FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump’s Victory: Arrogance Defeated

by

Hillary Clinton called half of Trump voters “a basket of deplorables”. In all the discussions I have had with American “liberals”, they explained to me that Trump supporters were mostly uneducated white men.

However, I am old enough to remember an era when the all the leftwing parties, socialist or communist, and even American Democrats, were based on the workers or the “working class” or the “common man”.  Nobody thought to inquire whether they had university degrees or to investigate whether or not their opinions were politically correct on issues such as racism, sexism or homophobia.

What defined the workers as progressive subjects was their economically exploited condition and not some ideological orthodoxy or moral purity.

At the end of the 1970s a great change took place within leftwing parties. They were increasingly dominated by academics and their ideology changed radically from that of the classical left.

Far from aiming to establish some form of socialism, or merely of social justice, the left turned into the champion of the fight for equal opportunity, against discrimination and prejudice, and – with the rise of globalization – the opening of markets.

The more or less mythical hero of the left was no longer the proletarian but the marginal, the migrant, the foreigner, the dissident, or the rebel – even if he happened to be a religious fanatic that no leftist intellectual would have anything to do with. One recalls how Jean-Jacques Rousseau made fun of those who pretend to love the Tartars in order to avoid loving their neighbors.

Little by little a new class alliance formed: the one percent as it is called, or more realistically the richest ten percent who benefit from globalization are allied with the middle class intelligentsia to sell us globalization in the name of “openness to others” and which flaunt the specter of racism or sexism to attract minorities and certain feminists (for although women are not a minority, certain feminist demands are similar to those of minorities).

But that alliance was extremely unnatural in socio-economic terms, because the main victims of globalization are the least qualified workers, often women or members of minorities.

The left’s pro-globalization bias led it astray step by step.  First it gave up all effort at regulating the economy, satisfying itself with claiming to share the fruits of growth fairly by ensuring “equal opportunity”.  But in the real world, inequalities grew far more than the economy.

They also imagined that international law could be abolished and that a certain “international community” – in practice the United States and its allies – would maintain world order by military means.  Again, in the real world that only created chaos, refugees and resistance to that American order.  In fact, in the long term, the American population itself came down with a strange disorder, “war fatigue”. Except for a minority of ideologues, hardly anyone in the United States wants to bear the costs of an empire (see http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/10/30/the-fatal-expense-american-imperialism/teXS2xwA1UJbYd10WJBHHM/story.html  for a lucid analysis of those costs).

 

The protests of the victims of globalization had to be dealt with. The trick was to use the ideology of tolerance: any objection to globalization was labeled racism, xenophobia.  Intellectuals took up the “fight against racism” with enthusiasm, with an eye to preserving their own privileged social position, sheltered from the economic storms of globalization.

In the United States, it was enough to stigmatize bad thoughts; in Europe, they were taken to court.

All that had to explode sooner or later, just as the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR collapsed, and for the same reasons: a self-satisfied but fairly incompetent elite, isolated from social realities, which claims to do what is best for the people without consulting them, and which finally doesn’t even deliver the promised benefits, ends up provoking rebellion against itself.

First the Brexit, then Trump. Whatever one may think of that individual, the worse the things said about him by American “liberals”, the more they expose the enormity of their defeat.  After years of political correctness and sermons on feminism and antiracism, what can be more humiliating than the election of someone as demonized by feminists and antiracists as Trump?

For ardent supporters of the European Union, globalization and humanitarian wars, the victory of Trump has an effect comparable to that of the Polish worker strikes on the ruling Communist Party; they exposed the discontent even in the proletariat that theoretically exercised its dictatorship.  The election of Trump shows the revolt of the American population in the very citadel of free markets and imperialism.

It remains to be seen whether Trump will carry out the progressive aspects of his program; protectionism and peace with Russia. Those are the aspects that most infuriate the oligarchy, much more than his rude remarks and contradictions. Those are thus the aspects that will require the most intelligence and determination if they are to be realized.

A left which dares take a close look at its past errors should do all it can to push Trump in that direction, rather than to alienate the population still more by once again mounting its high horse of moral superiority and selling its soul to the leaders of the Democratic Party responsible for their own defeat.[1]

Jean Bricmont, 11 November 2016

A french version of this article was published in: https://francais.rt.com/opinions/28803-

[1]   Sanders seems to go in that direction : « To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him » http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-trump

JEAN BRICMONT teaches physics at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He is author of Humanitarian Imperialism.  He can be reached at Jean.Bricmont@uclouvain.be

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Jesse Jackson
Jeff Sessions is Rolling Back Basic Rights
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
David Penner
When Patient Rights Do Not Exist
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail