
out of the Asia-Pacific."
In 2016, Navarro raised concerns about alleged Chinese
cyber-attacks. He claimed that the three main cyber-threats
1) theft of blueprints from U.S. businesses;
2) theft of
designs of military hardware, as well as a "flood" of counterfeit
3) attacks against the "industrial control systems" of
critical infrastructure such as electricity grids, water
purification plants, air traffic control, subways, and
Before he was named a Trump adviser, Navarro hailed
Trump's proposals for retaliation against cyber-attacks, namely
"stiff trade sanctions for hacker countries, the banning of any
foreign enterprise that engages in any form of espionage (cyber
or otherwise), and the abrogation of any trade deal that fails to
provide for adequate IP [intellectual property] protection." Navarro
calls for additional
powers to be given to the FBI including "deputizing" cabinet
secretaries to provide them with police powers "to identify and
punish cyber intruders and giving both the FBI specifically and
the Justice Department in general, free rein to prosecute cyber
crimes to the fullest extent of the law."
In an August 25 interview with PBS Newshour,
explained Trump's trade policy with respect to China. Countering
the claim that Trump's proposals are "protectionist," Navarro said, "If
imposes tariffs on China or any other country that cheats, all he
wants to do is defend America against unfair trade practices."
Navarro explained that tariffs are not "the end game" but "a
negotiating tool to require countries like China to stop their
unfair trade practices -- that's the mission."
trade with any
country, so long as that deal meets these three criteria" Navarro said:
"- You decrease the trade deficit;
"- And you strengthen the manufacturing base."
Addressing the failures of the Obama-Clinton Pivot to
and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a November 7 article by
Navarro and another Trump advisor Alexander Gray described
"Trump's Peace Through Strength Vision for the Asia-Pacific."
Navarro and Gray noted that "Obama and Clinton billed the TPP as
a national security measure to help contain a rising China. As
Ash Carter, Obama's current defence secretary, asserted, passing
TPP is as 'important to me as another aircraft carrier.''
Navarro and Gray expressed frustration with the U.S.
of "strategic patience" towards the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea and its failure to stop Koreans' efforts to
defend themselves and their economic and political system. Other
"setbacks" cited include the election of a new president in the
Philippines who has criticized U.S. foreign policy. Navarro and
Gray stated that "Obama's infamous 'red line' pronouncement in
Syria likewise was perceived throughout the Asia-Pacific region
as an open invitation for aggression against U.S. allies and
According to Navarro and Gray, the U.S. "has tremendous
opportunities to reclaim its geostrategic position in Asia,"
which they say is "due mainly to China's own miscalculations and
the overplaying of its hand." They claim that "The U.S. Navy is
perhaps the greatest source of regional stability in Asia" and
hence "the mere initiation of the Trump naval program will
reassure our allies that the United States remains committed in
the long term to its traditional role as guarantor of the liberal
order in Asia."
Navarro and Gray laid out the Trump approach as follows:
"First, Trump will never
again sacrifice the U.S.
the altar of foreign policy by entering into bad trade deals like
the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing China into the
World Trade Organization, and passing the proposed TPP. These
deals only weaken our manufacturing base and ability to defend
ourselves and our allies.
"Second, Trump will
steadfastly pursue a strategy of
through strength, an axiom of Ronald Reagan that was abandoned
under the Obama administration."
In conclusion, Navarro and Gray praise Trump's "clear
understanding of the building blocks for a successful foreign
policy in Asia and globally. A cornerstone is undiminished
American strength in support of U.S. national interests, where
words have meaning and allies and competitors alike can be
confident that the U.S. president stands by what he says. In a
Donald Trump administration, these qualities will contribute to a
far more stable Asia-Pacific -- one that fully and peacefully
serves the interests of America and its allies and partners."
Concern with Manufacturing and Industry
Another element in Donald Trump's plan to "Make
America Great Again" is to bring jobs lost to other countries as a
of globalization back to the United States. Trump is said to have
appealed to American voters by raising the plight of communities
that have suffered from the loss of manufacturing jobs and
destruction of industries. Trump blamed this on Mexico, China and
in some cases the companies themselves and pledged that he would
stop manufacturing jobs from "leaving."
Already, since the election, Trump has claimed credit
"saving" jobs at a Ford auto plant in Kentucky and then at a
Carrier air conditioner plant in Indiana. A Wall Street
Journal article quoted Ford executives who said their
decision to halt plans to shift production of Lincolns to Mexico
and increase production of Escapes in Kentucky was "a relatively
painless but authentic way to give Mr. Trump a victory even
before he moves into the White House."
Trump announced on November 29 that, allegedly as a
his personal intervention, 1,100 of the 1,400 jobs Carrier
planned to move to Mexico would remain in Indiana. A press
release from Carrier the next day noted "The incentives offered
by the state were an important consideration" and that "the
forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for
the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. and of American workers
moving forward." Later it was announced that the incentives
included $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years for the company,
which made a $7.6 billion profit in 2015. Carrier’s parent company,
United Technologies, whose CEO Trump met with, is also a defence
contractor, so it is possible deals were also made in that regard.
Chuck Jones, President of United Steelworkers Local
at Carrier, informed that workers were not involved in the process
either by the company or Trump. Jones later confirmed with
Carrier that instead of 1,100, the company would retain 730 union
jobs and 70 non-union positions, while 550 union positions would
be cut. After Jones pointed out that Trump's claims of saving
1,100 jobs were false, Trump attacked him via Twitter, saying,
"Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has
done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies
flee country!" and "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good,
they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time
working -- less time talking. Reduce dues."
Workers picket Trump hotel in Las Vegas,
April 21, 2016.
Jones reported that half an hour after Trump's tweets,
began receiving non-stop phone calls from anonymous individuals
saying they know where he lives and "We're coming for you."
"Calling me names, wanting to know if I have children," Jones
said. "[That] I better watch out for myself, and they know what kind of
car I drive, that I better watch out for my kids."
