Excerpted from a talk by Larry Holmes at the Jan. 29 forum on “What next? Organizing the Resistance to Trump: A Revolutionary Socialist Perspective”
in New York City. Holmes is WWP/Partido Mundo Obrero First Secretary. To view the whole talk, go to tinyurl.com/gqjek7h.
Trump has declared war on everybody with all these executive orders. It is a serious crisis that is unprecedented. Building the “Wall” and this ban on Muslims are fascist acts.
These are fascist acts for political reasons to help Trump and those inside his regime, who are neofascists, rally on a racist, white supremacist, neofascist basis.
Pay attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. The first thing Trump did was put on the White House web page that he was “going to change this anti- police atmosphere.”
That’s a green light for Black and Brown people to have targets on their backs, especially the youth. It’s scapegoating and keeping his movement going.
It’s time to ratchet up the resistance. We should be thinking in terms of preparing for a general strike.
Some might say only the labor movement can do that. But I’ll give you this example: When millions of people came out on Jan. 21 — most of them in this country but also in other countries — if their orientation was to just “Shut shit down,” instead of getting back on a bus or other transportation, that would give you a new idea, in part, of what a general strike could be.
When we think of general strikes, we think of workers walking off the job and shutting shit down — and that’s part of it. But people, when determined, can shut shit down with occupations, maybe on May Day, and let’s not forget International Working Women’s Day in March.
Right now the character of the struggle is defensive. It’s hard to know which demonstrations to go to, as long as Trump’s issuing orders against everybody.
Think of how we can ensure that we’re not running all over the place. Even though we have to defend a lot of people, that does not contradict that our politics must be ambitious and offensive, and we have to advance new ideas.
The capitalist crisis is responsible for Trump, and the neoliberal bourgeoisie has crashed politically. Here and around the world, they have been the managers of this huge assault on the workers and the oppressed. And now they are paying the political price.
Workers World Party believes that history is demanding that we open up a worldwide campaign against capitalism and for socialism. Millions are waking up and attending some of these demonstrations. And many of the people who are waking up can be radicalized.
We want to be with the militants. We also want to be where the struggle is — the unions or other mass movements.
We have to have some kind of guide moving forward for the party. Probably since the election, we’ve almost doubled our membership across the country.
But what the party can do on its own is limited. We are going to do more in the name of Workers World Party. When some racist, white supremacist, misogynist act is done in “the name of workers,” it’s really good for Workers World Party to be the entity calling a demonstration against it — to show that this is what workers really think.
However, our forces have to be stronger as soon as possible.
Build internationalism with united front
Therefore, what we are considering — and it’s just a rough outline — is a call for a revolutionary united front. We don’t know whether it should be against Trump or maybe it should be against fascism because of the executive order banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
It might be good to say a revolutionary united front against fascism because the people, the groups to be united, are the communists, the socialists, the anti-capitalists and the anarchists who can work with communists and socialists.
The anti-capitalists must come together, particularly those political forces from marginalized and oppressed communities, whether they are unionists, in Black Lives Matter, in the immigrant rights/ICE-Free movement, in the LGBTQ or women’s movements, or artists. We’ve got to come together.
I’m not saying that it’s easy. But let’s figure out a way to unite a revolutionary movement. And the objective is not to separate itself from the masses, but to go into the mass movements and influence those movements. We reserve the right to take actions that tend to push protest into resistance.
One of the tenets of such a front must be stopping the Democratic Party and the bourgeoisie from killing the movement. The Democratic Party is the graveyard of movements.
Our first priority must be to understand, support and defend the most oppressed — the Muslims, the immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, Black Lives Matter and all the oppressed peoples, not only here but around the world.
We must reject dismissing oppressed peoples under the category of “identity politics.” Oppressed peoples are the heart and soul of the working class. They are central to the working class. They will bear the burden of making the revolution.
This is not about being “politically correct” or “moralism.” This is smart. This is about working with those who are already in an advanced political position. The other sectors of the working class need the oppressed. If they don’t have the oppressed, they would probably be at a standstill and, in some instances, go backwards. That ends up as a very dangerous problem.
We must win all generations, but revolutions are not made without the youth. A lot of youth who have shut down bridges and highways, have gone to jail time and time again, sometimes look at people who call themselves socialists and communists as conservative: “You seem to just want to hold us back. You seem to just want to tame us. We don’t want to be tamed. We want to shut shit down!”
We have to support the militancy of the youth.
Finally, we need to expand international solidarity. We cannot have a conception of a nationwide struggle and that’s it. The world is too small. Our class has never been more able to communicate and work with each other. All the boundaries — geography, language — are there. But they are not as important as they used to be. An example of that is the ability to have these demonstrations all around the world.
When our comrades and allies demonstrate on every continent, it tells the neofascists — from Paris to Washington — that we are together on a global basis, and our struggle is a global struggle.
Whatever the challenge, this crisis that we face in the wake of the Trump phenomenon should be a reason for everybody who wants a revolution and wants to be in touch with revolutionaries around the world to reconsider the question of a new international.
We realize our party can’t do it alone. However, we’re going to make damn sure that people begin taking the idea of the necessity for a new international very, very seriously because this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.