On What Basis An Anti-Establishment Coalition?
By Dennis Loo (7/2/16)
“I don’t care if … [Trump’s] racist!” he shouted at a [bar] room by then nearly empty but for us. “If you’ll just bring back one [expletive] steel mill!”
(From “Donald Trump, American Preacher,” by Jeff Sharlet, The New York Times Magazine, April 12, 2016)
The preceding quote from a Trump supporter captures the essence of Trump's wide appeal. Trump's racism and sexism are not what mainly characterizes his attractiveness to his legions. He would be dead in the water were he not pitching an economic populist line. He has no shortage of followers who are knuckle draggers, but this would not be a mass following without the anti-globalization appeal.
David Brooks predicted yesterday at The New York Times that an open/closed political alignment is coming and that Trump’s popularity is a harbinger of that world political shift.
It’s certainly possible, indeed, very likely that Brooks’ prediction will come true, irrespective of whether or not Trump wins the coming election – a highly unlikely scenario - although who, including Trump himself, could have foreseen his decisive Republican primary victories?
Probably Hillary Clinton will win but no matter who does, pro-globalization elites will prevail for a while, a few more years, even under a Trump presidency because he is incapable of transforming the entire bureaucratic/institutional edifice that has been building for so many decades, even if Trump sincerely wanted to. Can you imagine a narcissist’s narcissist as he is, applying his painstaking and determined, complicated and protracted efforts, to lead a mass movement to do that? He’d have to replace the institutions from top to bottom and have the people capable of taking over…
See this article:
The neoliberals like Clinton will glory in their (expected) win and the right will gain in other places outside of America too, but the writing’s on the wall: globalization's discontents will win, but what will that win look like? Hillary will wish she had not won the presidency, the clashes that will occur under her expected presidency are going to be agonizing and extraordinary.
As far-fetched as what I’ve been writing about lately may seem, remember that the present scenario in which the very institutions and their leaders in charge in the world are in danger of toppling was unthinkable to almost everyone in leading positions a few months ago.
On what basis could the less likely but quite possible alliance emerge that could actually result in something other than the open/closed alignment where nativist trends take over?
This is a question that is going to take some real delving into because it is very complicated. But let me try to sketch out here some broad outlines initially.
First, the issues the world faces are not the fault of immigrants, women, or minorities. It is due to capitalism and imperialism. That is a fact. This is true regardless of the fact that most people do not fully or in many cases, even partially, understand that right now. What people will come to understand is up in the air and contingent. Anyone who thinks the masses of people are too dumb or too bigoted to understand do not realize how the fundamental elements that need to be understood are present in everyday life. The raw material to grasp this understanding is everywhere we look and everything people and nature are dealing with.
Second, the situation now is not due to public opinion. Public opinion and what the status quo is are two different phenomena that overlap a bit but only a bit.
Third, if points one and two are true, then it is also true that the same deception that authorities have been using and are still using (e.g., mainstream media) to mislead the people about the goodness of neoliberal policies (remember that neoliberalism = the political expression of globalization) is no longer working. It worked for decades and it still has some hold over some people but it’s breaking down before the objective reality of peoples’ lives and the state of nature. What does this tell you about elites’ ability going forward for demagogues such as Trump and others to win in the long run? Objective reality is going to come up against Trump’s repeated declarations that he is going to “win” and keep on winning and that he can make “America Great Again.”
Fourth, the only path that holds out the prospect of not being decimated by objective reality is a radically different logic and a radically different system. In other words, it has to be truly revolutionary, not some faux version of that word. It is on that basis that a difficult to imagine but wholly possible alliance can be forged between the revolutionary left and what are at this time misled elements on the right. As to the latter, I mean those many, not all, of those who are working class and middle class followers of Trump now. And this has to occur with their transformation from being nativists to internationalists. This will obviously not be easy, but it is possible and it is the only way that the troubles the world faces now can be resolved. If you're thinking "Well, that's never going to happen," consider the improbability of the current situation and consider the factors leading so many to be nativists. Who is giving them these ideas in the first place? Are those subject to that thinking doing it all by themselves without any help? If the planet is being exploited and the people are being mistreated, does it not also stand to reason that the people are also being twisted in their understanding by the dominant ideas and by misinformation dissemination? The ruling ideas of any epoch, as Marx pointed out, are the ideas of the ruling class. The real enemy of the working class and middle class that they are angry about is not their fellow discontents among immigrants, women and minorities but capitalism and imperialism. That is not mere rhetoric but the truth, Ruth.
As part of the article that I link to here states:
Read this essay by another former student to give you a further sense of what is possible.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)