The best indicator of what
Trump intends to do to "save jobs"
can be seen in the relations he maintains with the workers in his
own hotels and casinos. Workers at Trump's hotel in Las Vegas
have been denied the right to negotiate wages and working
conditions since forming a union earlier this year. Likewise, at
his hotel in Washington, DC, workers voted to form a union in December
2015 and the Trump Organization has refused to accept the
results. Workers at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City,
New Jersey went on strike in July demanding reinstatement of
their health, pension and other benefits that had been
eliminated during bankruptcy proceedings in 2014. Carl Icahn, a
close associate of Trump who bought the casino in 2014 called the
workers' demands for their rights an obstacle to "any path to
profitability" and closed the enterprise on October 10, leaving
3,000 workers without jobs.
An October 17 report in Mother Jones explains
"Trump's company encouraged its employees to invest their
retirement savings in company stock, according to a class-action
lawsuit filed by employees against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts
following its 2004 bankruptcy. Then, when the stock price was
near its nadir as bankruptcy loomed, the company forced the
employees to sell their stock at a huge loss. More than 400
employees lost a total of more than $2 million from their
retirement accounts, the lawsuit states."
Of like kind is the Labour
Secretary in the new Trump
administration, Andrew Puzder, CEO of the fast food monopoly that
owns the Hardee's and Carl Jr.'s restaurant chains. Puzder
opposes minimum wage increases and rules on overtime and is
described as "anti-regulation." Puzder has said that policies
such as a minimum wage "encourage automation" and that his and
other fast food monopolies are investing to develop machines to
replace human labour.
Trump's pick for Secretary of Commerce is Wilbur Ross,
has been given the moniker the "king of bankruptcy" and called a
"savior of failing U.S. industries." His claim to fame is buying
and "restructuring" bankrupt companies to then sell them off,
minus any pension obligations to the workers, having extracted
concessions from them under the blackmail of either
"saving their jobs" or having nothing. Ross has taken this
approach in textiles, mining and the steel industry and most
recently has bought up hundreds of millions of dollars in energy
company debt through his firm WL Ross & Co. in a bid to take
control of struggling oil and gas companies if they are forced to
hand over ownership to creditors.
The Wall Street Journal states that the market
of Ross's International Textile Group Inc., "a roll-up of
bankrupt textile companies, has fallen to a few million dollars"
and that Ross' "attempt to revive the U.S. textile industry has
stumbled amid stiff competition from China." In 2004 Ross "joined
with A.T. Massey Coal Co. to buy assets from bankrupt Horizon
Natural Resources Co., using a combination of cash and debt," the Wall Street Journal
says. Renamed International Coal Group, the
company went on to buy up smaller coal producers and, in 2011,
was sold to Arch Coal Inc. for $3.4 billion.
In steel, Ross is said to have "pieced together"
steel producers Bethlehem Steel, Acme Steel, Weirton Steel and
LTV Steel to form International Steel Group in 2002. He then took
the conglomerate public in 2003 and sold it to Indian billionaire
Lakshmi Mittal two years later for $4.5 billion. Some 250,000
steelworkers had their pensions cut anywhere from 10 to 70 per cent.
Electoral College voting for President of the United
States of America takes place December 19, when the 538 electors
(selected by the candidates and state Republican and Democrat
organizations) meet in their respective states and vote, on separate
ballots, for President and Vice President. The new Congress counts
the electoral votes on January 6 and has to certify, or challenge, the
votes by each state’s electors. Federal law requires a member of both
the House and the Senate to question a state's electoral votes in
writing for a formal objection to be considered. On January 6, the
sitting Vice President, in this case Joe Biden, acting as President of
the Senate, chairs the session and declares which persons, if any, have
been elected President and Vice President. Inauguration of the next
President is scheduled to take place on January 20, 2017 at 12:00 noon.
Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee has been
a majority of Electoral College votes -- 306 votes
to 232 for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee -- based on
election held November 8, making him the 45th President-Elect of
Out of 232 million eligible voters, more than 95
per cent) did not cast a ballot. Three million are ineligible due
to their status as felons. Donald Trump received approximately 63
million votes, or 27 per cent of the eligible vote, fewer than
approximately 65 million votes that represent 28 per cent of the
Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson received 4 million
votes. Green Party candidate Jill Stein received more than 1
million votes. Other candidates and write-in votes accounted for
2 million votes, including candidates from the Party for
Socialism and Liberation, the Workers' World Party, the Peace and
Freedom Party and others, as well as independent candidates.
This was the
election in which the person with a plurality of the national
vote did not win the Electoral College vote.
Elections also took place for the House of
and Senate. In both cases Republican Party candidates won a
majority of seats, 239 to 193 for the Democratic Party in the
House and 51 to 48 for the Democratic Party in the Senate.
Information from Exit Polls
According to CNN exit polls, 54 per cent of voters had
an unfavourable opinion of Hillary Clinton while 60 per cent had an
unfavourable opinion of Donald Trump. Eighteen per cent found them
"both unfavourable." Sixty-one per cent said Clinton is not "honest and
trustworthy" while 63 per cent said the same about Trump. Twenty-nine
per cent said neither is honest. Fifty-three
per cent said they would be "scared" or "concerned" if Clinton
won, while 56 per cent said the same about a Trump victory.
Seventy per cent said Donald Trump's treatment of women bothered
them "a lot" or "some." Forty-four per cent said they would be
"excited" or "optimistic" by a Clinton victory while 40 per cent
said the same about Trump.
1. Electors who do not vote for
the candidate who received a majority of votes in their state are known
as "faithless electors" and in some states face criminal penalties,
usually a small fine. In the past century this has only occurred a
handful of times. Congress, on January 6, can overrule any actions by
the Electoral College.
2. Trump was declared the winner in
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and
Wyoming. Clinton was declared winner in California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois,
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Virginia and Washington.
