Confronting Trumpism on the state level: Mobilize resistance to Gov. Landry’s attacks in Louisiana

Protesters against Jeff Landry gather in the rain outside gubernatorial debate in Lafayette, Sept. 15. Photo: Real Name Campaign

Excerpts from a presentation given at the Socialist Unity Party national plenum on Dec. 16, 2023.

Other reports have laid out many aspects of the current situation with world capitalism and imperialism – from economic crisis to a massive escalation of military conflict, actual and potential. Reports have shown how military conflicts grow out of the economy.

Tied up in all this are the contradictions within the ruling class. This is playing out in the U.S. with the struggles within Congress, as well as in the coming presidential elections. Biden and Trump are effectively the candidates on offer. Biden’s popularity is plummeting with his unconditional support for Israel’s intensified genocide of the Palestinian people. Trump is promising a full-scale assault on the institutions of bourgeois democracy, already fragile. He promises to deport more people than ever before, and so on.

At the same time, as other comrades have pointed out, there is a huge upsurge of resistance in the U.S. around Palestine (like in the rest of the world), with masses of people rejecting the aims of U.S. imperialism. And with elections like the one recently in Ohio, we can see the deep unpopularity of the far right’s policies concerning abortion. We see a rejection of the anti-LGBTQ+ book bans and other fascist policies.

With all that going on, far-right, Trump-allied Attorney General Jeff Landry has been elected governor of Louisiana following a lackluster election cycle. The Democrats offered up almost no resistance, and record-low voter turnout ensured that the small ultra-right base came out and secured a victory for Landry.

I’ve written several articles for Struggle-La Lucha on this. At the March for Trans Youth in Orlando, Florida, multiple Louisiana activists spoke about the danger of Landry.

Landry’s planning a massive increase in police repression, for example, bringing in state police to the majority-Black city of New Orleans. There is an overt Jim Crow aspect to his whole appeal. This would overturn the many gains that the people of New Orleans have made against police repression vis-a-vis the federal consent decree that has somewhat tempered police violence.

He’s an oil-and-gas investment millionaire who led the anti-abortion charge and tried to kick thousands of people off Medicaid.

I don’t want to repeat everything. Instead, I want to make a concrete proposal that the Socialist Unity Party commit to prioritizing the situation in Louisiana.

For one thing, I think it will be important to fight Landry’s agenda, being proactive and getting ahead of him. How does the far-right of a certain type – the MAGA type, including Landry – fit into the big picture? In general, there is very little understanding and consensus about these things in the broad movement, leading to different tendencies, such as some attempting an alliance with the supposedly populist far right, on the one hand, and others to trail the Democrats. Both of these are dangerous paths.

As Landry and the Republican supermajority in the state unleash attacks on all sections of the working class and the oppressed, we will have opportunities to reach workers.

By putting these struggles in the national spotlight, we will not only expose Landry and hopefully make it harder for him to operate, but we can embolden workers and the political movement in other states, especially in the South.

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