Frequent readers of our site may notice that we don’t talk about Donald Trump very much. This is a stark contrast to most left-of-center websites. For them, it’s all Trump all the time.
We get it. He makes it easy. Hardly a day goes by that he hasn’t done something slimy. Plenty of fodder for the opposition to write about.
Here’s why we don’t. Stick with us while we lay this out.
Let’s say that Trump did something so bad that he was impeached or resigned. Vice President Pence would then become President. We can’t see that as an improvement. Pence wouldn’t even be less embarrassing, with his medieval religious views coloring his every decision.
In some ways, President Pence would be worse than President Trump. Pence is a career politician. He knows how to play the game in a way that Trump does not. He would be more effective in getting things done that would be harmful to the working class. There would be many center-right Democrats who would be willing to play footsie with him, who at present are occasionally inclined to oppose Trump’s policies.
What if it weren’t Trump or Pence? Well, Barack Obama was arguably the most progressive president the US has had since Jimmy Carter. He turned out to be much less progressive than his 2008 campaign suggested. Even his signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, gave as much or more to the private insurance industry than it did to our people who need medical care. Don’t get us started on foreign policy and military intervention, or the massive bail-outs to companies that were deemed “too large to fail” with no measures taken to cut them down to size. And even that would be a reform of capitalism, which will never go far enough to benefit the working class.
Here’s the point: focusing on people is not historical materialism. People come and go but the system stays the same. Actions and policies of certain people can be informative to illuminate what is wrong with capitalism, and occasionally to suggest what might be better. But people don’t run the system; the system runs people.
Our focus is on providing a Marxist-Leninist analysis of events, not to rabble-rouse. And that means focusing on the dynamics of how things work. This is the essence of historical materialism. Idealism says “this is wrong because this would be better.” Historical materialism says “these are the conditions, these are the contradictions, here is how we can use this understanding to make a change.”
It’s not the people. It’s the system, it’s the system, it’s the system.
[For our readers who want to keep up with the latest on Trump, there’s a great website that aggregates the latest outrages on a daily basis: “WTF Just Happened Today?”]