The Organizer Weekly No. 20: Political Crisis Is Far From Over

IN THIS ISSUE:

• January 6 and the Trump Acquittal: The Political Crisis Is Far from Over — Editorial

• Short Takes – A Column by Mya Shone (Rehabilitation of Donald Trump, Lessons from the Impeachment Trials, Some Interesting Facts and Figures, The Tea Party Movement and January 6)

• Black Workers-led Party Launches Campaign to Gain Ballot Access in Maryland — Statement by the Ujima People’s Progress Party

• Invitation to Discussion / Forum on March 7 to Commemorate International Women’s Day

• OPEN FORUM: Solidarity with Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon Workers! A Major Campaign to Organize Labor in the South! (Statement by Southern Workers Assembly, Model Resolution, Report on Feb. 20 solidarity action in San Francisco)

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January 6 and the Trump Acquittal: The Political Crisis Is Far from Over

The crisis of the U.S. ruling class was displayed in broad daylight on January 6 with the storming of the Capitol – and the crisis is far from over.

Following the January 6 insurrectional riot, the Democratic Party launched an impeachment process against Trump. In the House of Representatives, 222 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted for impeachment, accusing Trump of “inciting an insurrection.” The Senate then had to vote for or against. It took 67 votes to impeach and to convict the former president, which would have barred him, among other things, from running again in the 2024 presidential election. In the end, only 57 senators voted to impeach him (50 Democrats and 7 Republicans), so Trump was acquitted.[1]

The details of what happened speak volumes about the political and institutional crisis. First of all, the Democrats’ indictment consisted of trying to place the blame for the riot on Trump alone: “The President of the United States summoned this crowd. …. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the president,” explained one of the prosecutors.

But there was more to January 6 than that: It has since been established that the rioters could not have entered the Capitol and acted as they did without significant complicity from high up in the State apparatus and the security services.[2] It was a fraction of the bourgeoisie, albeit a small one at this stage, and not an isolated Trump, that attempted a coup that day!

True enough, it was not an attempted coup in the traditional sense of the word; no wing of the military, for instance, rose up to challenge and overthrow the existing institutions and government. What’s involved is more of a rolling coup, one that began with the Tea Party uprising in 2009-2010, then went on to secure a Trump presidency, and is now looking to the future.

The coup-plotters and their Republican allies are accusing the pro-impeachment Members of Congress of seeking to “nullify” the 74 million votes for Trump. They want to preserve Trump as the future figurehead of this fascistic fraction of the U.S. bourgeoisie which has every intention of taking back the Senate and House, either through the Republican Party (their preferred strategy) or, if necessary, through a so-called “Patriot Party.” Toward this end, Republican governors beholden to Trump are scrambling to step up voter-suppression laws in their respective states, targeting Black and Latino voters primarily.[3]

Though not unexpected, the news that Trump was acquitted was still shocking. The president of the United States was able to incite an insurrectional riot and not be held accountable! The hypocrisy was astounding. Mitch McConnell decried Trump’s role on January 6, stating: “There’s no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.” But he, along with 42 of his counterparts in the Senate, voted to acquit, no doubt out of concern that an impeachment/conviction by the Senate would further radicalize Trump’s far-rightwing base and lead to the blow-up of the Republican Party, pitting those willing to play the consensus “national unity” game with Joe Biden against the so-called “patriots,” ready to carry out their “civil war.”

The orientation of “national unity” behind Joe Biden in the service of Wall Street and Big Business, just like the fascistic orientation of a wing of Trump supporters, are two sides of the war machine against the working people of the United States. This is what is at stake in the fight for independent political representation of the workers and the oppressed.

For a report on a new and important development in the struggle for independent Black working-class political action, see the statement below by the Ujima People’s Progress Party. — The Editors

Endnotes

[1] The totally reactionary character of the Senate is revealed by the following statistic: The 57 Senators who voted to convict Trump represent 76.7 million more voters than the 43 Senators who voted to acquit.

[2] It needs to be stated again and again: If the rioters had been Black activists or trade unionists, they would have been assaulted brutally before getting even close to the Capitol.

[3] The totally reactionary character of the Electoral College is revealed by these numbers: Though Biden obtained 7 million more popular votes than his Republican rival, Trump could have won the Electoral College vote – and hence the presidency – with a mere 97,473 additional votes in the states of Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, and Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. (Source: Council on Foreign Relations, “The 2020 Election by the Numbers”)

The combined 75,382 votes in Georgia, Arizona and Nebraska would have secured a tie of Electoral College votes; the one Electoral College vote in Nebraska – 22,091 votes – would have given Trump the victory. This is what explains Trump’s frenetic effort to overturn the popular votes in these and other states. It also explains why the Republican governors beholden to Trump have stepped up their drive to purge voters, mainly Black and Latino voters, from the voting lists.

