We have recently published the interview with ILPS-ICC (International League of People’s Struggles-International Coordinating Committee) founding chairman and noted international affairs expert Jose Maria Sison on the United States of America (USA) elections that took place on November 8 (November 9 in the Philippines). With the surprising victory of maverick billionaire Donald Trump over his Democratic Party rival Hillary Clinton, Prof. Sison again shared his thoughts.
Trump crossed the 270-vote mark to win the elections before midnight in the US. As of 8am in the US, votes between the two leading candidates stand at 279 for Trump and 228 for Clinton with 31 electoral votes still available, disproving what was thought all along a close fight.
President-elect Trump has been unofficially declared by the American dominant media as the 45th US president. It became a surprise to many people who believe that Clinton would win because of her strong showing in pre-electoral and electoral surveys.
What Trump win revealed
Prof. Sison explain that Donald Trump’s campaign line and style had proven superior to those of Hillary Clinton.
According to him, “He has proven to be effective in appealing to the white majority of middle class precariat, the jobless and all those impoverished in urban and rural areas. This fact has been underplayed in pre-election days by the mainstream media which tended to give Clinton the winning edge.”
“Trump appealed to the discontent of the dwindling middle class, the jobless, and those holding one or several low-paid jobs. The anti-minority tirades against the Mexicans and Hispanic immigrants as well as against the outsourcing of jobs served to underscore his campaign line,” he pointed out on Trump’s electoral campaign line and appeal.
He stressed that Clinton supported the burden of carrying the false claim that the US economy had improved, while real unemployment in the US is at least 20 per cent, and being the candidate of an outgoing discredited Obama regime.
“She competed with Trump in projecting the image of a strong leader and suffered from the comparison,” he noted on Clinton’s strong leadership card during the campaign course.
Choice of lesser evil
There was an absence of an alternative to prevailing politics in the concluded US elections.
“In the absence of an intelligent and strong candidate serving as Left pole for rallying the followers of anti-establishment politics, Trump served as the Rightist pole for rallying anti-establishment sentiments in the traditional conservative bailiwicks of both Republican and Democratic parties,” Prof. Sison explained.
“He had the boulevard all to himself in speaking as a demagogue and scapegoating minorities,” Prof. Sison noted on Trump’s supposedly hateful rhetoric that earned him the ire of American women and minorities.
“The most sophisticated voters, the Left and progressive liberals, who knew about Clinton’s shady connections with Wall Street and lobby groups, her penchant for power play and war mongering and the damaging potential of the e-mails from Wikileaks proved to be a small part of the vote count in the final stretch campaign. The mainstream media did not pay much attention to them in the entire run of the campaign,” he said on the role of the leaked ‘Podesta e-mails’ for Clinton’s electoral defeat.
He said that the FBI cleared Clinton of any criminal liability with regard to the e-mails in the last few days of the campaign.
“Wikileaks’ Assange has his own initiative independent of Russia. So does Trump. The Clinton campaigners were so afraid of the e-mail exposures that they resorted to calling Assange and Trump as Russian agents,” he reacted on the last-minute campaign allegations that WikiLeaks and Russia are conspiring to interfere in the outcome of the concurring elections in favor of Trump.
He noted that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson got small votes as expected, because of small campaign funds, small campaign machinery and small mainstream media attention.
“Sanders would have fared far better than Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in number of vote but would not have fared better than Clinton because the latter has the campaign funds, the Democratic Party machinery and the attention of the mainstream mass media,” he surmised on the electoral chances of Democratic Party’s presidential primary hopeful Bernie Sanders had he ran for the presidency.
Monopoly bourgeoisie in the US
Prof. Sison reiterated that the US was still dominated by the two giant parties of the monopoly bourgeoisie, the duopoly of the Republican and Democratic Parties, very much like Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola. With that, he said that it does not matter which party wins in the elections.
He pointed out that the Obama presidency and the Democratic Party had been made to appear as less imperialist and more democratic than the Republican, but in fact the two parties have used both the neoliberal economic policy and wars of aggression to aggrandize US imperialist interests.
“The pro-Clinton mainstream mass media did not have a monopoly of swaying the sentiments of the US electorate. The direct mass appeal in the campaign line of Trump, the social media and conservative institutions played their role to favor Trump.”
Prof. Sison said that Trump could not really run wild in persecuting and deporting the minorities in the US.
“Together these form a formidable part of American society. They are a source of cheap of labor, have contributed greatly to the US economy and have improved the quality of life in the US,” he elaborated.
Prospects of US strategic shift to East Asia
He said that the US would continue to maintain and strengthen bilateral and multilateral alliances in East Asia in order to contain China.
“It remains to be seen whether Trump will retract the Obama-Clinton strategic shift to East Asia. But he will still regard China as an economic competitor and a challenge to US hegemony,” he said.
Implications on the Philippines and the Trump-Duterte comparison
Prof. Sison warned that the US under Trump would continue to dominate the Philippines economically, culturally, politically and militarily.
According to him, “[The US] will do everything to make the Philippine authorities puppet and servile through unequal agreements and arrangements. It will continue to plunder Philippine natural resources and extract superprofits from various types of enterprises and loan arrangements.”
Indeed, as he stressed out, Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have the same style of making colorful and outrageous statements to call attention to themselves and to what they try to express.
“Duterte still has to prove that he is truly opposed to US imperialism and wants an independent foreign policy,” he advised on the steps in realizing the anti-US hegemony rhetoric of President Duterte.
Prof. Sison pointed out that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are a testing ground whether the Duterte government is willing to let the Filipino people uphold their national sovereignty and independence, expand democracy, develop the economy through national industrialization and general land reform, have a patriotic and progressive culture and international solidarity for peace and development.
Otherwise, he said, the Filipino people will continue the armed revolution in order to achieve national and social liberation.