3. In 2012, the Republican candidate
received 61 million votes to 66 million for the Democratic Party
candidate. In 2008, the total was 60 million votes for the Republican
candidate compared to 69 million for the Democratic
Positions of Trade Unions
One of the biggest problems facing the American working
class and people is that the voice of the working class is effectively
silenced. Not only are relatively few workers unionized -- the rate of
unionization has slipped from 20 per cent in 1983 to 11 per cent
today -- but the union centrals generally toe the line of the old
politics of siding with one faction of the U.S. ruling class in its
battle for power, which leaves the American working class divided. In
this vein, the position of U.S. unions and the international unions
based in the U.S. is to support the crisis-ridden U.S. democracy by
saying that Trump's election represents the voice of the American
people. Certain unions suggest that through the presidential election
the people were given a chance to decide the direction of the country.
They declare that this is what U.S. democracy is all about, to arrive
at a verdict of the people. Within this, most admit that their union
membership was deeply divided, claiming the division is a "left-right"
ideological divide. They ignore the results which show that a large
plurality of workers did not vote for either Clinton or Trump
preferring instead not to participate in an election where the
candidates of the Republicans and Democrats were generally considered
"the two most unwanted."
Some unions have declared that the election results
economic and political system is broken, and are an indictment of
the same old "politics as usual," yet they continue to yearn for
usual." An expression of this sentiment is the statement of the
national organization representing a collective of unions, the
AFL-CIO. Its President Richard Trumka says in a statement:
"Donald Trump has been
elected president. America is a
democratic nation, and the voters have spoken. The AFL-CIO
accepts the outcome of this election and offers our
congratulations to President-Elect Trump. More than anything,
this election is an indictment of politics as usual."
According to the AFL-CIO, the people have spoken, yet
national vote count shows Clinton ahead by over 2 million votes.
Trump's victory, it affirms, is largely due to angry workers
facing the phenomena of growth without manufacturing, poor job
creation, and U.S. jobs leaving the U.S., especially in what it
calls the "rustbelt battlegrounds." It asserts the elites turned
their backs on the workers, especially with the global trade
agreements sending jobs overseas. This tipped the Electoral
College vote in favour of Trump with victories in the heavily
industrialized states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin
and even Michigan, all states the Democrats recently have won.
The AFL-CIO does not explain or attempt to analyze how changing
one elite oligarch for another elite oligarch could possibly
favour the working class. It does not analyze why "angry workers"
should vote for a virulently anti-worker oligarch such as Clinton,
who is a promoter of sweatshops in Haiti, or Trump who personally
has a vicious record of attacking his own hotel and casino
The union central avoids any serious discussion of why
working people are not prepared to defend themselves in the face
of the imperialist election or how to go forward in a manner that
favours the interests of the workers and does not create
illusions that Trump will do so. What role have the organized
unions played in leaving the working class without an outlook
that can provide it with a solid base from which to engage
imperialist democracy and its electoral system in battle in good
conscience and with actions with analysis?
Some union leaders look for continuity in their role
civil society even though Trump severely threatens them in
practice at his hotels and casinos and in his speeches, which are
laced with police state rhetoric.
Most U.S. union leaders heavily favoured Clinton and
campaigned amongst their membership to vote for her. Canadian
union members of international unions with headquarters in the
U.S. even received form letters from the U.S. leaders exhorting
them to vote for Clinton and asking them to challenge the
groundswell of anti-Clinton sentiment from their own
The unions recognized that many workers were divided
when it came to voting, but failed to analyze that dividing the
working class on a sectarian basis based on one or another of the
oligarchic parties is precisely a main role of the outmoded
institutions which do not empower the people. The sectarian split
along party lines leaves the working class vulnerable to siding
with this or that so-called right-wing and left-wing faction of
the financial oligarchy up to participating in a reactionary
civil war, which is seriously brewing in the United
States. Embroiling the working class in the inter-monopoly and
inter-imperialist politics of the oligopolies and financial
oligarchy greatly weakens the working class movement as it
obscures the underlying division in the U.S. between social
classes, especially the class struggle between the working class
and those who own and control social wealth and property such as
the representatives of the oligopolies such as Trump and
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
(IBEW) refers to a split between its leaders and some who followed them
in voting for Clinton and other members who voted for Trump.
"This was a long, and at times, divisive, election, but
brothers and sisters in the IBEW, there remains much more that
unites us than divides us, and it's more important now than ever
that we work together over the coming days, months and years," a
But how to accomplish such unity and for what aim is
broached. Left unsaid is the need for independent politics of the
working class organized of, for and by the workers themselves
with their own worker politicians.
Instead, the IBEW says: "Last Tuesday revealed a deep
among the electorate over a declining middle class, stagnant
wages and the sense that our political system is rigged in favor
of the top 1 percent."
A working class conscious of its independent politics
never leap from the difficulties it faces into the arms of the
likes of Trump. Instead of arriving at warranted conclusions of
the need to strengthen the organized front of the working class,
the IBEW disgraces itself with words of conciliation which claim
"common ground" between the workers and Trump.
"To the extent that President-Elect Trump is serious
working toward growing the middle class and providing real
opportunities for working Americans, we're willing to work with
him. On issues like trade, infrastructure, jobs and outsourcing,
there can be common ground between us, and I'm committed to
finding it," says IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson.
These issues are precisely those where Trump and his
cabinet, such as Wilbur Ross, appointed as Secretary of Commerce,
have shown no common ground whatsoever with the working class.
Why not conclude the obvious based on the reality that confronts
the polity and deliberate on how workers will deal with that?
The effort of certain U.S. union leaders is now to find
niche where they can go back to conducting "business as usual"
despite the elections and Trump's cabinet appointments showing
that the U.S.election has plunged the U.S.-dominated imperialist
system of states and the entire world into a situation where
"business as usual" is no more.
The world exists as it presents itself, yet certain
leaders ostensibly representing the interests of the working
class appear to be looking for some "common ground" with the
Trump regime. They imagine some common ground
will emerge from Trump's pledge that he will change the situation
facing the angry workers of the heavily industrialized states.
The union leaders insist that Trump follow up on his promises and the
unions must show an ability to negotiate with the people with
whom they disagree. An example is the statement of the
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).
