Mueller and wishful thinking

August 4, 2019

Anyone who clung to the illusion that Robert Mueller’s July 22 testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees would put POTUS in a pickle had to be disappointed.

Now it should be clear: There will be no shortcut to pushing the president back, let alone smashing his reactionary racist policies. And Mueller, as we have written before, is about the last person — and from the last place — you would expect help in this regard.

He was an official of the FBI, one of the most regressive and repressive state institutions. The FBI hounded Black Liberation organizations, Civil Rights leaders and communists in various stages of its history. The FBI in the 21st century hasn’t changed its stripes — or its politics.

Mueller focused his investigation solely on alleged collusion between #45 and Russia. That in itself shows the weakness and limitations of a nearly two-year pursuit. If Mueller’s investigation had produced evidence of serious collusion, U.S. imperialism would just have another pretext to target the Russian state. Mueller has managed to do this without weakening the Trump gang.

Fahrad Manjoo wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on July 25 that homed in on what #45 really deserves to be impeached for, should he ever be impeached: racism.

And Manjoo wasn’t the only analyst to focus on the president’s overt racism and white supremacy that, along with xenophobia, misogyny and anti-LGBTQ2S+ bigotry, is the bedrock of his 2020 election campaign. This view was widely expressed shortly before and immediately following Mueller’s testimony.

Mainstream Democratic Party leaders are reluctant to impeach POTUS, whether for collusion, obstruction, emoluments or racism. They say the Republican majority in the Senate will shoot it down. Nancy Pelosi and company look to run the 2020 election with a centrist program. There is no evidence, however, that a politician of the Hillary Clinton variety can win, nor that electing a moderate Democrat will put the brakes on war, layoffs, wage cuts or police violence.

A real pushback against the Trump agenda

The news for the week might have been all grim if there had not been movement from the grassroots — and that’s where the greatest challenge to POTUS and his policies can arise. First Trump threatened that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would round up 2 million migrants, then cut the target to 2,000.

But what happened? Migrants and those in solidarity with them mobilized to educate everyone about their rights — especially the right not to open your home or a car to ICE officials who come without warrants. ICE announced, in the end, they had arrested 35 people. Trump had boasted 2 million would be sent home.

The solidarity movement had its high moment in Nashville, Tenn., when a family in a car was threatened by ICE agents. People in the neighborhood formed a human chain encircling the car, putting their bodies between the agents and their victims — who this time were not victims but resisters. Previously, a similar action by churchgoers in North Carolina held off an arrest and deportation of an undocumented person.

If we in the working-class and progressive movements aim to get rid of Trump because we hate his policies, we can’t just look for a seemingly more reasonable version of those same policies.

If we aim for the sky, we have to start at the grassroots. We can’t expect a Mueller or a Pelosi to do it for us. We must develop the best instincts and sentiments of millions of working people and mobilize them.

Is this wishful thinking? Or just hard work?

It’s certainly more realistic than relying on Mueller or any high-ranking cop in the capitalist state to take down #45 with a shallow investigation.