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Trump and Pence: How Best to Take Them On? Part 2

Trump and Pence: How Best to Take Them On? Part 2

Part I is here.

By Dennis Loo (6/22/17)

For example, Revolution quotes Andy Zee, who is the main spokesman for this anti-fascist movement saying, 

All the more so because this regime is hell-bent on imposing fascism: with all the arrogance and ignorance, the Bible taken literally and the flag, the racist genocide and misogyny that is the true face of Make America Great Again. Yes, there are differences from German fascism in the 1930s, but two important points: one, there are striking parallels to the rise of fascism in the ’30s. And, second, and at the heart of the matter, the essential character of fascism is present: a qualitative change in how society is governed—through essentially open terror and the elimination of basic democratic rights. Only in the U.S. today, Donald Trump has nuclear weapons and the most powerful military in world history under his command.

Yes, the Trump regime is hell-bent on remaking the norms along fascist rather than bourgeois-democratic lines, where for example, due process for the accused is suspended permanently and the presumption is no longer innocent until proven guilty, but once accused, you are assumed to be guilty. The many Trump executive orders include such as at least implicit language within them. But note that Trump is getting a lot of resistance to his and Pence's efforts. Note that their intent and what they have been saying and all of their bluster is different from what they do. Rather than viewing this as a well-thought out strategy, consider how precious little Trump thinks ahead about anything. Look at when they tried to implement the travel ban at airports, how push back happened immediately from protestors and even judges. Trump can point to no legislation except the terrible (and likely unpassable through the Senate) GOP "health care" bill finally passed in the House but which even the GOP can barely muster comments, let alone enthusiasm for. 

While the Christian Fascist Movement certainly does exist and we would be well to call further attention to them than not, Trump certainly is only related to it partially and while it is true that some would be alright with Pence as president, it would be a mistake to think that the anti-Trump-Pence movement ends with that outcome. You believe that the PTB can sew it up so neatly that what comes out via the various investigations - including through investigative journalism - will not tarnish and discredit Pence?

If we pull back the lens further, we see that rather than Trump-Pence being a fascist rupture from what came before - a premise of the RCP's campaign to stand at least in part of defense of bourgeois-democratic values, whether the party intends to do that or not - the disconnect between what authorities are doing versus what they say, has been happening for a while. Obama (remember "hope" and "change?") based his political career on that disconnect, presenting himself to others as the opposite of what he was doing. Where do you see the evidence of all that hope and change, then, or now?

Yes, Obama looks good next to clownish Trump, but pay attention to the essence. Read and view their words and their deeds, for words and intention don't necessarily translate into the same deeds. Neoliberal policies are a disaster for nearly all of us.

The RCP offers up a hope that they can lead the people's independent political movement, but their anti-fascist coalition and their view that they are dealing with a "coherent cabal" is incorrect and needs to be changed. As I said in the Part 1 of this series, Trump has trouble even keeping his key advisers and himself in coherence.

If you boil everything I said in a recent very lengthy article to its shortest version, it woud be this as my suggestion to best build such a popular movement:

What is really at stake with one’s view of political power is what you think humanity’s capable of – are they just consumers (the vast majority of people are to be fooled or misled) or are they capable of eventually running all of society? What I am speaking of goes far beyond the realm of voting every few years and the political institutions themselves and I am therefore making a very different argument from the usual understanding of politics. This is how I define politics: how you decide what you do and what others are doing is political because it involves choice and use of limited resources in all things personal and public.

Another way to say this is this:

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. (Pp. 326-7)

Without going into the preceding quote in its entirety, it is probably useful to elaborate on a few items to give you an idea. For example, having respect for the truth, whether what is true is personally convenient or not, is a proper attitude to always take. Even if it’s a criticism of you, you should hear it out because you might learn from it and improve what you are doing, even if the person(s) making the criticism(s) does not wish you well, they may have a point. If it’s someone else’s idea or if it comes from a source you weren’t expecting, our goal should not be to foster privilege and ego is a form of privilege. We should give people a fair hearing and perhaps everyone can learn something from them. One of the ways that you tell whether someone is really hearing you is if they can give an accurate version of what you said, regardless of whether they agree with it in whole, in part, or not at all. If you are wrong or you did something wrong, then freely and completely admit it. If truth is what you are after, then a free admission of an error can only be a good thing and part of the process. 

Democratic theory’s assumptions lead to bad results and people tend to take its ideas for granted. But a close examination of them reveals them to be at odds with human character. The nature of group life creates certain necessities and tendencies, but once you understand that you are no longer enslaved by it and can move others knowing that.

Decisions are consequential and good decisions require both people’s active hands on participation and insight, experience, and expertise. This is a process rather than an outcome reached on one day of voting every few years.

For us to defeat the empire requires that we thoroughly critique their legitimating rationales and that we do so across the board in everything we do and stand for. The PTB spread the idea so widely and thoroughly that they are invincible and cannot be beaten. But the truth is they can be beaten, more often than not are defeated, and their system and behavior is based on lies that can be exposed. We need a political vanguard and we need to bring this knowledge and method “from without.” Otherwise we have lost before we have started, accepting bourgeois values uncritically. You cannot defeat an adversary using its own intellectual tools and values. This is something that requires a protracted process, one which is hard, but the only realistic path to take.

 

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12