The United States is experiencing an increasing domestic crisis. The death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police has sparked mass protests and riots. Journalists are being openly arrested and dozens of cities are instigating curfews.
This is the inevitable result of a process of increasing immiseration of the working class in the United States, and even more marked and rapid impoverishment and falling living standards of the black working class. This state of affairs requires increasingly militarised and violent police to keep black Americans from organising. The United States has become a police state which has utilised institutionalised racism as a way of dividing the working class.
However, the ruling class in the United States is itself divided and confused. Instead of offering bread and circuses and a social democratic life-jacket to a rapacious capitalism to diminish dissent, it is becoming more rigid in its imposition of neoliberalism, and thereby, more brittle.
This increasing rigidity and confused ruling class is not, however, making the US less dangerous and the world more pacific. Instead it is leading to an increase in nationalist and chauvinistic narratives in an attempt at placing the culprit for rising internal problems firmly outside the United States and its real origin in the ruling class.
There has been a tug-of-war between the Trump administration and his ruling class supporters, against the more traditional security state and capitalist friends who have chosen Joe Biden as their avatar. The battle between these camps became a race of chauvinistic belligerence with those who wanted heightened conflict with Russia and those who would rather centre the conflict around China.
However, China’s economic imperviousness to global downturns and effective response to COVID-19 has launched them forward at such a rate that Trump’s chosen path of centering China appears to have won over even his fiercest antagonists in the security state. China’s economic strength will soon place it in first position in the world in terms of national economies, while US economic power continues to wane.
The actions that the US has now taken against China represent a great threat to world stability. In recent years, the US has enacted severe economic sanctions as well as convinced proxies to take drastic actions. The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, in Canada in 2018 and a demand by the US for extradition is a case in point. This action which is still in process, was based on a charge that Huawei had violated US trade sanctions on Iran. The US is essentially demanding that the entire world abide by its own dictates on world trade – a grave threat to any country which hopes to take a divergent path.
This time trade sanctions have accelerated, and yet China’s trade surplus has never been greater. This has increased the US security states interest in proxy conflict and military options. The US security state’s active involvement, funding and support for protests in Hong Kong are one example.
The US has also convinced the Modi government in India to create an open border dispute with China by building permanent infrastructure in a territory which has been disputed ever since India began making territorial claims in the Ladakh region which led to a month-long war with China in 1962. Since then China and India have had a somewhat tense but peaceful coexistence in the disputed territory. The building of Indian infrastructure represents a stark change of the status quo which has instigated the conflict.
The increasing belligerence of the US can also be witnessed in its actions against Venezuela, intervention to overthrow Bolivia, and crushing sanctions on Iran during a period of duress caused by the COVID-19 virus. The US is acting like an injured and cornered predator and will become increasingly erratic and dangerous as the economic and political crisis in the US system intensifies.
The working class in the United States must recognise that their primary enemy is the domestic bourgeoisie and not be diverted into jingoism. The resolution of continually falling living standards must come as a result of working class power and the rebuilding of US industry on a socialist basis. The global working class must collaborate in opposition to US imperialist designs and reject calls to assist it in disciplining those who have neglected to be compliant with their demands.