I saw a tweet go by that referred to Putin as “America’s worst enemy.” My response seems to have generated some confusion, so let me try to clarify.
Whenever you talk about an enemy of America, or a friend of America, or American national interests, stop for a minute.
America, like every other country, indeed, every other thing whether social or natural, is a unity of opposites in conflict. Sometimes, for some purposes, the unity is what we want to consider, sometimes it is the conflict. When considering a confection that features sugar and lemon juice, I must be aware of the pieces and how they inter-relate if I want to prepare it right, but when it’s time to eat, what someone eats is the whole confection.
But we aren’t talking about a confection, or about sugar. We’re talking about a political entity, the United States of America, in 2016 (by one day). It is ruled by an elite group that runs it in the interests of maximizing their profit—this was true before Trump was elected, although he is certainly the most open, naked, vicious representative we’ve seen yet. When the talk is of “America’s interests” it is the interest of the 1%. It is not my interest, and it is not yours. My interests lie with those being overworked in Russia, repressed in Palestine, bombed and murdered in Syria and Libya and Iraq, and yes, exploited in Israel.
This is the lie—deliberately spread by union bureaucrats, politicians, and apologists for capitalism—that permits so many to accept not only the bombing of children in the middle east, but tries to explain the under-employment crisis in terms of competition with workers in other countries, which serves to derail and misdirect the struggle here that could actually fight for decent wages.
A “traitor to America” is a traitor to the ruling elite. “America’s interests” are the interests of the ruling elite. This does not mean that any “traitor to America” is necessarily doing something good, but it means whenever you use phrases like “national interests” without questioning them, you are simply accepting at face value the biggest lie of all. “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” is only true if by “America” you mean Wall Street. This is what President Obama meant at the post-election press conference when he referred to the election as an “intramural scrimmage.” As far as he and his class is concerned, that is, indeed, all it was. How about, as we fight through the question of how best to organize against Trump, we begin by rejecting the fundamental assumption that living within certainly artificial geographical boundaries somehow means we have the same interests as anyone else living within those boundaries. We don’t.