The IAMAW puts on a brave face and says:
"As a labor union, we deal
with those whom we disagree
every day at the bargaining table. We try to find common ground.
That's exactly what we intend to do in this new reality."
The common ground is said to be "jobs" and it is
this is Trump's agenda as well. The unions seek common ground with
Trump over "things" such as jobs but say they differ over "core
values," which they will not compromise. Presumably jobs and core
values are unrelated. Totally ignored is the fact that Trump's
aim and that of the workers are diametrically opposed to one
another. For Trump, jobs are things not workers with rights and
class interests in contradiction with those who own and control
Here, many U.S. union leaders say they face a dilemma
make use of their negotiating ability to find common ground
between jobs and their "core values," on which they will never
compromise. In this dilemma, "jobs" and their creation are
presented as things, not relations people enter into to make a
living and from which the oligarchs can seize the added-value
workers produce. Because jobs are considered things and not
relations amongst people, in particular between employees and
employers, the union leaders present these things without
concrete core values based on the rights of the working class and
its wish for equilibrium in class relations. Jobs are considered
"just jobs" without ideology, without politics of any kind,
without even class struggle in defence of rights, without the
reality that under imperialism, jobs exist within an antagonistic
dialectical social relation between the working class and those
who own and control social wealth such as Trump and Clinton.
Within the difficult social relation, the working class fights
for equilibrium that at least recognizes its rights and prepares
itself for an opening towards building the new outside the social
The direction Trump -- or Clinton for
matter -- takes the economy and whom it serves, according to many union
not germane to the relations between them and the Trump
presidency as long as jobs are created, and their "core values"
are respected at least generally in words if not in deeds in the
hurly burly world of class struggle. The core values remain
disconnected from reality and without historical context within
the imperialist system of states and certainly not connected with
the concrete conditions of working class struggles in defence of
their rights and the rights of all.
Some union leaders say they
recognize the split between
themselves, who campaigned and voted for Clinton along with some
members, and other members who voted for Trump. Again, no heed
seems to be paid to those who did not vote at all and why people
vote the way they do or do not vote. The vote is presented as
occurring without historical context and without consideration of
the many people who participated in actions with analysis to
oppose the imperialist elections and their fraudulent electoral
process as best they could and are searching for an
The results of the election show
that the very large majority
directly voting against Trump together with those not voting number
more than 170 million. What this majority holds in common is
that its decision to oppose Trump or oppose the entire
imperialist electoral process does not count in the U.S.
political system. They are disenfranchised from the result, which
is a Trump presidency with all the power that entails. The
working people are disempowered locally, regionally and
The vote does not signal a common ground between the
people and the financial oligarchy. If anything it signals a
repudiation of an imperialist electoral process that produced
such unwanted pro-war, racist candidates. Why not conclude that
and deliberate on how workers are to organize themselves as a
powerful front capable of defending their rights with actions
with analysis, and which constantly builds workers' consciousness
of themselves and their unity in the struggle for a new
pro-social direction for the economy and society.
Increase of Civil War Scenarios
The contradictions in the United States between those
asserting state's rights and those imposing federal powers and
the prerogatives of authorities at various levels are so sharp
that civil war scenarios are unfolding at a rapid rate.
Especially since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency,
this and that authority are declaring they will refuse to follow
his command on issues such as immigration, deportations, policing
and even military operations abroad. Los Angeles police have stated
they will not cooperate with federal forces on immigration matters, as
have New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Various officials from what are called sanctuary cities, like Boston,
Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle have said the same.
Recently, referring to
Trump's statement about massive
deportations, New York Governor Cuomo said he will protect people
from racism and discrimination. New York is notorious for
state-organized racist attacks yet Cuomo is now attempting to
paint the state as opposing discrimination. He is also doing so
in a manner that directly challenges the federal government.
In an open letter to all students across the state,
said, "After the harsh and ugly rhetoric of the campaign, many of
you are concerned about what might happen next. Let me be clear:
This is the State of New York, not a state of fear. We will not
tolerate hate or racism." He goes on, "As long as you are here,
you are New Yorkers. You are members of our community, and we
will stand up for you." He emphasizes that New York has strict
laws against "hate crimes" that will be enforced. A special hotline has
been established to report incidents of discrimination.
Cuomo again repeats, "Our responsibility is to protect all who
are here, whether native-born or immigrant, whether documented or
Two things are particularly significant here. One is
statement that "As long as you are here, you are New Yorkers." He
does not say residents of New York, or that you are New Yorkers
and Americans, but simply New Yorkers. Why such emphasis? Given
that it is known that New York policing agencies are all used to
enforce government racism and discrimination, it cannot be seen
as a defence of rights. Rather, it is more an assertion that he
may use these police forces against federal agencies. It is not
rights that he will protect, as his many actions as Governor
against rights indicate, but rather his authority as Governor in
relation to the authority of the federal government.
Cuomo further indicates this when he says he will
who are here in New York, whether documented or not. This sounds
like a direct challenge to Trump, with his calls to target
undocumented immigrants. It has the appearance of "protecting"
the undocumented, when in reality it has more to do with
asserting his powers as Governor while also making it appear the
government can be relied on to oppose discrimination. Cuomo, like the
Mayor of New York City who made similar comments, is using the
substantial armed forces at his disposal to back up whatever
negotiations are to take place with the federal power. It is a
dangerous game that the people need to take into account when they wage
The notion promoted by some that
the problem of
state-organized racism lies solely with Trump, while state-level
governments can be relied on to protect the people is dangerous
indeed. Cuomo, as a representative example, is coming forward in
the context of various individual acts of a racist nature that
have occurred, particularly on campuses. While these acts are
widely promoted by media, the same media are generally quiet
about the broad and united response against these attacks by
students across the state. Similarly, the various organizations
taking actions, long before and since the Trump election,
including those that bring Muslims and Jews together to defend
rights, are not given recognition. For every one act there are
dozens and dozens of actions in support of the individuals or
mosques targeted. Cuomo's stand at once opposes the stand of the
people in defence of the rights of all, by giving the appearance
that it is sections of the people who are racist and the
government can be relied on to protect the people, while trying
to unite the people to oppose the incursions of the federal
The racist states at both the federal and state levels
are responsible for the broad racism and discrimination against the
people, such as racist mass incarceration and segregated schools and
neighborhoods. This is also apparent from the ongoing police killings
and brutality and continued government targeting of Muslims at home and
abroad. The Justice Department investigations of 17 police departments
confirmed widespread discrimination and unjust use of force, but have
done nothing to stop these injustices.
