allan siegel on Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:40:57 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Trumps redux

(couldn’t hold myself back from this discussion)

Trump represents and is the embodiment of the neo-fascist architype all too common in American culture: well defined in Sinclair Lewis' "In Can't Happen Here" or in Penn Warren's "All the King's Men" - the proverbial snake oil salesman re-groomed as real estate tycoon and TV huckster who promises to turn lead into gold. And, in times of great uncertainty, these shill-meisters acquire new found legitimacy. They neutralise common-sense and promote an absurd agenda of anti-corruption house cleaning as if the inherent problems of bloated bureaucracies and globalisation can be fixed with a magic wand. Simply put, lest we forget, Trumpism is a phenomenon common to many societies.

The problem becomes acute in the U.S. because political discourse runs along a very well-proscribed channel (clearly visible in the electoral map that defines Trump's victory) that celebrates bi-coastal liberalism and omits (or falsifies) the social realities that exist in between. The problem is magnified because progressive forces have never been able to break the political grid-lock of a two-party political system. To articulate and mobilise a viable alternative. Bernie Sanders suggested some of the possibilities but became folded into two-party politics.

While, Trumpism has many political antecedents what becomes frightening (it's true, it is frightening) at this moment is that he unleashes a vigilante mentality (as in, "lets go kill some - fill in the blanks - undesirables") at a time when society is highly militarised and with a minimum of legal checks on the kind of rampant police violence that has been sweeping America. Trump legitimatizes various forms of mob mentalities that became more apparent during his election campaign and that valorised the social base that insured his victory. Herbert Marcuse seemed to understand this situation very well. 

Anyway, danger zone, trouble ahead.
“Don’t Follow Leaders, Watch the Parking Meters” B.D.


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