ON TUESDAY, president Donald Trump delivered his much-delayed annual State of the Union speech to the US Congress, held up by the longest-ever shutdown of the US government.
This humiliation was covered over with a mixture of vainglorious boasting about America’s ‘greatness’ and his pivotal role in creating a momentary credit boom, based on low interest rates, with its trillions of debt, side by side with a ferocious trade war. The bravado was accompanied by appeals to the Democrats for political unity and in fact it was a veiled plea to them not to close down the US government again.
At the start of his 90-minute speech, Trump proclaimed: ‘We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.’
This pointedly ignored the fact that the reason for this delay was the impasse between Trump and the Democratic-controlled Congress over funding for his ‘wall’ on the Mexican border. This resulted in Trump ordering a partial closure of the Federal government for a record 35 days, resulting in 800,000 federal workers sent home without pay or forced to work for no wages during that time. This was a great humiliation for both the ‘gambler’ Trump and the ‘great USA’, when federal workers had to survive on food banks!
Only after Trump backed off last week, when he announced a three-week funding bill, was he able to make the speech outlining his ‘greatness’ and his administration’s priorities for the coming year. Trump in fact had to demonstrate a new-found enthusiasm for bi-partisanship and got a warm response from the Democrats when he raised the spectre of socialism in America.
Past presidents, especially in the Cold War period, in their annual address have used the ‘Communist menace’ of the Soviet Union to unite the two main bourgeois parties but never before can anyone remember a president warning of the dangers of the American working class flocking to socialism.
This is Trump’s nightmare; this is what Trump and the US ruling class are clearly scared of today; this is the source of his ‘America First’ policy. In his speech, Trump said: ‘Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.’
This fear of the working class rising up against US capital that has enriched itself at the expense of millions of workers and young people certainly unified the Republicans and Democrats who rose up in a standing ovation chanting ‘USA/USA’.
Trump’s expression of the fear now stalking the ruling class echoed that made by the White House Council of Economic Advisors (a supposedly politically neutral body) just before last year’s mid-term Congressional elections. They sounded the alarm in a report which stated: ‘Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth (May 1818), socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the electorate.’
Trump’ speech was a clarion call for the two main bourgeois parties to unite in a class war against the US working class. Trump’s war at home is continued by his war abroad against he workers of the world.
On Venezuela, Trump brazenly proclaimed: ‘We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom.’ In fact, Trump is spearheading a drive to foment a bloody civil war in Venezuela to effect regime change, either that or make good his threat to invade the country to seize its huge oil reserves.
The same promise of imperialist war was held out by Trump in relation to the Middle East in his speech when he labelled Iran as the ‘world’s leading state sponsor of terror’.
The world crisis of capitalism is driving the US ruling class to war against the working class of the world. The braggart Trump fears the world socialist revolution and his worst fears will be fully confirmed in the days ahead.