The resistance from state and local forces that Trump
facing in regards to immigration and policing are an indication
of the difficulties the imperialist rulers face in imposing their
dictate. The various authorities are all contending for power and
Trump may not be so successful in uniting them, especially
considering the various mayors have huge police forces of their
The centralization of police powers in the hands of the
presidency is in part designed to avert civil war by either
unifying and/or destroying various policing agencies to end
the competition in their ranks. It highlights a main problem the
imperialist rulers face. Keeping the Republic united is the
responsibility of the president, charged with preserving the U.S.
state. Various recent police actions, including those at Standing
Rock where many police from different states and National Guard
were brought together to repress resistance, are part of such
efforts. All of it is done in the name of Making America Great
Trump's appointment of Alabama Senator Jefferson
Sessions -- named after the President of the Confederacy Jefferson
Davis and Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard -- to
be Attorney General
in his cabinet also represents an effort to unify forces among
the rulers in the north and south in conditions where civil war
scenarios are already evident. Trump's means to do this is to
openly embrace those known to support the slave-power of the
south. It remains to be seen if this will be successful.
Sessions has also voiced
support for Trump's plans to quickly
begin deporting immigrants and to do so even more rapidly than
Obama has done. Immigration is one of the areas where the
executive can act with broad impunity and take action without
Trump and Sessions are also backing expansion of the
government registry, known as the National Security Entry-Exit
Registration System (NSEERS). It targeted non-citizens living
legally in the U.S. as well as those entering legally, many with
student visas, from 25 Asian and African countries, many mostly
Muslim, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya,
Sudan, and Syria. It existed from 2002-2011, with portions of it
still in place, including a giant biometric database of
registrants, used by the many policing agencies at all
The use of a special registry is not a Trump invention.
part of the direction of governance towards one of police powers
that has been developing and that Trump seeks to build on and
expand. It is also a means to bring the various agencies involved
together, in the name of national security. Such registries and
plans more broadly for biometric ID for immigrants, then all
workers, are also means by which to criminalize the workforce and
enable the imperialist rulers to more readily impose their
government of police powers. These are among the reasons that
stepping up the broad resistance to all such measures is
1. In the wake of Trump's
threats of mass deportations following his election, mayors of
several "sanctuary cities" explicitly stated that they will not
be changing their policy of non-cooperation with the federal government
on immigration matters. These include New York City Mayor de Blasio,
Chicago Mayor Emanuel and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. As president, Trump
says he will cut off federal funding to any cities that do not assist
Across the U.S. there are some 31 cities referred to as
sanctuary cities. While not a formal designation, the term
indicates that either by law or by practice, local law
enforcement officials do not cooperate with the federal agency
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Non-cooperation with
ICE varies from place to place, and may be for pragmatic reasons
that have nothing to do with taking a stand for rights, for
example to avoid lawsuits from those unjustly incarcerated. Law
enforcement in some cities will only turn over suspects to ICE if
they are charged with major crimes.
Mayor De Blasio said that by year-end, New York City
delete from its database the names of hundreds of thousands of
undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, so they
cannot be identified or deported.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said on November
14 that the force would not change its policy, in place since 1979,
that bars officers from contacting people solely to investigate whether
they are in the country legally. Under Chief Beck, the department has
also stopped bringing suspects for minor crimes to federal authorities.
Similarly, Denver Police spokesman Doug Schepman said in a statement,
"Immigration enforcement is handled at the federal level, not by local
law enforcement. The Denver Police Department has not participated in
those enforcement efforts in the past and will not be involved in the
This situation raises the possibility of a clash
major U.S. cities, such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago,
whose massive police forces are increasingly militarized,
and ICE, which like other federal agencies has also been
Eliminating the Human Factor/Social Consciousness
Following the election in the United States, much time
was spent expressing the shock of the Clinton camp at the Trump
victory. Time and again, reference was made to Hillary Clinton's
superior "ground game" which it was presumed would prevail over Donald
Trump's "weak ground game." Clinton's "ground game" was the
organization put together in states her campaign identified as key and
areas within those states called Designated Market Areas (DMAs) -- the
trademark name used by Nielsen Media Research to identify TV stations
that best reach an area and attract the most viewers. These "DMAs" were identified as
crucial for Clinton to win. The impression was created that as the
Democratic Party candidate, Clinton had legions of volunteers and
strong organizations as well as money but, despite this she still lost.
Some also now claim that she lost due to her campaign not "field
testing" its decisions and following what was happening "on the ground"
and that her campaign deployed its "ground game" to the wrong places.
This is meant to cover up
the fact that the "U.S. system of
elections, political parties and governance is exhausted," as TML
Weekly pointed out just before the election. The
elections, "far from re-establishing a new equilibrium within the
status quo, are being used to complete the process of 'change'
towards ways of governing which bypass political parties and
government structures." In fact, elections are being used to
bring in government of
police powers to replace government of laws.
In this regard, the U.S. presidential election is also
an example of the destruction of political parties, which is one of the
salient features of the crisis of the system called representative
democracy. This, in turn, destroys any participation of members of the
polity in governance. Once political parties cease to function as
primary organizations, the link is also broken between the governed and
those whom they entrust to represent them in government. To speak of
citizen participation in
governance is meaningless. Furthermore, there can be no equality
in a system based on privilege where the only role given to "we
the people" is to hand over all decision-making to a select few.