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SHORT TAKES – A Column by Mya Shone 

TAKE ONE: Rehabilitation of Donald Trump

Polls show that fewer people think Trump is responsible for the Capitol riots.
Trump is speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, Feb. 28, and the chairman of the American Conservative Union just laid out the line – similar to that of Trump’s attorneys during the impeachment trial:
Trump did not incite the riot; the mob should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law; 98% of the people on the mall were peaceful protestors exercising, like Trump, their first amendment rights. These voters are rightly concerned with the conduct of the election – i.e., fraud and miscount of the vote.
There you have it: The rehabilitation and preparation for further Trump dislocation.

Toward this end, a recent “poll” by The Hill, a digital news magazine, and the polling company, Harris X, has found that only 45% of voters in this country believe that Trump caused the storming of the U.S. Capitol. 

“Opinions can change and decisions by leaders across the aisle will matter in determining voters’ ultimate reaction,” Dritan Nesho, chief researcher and CEO of HarrisX, told Hill.TV. “What we know as of now is that 45 percent of voters believe the riots were mostly incited by President Trump, 55 percent believe they were mostly the actions of a mob, with a majority of Republican voters and Trump voters still standing by the president at this stage.”

[A Suffolk University/USA Today poll released Feb. 21 shows that three of four, 73 percent, of Trump voters, still say that President Joe Biden was not elected legitimately.]

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TAKE TWO: Lessons from the Impeachment Trials

The primary lesson to be drawn from the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, if not from the first, is that the very structure of the bourgeois republic as elaborated in the U.S. Constitution is beginning to collapse under the weight of fascist forces that emerge as capitalism decays. It was said repeatedly that Trump was not acquitted by the facts – not even argued by his defense attorneys – and that he would have been convicted had there been a secret ballot to provide sufficient cover for 10 more Republican senators to vote “their conscience” rather than their opportunity for re-election.

Even in the end, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump, one that could have been presented by the impeachment managers themselves and will send him to Hades given Donald Trump’s vengeance towards all who defy him, McConnell, with his vote to acquit, decided not to fracture the Republican Party and to preserve the threads that tie the Republican Party to Trump.

He tossed the ball instead, once again, back into the Democrats’ court, urging prosecution of Trump through the courts – a tedious and often futile process since the federal appellate and Supreme courts are controlled by Republican appointees. 

Still, the ink wasn’t dry on the second Trump acquittal when the NAACP, on behalf of Rep. Bennie Thompson (D. Miss), filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, accusing them of co-conspiring to incite the violent riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers organizations also are named in the lawsuit.

In addition, both the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (civil litigation) and the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (criminal litigation) announced investigations of possible election fraud by Donald Trump stemming from his Jan. 6 phone call to Raffensperger in which he requested of the Secretary of State: “All I want is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes which is one more than we have. Because we won the State,” and threw out possible criminal threats if Raffensperger didn’t follow through with his request.

These cases are but the tip of the civil and criminal litigation iceberg confronting Donald Trump during his post-presidency life. As we go to press, Monday, Feb. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court finally cleared the way for the release of Donald Trump’s personal tax returns and business records since 2011 as well as those of the Trump Organization, to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. – subject to grand jury secrecy rules that restrict public access. Among the issues being investigated for possible fraud are hush money payments to two women along with Trump’s longstanding and multifaceted relationship with Deutsche Bank.

Many remember that it was tax evasion that brought down the notorious Prohibition Era mobster Al Capone (Scarface) and not his rule over the Chicago syndicate.

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TAKE THREE: Some Interesting Facts and Figures

• The Pentagon has called for a “stand down,” namely a review of recruitment and composition of the military as a recent report has revealed that white supremacists have made inroads into the military. One in five of those arrested so far on Jan. 6 are current or former military while 11 of the 18 members of the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters charged with conspiracy are military veterans.

• The Republican Party today holds control of most states’ legislative bodies and governors’ offices, which will give Republicans enormous power to carve up new Congressional districts in a bid to regain the House of Representatives and the Senate. Democrats hold both the legislature and governor positions in only 15 states – and 11 states have divided governments.

