A socialist orientation to the splits in the Trump administration and capitalist class

The struggle inside and among the capitalist ruling class is taking another sharp, surprising turn with the publication in the New York Times of an extraordinary anonymous article by someone described as a top official within the Trump Administration.

The article not only denounces Donald Trump but asserts that there has been a secret effort underway from senior Trump officials to more directly control his presidency until it comes to an end — “one way or another.”  This high-level grouping has secretly weighed the possibility of removing him from office. For now, the official says, they are continuing to work inside the Administration to limit the destructive impact of Trump for what they say is the good of the country. The article asserts, “many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

What is going on here? What should socialists take from this new re-emergence of the “Stop Trump” movement – this time from within the summits of the Republican-led administration? Is it a matter of rats preparing the life boats for their escape from Trump’s sinking ship or are they heroically and covertly sinking their own boat to save all of us from their evil captain?

Not surprisingly, for the author, they are indeed heroes:

“The erratic behavior [of Trump] would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”

Praising Trump’s service to the war machine and Wall St.

Why have the anonymous “resistance fighters” inside the White House taken up this effort to constrain and potentially end the Trump presidency? Was it the mass deportations, the de-regulation of capitalist polluters, the huge tax “reform” giveaways that redistributed money by taking from the poor and giving to the rich, or the massive expansion of military spending? Was it the funding of Saudi airstrikes against busloads of kids in Yemen?

No, the article either endorses, omits mention of these policies or praises them as Trump’s “accomplishments.” The expansion of the war machine, deregulation and massive tax giveaway to corporate America are highlighted as “bright spots” in the administration.

The problem with Trump, we are told, is that he is “not moored” to Republican principles, ideals and morals:

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”

Ok, good enough. That sounds right when it comes to Trump — no principles, purely pragmatic and a complete hustler. But these are not hidden qualities or unknown personal traits of Trump and were fully on display before our anonymous “resistance” author and his comrades accepted leadership positions within the administration. So it goes deeper than that.

Managing the ‘common affairs of the bourgeoisie’

The self-described “unsung heroes” from within the administration are most upset that Trump has “little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives, including the ‘free market’ and ‘free people.’” These are meaningless or euphemistic code words. There is no such thing as a free market in the era of the rapidly congealing tendencies of monopoly capitalism whereby mega corporations like Amazon and big banks decimate small businesses, as well as the middle and working classes.

The author and his comrades are also mainly upset that Trump wants better or more normal relations with Russia and a peace treaty with North Korea – the only two discernible Trump positions that deviate from the ultra-militarist consensus within the imperialist establishment, and the Pentagon and CIA in particular.

Since Trump became a phenomena in the 2016 election, which was mainly the result of virtually undiluted, free and constant media time given to him by CNN, CBS, and the capitalist-owned media outlets in the United States (all pursuing a narrow agenda connected to their ratings and advertising money) the Party for Socialism and Liberation has explained that significant sectors of the U.S. ruling class would be profoundly dissatisfied with Trump as the CEO of the government that serves their interests.

Trump is not trusted by the bourgeoisie to be the top executive to manage their common affairs. He neither has the inclination, training or temperament for the task at hand. In fact, his absolute narcissism, hustling and dictatorial style makes him a destabilizing factor for imperialism and the institutions of the U.S.-dominated world order that they have carefully managed for decades. That’s their main beef with Trump.

As early as February 2016 we reminded people of Karl Marx’s incisive generalization in the Communist Manifesto: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” Trump is a destabilizing factor at a time when the big bourgeoisie craves not just profits but stability and are facing, in the words of the Pentagon’s National Security Strategy, an emerging era of “great power competition.”

The ‘steady state’ 

Trump temporarily overcame the big bourgeoisie’s hostility to him, for a few days, with the bombing of Syria in April 2017. He purchased wider ruling-class appreciation with the gargantuan tax giveaway to the banks, corporations and already wealthy. Grateful as the capitalists are for this redistribution of wealth to the already rich, they are still skeptical of him. It is mainly in coal, oil, steel, aluminum and the weapons industries that Trump retains solid support from some sectors of the capitalists. He also has considerable support in the white middle class and considerable sectors of white workers.

But the author of the New York Times editorial represents the professional class of managers of the permanent state apparatus and they revile Trump. In describing their quiet — and now open — subversion against Trump the author  aptly describes who they are and what their mission is in the framework of the capitalist ruling class and its global empire: “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

It’s critically important for socialists who are organizing against Trump’s egregious and reactionary policies not to become the tail to the “steady state,” which at its core is the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI and other instruments of repression. That is the state apparatus of the capitalists and their overt and covert instruments of global domination.

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