…But It’s Really Racism
I find the spectacle of liberals heroically mounting the
barricades against Trump-fascism rather amusing.
For one thing, liberals don’t crush fascism.
Liberals appease fascism, then they exploit fascism.
In between there’s a great big war, where communists crush
That’s pretty much the lesson of WWII.
Second thing is, Trump isn’t fascist.
In my opinion, Trump’s an old-fashioned white American
nativist, which is pretty much indistinguishable from old-fashioned racist when
considering the subjugation of native Americans and African-Americans and Asian
immigrants, but requires that touch of “nativist” nuance when considering
indigenous bigotry against Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants and citizens.
Tagging him as “fascist” allows his critics to put an alien,
non-American gloss on a set of attitudes and policies that have been mainstreamed
in American politics for at least 150 years and predate the formulation of
fascism by several decades if not a century.
Those nasty vetting/exclusion things he’s
proposing are as American as apple pie.
For those interested in boning up on the Know Nothings and the Chinese
Exclusion Act, I
have this piece for you
And for anybody who doesn’t believe the US government does
not already engage in intensive “extreme” vetting and targeting of all Muslims
immigrants, especially those from targeted countries, not only to identify
potential security risks but to groom potential intelligence assets, I got the
Brooklyn Bridge to sell you right here:
Real fascism, in theory, is a rather interesting and nasty
beast. In my opinion, it turns bolshevism
on its head by using race or ethnic identity instead of class identity as the
supreme, mobilizing force in national life.
In both fascism and bolshevism, democratic outcomes lack
inherent legitimacy. National legitimacy
resides in the party, which embodies the essence of a threatened race or class
in a way that Hegel might appreciate but Marx probably wouldn’t. Subversion of democracy and seizure of state
power are not only permissible; they are imperatives.
The need to seize state power and hold it while a fascist or
bolshevik agenda is implemented dictates the need for a military force loyal to
and subservient to the party and its leadership, not the state.
The purest fascism movement I know of exists in
wrote about it here
, and it’s a piece I think is well worth reading to
understand what a political movement organized on fascist principles really
And Trump ain’t no fascist.
He’s a nativist running a rather incompetent campaign.
It’s a little premature to throw dirt on the grave of the
Trump candidacy, perhaps (I’ll check back in on November 9 [November 10: hah!]), but it looks like
he spent too much time glorying in the adulation of his white male nativist
base and too little time, effort, and money trying to deliver a plausible message that
would allow other demographics to shrug off the “deplorable” tag and vote for
him. I don’t blame/credit the media too
much for burying Trump, a prejudice of mine perhaps. I blame Trump’s inability to construct an
effective phalanx of pro-Trump messengers, a failure that’s probably rooted in
the fact that Trump spent the primary and
general campaign at war with the GOP establishment.
The only capital crime in politics is disunity, and the GOP
and Trump are guilty on multiple counts.
The most interesting application of the “fascist” analysis,
rather surprisingly, applies to the Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign, when considering the cultivation of a nexus between big business and *ahem* racially inflected politics.
It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the
real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by
capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it
feared the alternatives: socialism and communism.
That’s because there is no more effective counter to class
consciousness than race consciousness.
That’s one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn’t done
a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white
labor formed a ready-made wedge. The
North’s abhorrence at the spread of slavery into the American West before the
Civil War had more to do a desire to preserve these new realms for “free” labor—“free”
in one context, from the competition of slave labor—than egalitarian principle.
White labor originally had legal recourse to beating back
the challenge/threat of African-American labor instead of accommodating it as a
“class” ally; it subsequently relied on institutional and customary advantages.
If anyone harbors illusions concerning the kumbaya
solidarity between white and
black labor in the post-World War II era, I think the article The Problem of Race in American Labor
by Herbert Hill (a
freebie on JSTOR
) is a good place to start.
The most reliable wedge against working class solidarity and
a socialist narrative in American politics used to be white privilege which,
when it was reliably backed by US business and political muscle, was a doctrine
of de facto white supremacy.
However, in this campaign, the race wedge has cut the other
way in a most interesting fashion. White conservatives are appalled, and minority liberals energized, by the fact that the white guy, despite winning the majority white male vote, lost to a black guy not once but twice, giving a White Twilight/Black Dawn (TM) vibe to the national debate.
The perception of marginalized white clout is reinforced by the nomination of Hillary Clinton and her campaign emphasis on the empowerment of previously marginalized but now demographically more important groups.
The Clinton campaign has been all about race and its doppelganger—actually, the overarching
and more ear-friendly term that encompasses racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual loyalties—“identity
The most calculated and systematic employment of racial
politics was employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign in the Democratic primary
to undercut the socialist-lite populist appeal of Bernie Sanders.