• There has been a surge in efforts to suppress voter participation as a result of the historic voter turnout garnering both Biden’s victory and the flipping of the two Senate seats in Georgia, which gave Democrats control of the Senate. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, lawmakers in 33 states so far have crafted more than 165 bills to restrict voting. These proposals include measures that would limit or curtail vote by mail, prohibit the use of ballot-drop boxes, block early voting on Sundays (which was used to increase turnout of Black churchgoers in Georgia), thus limiting voter registration access by requiring proof of citizenship, adding more aggressive voter purge practices, imposing burdensome signature matching such as presentation of photo ID and driver’s license information and more.

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TAKE FOUR: The Tea Party Movement and January 6

Is it accurate to state that the “rolling coup” against the institutions of the bourgeois republic took a leap forward with the advent of the Tea Party movement in 2009-2010? I believe that it is. I consider this a pivotal moment in U.S. history. 

While the Tea Party as a movement is technically kaput, its legacy lives on. It had been a political movement focused primarily on elections rather than protests (although there were a few protests over tax issues). The focus of the Tea Party primarily was “fiscal conservatism” — eliminating federal oversight (i.e., return to state’s rights, privatization, dismantling of public services) and cutting taxes drastically. It gained greater traction with its opposition to the private healthcare mandate under Obamacare. By 2010 “nearly a third of Americans considered themselves Tea Party supporters” according to a CBS-New York Times poll.

There had been tremendous focus – and funding from the Koch brothers (David H. and Charles G.), etc. – to win the state legislatures, gerrymander the districts to solidify victories for future elections, systematically suppress the Black vote and other minority votes, as well as the immigrant vote, through this gerrymandering and legislative action and, significantly target the judiciary (state and federal) to take control of judicial rulings affecting business, human, and civil rights (including voting rights).

What started with the Tea Party evolved further, relying upon religious conservatives and disaffected workers – shoring up the base, voter by voter.

Of course, taking control of media meant a lot to the development of this movement:  Rupert Murdoch’s extensive Fox Corp cable and network stations as well as print media, Sinclair Broadcasting’s accumulation of local TV stations, Christian broadcasting networks, and Clear Channel’s pervasive radio stations broadcasting right-wing luminaries Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The expansion of the Internet and reliance upon YouTube, Facebook, Twitter provided many more avenues — but the major “influencers” still remain the daily barrage from the commercial networks. 

It was this movement that contributed significantly to the chain of events resulting in what happened on January 6.

There can be no doubt: We are entering a new era of a deepening drift towards authoritarianism and barbarism worldwide. The decay of capitalism is accelerating as it cannot meet the basic needs of the world’s population – despite those who still try to square the circle with calls for “compassionate” capitalism. This only can be stopped with the concerted efforts of the oppressed and working class here in the United States and worldwide, acting in their own interests independently of the capitalists and their parties as they struggle for the socialist transformation of society.

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Black Workers-led Party Launches Campaign to Gain Ballot Access in Maryland

(Statement by the Ujima People’s Progress Party)

Summation of the Current Crisis

The American population has just come out of a highly contested election year. Although Donald Trump was electorally defeated, the far-right political tendency he represents continues to exist and grow. We are living in a highly volatile and reactionary time.

For over four years, we have witnessed the escalation of an open crisis in American capitalism that cannot be fixed with an election. The only way the capitalist ruling class will resolve the split in their ranks will come as a result of attacking the needs and interests of the working class.

Masses of Black, Brown, and working-class people have been thrust into motion. Resistance to racist police brutality, systemic racism in the court and education system, and are overrepresented in mortality rates during a global pandemic for Black and Brown communities. Millions of working-class people have been mobilized into the streets and are beginning to organize in the fight against the ruling-class elite.

We must not allow attempts by the ruling class to demobilize and de-escalate the motion created. Working people must continue to organize and fight back. We cannot allow the forces of liberal capitalism to convince working people to stop mobilizing and rely on the Democratic Party to sort out this crisis.  

More than ever, Black and Brown working-class people are being forced to confront a growing racist, socially backward fascist movement on the far right and increased austerity and erosion of hard-fought democratic rights by capitalist centralists. Working-class people, especially the Black working class, must break from the two-party system’s influence to fight for their interests.

Organized Oppression Must be Met by Organized Working-Class Resistance

In Maryland, we are launching our campaign to build a Black workers-led electoral party for social & economic justice: anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and anti-sexist.

Our goal is to build a working-class party that is a network of left organizers that go beyond elections to organize and educate Black & Brown communities, working-class people, and labor unions from the bottom up!

Unlike the two capitalist parties, we provide political and civic education to Black, Brown, and working-class people to empower them to defend their interests. We help build mutual aid and community institutions that put power in the hands of working people.

