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<nettime> January 23, Trump Question
sebastian on Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09:38:31 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> January 23, Trump Question


January 23, Trump Question

So let me play the inverse of devil's advocate for a moment: Lets assume this 
is all on track. Market capitalism is coming apart, just like state capitalism 
around 1990. Ruthless financialization has finally broken the century-old bond 
between deterritorialization and reterritorialization, and what we're 
witnessing - in Brexit, in Trump - are simply the death throes of the 
reterritorializing forces, the moment when there is no more territory left, and 
not enough fuel. "Late capitalism" wasn't jargon, it was a correct attempt at 
periodization, all the time, and this is the end, a desperate final assault, of 
male white corporate oppression. Even the inverse devil's advocate will have to 
concede that death throes can last forever and cause immense collateral damage, 
and that the most likely successor to market capitalism is a mix of feudalism 
and fascism, but at the same time, there may be unforseen openings, and a sharp 
increase in willingness to take actual political risks. So lets assume that 
2016 was just a ruse, a sick joke of history: once as tragedy, ten times as 
farce, and then this. As will become obvious in hindsight, Donald Trump (and 
the same applies to Boris Johnson) was a once-in-a-century occurence of blind 
luck, an absurdly fortunate constellation of dominoes. To have him take down 
two of the most insurmountable impediments to political change in the United 
States, the Bush and Clinton dynasties (plus destroy much of the establishment 
of both political parties, and maybe even paralyze a large enough faction of 
the Christian Right) with a single lucky punch, and then having to figure out 
how to impeach the guy, is going to reveal itself as a way more plausible path 
out of this mess than trying to achieve the same result the other way around. 
He's not going to last for long, his schtick will get boring now that he's got 
nothing more to win, other than a war, which he is probably too incoherent to 
incite and promote, at least momentarily, the hearts and minds stuff, so that 
if there's a swift process towards impeachment, for which there is already 
sufficient ammunition, then at some point soon, the Republican Party will be 
forced to make a choice: between civil war, constitutional crisis, and Mike 
Pence. And we all know that Mike Pence is going to be horrible enough. He may 
even be able to temporarily unite what remains of his Party, but once he faces 
actual opposition in an election -- no longer the Democratic Party, but a 
democratic movement: a popular platform determined to abolish the current rules 
of campaing financing, redistricing, vote suppression and corporate lobbying -- 
he is going to come across as just a tad bit too creepy and conservative. 
(Similar future for Theresa May: harder to attack, but easier to derail, given 
the economic suicide mission she presides over.) And then it turns out that 
what we've seen on January 21 is really the first rearticulation of what is 
going to evolve into a broad, radical, international movement, one whose scope, 
diversity and determination will surpass even the revolts of the 1960s, 
committed to end the ongoing racial and sexual oppression, the death grip of 
religion, the grotesquely uneven distribution of wealth, the exclusion of the 
poor from public life, the collapse of democratic institutions under 
capitalism, and the unprecedented rise of global temperatures. Even Erdogan, 
Putin, Modi and Duterte will be forced to make some concessions. We're going to 
end the fossile era by 2025, begin to dismantle and evacuate coastal cities 
calmly and orderly, make AirBnB and Uber a criminal offense, Facebook the 
graveyard of fascism, and stick it to the singularity. I'm probably forgetting 
several intermediate stages and a couple of additional challenges (note to 
self: the Italian banks!), but I had zero intention to take the argument that 
far anyway. This is all just backdrop to a more technical, procedural question 
I had regarding step one, impeachment: How exactly is this going to take off? 
Can anyone tell me who is expected to defect first, the Democrats from their 
task to impeach, or the Republicans from Trump, and who are these Republicans 
precisely, given that most of the liberal or conservative ones have been 
gerrymandered out of office, and who can guarantee that disuniting them from 
Trump isn't going to help resurrect a zombie, a Wiedergänger of the Grand Old 
Party? Or is it that accounting for any of these technicalities is simply 
besides the point, that impeachment must be imagined as a process driven by 
civil society and its organizations, with Democrats as mere followers, and that 
once it becomes a force that aligns with Trump's own narcissistic death drive, 
the details don't matter, and as long as one keeps fanning the flames, the shit 
is going to fall in place naturally? Because -- and this is all just step one! 
-- I'm not so completely certain about that, and I'm surprised that there is so 
little discussion about the concrete procedures, no drawing boards, no 
roadmaps, and while I admit it's only been sixty or so hours, we don't have 
time forever, there is a certain urgency to all of this. And at the same time, 
am I also going hear from the faction, which I am certain must exist, that will 
argue against impeachment, as it only reinforces the blind faith in the power 
of failed institutions, argue that things still have to get a tiny bit worse, 
the joke just by one more twist sicker, that Trump's historic mission to destoy 
all hope for a return to the status quo of neoliberal tyranny is still not 
fully completed, and that we have to wait just a little longer before we can 
start make binding agreements and a couple of practical provisions to end 
capitalism, which includes the end of capitalism as a spectator sport, in our 
lifetimes? None of these are rhetorical questions, and -- TL;DR: -- I really 
hope I didn't just accidentally reinvent some dead latter branch of 
accelerationism, because honestly, I never paid much attention to any of it.







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