Since taking office in 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump has used his annual speech at the UN General Assembly to denounce socialism, promote nationalism and xenophobia, and bully and threaten the whole world.
With his third address to the UN General Assembly, Trump escalated his fascistic rhetoric. He openly echoed the tropes of the neo-Nazi right, declaring that “globalists” want to “replace” national identity, while falsely declaring that “socialism and communism” had resulted in the deaths of 100 million people—more than the number killed by Nazi Germany.
At the same time, Trump bullied, cajoled, and threatened virtually every country represented in the UN, vowing to escalate his trade war with China and intensify U.S. economic blockades against Iran and Venezuela, while demanding that America’s “allies” contribute more toward military protection.
Trump made his fascistic appeal just hours before Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry against the president over his demands that Ukraine investigate corruption involving Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son. Behind the impeachment drive lie seething factional differences over U.S. foreign policy.
Amid the deepening domestic political crisis, Trump is escalating his appeal to his fascistic base, including substantial sections of the “total army” in the military and police forces.
To that end, Trump began his speech boasting of the vast resources transferred by his administration to the military. “The United States,” Trump blustered, “after having spent over 2 and a half trillion dollars since my election to completely rebuild our great military” is “by far the world’s most powerful nation.”
Over the subsequent hour, Trump menaced friend and foe alike with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, threatening to turn Iran, for instance, into a “cautionary tale.”
But the centerpiece of the speech was an overtly fascist tract bearing, as the Guardian correctly wrote, “the hallmarks of his most long-serving hardline White House adviser and speechwriter, Stephen Miller.”
“The free world must embrace its national foundations. It must not attempt to erase them or replace them,” Trump declared, echoing a trope of the neo-Nazi right.
The phrase “replacement” gained widespread notoriety in 2017, when a mob of fascists chanted “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” as they marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. After self-identified white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. murdered an anti-fascist protestor the next day, Trump declared that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
The expression “You will not replace us” reflects, according to the Anti-Defamation League, “the white supremacist world view that … the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged ‘rising tide of color’ purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews.”
Brenton Tarrant, the Australia-born man facing trial over a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, that killed 51, named his manifesto “The Great Replacement.” In it, Tarrant argued the fascist conspiracy theory that non-white people were seeking to “replace” Europeans, which his act of mass murder was designed to combat.
“The future belongs to patriots,” Trump declared, in language that could have been uttered by Hitler or Mussolini, “It is why we in the United States have embarked on an exciting program of national renewal.”
These statements were accompanied by the most furious and libelous denunciations of socialism ever uttered by this or any other American president.
The “specter of socialism,” Trump declared, is among “the most serious challenges our countries face.” It is the “wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies.”
“Today I repeat the message for the world that I have delivered at home: America will never be a socialist country,” Trump said. He added, “For the last century socialism and communism killed 100 million people.”
If Trump’s statistic were true—which it is not—it would mean that socialism killed more people than all those who died in World War II, the deadliest conflict in human history, and far more than were killed under Nazi Germany. In this, Trump is repeating another trope of the fascistic right—that the Soviet Union was responsible for more deaths than Nazi Germany—which is nothing more than an attempt to justify Nazi barbarism and trivialize the Holocaust.
Following this tirade, Trump went on to threaten China, Iran and Venezuela. He lamented the folly of the “globalists” who had sought cooperation with China. “But as far as America is concerned, those days are over,” Trump blustered. “To confront these unfair practices, I placed massive tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese made goods. Already, as a result of these tariffs, supply chains are relocating back to America and to other nations and billions of dollars are being paid.”
He went on to denounce Iran, whose “record of death and destruction is well-known to us all.” Trump bragged about having “just imposed the highest level of sanctions on Iran’s central bank.” He concluded, “All nations have a duty to act. No responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust.” He also boasted of the crippling sanctions against Venezuela put in place by his administration.
Whatever the bitter policy divisions within the U.S. ruling elite, Trump’s hysterical hatred and fear of socialism, his promotion of trade war and military violence and his open assault on fundamental democratic rights is shared by all sections of the American ruling class.
As the political warfare heats up in Washington, centered around differences over America’s criminal and homicidal foreign policy, the working class must mobilize on a politically independent basis to oppose the fascist in the White House. In fighting for a socialist program, workers must understand that Trump is just the most putrid excrescence of a capitalist system that has nothing to offer workers but war, poverty and reaction.