In the United States, as well as Canada, Britain and all other
countries which adopted the same electoral system, the process
was designed in such a manner that "we the people" only have a
role to play during an election. Membership in a political party
was supposed to be the link between the individual member of the
polity and the political power through which the individual
members of the polity were supposed to have a say over the
candidates and representatives and the vision they and their
party put forward for the country.
This link to political parties was always a way to
preserve the class rule of the property owners and, since the turn of
the 19th to the 20th centuries, its elitist nature to serve the very
rich and preserve privilege became evident, especially once universal
suffrage was won by the people. During the 20th century the form served
the monopolies and today it has been usurped by the oligopolies, which
have taken over governments and thus control the political process and
The way in which the recent election campaign was
carried out in the U.S. reveals a vicious struggle for power within the
factions of the ruling class conducted by powerful oligopolies. Its aim
to prevent anyone from thinking and acting as part of a political
movement of the people which changes things in their favour was also
The Clinton Campaign
The Clinton campaign strategy was based on public and
data brought together into a sophisticated database and an
algorithm called Ada -- named for 19th-century
mathematician Ada, Countess of Lovelace
-- which, news sources report, "spit
out what the campaign should do, in particular where to focus
An article in the Washington Post by John
provides the following information:
Ada is a complex computer
algorithm said to play a
virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including
where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of
surrogates and where to air television ads -- as well as when it
was safe to stay dark.
The campaign's deployment of
other resources --
county-level campaign offices and the staging of high-profile
concerts with stars like Jay Z and Beyoncé -- was largely
dependent on Ada's work, as well.
While the Clinton campaign's
reliance on analytics
well known, the particulars of Ada's work were kept under tight
wraps, according to aides. The algorithm operated on a separate
computer server than the rest of the Clinton operation as a
security precaution, and only a few senior aides were able to
According to aides, a raft
of polling numbers, public
private, were fed into the algorithm, as well as ground-level
voter data meticulously collected by the campaign. Once early
voting began, those numbers were factored in, too.
What Ada did, based on all
that data, aides said, was
400,000 simulations a day of what the race against Trump might
look like. A report that was spit out would give campaign manager
Robby Mook and others a detailed picture of which battleground
states were most likely to tip the race in one direction or
another -- and guide decisions about where to spend time and
[...] Clinton aides were
convinced their work, which
sophisticated than anything employed by President Obama or GOP
nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, gave them a big strategic advantage
Aides say Pennsylvania was
pegged as an extremely
state early on, which explains why Clinton was such a frequent
visitor and chose to hold her penultimate rally in Philadelphia
on Monday night [November 7]."
[...] the importance of
other states Clinton would
including Michigan and Wisconsin -- never became fully apparent or
that it was too late once it did.
Clinton made several visits
to Michigan during the general election, but it wasn't until the
final days that she, Obama and her husband made such a concerted
The Trump Campaign
On November 16, Fox News interviewed the Trump
digital director Brad Parscale in which he explains his role in
Trump's campaign. Parscale is a partner in the marketing firm
Giles-Parscale. According to his company's website, Parscale
"creates web marketing strategies and oversees all technical and
functional aspects of these strategies."
He indicates in the interview that Donald Trump's
Ivanka and Eric Trump, had originally hired him for their real
estate website. "Once I got the real estate website then I started to
work my way through the Trump [organization]." Parscale said that at
has "a very good relationship with them. I mean, they value hard work,
they value loyalty, they value success."
Parscale claims that based on his work he was "95
sure" that Trump would win. His data operation ran everything from
"TV buying to where we were on the ground to all of the different
operations. And so, and having that data right there, we could start to
where the persuadable targets are, [Get Out the Vote] … everything we
needed to know," he said.
He gave the example of Pennsylvania and Michigan: "We
in some other spots also as I started to see data and started to
track it. We were making thousands of live calls, web tracking,
web different surveys and it was building and it's building
what's called models and universes. What we can start to see is,
we're in play in Pennsylvania and play in Michigan. Let's buy in
these areas. Let's buy these DMAs. Let's buy these voter targets.
We started to see that move our direction. And by the Friday
before the election, I had predicted that we were going to win
305 electoral results."
"The [advanced] ballots in early voting... [were]
the data that where we were hitting targets and where we've wanted to
see the voters turn out were showing up for us.
"[...] the data doesn't lie. And that is the beauty of
I had some great data scientists, we have teams of them putting
that data in a way that could be consumed so we could understand
where we need to target people.
"My one flip mistake was Wisconsin and Colorado. That's
305 or 306. However as you can see our media buys from where we
bought them in Pennsylvania and ... different ways we're doing, we
had a good strategy with the data."
Asked about the effect of the FBI director's
the campaign, announcing a further investigation of the Clinton
e-mail scandal he said: "[...] I was actually flying with Mr. Trump
that night. I showed him plenty of the numbers before that
announcement that we were already coming. Those undecideds are
moving our way. [...] People in this country were ready for change,
they are ready for something new. They were already moving that
Also asked about the effect of the "Access Hollywood
which revealed Trump talking about groping women, he said, "All
campaigns have ebb and flows along the way, right? Ups and downs.
I mean, the progress that reassess your data, remove and build
new universes that now we have new targets. So, you move, you're
in the bag, you move the people in and out.
"My goal is to be a megaphone for people, for
candidates, for who that is," Parscale said. Referring to the
mistakes of the Republican campaigns in the past he says: "I think
that science that was missed in the previous campaigns was to
take the digital, and mix TV, ground game, door knocking, all of
those people, even budget. Jared [Kushner, Ivanka Trump's
husband] and I oversaw where the budget data was."
"You shouldn't give all of this away. You should hold
it inside so you can make more money doing it for others,"
Comparisons Between the Trump and Trudeau Campaigns
Speaking to a conference of the Canadian Chapter of the
International Institute of Communications on November 17, the
Trudeau Liberals' chief "digital strategist" Tom Pitfield
indicated that his impression was that the Trump campaign was run
in the same manner as Trudeau's.
"My general impression is that President-Elect Donald
ran a very similar campaign to what we did with Trudeau for
probably a lot of the same reasons. We did not have the pools of
data that were available to the other parties at the time, so we
had to go out on our own to find it.
