December 17, 2016 - No. 49

U.S. Presidential Election Results

Significance for the Workers' Movement

In Memoriam

Edward Alastair Haythornthwaite

May 13, 1952 - December 14, 2016

With deep sorrow the Marxist-Leninist Party of 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 and repaired 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 heart.

"In a program sponsored through his union he completed his BA in Labour Studies in 2013 thus fulfilling a long wished for goal"

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 experience."

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.

*** 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.

- John 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 "Make America Great Again"
The Art of the Deal
Peace Through Strength
Concern with Manufacturing and Industry 

For Your Information

Election Results
Positions of Trade Unions
Increase of Civil War Scenarios
Eliminating the Human Factor/Social Consciousness
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 held 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.[1] 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 of 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 rejected any 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.

Similarly, Gerstenberger 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, is to 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.

Gerstenberger then addressed the positions of some of the main unions in the U.S. Some labour leaders say they 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 15, 2016.

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 anti-war government.

Participants noted that having such discussions clarifies the 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

Haut de


Need to Confront Government of Police Powers
by Building the New

The following 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 movement, organized by CPC(M-L) in Hamilton, Ontario on December 10, 2016.


The most significant issue to address when looking at the 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 arrangements 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 they face.

The fact that now the peoples of the U.S. and the world will 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 government of 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 table.

It is notable that in appointing South Carolina Governor 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 the 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 that 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 mind 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 powers.

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 must at 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. Police 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 we are 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 not Trump.

Standing Rock

Despite repeated claims by the federal government and media 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 those 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 sufficient.

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 in the 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 their 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 those resisting.

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 Constitution itself.

A recent example includes Obama's order to authorize U.S. 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 everywhere.

Obama basically declared that the whole world is open for 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 Trump.

Need for Anti-War Government

Recently there has been a lot of promotion that Trump has now 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 whether they 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 the 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 rulers 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 predicted.

Similarly, while the U.S. threatens use of nuclear weapons, 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 decide.

Key Conflict of Interest Is that of the Rulers vs. the Working Class

Another important issue being promoted is that Trump, with 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 holdings.

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 the 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! They 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 the 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 views.

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Trump's Program to "Make America Great Again"

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 results, "The 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 our country.'"[1]

What this means was amply illustrated during the election 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 of, 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 Minister, 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 weapons.

This was further indicated in Trump's view of how he thinks foreign relations with Japan (and China) should be conducted 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."

Characterizing Icahn's business instinct, Bloomberg noted that he "left President-Elect Trump's victory party in the early hours of the morning to bet about $1 billion on U.S. equities."

The New York Times reported on November 15 that world 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 Israel.

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 ill-considered.

On December 2, Trump was reported to have spoken by telephone with Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan (officially the Republic of China, a 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 Post, New York Times and New York Daily 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 said 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 his 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 to 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 special 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 should know 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 immigrants, he 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 respected 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 Trump's Negotiation Mind Games." The author, Geoffrey James, relates the story of a friend of his who had just sold his company to Trump:

"Rather than meeting immediately with Trump (the original 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 would 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 over to 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."


1. "On the Significance of U.S. Presidential Election Results: The End of 'Business As Usual,'" TML Weekly, November 12, 2016.

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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 strength."

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 economic 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 pattern in which the American economy has grown below 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 U.S. 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 are:

1) theft of blueprints from U.S. businesses;
2) theft of designs of military hardware, as well as a "flood" of counterfeit parts; and
3) attacks against the "industrial control systems" of critical infrastructure such as electricity grids, water purification plants, air traffic control, subways, and telecommunications.

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, Navarro explained Trump's trade policy with respect to China. Countering the claim that Trump's proposals are "protectionist," Navarro said, "If he 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."

"[T]he Trump trade doctrine" is that "America will trade with any country, so long as that deal meets these three criteria" Navarro said:

"- You increase the GDP growth rate;
"- You decrease the trade deficit;
"- And you strengthen the manufacturing base."

Addressing the failures of the Obama-Clinton Pivot to Asia 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. policy 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 partners."

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. economy on 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 peace 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."

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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 result 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 for "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 result of 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 1999 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, he 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 that "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, who 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 value 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" bankrupt 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.

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For Your Information

Election Results

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.[1] 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 assigned a majority of Electoral College votes -- 306 votes to 232 for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee -- based on the presidential election held November 8, making him the 45th President-Elect of the U.S.[2]

Out of 232 million eligible voters, more than 95 million (41 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 Clinton's approximately 65 million votes that represent 28 per cent of the eligible vote.[3] 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 fifth U.S. 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 Representatives 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 candidate.

