The Trump Putsch: Trailblazing on the Right

“Heil, Trump!” Sound too rash, irresponsible, outlandish? I don’t think so. Inaccurate, yes, in one respect: He is not alone; the entire American political system is rotten to the core, a bipartisan agreement on Russia, China, massive surveillance, targeted assassination, veneration of wealth and the wealthy, with only peripheral differences, primarily on sociocultural issues. The much vaunted distance “across the aisle,” is perhaps ten centimeters, and that only to bamboozle a public already committed to patriotism, consensus, and the generic sweep of anticommunism (now manipulated in psychic energy into channels of counterterrorism).

By that token, Heil, Obama, Heil Schumer, phrases that come less easily to the tongue, because puncturing our illusions of liberalism, progressivism, radicalism, all of which (the last a possible exception) eviscerated and cannibalized by capitalism and its increasingly boon companion and soul mate, militarism. The US is on a roller coaster plunging downward to disaster, the tracks of democracy long ago worn thin and now cracking under the strain of imperialism, heavy armaments, and counterrevolution, all of which are immediately visible in the morning’s paper, the evening newscast, the conversation on the street.

Americans appear to like our accustomed place as the world guardian of exploitation and reaction, proven time and again with every intervention, saber-rattling (as in the modernization of the nuclear arsenal), regime change, embargo, retaliation for practices we ourselves have tried and perfected (as in cyberwarfare and cyberespionage), a whole gamut of fascistic measures, spirit, and method, designed to guarantee America’s unilateral dominance in world affairs, shaping global military, political, ideological, and trading patterns to our advantage.

In this, the Loyal Opposition has been anything but, Democrats from Truman onward, Kennedy a significant stride forward, Clinton, Big Man on (Totalitarian) Campus, and finally Obama, a TRAITOR to everything we foolishly came to believe about the Party and its record. A Loyal Accomplice is more like it. In particular, Obama’s treachery (as in the abridgment of civil liberties, but perhaps more, the threat he posed to peace through a provocative confrontation with China) may someday be realized, but not now, when bread-and-circuses defines the age and its political climate.

What is better, a president, Congressional majority, Cabinet, and Party determined to destroy government, or the same, determined to use it, the State, in partnership with Capitalism, for purposes of more efficient profit-making, hierarchical structure of the polity, and militarization of the whole—all prettified as liberalism? At least Republicans are honest in their gut-nihilistic pursuit of wealth, desirous of stripping naked every safeguard to human well-being. Democrats take a more circuitous route to the same end. Prospects for democratic (small-d) social change shrivel as I write, a supine Left the Greek Chorus as witness to what is happening.

What is there for Democrats to defend? The Affordable Care Act was an abomination from the start, intended to prevent a single-payer system. On down the line, every cherished idea and program, gutted before they got off the ground. Even recent Cuban policy is a spider trap for American investment and takeover. The Nazis had the extermination camps; by popular agreement, America has merely extreme class-stratification and social regimentation. However, that seems no longer enough, for an ethos of humiliating the victims of American social workings is taking hold, the immigrant a surrogate for the struggling and dispossessed in general.

Bleak? Pessimistic? Only realistic, an attempt to penetrate the false consciousness which does not see before it the hate and contempt of what passes for social bonds and comity in America. Capitalistic foundations are part of the problem, an emphasis on exchange values drained of human content. But added to that is a history of discrimination, of ethnocentrism and xenophobia, which cannot be explained by capitalism alone, but must take into account its peculiar features in the American setting, starting with slavery, as touchstone for an exaggerated and self-justifying antiradicalism, to which assorted phobias (e.g., perfervid ideological rigidity) have naturally followed.

If anything, American influence will become magnified in the world, until forced to face an antithetical global system of numerous rival power blocs, at which time, the poisons stored up, a source of which is unconscious self-hatred for the mischief America has wrought, will seep out, with unimaginable consequences for future generations. Happy New Year.

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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