Socialist Worker

We can win if left can offer a way forward

Issue No. 2529

Politics in 2016: Pretty awful?

Politics in 2016: Pretty awful?

Politics in 2016 have been bad enough to trigger a “Brexistential crisis”, Guardian newspaper columnist Jay Watts argued.

“Like Princess Diana’s death or 9/11,” he said, the Leave vote and the US election campaign “are world events that we struggle to compute”.

The US election result wasn’t known as Socialist Worker went to press.

But whoever won, a bigot who brags about sexual assault had dominated the race.

A rise in racist attacks followed the Brexit vote. Now Ukip’s Nigel Farage claims he will lead a march of 100,000.

But that’s not the whole picture. The new president-elect of the US, whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, will be the most hated and distrusted in its modern history.

Trump would lead a Republican Party in more open revolt against him than the Parliamentary Labour Party is against Jeremy Corbyn.

Clinton would have legal threats hanging over her from the start.

Her Democratic Party would be wary of the resentment that saw “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders win 13 million votes for opposing her—then jeers for backing her.

Either president would try to rule for the rich and against their own working class supporters—but will not necessarily find it easy to do so.

The election follows a modest surge in struggles from below.

We’ve seen Sioux-led environmental protests at Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter and strikes at Verizon, fast food chains and elsewhere.

Threats to the status quo should not mean that we defend the dire set-up that exists now

In Britain there has been a long term rise in racism against migrants, but the majority of people polled want an immediate guarantee of EU migrants’ rights.

Four months of Theresa May have seen dizzying U-turns, cabinet splits and two MPs’ resignations.

Her government does not look capable of simply rolling over all opposition.

Farage talks big for an interim leader of a party mired in farcical faction fights.

But there is no room for complacency.

Fascist parties are gaining support in several countries across Europe.

Mainstream politicians’ scapegoating of migrants here fuels racism. Fascist groups could grow in strength again.

But threats to the status quo should not mean that we defend the dire set-up that exists now.

That drove many on the left to defend the imperialist, undemocratic bosses’ club that is the European Union.

It has driven calls to support the warmongering career politician Clinton.

Our hope lies in overthrowing the system that both represent.

Instead of panicking about our rulers’ tribulations, we should seize the opportunities to exploit their weaknesses.

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