FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump This!

In Trump in the White House: Tragedy and Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2017), John Bellamy Foster contextualizes the conditions that gave rise to the 45th US president. The author’s thesis is that this billionaire chief executive arrived after four decades of income and wealth shifting from the bottom and middle to the top.

An economy of, by and for a tiny elite spawns a particular polity. This system destroys the lives of ordinary people.

Stable employment is vanishing. Americans are livid.

Trump gets it. Thus, he panders to white discontent, openly accepting Klansmen in Charlottesville while scapegoating Mexicans and Muslims.

Trump bashes the establishment. He also represents capital, with the GOP tax cuts a case in point.

Trump did not invent divide and rule, a tried-and-true politics of managing working-class discontent. Foster discusses Trump’s politics in light of historical fascism, a response to a crisis of capital accumulation in the 1930s.

Foster, editor of Monthly Review, a US-based socialist publication, unpacks this relevant and significant history. In part, he examines the thinking of Italian fascist Julius Evola, which echoes in current figures such as Steve Bannon.

Foster sees such a trend of capitalism and fascism in terms of class struggle. It is the rule for the capitalist economy and polity, which booms and busts when too much capital concentrates in too few hands.

“What paved the way for Trump’s neo-fascist strategy and gave it coherence was the deepening long-term crisis of US political economy and empire, and of the entire world capitalist economy, after the financial crisis of 2007-09,” Foster writes. Crucially, neoliberalism, a bipartisan politics of the one percent against everyone else, undermining New Deal and Great Society policies, created the social conditions for Trump’s rise.

Some might argue with the prefix “neo” in the current political landscape stateside and in Europe, Italy, the Netherlands, UK and Sweden. In America, others might opt for neo-Confederate, as the enslavement of Africans plays a central role in the nation’s history.

Case in point is Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again.” Such dog-whistle politics get traction in the US.

Foster’s first and longest section is “Neo-Fascism in the White House.” We read of fascism’s history, e.g., its 20th century evolution and current echoes. For instance, Trump’s nationalism and racism remind us of Nazi ideology.

Ward Churchill, the American Indian Movement activist-intellectual, calls out Germany Nazism as akin to the Euro-American practice and theory of land theft and murder of indigenous people in the US. Fascism did not fall from the sky in the 1930s.

In addition, Foster historically situates Trump’s bid to cow the judiciary and press into following his lead to Nazi efforts to do likewise. Germany and the US are not the same, though.

In 2018, neo-fascism occurs during a US decline as world hegemon. This process makes the American military a growing threat to the survival of humanity, Foster writes.

Trump’s threat at the UN “to totally destroy North Korea” is a case in point. Meanwhile, biodiversity loss, extreme weather and sea level rise are symptoms of capitalism’s war on the planet.

Wrapping up, the author advocates for a “long ecological revolution.” Its aim is substantive equity among and between people. Unity is the key.

That is easy to say but not so to do. Indigenous “water protectors” are showing us the way forward, Foster writes.

 

More articles by:

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Emailsethsandronsky@gmail.com

December 19, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russophobia and the Specter of War
Jonathan Cook
American Public’s Backing for One-State Solution Falls on Deaf Ears
Daniel Warner
1968: The Year That Will Not Go Away
Arshad Khan
Developing Country Issues at COP24 … and a Bit of Good News for Solar Power and Carbon Capture
Kenneth Surin
Trump’s African Pivot: Another Swipe at China
Patrick Bond
South Africa Searches for a Financial Parachute, Now That a $170 Billion Foreign Debt Cliff Looms
Tom Clifford
Trade for Hostages? Trump’s New Approach to China
Binoy Kampmark
May Days in Britain
John Feffer
Globalists Really Are Ruining Your Life
John O'Kane
Drops and the Dropped: Diversity and the Midterm Elections
December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail