What would a people’s impeachment look like?
Our news cycle is dominated by one overwhelming, all-encompassing story. While millions of people in the U.S. suffer without medical coverage, while police in Texas make a habit of entering Black people’s homes and murdering them, and while our climate catastrophe looms, it is the palace intrigue of Trump’s White House that dominates the air waves.
Commentators on cable news networks breathlessly cover every twist and turn of the ever-evolving scandal. But what does the discussion of Trump trading political favors, or Joe Biden’s son receiving a cushy, unearned salary, have to do with the people?
Workers World Party First Secretary Larry Holmes addressed the impeachment story at an Oct. 10 New York City party meeting. There, he raised a salient but mostly undiscussed point: The nature of the impeachment investigation against Donald Trump is being conducted in such a way as to totally exclude the participation of the masses.
There is nowhere for the people to vote, no issue behind which people can rally. The struggle is between attorneys in the Republican and Democratic parties. The crime in question is the leveraging of international relationships by one member of the political elite to the disadvantage of another.
But what does any of that have to do with the people? How will this impeachment address all the crimes which directly affect the masses? As First Secretary Holmes argued, what we on the left must ask is: What would a People’s Impeachment look like?
It is not hard to imagine that immigrants and migrants from the global South might lay different charges at the feet of this U.S. president. An impeachment inquiry by Latinx, African and Asian refugees would likely focus on the heinous crimes being perpetrated not in Washington, D.C., but along the southern border, where adults and children are being held in concentration camps.
These are crimes against humanity which the entire world agree should never again take place. And yet, Donald Trump openly and gleefully cages human beings for the crime of trying to survive.
And what of Black people in the U.S.? Before Attorney General and known racist Jeff Sessions left office, he rolled back the meager consent decrees (federally mandated police reforms) imposed by the Obama administration.
Considering that the police have shown no signs that they will stop murdering Black people, the Trump administration’s loosening of regulations only seems likely to encourage them. What would Black people argue if they were asked to file articles of impeachment? What is a greater high crime or misdemeanor — digging for dirt on Joe Biden or murdering Botham Jean?
Donald Trump is one of the most openly bigoted presidents in recent U.S. history. He gloats about assaulting women. He despises people of color. He is a base, odious, predatory monster who deserves to be removed from office — any office. But our revulsion at Trump should not deter us from the machinations of the ruling class. The ruling class, as always, seeks to shut out the will of the people in this impeachment inquiry. The true crimes being committed against women, LGBTQ2+, people of color, those with disabilities and all other members of the working class, both in the U.S. and abroad, go unmentioned by the spokespeople of the capitalist class. We should mark their attempts at exclusion and challenge them at every opportunity.