FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Lenin Comes to the White House?

Donald Trump, commenting on the passing of Fidel Castro, branded him a mere “dictator”. Whatever the long-lasting results (and mistakes) of the Cuban experiment, History has already de facto recognized Fidel as one of the great revolutionary leaders of the modern – and postmodern – era.

Trump – historical irony obliges – also has all but christened the groundswell of anger that delivered him the White House as a “revolution” – led by, and in the name of, white, non-college educated, blue collar US masses.

Yet old habits die hard. A self-appointed “leader of the free world”, true to conventional script, could never pay tribute in public to a “communist” who escaped over 600 CIA assassination cum regime change attempts – which is quite a heavy load to bear for so-called US “intel”. In the end, it was nature’s clock – not a magic bullet – that took Fidel away.

With the Cuban revolution now history, the focus switches to the current American “revolution” – which might turn out to be quite the regime change special the CIA dreams of (for others). If Fidel was The Prince as well as Machiavelli rolled into one, in gringoland the storyline may be largely about Steve Bannon, the blue collar-meets-Goldman Sachs Machiavelli to Prince Trump.

White House chief strategist Bannon has been vilified, over the top, all across the spectrum, as neo-fascist, white nationalist, racist, sexist and anti-Semite. So far, this has been the most detailed explanation of the Bannon agenda – in his own words. One underestimates him at one’s own peril.

State and revolution

Bannon in the past billed himself as a Leninist. What a shame Fidel was not paying attention.

In his highly complex and immensely engaging Apres Nous, Le Deluge (French translation recently published by Payot), master German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explores how Lenin, in a few months in a cabin in Finland, laid out the theoretical premises of what should happen after the revolution; how the former State, under Marxist analysis, was just an instrument allowing economic exploitation and the misleading resolution of “irreconcilable” oppositions between classes (sounds quite like the current Washington set up).

For the revolutionary apparatus, it was not enough to take over the apparatus of the Ancien Regime – as social democrats would have it. That would have to be totally smashed, the ruins reassembled in new combinations until the long-term communist goal – the agony of the State – would be achieved.

Now imagine Leninist Bannon trying to package this agenda to viscerally indoctrinated “communists eat babies for breakfast” US public opinion. So he resorted to pop culture – stressing the inspirational models as Darth Vader, his incarnation Dick Cheney, and the dark side as a whole.

Smashing the State (or the establishment) was rephrased as “drain the swamp”. And to polish it all up, when talking to the establishment, Bannon added the indispensable English credibility touch as his top role model; Thomas Cromwell, the dark side behind Henry VIII, instead of Lenin. No wonder the deep state is totally freaking out.

Lenin, in trying to accomplish his revolution, as Sloterdijk observes, relied on “a double psycho-political strategy”; massive intimidation of the non-convinced (something Bannon obviously cannot deploy in contemporary America), as well as mobilization of the impoverished and enthusiastic masses attracted by the promises of the new power (Trump’s overwhelming twitter machine and Breitbart News will be in charge of this department).

In Lenin’s revolution, the faculty of political judgment was exercised by an elite that Lenin conceived as the proletariat; they became the elite via the dictatorship of the Party. All other strata, especially the rural categories, were no more than a reactionary plebe – to become useful only long term via revolutionary education.

One century after Lenin, Bannon’s proletariat “elite” will be supplied by blue collar alienation spread out across Virginia, Florida, Ohio, the Rust Belt. A special place is reserved for Reagan Democrats and Reagan Democrats 2.0 (working class minorities) as well as for all and sundry rejectionists of that good ol’ Marxist bogeyman – rigged-to-the-hilt “bourgeois democracy”.

Bannon’s early incarnation of his ideal Leninist Prince was obnoxious Mamma Grizly Sarah Palin. She could see Russia from her house – but that was about it. Trump, on the other hand, is the perfect vessel; billionaire builder/doer; a product of reality TV; the “New York New York” factor; vetted by the Masters of the Universe; no need to court donors; and a natural foe of an uppity East Coast establishment which does despise his glitter and his brashness.

Fascism and global war

To describe Trump’s “deplorables” (their definition by the establishment, via Hillary) as a fascist army, as US corporate media shills insist, totally misses the point. Marxist theory, during the 1920s and 1930s, turned fascism upside down, conceptualizing how fascism essentially crystallizes the power of finance capital (that’s something Bannon can easily sell at home). Fascism also terrorizes the working class as well as the revolutionary peasantry – thus the popular appeal of “drain the swamp”.

Mussolini defined fascism as “the horror inspired by a comfortable life”, thus leading Sloterdijk to characterize fascism as a militant-ism of street politics; total mobilization. Let’s rewind to a century ago; after 1917 and 1918, to the Left as well as to the Right, the zeitgeist dictated there was no “post-war”; in fact, the sentiment was that a global war was going on, and that had been so since times immemorial (today, under neoliberalism, global war is even more radicalized, pitting the 0.0001% against the rest.)

Under Lenin in Russia a century ago, the conflict took the form of civil war of an active minority against an impotent majority. Under the Leninist White House, the conflict may take the form of war by a very active minority (those roughly 25% of the US electorate who voted Trump) against another, infinitesimal – but very powerful – minority (the East Coast establishment, the incarnation of the Ancien Regime), with the whole saga watched ringside by a transfixed, passive majority.

“America First”; but for whom? The key question is who will end up defining America’s real national interest; true nationalists embedded in Team Trump, plus the proletariat “elite”, or the usual – globalist – suspects able to infect and corrupt any notion of nationalism.

Goodbye Fidel Castro, welcome Prince Trump (with Leninist Machiavelli attached). Brace for impact. Politics is war – what else? And “revolution” is still the biggest show in town.

More articles by:

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).  His latest book is Empire of ChaosHe may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail