STAR readers of a certain age will remember the ’70s slogan that appeared on London’s railway bridges and factory walls proclaiming the innocence of George Davis.
This was part of an energetic campaign by his family and friends that seemed hopeless until, 36 years later a conviction for his role in a raid on the (then publicly owned) London Electricity Board was ruled unsafe.
Davis’s folk hero status was somewhat eroded when he later pleaded guilty to robbing the Bank of Cyprus branch in the Holloway Road.
There was no need for Donald Trump’s family to embark on a graffiti campaign to decorate the decaying walls of the US’s urban infrastructure.
There was no real chance that the tribunal sitting in judgement of his impeachment would find him guilty. The judges were onside and the fix was in with the jury.
Davis won his appeal because the police and prosecution neglected to present witness evidence which suggested that he was not the guilty party.
No-one seriously believes that Trump is innocent even of the crimes he is presently accused of, but having decided that no witnesses need to be called and no significant evidence of the president’s wrongdoing presented, the judicial process moved to its foregone conclusion.
The principal truth revealed by this political theatre is that the bourgeois legal system makes an improbable sword of justice if the issue is the legitimacy or conduct of established political power.
But equally significant is the demonstrable impotence of an opposition that clasps the conventions of bourgeois rule more closely to its bosom than does an off-message incumbent like Trump.
What hobbles the official Democrat Party opposition is its loyal adherence to the very bipartisan politics to which Trump is proving an unreliable partisan.
A Soviet leader once remarked that that, like the Soviet Union, the US was a one-party state, but he added: “With typical American extravagance it has two.”
This seems to be breaking down and the evidence suggests that, faced with a Bernie Sanders insurgency of Corbynesque proportions, the Democratic Party managers have deployed a combination of dodgy social media operators, pro-Israeli business interests and shady party management techniques to finesse a result in the Iowa selection that obscures the popular will.
We can be sure that as the presidential campaign develops, much more of this kind of stuff — which seems strangely familiar to us — will emerge.
The US’s political crisis lies in the progressive failure of its unique version of bourgeois dictatorship caused by an erosion of the traditional bases of conventional Republican politics that Trump erratically represents and the simultaneous challenge to the Democrat establishment that Sanders personifies.
Opinion polling suggests that 18 to 35-year-olds in the US have a more positive view of socialism than they do of capitalism.
Given that their view of socialism is drawn almost exclusively from hostile and highly mediated accounts — and their view of capitalism from lived experience — this spells trouble for bipartisan politics.
It is always tempting, although often misleading, to imagine parallels between US politics and the exercise of power in Britain.
But it is significant that among younger people there is a new sense that a future for humanity and our planet must entail very profound changes in the way power is exercised and in whose interest it is deployed.
We have another two months in which the policy pitches of the various contenders for leadership of Labour will be tested.
Mostly they present themselves as socialists. Not just their words but their deeds, past and present, offer us a sense of how they measure against this standard.
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