What is the United States of America?

Photo Source Bruce Berrien | CC BY 2.0

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court despite being creditably accused of multiple sexual assaults and appearing to commit perjury. He will almost definitely make a number of decisions that serve to erode the accountability of big business in general and our Molester-In-Chief in particular.

All of this is deeply troubling and it’s been reassuring to see the level of outrage across the country. But there’s a deeper conflict going on here, one over a simple question: What is the United States of America?

Is the USA the home of the free? A settler colonial state? A country of equality? Or a place where Latina women earn only 54% of what white men do, where the state smiles on police killings of black people, and where a handful of billionaires control the majority of resources and poor people scrounge to survive?

Socialist organizers like myself have a set of answers to these questions. The USA is a patriarchal, colonial, oligarchic state built on dispossession of native peoples, on slavery, continuing exclusion of people of color, and on undervaluing, objectifying and profiting from women’s bodies. Gender privilege, race privilege and class privilege are the remnants of systems that were designed to enrich the very few. In meaningful ways, those systems have not ended.

Up until now, those answers were in opposition to the answers of the people in charge. Those people (almost all of them…

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