Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian citizens and three companies on Feb. 16, allegedly for conducting a long-running scheme to criminally interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Four days later Mueller forced a guilty plea from a Dutch lawyer working with Trump campaign managers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates for lying to investigators. Then Mueller added new charges against Manafort and Gates, including fraud and money laundering. This forced Gates to enter a guilty plea on Feb. 23 for making false statements.
The corporate media outlets that oppose Donald Trump and the Democratic Party leadership have used these developments to busily proclaim that Trump is bound to be ousted by some set of criminal charges.
But should workers and oppressed people be satisfied that the FBI and Mueller are taking steps against the racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant and pro-rich Trump gang by attacking the alleged Russia connection?
No. That would be retreating to the role of spectator. It would imply that we could trust racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice to fight racism. And it would imply that we could trust the same FBI that spies on workers’ parties and assaults Black Liberation organizations to eliminate bigotry. It also would scapegoat the Russian government for Trump’s electoral win, when the undemocratic Electoral College did it, the laws stopping poor and Black people and ex-prisoners from voting did it, and the failure of the Democratic Party to fight for workers’ rights did it.
By ignoring Trump and the right wing’s agenda and looking instead to the special prosecutor, the Democrats and pundits aim to disarm our class’s ability to fight back and form an independent mass movement. We can mobilize to stop the outrageous Immigration and Customs Enforcement roundups. We can protest the handover of wilderness and Native land to mining and oil companies. We can expose the “whites-only” immigration policy. And we can and should organize to stop U.S. drone wars, stop the attempts at “regime change,” stop the threat of nuclear war against north Korea, stop Trump’s vile comments belittling women and attacking African-American athletes who take political stands.
The focus on Russia also diverts attention from the full support that the ruling class, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, is giving Trump’s economic program of corporate tax cuts and “deregulation.” The banks will stop at nothing to ensure that the Trump program of theft from the poor continues, whether or not Trump himself remains in office.
Tycoon Warren Buffet openly stated his joy in a letter to shareholders of his Berkshire conglomerate, which gained some $29.1 billion from the tax cut: “Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire’s excess funds into more productive assets,” and he promised more mergers. (msn.com, Feb. 23) Nothing was mentioned about hiring workers for good paying jobs.
In the wake of the financial catastrophe of 2008, Congress passed a law that barred banks with assets of more than $50 billion from merging with or acquiring other banks. Now, spurred on by Trump, a bill favored by both political parties would increase that threshold to $250 billion. And it doesn’t stop there. The Federal Reserve with its new Trump-appointed head is busy “softening” the merger application rules penalizing banks’ violations of fair lending, money laundering and marketing laws. Some 370 banks are currently in the so-called “penalty box” because of suspected violations.
As every worker knows, mergers usually mean layoffs — lots of layoffs. And that’s even if the lax rules don’t quickly lead to another crisis when the next bubble bursts.
The workers and oppressed communities cannot afford to trust the Mueller probe or the Democratic Party to stop the Trump regime’s giveaways to the rich and austerity program for the poor. Only a powerful struggle can do that — independent of the Democratic Party — by uniting the working class of all nationalities and genders to fight not only Trump the individual but his entire program.