(With files from 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker, United States Election Project, National Archives and Records Administration, CNN)

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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 show that the economic and political system is broken, and are an indictment of the same old "politics as usual," yet they continue to yearn for "business as 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 the 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 workers.

The union central avoids any serious discussion of why the 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 within 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 widely 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 membership.

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 Clinton.

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 as 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 statement says.

But how to accomplish such unity and for what aim is not 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 anxiety 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 would 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 about 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 new 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 a 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 union 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 with 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 claimed that 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 social property.

Here, many U.S. union leaders say they face a dilemma and must 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 relation.

The direction Trump -- or Clinton for that matter -- takes the economy and whom it serves, according to many union leaders, is 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 alternative.

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 nationally.

The vote does not signal a common ground between the working 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.

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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.[1]

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, Cuomo 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 not."

Two things are particularly significant here. One is Cuomo's 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 protect all 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 resistance struggles.

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 power.

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 is 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 own.

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 Again.

Trump's appointment of Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard 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 Congress.

Trump and Sessions are also backing expansion of the previous 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 levels.

The use of a special registry is not a Trump invention. It is 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 critical.


1. In the wake of Trump's renewed 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 in deportations.

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 will 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 future."

This situation raises the possibility of a clash between 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 increasingly militarized.

(With files from Voice of Revolution, Buffalo Forum and news agencies)

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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.[1] 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 electoral systems.

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 paramount.

The Clinton Campaign

The Clinton campaign strategy was based on public and private data brought together into a sophisticated database and an algorithm called Ada -- named for 19th-century mathematician Ada, Countess of Lovelace[2] -- which, news sources report, "spit out what the campaign should do, in particular where to focus their resources."

An article in the Washington Post by John Wagner provides the following information:

Ada is a complex computer algorithm said to play a role in 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 -- including 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 became 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 access it.

According to aides, a raft of polling numbers, public and 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 run 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 deploy resources.

[...] Clinton aides were convinced their work, which was far more sophisticated than anything employed by President Obama or GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, gave them a big strategic advantage over Trump.


Aides say Pennsylvania was pegged as an extremely important 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 lose -- 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 effort.

The Trump Campaign

On November 16, Fox News interviewed the Trump campaign's 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 children, 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 present he 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 per cent 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 played 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] showing 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 our data. 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 my 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 intervention in 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 way."

Also asked about the effect of the "Access Hollywood tape" 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 businesses, 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."[3]

"You shouldn't give all of this away. You should hold some of it inside so you can make more money doing it for others," Parscale concluded.

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 Trump 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 current."

Pitfield argued that Hillary Clinton, in contrast to Trump and 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 result 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," Pitfield said.

"When you have a candidate like Trudeau or Trump -- who rocked 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 efficient."

Paying lip service to some sort of connection between such an election campaign and human beings, Pitfield claimed that the "change narrative" only works coming from a "credible candidate."


1. A DMA region is a group of counties 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 than 100 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 the 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 Trump's digital media campaign. Media report that Kushner is a "confidant" of Trump and a close advisor during the transition.

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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 Atlantic states that in the election "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, Trump 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

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 propaganda."

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" or 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 individuals.

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 Twitter during the U.S. Election published November 17 by researchers from the Project on Computational Propaganda reveals the extent to which bots were used during the campaign.[1]

The authors indicate that the use of automated accounts was 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 @realDonaldTrump that include the word loser -- producing more than 2,000 tweets a day.

The study found that for the first two presidential debates, 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 pro-Clinton bot.

It also found that during waking hours, highly-automated accounts were generating between 20 and 25 per cent of the traffic on Twitter about the election during the days leading up to the vote.

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 million Twitter posts gathered in the first nine days of November. Tweets were selected based on hashtags[2] 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 bots and 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 pro-Clinton hashtags also increased their activities over the course of the campaign period but never reached the level of automation behind pro-Trump traffic.

On August 4, Vanity Fair author 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: "One 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 America, 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 those things.

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 study's 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, "One 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, particularly 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 Clinton's 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 second."

Quoting Howard, she writes, "In 2008 and even 2012, Twitter 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,

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.

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December 26, 1862

The Past in the Present

On December 26, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the public hanging of 38 Sioux for demanding food for their starving people in a concentration camp. The youngest hanged was a 12 year-old girl.

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.

                                                       - Respectfully, H. H. SIBLEY, Brigadier-General.

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