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Re: <nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?
Angela Mitropoulos on Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:36:27 +0100 (CET)

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


>And to argue that all forms of social solidarity that existed in
>the post-war period (such as the welfare state, unions, community
>churches and so on) where simple white solidarity seems also overly

Polanyi's understanding of social solidarity stretches much, much
further back than the mid-20th c, post-war period, all the way to some
pre-capitalist paradise that never existed.

As for the latter half of the 20th c in the United States, it was
marked by profound conflicts over the expansion of civil rights,
around de-segregation, access by women to an independent income, a
limited expansion of welfare beyond 'workers and their families,' etc
- and this was followed, in the very late 20th c by a reaction in the
form of what is better described as a wholesale effort to transfer
risk to households, and austerity as a response to the loosening of
credit, among other things that cannot be adequately described as
deregulatory (as with migration controls). I think this is pivotal
to explaining a resurgent racism, its value as a property it were -
because if people are compelled to treat the familial household as
an asset, including not just its role in increasing incomes through
mortgages, but also as an investment in human capital, then this
amounts to a return (in a different way) to the concept of racial
property, and whiteness as a property. This is a far more credible
account of the materialisation of race (which is after all, understood
as a heritable property) than explanations which, as with Polanyi,
draw on Catholic moral economy.

I'm not sure what the political centre meant, in practice, but I will
say that during the conflict noted above, the centre-Left parties
we're talking about were more often than not robust opponents of
equality and diversity (which is also why they were easily picked
off by the Right), as they were vehicles for the destruction of the
welfare state toward the end. But the US has barely had anything which
could be described as a welfare state, but what there was of it was
dismantled very soon after it became more accessible to those who were
previously excluded from it, by virtue of such things as the link
between continuous work history, union membership and welfare. The
latter, particularly in the US, was very much about protecting white
(and male) workers. So I guess my point is that black people and poc
in the US do not feel betrayed by social democratic parties and unions
in the same way because they have barely felt represented by them in
the first place.


>in the wake of Trump's election, if one says that all the people who
>elected him are racist at their very core, then the situation becomes
>fatal: because not only are the racist politicians holding power with all
>its levers, but their supporters are in a majority over huge swathes of the
>territory. To essentialize all of Trump's supporters as racist, allowing
>them no other significant motivations, is bad politics. It abandons every
>other form of intervention at a time when the accusation of racism is
>something its targets are glorying in.

I did not talk about cores, or unchanging essences. I leave that to
Platonists. I do think that every person who voted for Trump is a
racist, and this is because from the perspective of its effects and
those who will suffer them, there is no difference between the person
who embraces Trump's voluble racism and those for whom it was not a
deal-breaker. For poc, the fatal mistake is in giving credence to
those who would prioritize the feelings of white people (as if being
called a racist is worse than enduring it). If people want to talk to
their racist uncle, whatever. But please don't elevate that into the
most important thing here or that which everyone must do.

>his core concept, that fascism emerges from a society's attempts to
>protect itself against the ravages of capitalism: a self-protective
>dynamic that can end in situations far more damaging than the initial
>one that provoked it. I fail to see the myopia in the reference.

How is explaining fascism as self-protection (albeit regrettably
destructive) not myopic? How is defining 'self' with 'nation' not
indicative of a blindspot that smoothly conflates self, family, race
and nation? Polanyi took Marx's concept and theory of the double
movement, and rewrote it in the moral economy of Catholic theology.
He also projected certain very modern things (such as nations) into
an archaic pre-capitalist past, falsely by any historical account.
In other words, where Marx (for better or worse) offers a modernist
narrative, Polanyi's is backward-looking. More so, the structure of
his argument follows the course of a parable about the destructive
effects of transgressing the natural, divinely-ordained order.

>To suggest as you do, Angela, that those who quote Polanyi want to
>return to neofeudalism is more on the order of an insult than an

Look I'm glad that you think it's a problem to yearn for the return of
feudalism such that you feel insulted, but I was not trying to insult
you. I was making an observation about what Polanyi repeatedly does,
as when he talks about 'householding.'

>just like your earlier idea that the Occupiers and those who
>participated in the counter-globalization movement are now leaning
>toward the alt-right.

I think that there has been a decades-long debate within the the
anti-summit protests over whether they should be described as
anti-globalisation, counter-globalisation or anti-capitalist. I think
everyone here knows what my position has been throughout. And so I
note, with some sadness, that those who could not bring themselves to
understand or take seriously what was always at stake in these debates
are also, now, willing to make excuses for those who voted for Trump
and, worse, reach out to them, or understand them - and that this
seems to be their first instinct and concern, not what can be done to
defend those about to bear the full brunt of white nationalism, the
FADA laws, etc.

My suggestion is that Angela Davis, BLM, NoDAPL, migrant orgs are all
far better people and orgs to be listening to than Sanders or Polanyi
or Occupy.

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