Donald Trump is no working class hero – don’t parrot his propaganda

The election of Trump is a nightmare for American workers


Unless you consider turkeys voting for Christmas a victory for turkeys, the election of Donald Trump is in no sense a ‘working class’ blow struck against ‘the elites’.

It’s easy to overlook the fact, given the media tendency to share the premises of right-wing populism, but a Trump presidency will be an unmitigated disaster for working class Americans.

‘Donald Trump is the worst candidate ever to run for President of the United States,’ said Bob Master, a labour organiser at the Communication Workers of America (CWA), speaking to me in New York ten days before the election.

‘Even though his appeal has been couched towards disgruntled, downwardly-mobile, white working class people, aside from the very shrewd position he’s taken on trade, all the stuff he talks about is terrible.

“He’s not for a minimum wage increase, he’s for right to work, he’s for massive tax cuts for the rich, he’s never walked on a picket line, he’s used undocumented labour to do construction on his own projects, he manufactures stuff in low wage centres overseas.”

Workers at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which runs the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign for a higher minimum wage, were of the same opinion when I interviewed members at the 32BJ local in Manhattan.

They didn’t see a potential Trump presidency as a victory for themselves — quite the contrary, and I’m inclined to take the word of those commercial workers (office cleaners) over the boasts of the Daily Mail and the Sun.

As Paul Waldman writes in the Washington Post:

“Trump’s tax plan would give 47 per cent of its benefits to the richest one per cent of taxpayers. Paul Ryan’s tax plan is even purer — it gives 76 per cent of its cuts to the richest one percent in its first year, and by 2025 would feed 99.6 per cent of its benefits to the top one per cent.”

He concludes that, far from being ‘a threat to the establishment or the system’, ‘the wealthy and powerful will have more wealth and power when he’s done, not less.’

For more on Trump’s anti-labour policies, read this by John Nichols in The Nation. 

Trump’s election was a victory of the powerful over the vulnerable. His team of Ayn Rand fanciers (Paul Ryan), Reaganite Christian fanatics (Mike Pence) and alt-right dirtbags (Stephen Bannon) will make that plain soon enough.

We shouldn’t echo the propaganda of Trump’s fellow travellers, who love ‘the working class’ when it’s bashing brown people (or voting conservative) but breathe fire when it goes on strike.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Andrew Marr’s softballs for Marine Le Pen were the real problem with his interview

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3 Responses to “Donald Trump is no working class hero – don’t parrot his propaganda”

  1. Mick

    If the Left are so good, why have they failed and failed and failed?

    Part of the answer lies in their being cranky tweedledums. Too much PC, too much sleaze. too much tax and too much vested interest has corrupted a supposedly once-pure Left, which favoured things like British Jobs For British Workers, good hours, safety at work and all that good stuff.

    Also, the left are beaten on the arguments for building walls against illegals or Muslim fanaticism. The US public saw our problems and said No, thanks. Gitmo almost closed, which was also a worry.

    Now they talk about labour. People don’t mind working hard, often for bastard. They just want to come home with something. And they don’t want their jobs transferred to others. Trump at least speaks for that.

  2. David Lindsay

    The American Democratic Party has been defeated in the person of the most economically neoliberal and internationally neoconservative nominee imaginable. From the victory of Donald Trump, to the Durham Teaching Assistants’ dispute, the lesson needs to be learned. The workers are not the easily ignored and routinely betrayed base, with the liberal bourgeoisie as the swing voters to whom tribute must be paid. The reality is the other way round. The EU referendum ought already to have placed that beyond doubt.

    There is a need to move, as a matter of the utmost urgency, away from the excessive focus on identity issues, and towards the recognition that those existed only within the overarching and undergirding context of the struggle against economic inequality and in favour of international peace, including co-operation with Russia, not a new Cold War.

    It is worth noting that working-class white areas that voted for Barack Obama did not vote for Hillary Clinton, that African-American turnout went down while the Republican share of that vote did not, and that Trump took 30 per cent of the Hispanic vote. Black Lives Matter meant remembering Libya, while Latino Lives Matter meant remembering Honduras.

    The defeat of the Clintons by a purported opponent of neoliberal economic policy and of neoconservative foreign policy, although time will tell, has secured the position of Jeremy Corbyn, who is undoubtedly such an opponent. It is also a challenge to Theresa May, to make good her rhetoric about One Nation, about a country that works for everyone, and about being a voice for working people.

    David Lindsay, 2017 council candidate and 2020 parliamentary candidate, Lanchester, County Durham; @davidaslindsay
    George Galloway, former Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead (1987-1997), Glasgow Kelvin (1997-2005), Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-2010), Bradford West (2012-2015); @georgegalloway
    Neil Clark, journalist and broadcaster; @NeilClark66
    Ronan Dodds, writer, broadcaster and activist, Newcastle upon Tyne; @RonanDodds
    James Draper, writer, broadcaster and activist, Lanchester, County Durham
    John Mooney, writer, broadcaster and activist, Lurgan, County Armagh; @FitzjamesHorse
    Mietek Padowicz, writer, broadcaster and activist, Newcastle upon Tyne; @scurvytoon
    Aren Pym, writer, broadcaster and activist, West Cornforth, County Durham; @arenthelefty
    Adam Young, writer, broadcaster and activist, Burnopfield, County Durham; @JustALocalSerf

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