Why and how did Trump win?
As understandably disturbing as Trump’s election win is, his election is part of a trend happening in other parts of the world as well. We are seeing an alarming trend in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and now the US in the growing popularity of neo-fascism and white nationalism, which Trump champions.
As in these countries and regions, the people in the US are also facing massive backbreaking economic crisis– poverty, hunger, homelessness/gentrification, rising unemployment, low wages, union-busting, lack of access to healthcare and education– as a result of neoliberal policies of the global capitalist system.
Trump’s win and the rise of neo-fascism in the US can be attributed to this crisis of the capitalist system and the desperate battle of different factions of the ruling class (or the 1%) to cling to power; different factions use racism, hate, and xenophobia to varying degrees as a way to divide people and misdirect the anger and frustration of the people–especially white workers–towards each other and people considered different from them (immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, Arabs) rather than on the very capitalist system that caused the crisis. By extension, this keeps the super-profits in the hands of the ruling class (aka keep the rich richer and the poor poorer).
What does this mean for people in the US?
This scheme has already been at play. With the decline of the manufacturing sector due to outsourcing in search of cheap labor abroad, as dictated by neoliberal globalization, there is much competition over the scarcity of jobs, at lower wages, in the US. In the “right to work” states in the south, the agricultural, slaughterhouses/meat production, oil, coal and other extractive industries deliberately do NOT hire local white workers and instead import and traffic migrant workers–including the undocumented and people tied to restrictive guestworker visas–to ensure a cheap and exploitable workforce. These workers make easily identifiable scapegoats for the plight of the poor and working class people of those states, who suffer from chronic unemployment and the theft and poisoning of their natural resources.
As the economic crisis intensifies, white supremacist doctrine, and with it hateful, racist, and anti-immigrant tension and violence in our communities is rising. Hundreds of new instances of children staying home from school because of fear of deportation and hate crimes against people of color are being reported in the wake of Trump’s election. As long as people’s anger is misdirected at the wrong targets, the ruling class will continue the status quo of squeezing super-profits through the exploitation and oppression of the majority, and at the same time, beef up state repression through the military industrial complex (more wars, militarism, and militarization of the police) and mass incarceration of poor people of color (including police violence, criminalization, detention and deportation of immigrants).
But people are resisting. From the moment Trump was announced the winner, the people of the US responded immediately with demonstrations on the streets. Students are walking out of the classrooms almost daily, and mass gatherings of people are being convened by different groups to discuss how to resist a Trump presidency.
What does this mean for Filipinos in the US?
As a predominantly new immigrant, working class community, most Filipinos in the US already face crisis in the form of trafficking, low wages (wage theft), job insecurity, family separation and isolation, discrimination, and deportation. A Trump presidency, headed by a man who called Filipinos “animals” who are from a “terrorist nation,” will embolden neo-fascism and will worsen these conditions for Filipinos and other immigrant communities in the US, especially if there is no mass movement on the ground to challenge Trump, fascism, and the capitalist system itself.
What will this mean for US-Philippine relations?
The system that Trump represents in the US will seek to keep the status quo of US domination over the Philippines through a neocolonial relationship. This means violating Philippine sovereignty by maintaining and increasing US military presence in the Philippines as well as US meddling in Philippine economic policy-making for the benefit of US corporations and ruling class. On the campaign trail, Trump constantly singled out China as a top threat to US interests, indicating that the Philippines will remain a crucial base for US military operations in the region.
The Duterte administration, which made strong pronouncements in the past of seeking to “separate” from the US and assert an independent foreign policy that upholds sovereignty, will be a target of the Trump administration for destabilization. Trump will seek to unseat and undo a Duterte presidency if the latter fails to comply with US dictates as well favor US corporate interests and US-led trade deals
At the same time, the National Democratic movement in the Philippines will also intensify and advance, especially the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside.
The National Democratic mass movement, representing the democratic aspirations of the Filipino people, will continue to wage a vibrant struggle against US imperialism, which is supported by domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism towards a just and lasting peace and genuine freedom and democracy in the country.
What do we do now?
Now is the time to unite to build a movement to resist Trump and fascism. It’s understandable that many are fearful of a Trump presidency, but we are more vulnerable to attack if we are paralyzed by our fear and do not take action.
History teaches us that it’s people united in collective action, not individual leaders, that create and determine change. It was relentless people’s struggle and collective action that brought down slavery, that won civil and voting rights, that won minimum wage laws and regulations, that won the eight-hour work day, that won Social Security and other public benefits, that won the legal right for workers to unionize, that neutralized anti-immigrant legislative proposals such as the Sensenbrenner Bill (HR 4437) and Arizona SB 1070. It was also people’s struggle and mass movement that were critical to ending the US war campaign in Vietnam.
The growing movement to resist Trump must be strengthened and sustained. Now is the time to join an organization where we learn about our rights and how we can take collective action!