More importantly, the UPP is not just an election-day party. We are building connections statewide to be a 365-days a year movement. We call on independent-minded activists, community organizers, labor unionists, unorganized workers, educators, students, and unemployed community members to join us in building a mass electoral working-class party that will do the day-to-day type of work in our communities that politicians and local government do not do.

A Call for Support and Solidarity

We are NOT financed by big business, establishment politicians, or wealthy individuals. We call on forces opposed to capitalist exploitation, imperialist intervention, and systemic racism to become an ally of our fightback campaigns and support our petition drive to create a statewide party.

We are launching a fundraising campaign that will make it possible for youth organizers to canvass working-class communities and gather signatures for the petition to gain ballot status in Maryland.

You can support us in many ways:

GoFundMe campaign:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/build-a-black-workerled-electoral-party

Support via

PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/donate?token=0YIbxbkqKbW9KAlpLPEZjGemOs7Iy81hj33yX15kPrhTuFBR24-s3GQytq2k3KDPMjwFGxp1hMZIALGf

Support via CashApp: https://cash.app/$UjimaPeopleMaryland

Send checks/Money Orders:

UPP Maryland
PO Box 2623
Baltimore, MD 21215

You can learn more about our work and become a member/supporter at https://www.uppmaryland.org/support.php

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Invitation to Discussion / Forum on March 7 to Commemorate International Women’s Day

Dear comrades and friends,

You are invited to a discussion forum commemorating International Women’s Day. The event will take place via zoom on Sunday, March 7, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Pacific). If you are interested in participating, please RSVP at your earliest convenience. Please indicate your name, organization (if any), city and email address.

The discussion forum is being held in the framework of the Call issued by Sisters Christel Keiser (France) and Rubina Jamil (Pakistan) for the International Conference of Working Women, which will take place later this year. [See Call in issue no. 19 of The Organizer Weekly.]

Forum speakers will address the demands elaborated in the Call for the International Conference of Working Women: Equal pay for equal work; legal equality in the struggles for civil and human rights as well as for the ERA specifically; reproductive rights – birth control, abortion, pre-natal care and safe pregnancies; family leave and the provision of childcare; an end to sexual harassment and acts of violence to which women are subject as women; and, more generally, the right to self-determination.

This year, aside from the issues that prevailed previously, women have borne the brunt of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One statistic released by the National Women’s Law Center addresses one aspect – albeit a major one – that of employment opportunities lost in the United States. In December 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report revealed that all of the net loss of jobs were women’s jobs: women lost 156,000 jobs and men gained 16,000, resulting in a net loss of 140,000 jobs in December.

We hope to hear back from you soon, as March 7 is only 10 days away.

Comradely and in struggle,

Mya Shone for the Organizer Newspaper

Initial list of U.S. endorsers of Call by Christel Keiser and Rubina Jamil:

• Donna Dewitt, President Emerita, South Carolina AFL-CIO (id. only)
• Desiree Rojas, President, Sacramento, LCLAA (id. only)
• Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita, OPEIU (id. only)
• Andrea N Williams-Muhammad, Nzuri Malkia Birth Cooperative, Ujima Peoples Party (id. only);
• Galina Gerasimova, AFT local 2121 (id. only)
• Colia Lafayette Clark, Steering Committee, International Workers Committee
• Millie Phillips, Labor Fightback Network (id. only)
• Betty Davis, New Abolitionist Movement
• Marlena Santoyo, Philadelphia Federation of teachers (id. only)
• Kathy Black, Treasurer, Philadelphia CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women) (id. only)
• Linda Ray, Delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council from SEIU 1021 (id. only)
• Connie White, LCIP-L.A. (id. only)
• Lita Blanc, Past President, United Educators of San Francisco (id only)
• Kilaika Shakur, George Jackson University
• Coral Wheeler, LCIP- Los Angeles (id. only)
• Sheryl Bruce, Ujima Peoples Progress Party
• Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (id. only)

• Mya Shone, Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper

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OPEN FORUM

Solidarity with Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon Workers! A Major Campaign to Organize Labor in the South!

By Southern Workers Assembly

(February 16, 2021)

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, are waging a historic struggle to win the first union at an Amazon facility in the U.S. The Southern Workers Assembly (SWA), an Organize the South Network formed in 2012, has called for a National Day of Action on February 20 to help mobilize national solidarity with this important worker’s struggle. National solidarity with organizing in the South needs to be a permanent part of labor’s Southern strategy.

Black workers make up more than 70% of the approximately 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer. This campaign offers the opportunity of forging rank-and-file worker unity against the systemic racism that is part of the history of Black oppression in the South and that has been used to divide workers and their communities.