My personal disdain for the Clinton campaign was born on the
day that John Lewis intoned “I never saw him” in order to dismiss the civil
rights credentials of Bernie Sanders while announcing the Black Congressional
Caucus endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Bear in mind that during the 1960s, Sanders had affiliated
his student group
at the University of Chicago with Lewis’ SNCC, the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; during the same era, Hillary Clinton
was at Wellesley condemning “the
for their excessively confrontational tactics.
To understand the significance of this event, one should
by the guru of woke
Clintonism, Joy Reid.
Or read my
piece on the subject
understand that after Hillary Clinton lost Lewis’s endorsement, the black vote, and
the southern Democratic primaries to Barack Obama in 2008, she was
determined above all to secure and exploit monolithic black support in the
primaries and, later on, the general in 2016.
So, in order to prevent Sanders from splitting the black
vote to her disadvantage on ideological/class lines, Clinton played the race
card. Or, as we put it today when
discussing the championing of historically disadvantaged a.k.a. non white male
heterosexual groups, celebrated “identity politics”.
In the primary, this translated into an attack on Sanders
and the apparently mythical “Bernie bro” as racist swine threatening the legacy
of the first black president, venerated by the African American electorate,
In the general, well, Donald Trump and his supporters
provided acres more genuine grist for the identity warrior mill.
Trump’s populism draws its heat from American nativism, not “soak
the rich” populism of the Sandernista stripe, and it was easily submerged in the
“identity politics” narrative.
Trump’s ambitions to gain traction for a favorable
American/populist/outsider narrative for his campaign have been frustrated by
determined efforts to frame him as anti-Semitic, racist against blacks and
Hispanics, sexist, and bigoted against the disabled—and ready to hold the door
while Pepe the Frog feeds his opponents, including a large contingent of
conservative and liberal Jewish journalists subjected to unimaginable invective
by the Alt-Right-- into the ovens.
As an indication of the fungible & opportunistic
character of the “identity politics” approach, as far as I can tell from a
recent visit to a swing state, as the Clinton campaign pivoted to the general, the
theme of Trump’s anti-black racism has been retired in favor of pushing his
offenses against women and the disabled.
Perhaps this reflects the fact that Clinton has a well-advertised lock
on the African-American vote and doesn’t need to cater to it; also, racism
being what it is, playing the black card is not the best way to lure
Republicans and indies to the Clinton camp.
The high water mark of the Clinton African-American tilt was
perhaps the abortive campaign to turn gun control into a referendum on the
domination of Congress by white male conservatives. It happened a few months ago, so who
remembers? But John Lewis led a sit-in
occupation of the Senate floor in the wake of the Orlando shootings to
highlight how America’s future was being held hostage to the whims of
Trump-inclined white pols.
That campaign pretty much went by the wayside (as did Black
Lives Matter, a racial justice initiative partially funded by core Clinton
backer George Soros; interesting, no?) as a) black nationalists started
shooting policemen and b) Clinton kicked off a charm campaign to help wedge the
black-wary GOP establishment away from Trump.
There is more to Clintonism, I think, than simply playing
the “identity politics” card to screw Bernie Sanders or discombobulate the Trump campaign. "Identity politics" is near the core of the Clintonian agenda as a bulwark against any class/populist upheaval that might threaten her brand of billionaire-friendly liberalism.
In my view, a key tell is Clinton’s enduring and grotesque loyalty
to her family’s charitable foundation, an operation that in my opinion has no
place on the resume of a public servant, as a font of prestige, conduit for
influence, and model for billionaire-backed global engagement.
By placing the focus of the campaign on identity politics
and Trump’s actual and putative crimes against various identity groups, the
Clinton campaign has successfully obscured what I consider to be its
fundamental identity as a vehicle for neoliberal globalists keen to
preserve and employ the United States as a welcoming environment and supreme
vehicle for supra-sovereign business interests.
Clintonism’s core identity is not, in other words, as a crusade
for groups suffering from the legacy and future threat of oppression by Trump’s
white male followers. It is a full-court
press to keep the wheels on the neoliberal sh*twagon as it careens down the
road of globalization, and it recognizes the importance in American democracy
of slicing and dicing the electorate by identity politics and co-opting useful
demographics as the key to maintaining power.
In my view, the Trump and Clinton campaigns are both
Trump has cornered the somewhat less entitled and
increasingly threatened white ethnic group, some of whom are poised to make the
jump to white nationalism with or without him.
Clinton has cornered the increasingly entitled and assertive
global billionaire group, which adores the class-busting anti-socialist
identity-based politics she practices.
But the bottom line is race.
U.S. racism has stacked up 400 years of tinder that might
take a few hundred more years, if ever, to burn off. And until it does, every politician in the
country is going to see his or her political future in flicking matches at it.
And that’s what we’re seeing in the current campaign.