Argentine Morenoites shrug off Trump’s coup
12 January 2021
On November 12, as Trump was inciting fascist gangs to help overturn his defeat in the presidential elections as he had threatened to do throughout the campaign, the Morenoite La Izquierda Diario website wrote that “everything indicates that Trump’s true strategy is not to entrench himself in the White House.” Instead, Trump hopes to “maintain the adrenaline” and avoid “tribalism” in the Republican Party.
This statement, which was also published by their English-language website Left Voice, was a “criminal dismissal of the grave crisis within the US uniquely designed to prevent an outpouring of working class reaction to Trump’s coup drive,” the World Socialist Web Site warned .
On January 6, Trump incited a fascist mob armed with firearms, pipe bombs and zip-tie handcuffs to storm the Capitol with the collaboration of sections of the police and the Pentagon as the US Congress met to certify the electoral results. In the following days, Trump and a significant section of the Republican Party have continued their neofascist conspiracy, while the corporate media and Democratic Party seek to conceal the dangers.
The American ruling class, facing the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, has demonstrated its determination to use any means—including dictatorship and fascism—to break all restraints on its plans to impose its “herd immunity” policy during the pandemic and escalate exploitation, neocolonial plundering and imperialist war.
In response, the Morenoites have joined the Democratic Party in their efforts to politically disarm the working class and sow complacency. In a major article on January 7, they wrote: “The assault on the Capitol was neither an insurrection nor a coup, as the bourgeois press insinuates.” Instead, they add, it “demonstrates that the far right, far from accepting defeat after the November 3 [elections], has become emboldened during the transition.”
The article, rather than explaining what “emboldened” the far right—which would expose the bankruptcy of the Morenoites’ entire outlook—goes on to reassure readers that even this threat has passed. “In this moment, the establishment—from the Republicans and Democrats to the military—are united against Trump and the far right” hoping “to end the chaotic populism of Trump,” Izquierda Diario explains.
As evidence of this united front of capitalist politicians against the far-right threat, the Morenoites cite statements by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn acknowledging Biden’s election after the January 6 coup. In doing so, Izquierda Diario is aiding the efforts of the Democratic Party to cover for the coup conspirators, legitimizing Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the name of bipartisan “unity.”
In response to the coup, the Morenoites are not only anesthetizing and politically disarming US workers who face a continuing threat of fascistic dictatorship, but they are setting the stage for advancing this policy in other countries. This a continuation of their historic efforts to subordinate workers to supposedly “progressive” factions of the national capitalist class during crucial historic episodes of the class struggle.
This tendency was founded by Nahuel Moreno, who broke with the International Committee of the Fourth International in 1963, rejecting its struggle for the international unity and political independence of the working class based on a revolutionary socialist program, in order to adapt to Castroism, Stalinism and bourgeois nationalism, in particular, the Peronist movement in Argentina.
His party subordinated revolutionary struggles in Argentina between 1968-75 to the bourgeois nationalist Peronist party and governments and the trade union bureaucracy, helping to politically disarm the Argentine working class ahead of the US-backed 1976 coup and installation of a fascist military junta that killed at least 30,000 workers and youth.
While the Socialist Workers Party (PTS) in Argentina, which leads the publication of Izquierda Diario, claims to have distanced itself from Moreno, its politics continue to reaffirm the same nationalist and opportunist perspective.
Within the US, the Left Voice group is dedicated to appealing to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a faction of the Democratic Party. The editors of Jacobin magazine, which is closely linked to the DSA, have also scoffed at calling the assault on the Capitol a “coup” and reaffirmed the “stability of US republican institutions.”
Fearful that the coup is exposing the criminality of their perspective, the Morenoites suggest that their orientation to the DSA is still viable since “internal divisions” between the “establishment wing” and the “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party “have merely been patched up.”
In a separate article on the same day, Left Voice, referring to the trade unions and organizations tied to the Democratic Party, states: “By funneling the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement [against police violence] into support for Biden, these leaders intentionally or not worked to undermine what could have been the foundations of the type of mass social movement we need to protect against the Far Right.”
The Morenoites themselves, however, provided arguments for voting in favor of Biden and reproduced the race-obsessed identity politics employed by the Democratic Party to divide workers and conceal the party’s class character and the dominance of class divisions under capitalism.
