Wouldn’t it be stupid to expect the same “rust belt” workers and rural white poor who helped elect Trump to turn around and defend immigrants, reproductive rights for women, freedom of affectional preference, and racial equality?
No. It wouldn’t be stupid at all. It would be, in fact, entirely reasonable and practical.
As a side note, I do not agree with those who simply say that everyone who voted for Trump is, ipso facto, a bigot; it is absurd as to say that everyone who voted for Secretary Clinton is a servant of Goldman-Sachs and supports war crimes. And you know all of those who kept saying things like, “Prove to me Trump is a racist!”? Well, our first thought is a quite reasonable, “If you really don’t think Trump is a hardened bigot, you are so far in denial there’s no point in talking about it,” but our second thought ought to be to realize that the denial, absurd as it is, is a testimony to the fact that even they think racism is a bad thing and should be denied.
However, let’s skip over that argument and get to something that is, in my opinion, more significant:
Where do you begin your analysis, with what is in someone’s head, or with the search for objective truth? Do you see ideas as the primary focus, so your first catagorization is “liberal” “conservative” “Clinton supporter” “Trump supporter” “racist” “sexist” and so on? Or, on the other hand, do you begin with objective social relations, regardless of an individual’s opinion: wage-worker, poor, capitalist, petty-bourgeois? I beg to submit for your consideration the following two propositions:
1. The objective is superior to the subjective.
2. The actual, objective interests of “rust belt” workers and the rural poor are exactly the same as their class brothers and sisters, and it is in their objective interests, however many of them do or do not agree at any given moment, for there to be racial equality, freedom of affectional preference, reproductive rights for women, and freedom of movement for everyone.
The media is a powerful force, no question: and the barrage of propaganda insisting that racial and sexual lines are what really divide the country, must not be under-estimated. It has an influence, and we have seen the results in the presidential election. To combat these ideas, to argue for what is objectively true, is not easy. It takes work. But the work is made easier by the understanding that you’re right, that truth is on your side.
I believe that it is vital to build socialist consciousness among the working class, to build a revolutionary party for the overthrow of capitalism; this is why I support the Socialist Equality Party. But many of you don’t agree, at least yet, that this is a practical possibility. So, okay, baby steps: If you can recognize at least two fundamental truths, it is enough to start working:
1. The class that produces all the wealth has a common interest against the class that appropriates the wealth the toilers produce.
2. The class that produces all the wealth must be politically independent from the parties that represent and work in the interests of the exploiters.
If we can just get that far, we can start to unite into a force that would make Donald Trump tremble. Until we do, we cannot hope to defend ourselves.