For a general strike and self-defense committees to defend the popular uprising in the U.S.!
Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 24 July 2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. Since more than a week, President Trump’s Administration is deploying hundreds of federal agents against protestors in Portland. Dressed in camouflage and tactical gear, these paramilitary gangs have taken to the streets in unmarked vans, seizing and detaining protesters and unleashing tear gas. They attack demonstrators every night who continue undeterred their protests against racism and police violence. Yesterday, the federal agents even gassed Ted Wheeler, the mayor of the city. On 20 July, Trump threatened similar actions in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland and other cities.
2. There should be no doubt: this is a cynical attempt to launch a civil war from above. Trump, representing the most reactionary sectors of the ruling class, has openly stated from the beginning that he wants to “dominate the streets”, i.e. to smash the popular uprising with brute force. However, his plan to send the army against the mass demonstrations failed as the Pentagon, like the majority of the ruling class, considers such a civil war from above as too risky currently. Now, Trump hopes to achieve the same with Homeland Security forces loyal to him.
3. The latest events show that the spontaneous popular uprising, which began in late May after the police killing of George Floyd, continues to shape the political situation in the U.S. While this insurrection has receded in many parts of the country in the past weeks, it continues to dominate the public opinion as has been reflected in the removal of statues of racist figures and of the Confederate flag as well as other symbolic actions.
4. As the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has explained in past statements, this spontaneous popular insurrection represents not only the most important class struggle in the U.S. since at least half a century. It is also a major global political event as it has provoked an international wave of mass mobilizations against racism and police violence. These mass protests are particularly impressive since they started in direct violation of the reactionary Lockdown rules imposed by the capitalist governments all over the world under the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, this global wave of mass protests has broken down the counterrevolutionary state of siege – an anti-democratic attack of the ruling class which had been shamefully supported by numerous so-called “left-wing” parties and groups (the Lockdown Left).
5. It is evident that Trump deploys these paramilitary gangs in a desperate attempt to save his doomed presidency. He is hated and despised by the popular masses – particularly in the larger cities. This ultra-reactionary dumbass has hardly any chance to win the Presidential elections in November. The same holds true for his Republican Party which is also likely to experience dramatic losses at the upcoming elections for Congress. Hence, the Administration hopes to provoke civil war-like conditions in order to manipulate or delay the elections. This counterrevolutionary offensive resembles the notorious “strategy of tensions” deployed by ultra-reactionary and fascist forces in Italy in the early 1970s.
6. This development does not come as a surprise to Marxists. The RCIT has already warned in a statement on 2 June against such a “civil war from above”. We explained: “Trump considers, not without reason, that a police-military de-facto coup might be the only chance to stay in power given the economic depression, mass unemployment, and his incompetent and reckless handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (as well as of many other issues). In short, setting the country on fire might be his only chance to politically survive and this modern version of the insane Imperator Nero might be determined to go ahead.” (United States: Is a Bloody Counterrevolution Looming?, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/is-a-bloody-counterrevolution-looming-in-the-us/)
7. However, as we also emphasized at that time, Trump’s provocation can easily backfire. The brutal deployment of his paramilitary gangs has already provoked a popular outcry. Participation in the demonstrations in Portland increase by every night. Hundreds of women form an impressive “wall of mums” in order to protect the demonstrators against the federal agents. Under such pressure, even mayors and other politicians of the Democratic Party speak out against the deployment of these thugs in uniform. If Trump continues his civil war from above this could provoke a new massive upsurge of the popular insurrection and might even result in the opening of a revolutionary situation.
8. The RCIT repeats that it is urgent that activists organize the resistance. In order to defeat Trump one should not hope for the elections in November. Who knows if resp. under which conditions the election will take place. And in any case, the Democrats’ Joe Biden is just another billionaire candidate who does not deserve the support of progressive workers and youth. No, Trump must be defeated on the streets! The workers and youth should strive to bring down Trump by a popular uprising. The next steps for this should be in our opinion:
a) Organizing of popular assemblies and the formation of committees of action in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities. Such committees should decide about the demands and the course of action. They should also elect delegates so that there can be a regional and national coordination.
b) Building of armed self-defense committees in order to defend the communities against the enemy in blue and to drive the police as much as possible out of the communities.
c) Organizing of a general strike. The national workers strike on 20 July (“Strike for Black Lives”) with tens of thousands protesting in more than two dozen U.S. cities against racism and economic inequality has been an impressive first step.
9. Activists in the mass movement should work towards these goals. While they should have no illusions in the reformist conceptions of the leaderships of various community and popular organizations, trade unions, the DSA etc., they should demand from these forces to support such actions. At the same time, revolutionary activists need to work under their independent banner without political subordinating to such reformist leaderships.
10. We call revolutionaries in the U.S. and globally to join forces on the basis of a program of struggle. We need a Revolutionary World Party which fights for the overthrow of the capitalist exploiter system which is the basis of racism and police violence. Such a party must be free from all opportunistic trends among the so-called left, like the support for state bonapartism (like the Lockdown policy) and the reactionary support for any imperialist Great Powers (e.g. China, Russia, EU). Comrades, brothers and sisters, let us join hands in working for such a historic tasks! Join the RCIT!
International Bureau of the RCIT
* * * * *
The RCIT has published a number of documents on the popular uprising in the U.S. which are compiled on a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/articles-on-uprising-after-murder-of-george-floyd/.
We refer readers also to the RCIT’s analysis of the COVID-19 crisis. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 50 documents – including a new book – which are all collected at a special sub-page in our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/.