"And in doing that, we had to have honest and engaged
conversations with people to get consent, to interact with them,
which meant our data was better, it was fresher -- it was more
Pitfield argued that Hillary Clinton, in contrast to
Trudeau, ran an "offline campaign" that probably relied too
heavily on traditional media.
"I think it started more (for Trump) as a fluke than by
deliberate intent. I would guess that Hillary's camp had bought
all the prime television spots," he said.
"He had to respond he went to social (media) and as a
discovered in that process all the advantages that come from
running an online campaign. So, in fact, I'd argue that Hillary
and her team won the offline campaign. The data coming in now is
that, without question, Trump dominated the online campaign."
"It allowed, from a data perspective, for people to do
intervention testing, so -- not that I want to get into the
details -- but when you run a campaign like Hillary, you have the
same thing all the time. You don't really learn anything about
the people you're appealing to because you're cookie-cutter,"
"When you have a candidate like Trudeau or Trump -- who
the boat and who are brave enough to say what they think -- it
creates these moments where you can see how the baseline is
measured against changes. And those changes are invaluable -- you
know when to deploy resources more efficiently, you know how to
deliver a message, you know how this resonates with the people
you're talking about and how that insight is far more
Paying lip service to some sort of connection between
election campaign and human beings, Pitfield claimed that the
"change narrative" only works coming from a "credible
1. A DMA region is a group of
that form an exclusive geographic area in which the home market
television stations hold a dominance of total hours viewed. There
are 210 DMA regions, covering the entire continental United
States, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska. The DMA boundaries and DMA
data are owned solely and exclusively by the Nielsen Company.
The Nielson Company says: "We study consumers in more
countries to give you the most complete view of trends and habits
worldwide. And we're constantly evolving, not only in terms of
where we measure, or who we measure, but in how our insights can
help you drive profitable growth."
2. Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of
Lovelace (December 10, 1815 - November 27, 1852 -- age 36), daughter of
poet Lord Byron, was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly
known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical
general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the
engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended
to be carried out by a machine. As a result, she is often
regarded as the first computer programmer.
3. Jared Kushner is the son of
U.S. billionaire real estate
developer Charles Kushner. He
took over duties as CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008. Kushner is the
owner of the
newspaper the New York Observer and is credited with developing
media campaign. Media report that Kushner is a "confidant" of Trump and
a close advisor
during the transition.
Bot Use in the U.S. Election
Studies and media reports before and after the November
8 presidential election point to an unprecedented use of social media
robots known as "bots."
A November 1 article in The
states that in the
"the size, strategy, and potential effects of social automation
are unprecedented -- never have we seen such an all-out bot war." The
Atlantic reports that while in the final debate,
and Clinton readily condemned Russia for attempting to influence
the election via cyber-attacks, "neither candidate has mentioned
the millions of bots that work to manipulate public opinion on
their behalf." Researchers in the field who are part of the
Project on Computational Propaganda of the Oxford Internet
Institute at Oxford University indicate that "the U.S.
election saw perhaps the most pervasive use of bots in attempts
to manipulate public opinion in the short history of these
automated political tools." Recent findings of the Project on
Computational Propaganda's work can be found at politicalbots.org.
What Are Bots?
A bot is software that automates online tasks. They are
used for commercial purposes and also increasingly by political
campaigns. In the latter case, bots refer primarily to software that
automates social media profiles and their interaction. They operate
accounts presenting as real people, produce content, and interact with
real users. Bots on social media platforms are designed to to rapidly
deploy messages, replicate themselves, and pass as human users.
Bots are easily programmable through the Twitter
application programming interface (API) and can be deployed by anyone
with basic coding knowledge. Their use in political campaigns is
referred to as "automated propaganda" or "computational
Governments, militaries, candidates and their marketing
agencies use bots for everything from creating fake accounts that
attack individuals, directing followers to "fake news" and manipulating
and distorting online polls to artificially inflating social-media
traffic and the popularity of individuals or campaigns.
Whereas one person could produce, at best, several
hundred messages on social media sites per day, bots can tweet, for
instance, thousands upon thousands of times. These efforts drive up the
numbers surrounding particular conversation elements on social media,
making them spread further, "going viral" or "trending."
Bots are also linked through what are called "botnets"
networks of bots. These are bot-controlled social media accounts
that are connected to one another and built to message and follow
one another. They can be comprised of hundreds of unique accounts
but can be controlled by one user from a single computer. They
can be used to carry out coordinated attacks against
Researchers indicate that "political bots tend to be
developed and deployed in sensitive political moments when public
opinion is polarized."
Bot Use in the U.S. Election
The study Bots and Automation over
during the U.S. Election published November 17 by
researchers from the Project on Computational Propaganda
which bots were used during the campaign.
The authors indicate that the use of automated accounts
deliberate and strategic throughout the election. They emphasize
that bots attacking the Clinton campaign were more sophisticated
and targeted than those which targeted the Trump campaign.
The research team concluded that more than a third of
pro-Trump tweets and nearly a fifth of pro-Clinton tweets between
the first and second presidential debates came from automated
accounts, which produced more than 1 million tweets in total.
One pro-Trump bot, @amrightnow, had more than 33,000
followers and spammed Twitter with "anti-Clinton conspiracy
theories." It generated 1,200 posts during the final debate.
@loserDonldTrump retweeted all mentions of
that include the word loser -- producing more than 2,000 tweets a
The study found that for the first two presidential
pro-Clinton bots were outnumbered by pro-Trump bots four-to-one. By the
final debate, that gap had widened to seven pro-Trump bots for every
It also found that during waking hours,
accounts were generating between 20 and 25 per cent of the traffic
on Twitter about the election during the days leading up to the
The authors note that the pace of automated political
campaigning dropped off after Election Day -- "a reminder that
campaigners and programmers behind bot accounts often disable
their purpose-built automation on victory."
The findings were based on a collection of about 19.4
Twitter posts gathered in the first nine days of November. Tweets
were selected based on hashtags
identifying certain subjects and identified
automated posting by finding accounts that posted at least 50
times a day.
These accounts are described as bots that are
"either irregularly curated by people or actively maintained by
people who employ scheduling algorithms and other applications
for automating social media communications."
"For example, the top 20 accounts, which were mostly
highly automated accounts, averaged over 1,300 tweets a day and
they generated more than 234,000 tweets," the researchers note.
"The top 100 accounts, which still used high levels of
automation, generated around 450,000 tweets at an average rate of
500 tweets per day." They also note that they expect the actual
number of bots to be much higher; many bots, after all, are built
to avoid obvious methods of identification.
The researchers note that as the election continued the
extent and sophistication of bot use increased, especially bots
operating against Clinton or for Trump. They say, for example,
that pro-Trump hashtags were inserted into more and more
combinations of "neutral and pro-Clinton" hashtags, such that by
the time of the election fully 81.9 per cent of the highly
automated content involved some pro-Trump messaging.
They add that automated accounts tweeting with
hashtags also increased their activities over the course of the
campaign period but never reached the level of automation behind
On August 4, Vanity
Nick Bilton wrote about Trump's claims of having over 22 million
Twitter followers, asserting that many of them were in fact bots.
He wrote, "According to the site Status People, which tracks how
many Twitter accounts are bots, inactive, or real, only 21
percent of Trump's Twitter followers are real, active users on
the platform. The rest are either bots, dead bots, or real people
who no longer log into Twitter."
Bilton also reported on bots used to ridicule Trump:
example of such a bot was created by Brad Hayes, a roboticist and
artificial-intelligence researcher at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, who runs a bot called @DeepDrumpf. This fun little
bot, which has 22,000 mostly real followers, uses a neural
network that has been trained to tweet based on past transcripts
from the real Trump. Just by looking at a couple of examples, the
@DeepDrumpf bot shows how easy it is to make something sound
real, or at least like a real Trump sound bite, even though it's
completely fake. One tweet, in reply to Ted Cruz, notes, 'If I
get elected president, believe me folks. I will bring
unbelievable aggression. I bring that out in people. @tedcruz
#Trump2016.' Another tweet reads: 'I can destroy a man's life by
firing him over the wall. That's always been what I'm running, to
kill people and create jobs.'"
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Hillary for
built a bot to text users Trump's quotes on selected topics.
People who signed up to "Text Trump" received messages in a style
intended to mimic Trump, asking them to question [the bot] on
topics such as the economy, Hillary Clinton or China. When it
responded with quotes from Trump himself, users could type
"Source," and receive video or text evidence that Trump had said
Although much emphasis is being placed on the use of
bots on Twitter, especially "pro-Trump" bots, their use against Trump
has been less publicized. For example, U.S. author Sasha Issenberg was
interviewed by the Liberals' chief data strategist for the 2015 federal
election, Tom Pitfield, at a December 14 event, "What Just Happened?
Inside the 2016 U.S. Election," hosted by neo-liberal think-tank Canada
2020. Issenberg noted that in past elections the Obama campaign had a
system whereby its supporters would give access to their Facebook
account to the campaign which would then, using a bot based on an
algorithm, indicate who they should contact and how (through social
media, phone calls etc.) based on merging this data with voter
registration data for what were identified as battlegrounds and user
profile information. Issenberg noted that this would encourage
supporters to interact with people who they might not otherwise talk to
about "politics," all directed by algorithm.
The November 1 article in The Atlantic quotes
two of the Oxford
authors. Samuel Woolley and Douglas Guilbeault write that
bots "silence people
and groups who might otherwise have a stake in a conversation. At the
same time they make some users
seem more popular, they make others less likely to speak. This
spiral of silence results in less discussion and diversity in
politics. Moreover, bots used to attack journalists might cause
them to stop reporting on important issues because they fear
retribution and harassment."
In an October 19 article in the Washington Post titled,
in four debate tweets comes from a bot. Here's how to spot
them," Caitlin Dewey writes: "Bots aren't attempting to change
hearts and minds -- that's an ambitious task for a bit of code.
Instead, most bots exist simply to muddy the facts, making it
difficult for neutral bystanders to discern the truth and easier
for partisans to reject any views that may clash."
Paraphrasing Philip Howard, another of the Oxford
study's authors, Dewey says, "Bots,
pro-Trump bots, tend to circulate links to persuasive conspiracy
sites -- often, they're the primary force keeping these links in
circulation. In fact, Trump bots tend to be more sophisticated
than Clinton ones, utilizing hashtags and including pictures that
make them more persuasive.
"During the first debate, pro-Trump bots focused on
email scandal and Benghazi; during the second, they honed in on
the whole 'I'll-send-her-to-jail' thing. Pro-Clinton bots,
meanwhile, spread a number of messages about Trump's taxes during
the first debate, and pivoted to his treatment of women in the
Quoting Howard, she writes, "In 2008 and even 2012,
bots were used to make someone seem more popular. Now they're
more about keeping negative messaging, misinformation, suspicion
and even hate speech alive."
1. Bence Kollanyi, Philip N. Howard,
and Samuel C. Woolley. "Bots and Automation over Twitter during
the U.S. Election." Data Memo 2016.4. Oxford, UK: Project on
Computational Propaganda, www.politicalbots.org.
2. A hashtag is a comment or statement
that begins with the pound sign (#) that users add to their social
media posts so
that all those interested in the topic that hashtag refers to can
follow it. Users generally see social media posts that have been
re-posted by others, or liked or commented on by other users.
This is done using social media sites' algorithms which boost
popular content further.
December 26, 1862
The Past in the Present
On December 26, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered
public hanging of 38 Sioux for demanding food for their starving
people in a concentration camp. The youngest hanged was a 12
Saint Paul, Dec.
27, 1862. I have the honor to inform you
[President Lincoln] that 38 Indians ordered by you for execution
were hung yesterday at Mankato [Minnesota] at 10 a.m. Everything
went off quietly. The other prisoners are well secured.
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