In November 2020, eight months after officially opening the Bessemer Amazon warehouse in March, the workers led by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU), petitioned the labor board to hold a union vote. This was a shock not only to Amazon, but for corporate America that has historically viewed the South as a kind of domestic colony with systemic racism, weak labor and environmental laws, voter suppression, and a divided working-class. This is why major U.S. and international companies have relocated industries to the South.

These workers have launched a history-changing organizing campaign against one of the biggest and most powerful transnational corporations in the world, and against its super rich union busting owner, Jeff Bezos. These workers are standing up to the racist and anti-labor laws that suppress worker rights across the South, where union density is low, and a region with the largest concentration of anti-labor right-to-work laws weakening and denying workers collective bargaining rights.

High-paid union-busters and some governmental officials have united to lie and try and intimidate Bessemer Amazon workers to defeat the union vote. This should point out to Bessemer workers and workers across Alabama that this campaign has the potential of making economic, political, and social changes favorable for the working class. This organized power is needed in the struggle for worker protections against the COVID-19 pandemic and for a system of Medicare for All.

Local unions, worker organizations, and labor activists need to form Worker Assemblies that help to build rank-n-file organizing and solidarity infrastructures for a social movement to organize labor in the South. The SWA Workers Schools can provide training in building these infrastructures.

Onwards to a union victory in Bessemer, and to Organize the South!

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Model Statement for Submission to Union Locals, Labor Councils, and Community Organizations

Amazon: Stop Union-Busting in Bessemer!

(Model Statement by Showing Up for Racial Justice)

At an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., 5,805 workers have won the right to vote for union representation. The National Labor Relations Board has authorized a mail-in election starting February 8, with ballots due by March 29.

Workers in Bessemer started organizing last year, as the pandemic caused intensified exploitation and enormous danger for workers at Amazon. Then, in the midst of the Black Lives Matter Uprising, the union drive started to grow.

These workers, nearly 75% Black, are organizing a union to fight for racial and economic justice at Amazon.

A win in this “right-to-work-for-less” state would establish the first-ever U.S. union within the world’s largest online retail company owned by the world’s richest billionaire, Jeff Bezos. As of January 2021, Bezos’ net worth is $190 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The median wage of an Amazon worker is $28,848, according to their annual securities filings.

Amazon is doing everything it can to stop the union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, from winning. Amazon is holding mandatory closed-door, captive-audience meetings during which managers spread lies about the benefits of unionizing. Amazon is posting misinformation about unions in bathrooms, break rooms and across the internet. Workers face growing intimidation for defending their rights to demand a union contract.

Join the growing movement in solidarity with Bessemer Amazon workers as we demand:

• Amazon: Stop all forms of union-busting at Bessemer! No intimidation, no lies, no retaliation!

• No mandatory anti-union meetings! No firing of pro-union Amazon and Whole Foods workers anywhere; in Bessemer, the U.S., or across the World!

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Rally Held in S.F. to Support Bessemer, Ala., Amazon Workers 

Actions held across the United States in more than 45 locations rallied support for the Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon workers in their effort to organize a union at their worksite. On Saturday, February 20, in San Francisco one of those actions took place at the Whole Foods on 24th Street in Noe Valley. Thirty-five labor rights activists leafletted, carried signs, and spoke out in support of the union-organizing drive by the 6,000 workers at Bessemer.

Labor-rights supporters emptied the parking lot at Whole Foods on a busy Saturday shopping day, clearly showing the impact of the action, as passersby stopped to talk, receive leaflets, and listen to speakers.

Among the dozen labor and community speakers was Socialist Organizer member and SEIU-2015 contract-negotiating-committee member Bradley Wiedmaier.

Wiedmaier said that the union organizing drive at Amazon in Alabama has been “truly inspiring” for workers across the United States. He spoke about a previous Whole Foods workers’ effort to secure labor rights at a proposed new Whole Foods market in San Francisco, where the S.F. Planning Commission voted unanimously against those workers’ union rights. He continued: “We must band together for labor politics in this city so that this won’t happen again.”

Wiedmaier went on to explain how bargained gains of the S.F. home-care workers also had been delayed and threatened, which was justified by the COVID-19 crisis. He called for local and national organizing, saying, “[L]et’s get together and get labor political action going in San Francisco and support the Bessemer workers.”

Steve Zeltzer of United Front for a Labor Party hosted the rally and spoke about Bessemer and also about the Amazon-proposed San Francisco square-block distribution warehouse project. The site was just purchased for $200 million near Mission Bay. He called on the labor movement to mobilize its members so that the future facility is required to be an organized labor-union worksite.

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