In the same article, Left Voice writes that, in the context of the austerity measures implemented by both parties, “Right-wing extremism emerged because it spoke to the despair of (typically) white men. By tapping into the racism that capitalism is built on …”
After the October presidential election of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia, which had condemned mass resistance to its own military overthrow by fascists the previous year, Izquierda Diario wrote: “This defeat of the continental right could be extended if, as everything indicates, Trump loses the elections on November 3.”
On November 2, speaking to those undecided ahead of the elections, Left Voice claimed “the Democrats’ electoral coalition is very tenuous as it includes everyone from nominally socialist organizers to sectors of big capital.” A Democratic majority in the Senate, it adds, could “give the senators who represent the progressive wing more power because their comparatively smaller numbers will mean more.” Thus, it claims, “what will define this struggle is how much pressure there is from the base to push through a progressive agenda.”
Facing “high expectations for reforms,” it continues, “Biden and the Democrats could very well try to resolve this by giving some early concessions to the working class,” albeit “not nearly enough to address the deepening crisis.” Amid widespread hunger, unemployment and the threat of homelessness, the promise, the day before the elections, of “early concessions” stands as a tacit endorsement of the Democrats and Biden.
Moreover, the fact that they combine this position with the statement that “Biden will resolve one of the greatest capitalist crises in modern history in their [the capitalists’] favor” is an explicit avowal of the impregnability of capitalism and a repudiation of the prospects of revolution.
The article adds: “There are clearly neo-fascist and proto-fascist forces in the United States today, but there is little or no evidence that the capitalist class has turned to those forces for the purpose of destroying and replacing the institutions of bourgeois-democratic rule and crushing the working class.”
The president of the most powerful state in the world has been cultivating these fascist forces for years and had been threatening for months to invoke martial law to crush protests and set up a presidential dictatorship.
This response to Trump’s coup is consistent with the Argentine PTS’s 2020 Congress “Theses” and subsequent discussion. In a November 30 piece, the PTS ideologist and legislator Christian Castillo explains that the Argentine Morenoites view the political situation as “incipiently pre-revolutionary” with events that “pre-announce that we have major clashes between classes ahead.”
Not surprisingly, it follows that this “pre-suggests” the need to build a revolutionary party, but that for the time being they can continue their opportunist orientation to the Peronist government, parliamentarism and the trade unions. “The possibility opens for the development … of conditions for the emergence of a powerful workers, socialist and revolutionary party.” The PTS, Castillo adds, “bets it will be a key factor in the emergence of this party.”
For now, similar to how they muddled the bourgeois and reactionary character of the Democratic Party, Castillo insists that “the big bourgeoisie does not regard the Frente de Todos [Peronist government] as ‘its own’ government ...”
Fearing that events abroad might challenge this perspective, he wrote: “We do not believe that the categories of revolutionary and pre-revolutionary situations can be used at an international level … [The PTS resolution] defines the specificity of the Argentine situation and its prominent aspects as of today.”
This is an open repudiation of the program of world socialist revolution embodied in Marxism and Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution, at a time in which the global pandemic and economic crisis have demonstrated the incapacity of the ruling class and its political representatives, especially in the center of world finance and imperialism, to control the forces unleashed by the world economy.
Vladimir Lenin explained in a 1914 essay that the ruling class employs two general “methods of struggle against workers.” On the one hand, there is “violence, persecution, bans and suppression,” which the entire ruling class backs during “highly critical moments in the workers’ struggle against wage-slavery.” On the other hand, in keeping with the democratic system, the ruling class employs “utmost cunning, with ruses and subterfuges aimed at spreading the ‘ideological’ influence of the bourgeoisie among the wage-slaves with the object of diverting them from their struggle against wage-slavery.”
As the crucial experience of Trump’s coup has demonstrated, in order to fight the threat of dictatorship, workers and youth in the United States, Argentina and internationally must oppose the agents of the ruling class seeking to disarm them politically. This includes the Morenoites, whose politics reflect the interests of upper middle class layers that seek greater privileges in academia, the trade unions and politics by employing such “ruses and subterfuges” against the workers.
The ICFI, which publishes the World Socialist Web Site, is the only political force that has consistently warned of the dangers represented by the Republican coup plotting and the soporifics of the Democrats and their hangers-on. The urgent conclusion that must be drawn is that the ICFI needs to be built in every country to lead a mass revolutionary political movement in the working class fighting for socialism.
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