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<nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?
Brian Holmes on Wed, 9 Nov 2016 18:17:16 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?


The shock that now assails the ruling classes is in direct proportion
to their blindness. If you were shocked, then you shared in that
blindness.

Like the Remain camp in the UK, the US Democratic Party was sure of
its victory. Twenty years ago under the leadership of Bill Clinton,
the Dems had gained the stunning prosperity of globalization, by
selling out all that remained of social democracy. Now they were on
the cusp of a new growth wave, which they sparked by creating billions
of dollars in fiat currencies - which they handed directly to the
financial elites. Rhetorically, the Democrats had assimilated all the
liberation struggles of the 1960s, which they saw embodied in the skin
of Barack Obama and the gender of Hillary Clinton. Who could oppose
them? Only an obscure and detestable category: the majority.

Capitalism requires that everyone compare their earnings to your
neighbor's. But democratic capitalism demands at least some
redistribution, so that your neighbors do not become the object of
envy and hatred. What's more, democratic capitalism demands from
everyone some sense of higher mission, so that the competitors in the
struggle of all against all can at least temporarily forget the fire
of their competition. The Democratic Party has been unable to offer
either redistribution or a shared sense of purpose. They claimed
to support minorities, but they denied that support with their own
actions. Their strategy has been an abysmal failure.

Trump is exactly the fascism that arises when capitalism forgets
democracy. We do not yet know what kind of evil he may set loose.
However it should be obvious to all that no democratic party can
survive when it scorns and disdains the majority, by selling their
jobs down the river, by allowing the bankers to rob them in a thousand
sophisticated ways, and by sending them to wars without end, while
claiming to be the party of justice. That this was forced upon the
Democrats by the reckless obstructionism of the Republicans may be
true - but it's no excuse. To try, to fail and to lie is no way to win
a popular mandate.

There's no use to excoriate the new majority for its racism and
nationalism. Those are the rotten fruits of inequality under the
blazing sun of climate change. Looking ahead, we had better ask
ourselves what to do about capitalism - when the mask of democracy has
just fallen from our own faces.



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