You’ve got to hand it to Hillary Clinton. In 2016, she helped put the right-wing racist, sexist, nativist, authoritarian, and nationalist oligarch Donald Trump in the White House. She and her operatives did this in two ways: (1) by rigging the presidential primaries against the popular progressive Democrat Bernie Sanders, the Democrats’ best chance to prevail over Trump; (2) by mounting a dreadfully uninspiring and transparently tone-deaf, neoliberal general election campaign – a reflection of her massive funding by the nation’s corporate and financial establishment, including big business money normally slated for Republican presidential candidates.
“I Said Why? They Said They Didn’t Know”
Let history record that on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 14 days after climate change-fueled Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and 4 days before Hurricane Irma hit southern Florida, the climate-denying President of the United States Donald Trump went to North Dakota to deliver a “tax reform” speech before hundreds of workers and managers at a major oil refinery. The president made comments so senseless and stupid that one must read them twice to believe they were uttered:
There are good reasons for any good progressive to bemoan the presence of the childish, racist, sexist and ecocidal, right-wing plutocrat Donald Trump in the White House. One complaint about Trump that should be held at arm’s-length by anyone on the left, however, is the charge that Trump is contributing to the decline of U.S. global power—to the erosion of the United States’ superpower status and the emergence of a more multipolar world.
With the news cycle taken over by the latest madness emerging from the mouth or Twitter feed of the childish “orange one” in the White House, could we step back from the circus to reflect like adults on the social and historical forces that produced the clown presidency? Haymarket Books’ new collection of essays by leading left political analysts, US Politics in an Age of Uncertainty: Essays on a New Reality, is required reading for anyone interested in such reflections on Donald Trump.
*This essay (below) was published on Counterpunch on Friday, January 12, 2018. It was written and submitted before I learned about Donald Trump’s sickening racist comments calling Haiti and Africa (home to 48 nations) “shithole countries.” Trump’s racist remarks have led me to alter and add text (seen in italics) in this essay’s next-to-last paragraph.
Liberals and other Democrats are getting dumber by the day. I keep running into them and hearing the same story over and over: things are bad because Trump is the president.
Most of the media’s attention on journalist Michael Wolff’s “explosive” new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has focused on the disclosure that Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon used the words “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” to describe Donald Trump, Jr. and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians claiming to possess damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The Occupy Wall Street movement that spread across the country six-plus years ago lacked proper organization and strategy, but it deserves credit for having the right enemy – the corporate and financial ruling class. The same can be said to no small degree about the sadly Democratic Party-captive Bernie Sanders campaign, which targeted “the billionaire class” as the main culprit behind the miseries of life in the brutally class-disparate United States. Both populist phenomena – Occupy and the Sanders “movement” – failed to build lasting people’s organizations and failed to properly situate the “One Percent”/“Billionaire Class” within the specific historical contexts of capitalist class rule and capitalism’s “evil twin” imperialism. Neither offered anything like a revolutionary alternative to the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of wealth and empire. Still, both demonstrated a reasonable opening understanding of who calls the shots under what Noam Chomsky is right to sardonically call “really existing [U.S.] capitalist democracy, or RECD, pronounced as ‘wrecked’”: the U.S. corporate and financial oligarchy.
Big Brother in the Aisles of HyVee
Repeat a lie often enough, the conventional Nazi propaganda wisdom ran, and it will become an accepted truth.
Time as a Democracy and Socialist Movement Issue
Working-class and pro-working-class socialists and left anarchists have long fought for shorter working hours (with no reductions in pay) for some very good radically democratic reasons. It isn’t just that workers’ everyday lives and collective marketplace and workplace bargaining power are enhanced when they are freed from the scourge of over-work and when working hours are spread more evenly across the workforce. Beyond these real and meaningful gains, rank-and-file socialists and left anarchists have long supported decent working hours so that workers can have enough time to develop tastes and build knowledge and organizations to fight for a world beyond the rule of capitalism, the profit- and accumulation-addicted system that, in Karl Marx’s famous 1848 words, “resolve[s] personal worth into exchange value” and “le[aves] no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’”
Numerous correspondents sent me the latest lengthy Atlantic essay by the brilliant and eloquent but bourgeois Black Identitarian Ta-Nehesi Coates and asked for my reflections. I reluctantly agreed to read and comment on Coates’ long treatise.
In the late summer of 2017, the United States was hit by two epic hurricanes, each of which took lives and caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. Record-setting wildfires raged on the nation’s West coast and a devastating drought plagued much of the nation’s northern Great Plains.
The Idiotic Lecture I Keep Getting
A recurrent problem with some who read Left essays on U.S. politics is that a writer of such essays can’t criticize a Republican policymaker or politician without some “radical” reader sending that writer a snotty lecture on the writer’s supposed failure to understand that Barack Obama, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, and rest of the top Democrats are terrible too.