So it looks like we’ve got about 55 days until the end of Western civilization, and possibly even life on Earth. That’s right, the Trumpocalypse has officially begun. According to the torrent of histrionic tirades the corporate media have been projectile vomiting out at us since November 9, we are on the brink of a new “Age of Darkness.” “Globalization is dead; white supremacy has triumphed!” America is descending into “racial Orwellianism,” or Zionist anti-Semitism, or “a bottomless pit of Fascism,” or something. In any event, in less than two months, the American ruling classes will peacefully surrender their control of the government to Donald J. Trump, and his legions of fanatical “Alt-Right” fascists, because Hillary Clinton lost an election. Or so goes the hard-line liberal narrative.
According to this narrative, shortly after Trump’s inauguration on January 20, the United States military (which presumably has just been waiting for an opportunity to mindlessly follow some dictator’s orders) will begin the round-up of all non-white Americans, and LGBT persons, and women, and journalists, and start loading them onto the trains, and so on. The American ruling classes, despite the fact that they control the legislature, and the banks, and the media, and the military-industrial complex, will have no choice but to allow this to happen, because, after all, Trump won fair and square.
This scenario will also unfold in Europe. Front National, AfD, UKIP, Golden Dawn in Greece, and other such neo-nationalist parties will band together with the Trumpian Reich and establish some sort of international neo-nationalist New World Order, which will form an alliance with Vladimir Putin, and Iran (and any other demons you can think of), and set about destroying the interdependent, supranational neoliberal economy that the global capitalist ruling classes have been implementing over the last seventy years. No one will be able to prevent this. The utterly remorseless corporate leaders of the most powerful global-hegemonic system in human history will sit idly by as nation after nation falls to the forces of “Alt-Right” revolution.
Seriously, this is the level of discourse the corporate media have been churning out, and that is being recycled on social networks. Shameless mandarins of the corporatist Left like Krugman, Friedman, Jamelle Bouie, Jonathan Chait, David Corn, Kurt Eichenwald (who appears to have totally lost it, and started stalking Susan Sarandon on Twitter), and their counterparts across the Atlantic, are assuring us it’s pretty much the end of the world, which is what we deserve for not voting for Clinton. Liberal parents are terrorizing their children with visions of the approaching holocaust. The “national gathering” of 275 fascist creeps in a DC restaurant is now, apparently, front page news. This tiny group of neo-Nazi asshats (who practically no one had ever heard of before the mainstream media showered them with coverage, although they’ve been around for years) is purportedly just the tip of the enormous “Alt-Right” iceberg now menacing America.
The good news is, the Resistance is back. Militant liberals are out in the streets battling Fascism with pithy placards, in a peaceful, non-violent fashion, of course. A Safety Pin Brigade has been hastily organized, and has set out to accessorize Fascism to death. Owen Jones is flying in from London to lead the anti-Trumpian uprising. His colleague at The Guardian, Steven Thrasher, is heading up the “abnormalization” effort. And, of course, The Nation magazine will be hosting a luxury Caribbean cruise for affluent anti-fascist liberals (spa, paddle tennis and yoga included.)
These liberals, of course, are the very same liberals who have had no problems whatsoever with the bombing of seven Muslim countries, the refusal to prosecute the Bush regime’s war crimes, the arbitrary assassination of anyone the President feels like assassinating, and other such hopey changey features of the Obama regime for the past eight years. They have also not been terribly troubled by the knowledge that most of the products they purchase are manufactured by de facto slaves in “developing countries” the corporations they’re invested in have been privatizing, or by their racially-segregated neighborhoods and schools … which, of course, they have nothing to do with, personally. But whatever, at least they’re out there now, defending us all from the Forces of Darkness, or at least the simulation thereof.
Which is not to deny the rising tide of neo-nationalism throughout the West, or the xenophobia that is part and parcel of it, or that Trump is feeding off that sentiment, as are various other neo-nationalist parties. This neo-nationalist backlash, however, is no real threat to Neoliberalism, at least not over the longer term. (And, make no mistake, it is Neoliberalism that the liberal Left is staunchly defending.) While I hate to disagree with Cornel West, what we’re experiencing is not the death of Neoliberalism, but, rather, the death throes of national sovereignty.
Neoliberalism, let’s remember, is just a new name for laissez-faire Capitalism, which has been evolving out of feudal Despotism since some point in the 16th Century. The sovereign nation-state, which Capitalism needed, first, to replace the feudal aristocracies, then, to advance us to where we are now (i.e., a global-hegemonic economic system policed by a single super-nation-state), has become a liability to Capitalism. Though it continues to need the nation-state as an administrative/military apparatus, the sovereignty aspect has outlived its usefulness. It did this circa 1990, when global corporations gained unfettered access to a worldwide labor force they could ruthlessly exploit.
And now these globalized corporations, and the investment banks that trade their stock, and the politicians whose campaigns they fund, are going to allow the Trump regime to bring American jobs back home, and crash the entire global economy? Call me crazy, but that seems unlikely.
The neo-nationalist backlash we’re witnessing is not some inexplicable outbreak of xenophobic hatred and racism; it’s a reaction to the loss of national sovereignty. Despite what the corporate media will tell you, people aren’t total idiots. They realize that power is shifting from national governments to global corporations, and they’re none too pleased about this development. The neo-nationalists (who are also not idiots) are capitalizing on this extreme displeasure. Some of these neo-nationalists are fascists, or “ethno-nationalists,” and some are not. It doesn’t actually make much difference, as the problem for the neo-nationalists is, their national economies are already globalized, as are their national financial systems. They can wave the flag as much as they like, but there isn’t any going back at this point, not without committing national suicide.
Take the United States for example. Imagine what would happen to Apple’s balance sheets (or what consumers would have to pay for their iPhones) if the company were forced to give up its slave labor. The same is true for most corporations, and most of the consumer products we own (like the notebook I’m sitting here writing this piece on). Greece is another example, of course. They called a national referendum, and the people voted to reject the terms that the Troika was ramming down their throats, so the government simply ignored the people, because what were they going to do, after all, start a violent revolution? That’s what all the militarized cops are for. The Brexit process will also be interesting, assuming it ever actually happens, and that the Brits don’t call a second referendum to nullify the results of the first. I could go on, but I don’t think I have to … no, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Neoliberalism will survive the horrors of the Trumpian Reich.
As for those horrors, all hysteria aside, odds are, they’re going to be fairly horrible. And I don’t just mean swastikas painted on storefronts. Steve Bannon, the Trump regime’s Chief Strategist, unlike Trump, is not a babbling imbecile. He appears to be an extremely intelligent, long-term thinking, staunchly Zionist, “Judeo-Christian values” zealot, who is looking forward to a War Against Islam, which shouldn’t be hard to sell to Americans, considering that the USA has been bombing, invading and otherwise attacking the Middle East since the end of the Cold War, with the support of liberals and conservatives alike. This War Against Islam will dovetail nicely with the global capitalist ruling classes’ broader objectives in the Middle East (namely, to destabilize and restructure the region, which they’ve been aggressively doing since the 1990s).
ISIS will be more than happy to cooperate, as they are also looking forward to this war. General Flynn will be ecstatic, as will Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and assorted other merchants of death. One or two serious terrorist attacks should be enough to get the ball rolling. An Osama bin Laden-caliber bogeyman, while not a requirement, would certainly help to reunite our divided country. Just think back to the weeks and months in the wake of the September 11 attacks, how America came together as a nation …. as they say in the motion picture business, the story pretty much writes itself.