So, the good news is, we’ve somehow survived the first nine months of Donald Trump’s presidency. The bad news is, not only is the country now remotely controlled by Vladimir Putin, but it appears we’re finally on the verge of the all-out Russo-Nazi dictatorship the Resistance has, for over a year, been hysterically warning us would be the punishment for not electing Hillary Clinton. Things are definitely looking ominous.
As Charles Blow noted in The New York Times, Trump has discarded his mask of normalcy (which was never much of a mask to begin with), and has come out as openly white supremacist. Politico reports he might be assembling his personal Trumpian Sturmabteilung from the ranks of neo-Nazi militias. Another piece in The New York Times informs us of the allegedly possible coordination of the Trump regime with the “growing” and “dangerous” neo-Nazi movement, unless, of course, The Times duly notes, their Nazi source was just making stuff up. Out in Hollywood, liberal celebrities, neocons, and former spooks have formed a “Committee to Investigate Russia,” which presumably will be working closely with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently preparing to indict Paul Manafort for conspiring to offer to personally brief some Putin-friendly Russian oligarch he had allegedly stolen millions from … or something more or less like that. Meanwhile, Trump has been down in Alabama whipping his white supremacist followers into a mindless frenzy of racial hatred of African-American professional athletes (and other expressions of patriotism) in order to divide, confuse, and divert us while he secretly plots to torch the Capitol and blame it on “Antifa terrorists.” How did things ever get to this point?
Well … all right, let’s review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton’s version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered, but the Corporatocracy’s version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton’s ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the “Summer of Fear”), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other’s mother’s garages, and Russia was, well … Russia was Russia.
Back then, as I’m sure you’ll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists’ fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP. The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler, but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney’s wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement … Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we’re currently experiencing in Germany. These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn’t been “emboldened” yet).
Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people’s frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted “free trade” agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their “identities” like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.
No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It’s not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of “hate,” was somehow connected to that historical development … and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.
This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn’t very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism’s inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in … a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without, and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy’s ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we’d hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and … who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the “global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism” double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.
Luckily, we don’t have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy … not really. That’s just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review, or this report by Corporate Watch, from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.
So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let’s just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let’s not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it’s tempting, but, given what’s at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else … well, you know, the Nazis win.
(first published in CounterPunch, September 26, 2017)
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