Also published as; The Burren POP-UP-PRESS
An opinion column by Fergus Quinlan
Left, Right and Centre in Trump Times
Life should be a battle against one’s ignorance, not an obsession with the ignorance of others. The only way the world will improve is if more people try to understand it, one is knowing why divisions among groups who have the same objective interests arise.
In the United States, the sight of white males shouting fascist slogans imparts a sense of foreboding, a group of anti-fascists shouting back does not relieve it. The dynamics of the issues affecting the USA are similar to those throughout Europe and are worth understanding.
In the US, large sections of workers have been let down by the Democratic party which had appeared to serve their interests. However, over the past forty years, the Party’s collaboration with the corporate financial sector has been total; they have whittled away any remnant of democratic control of capital. After Bill Clinton signed away the Glass Steagall Act, they participated in a spree of deregulation, they watched trade union power diminish, and the pay and job security of workers decline. What exaggerated the situation was that the form of capitalism was changing, it was not that which grew slowly through the funding of industry, infrastructural projects and housing. It was the ’Free’ liberalised capital springing from ‘quantitive easing’ [printing money] that went spinning through a circle of hedge funds, leveraging, futures, bondsmen and a thousand other bits of financial wizardry that accelerated the accumulation of capital but without engaging with production. While this was happening, the actual production of goods moved to low wage high-profit economies.
This new neoliberal capitalism heralded a significant development within the United States and world wide. The alignment of interests between government and international financial institutions, ‘the Washington Wall-Street Consensus’, an alliance that has become a conspiracy against the people of the US and a lethal force against peace and democracy throughout the world.
As the living standards of the once, best-paid workers in the world fell, they were showered with credit to continue buying goods and services, cars, houses, college fees. Now, in debt bondage, trapped and frightened; they see their factories rust and their world decline. They had been betrayed by the left; they turned to the right. Trump promised to bring home jobs, stop immigrants undercutting wages, and to build a wall to keep them out, they cheered. Many of these workers had been brought up in bible belt religion, drenched in beliefs that they were the good white race, they had won the west, they had been either a rebel in the Confederacy or defended the Union, they had with flags and drums marched off proudly to serve their country. They had shared the pain, with those who now oppose them as they watched thousands of their children arriving home in coffins from various wars, but they clung to their culture and beliefs. For their self-worth, they cannot bring themselves to believe that the wars they fought were not for the freedom of America, but for the enrichment of the few.
Now, their world and confidence are falling to ruin; The indigenous, Blacks, Women, Muslims, Jews, Gays are all deemed as equals, their ego and their perceptions, past and future are under threat. Removing their statues is akin to pulling down the Blessed Virgin at a Catholic parade. Angry and frightened the ‘alt-right’ cry, ‘blood and soil’, ‘our streets’, against what they see as a betrayal, forces acting against their ‘dearly’ held interests. The reaction of the left was predictable; they took to the streets to face down them down, clashes and death were inevitable. But this ‘Alt-right’is not the real danger; it is not the real enemy, it is but a diversion, the real enemy is the system as protected by the ‘real news’ of the corporate media. Commenting on the chaos, it can now paint itself as the voice of reason, the middle ground; it works to support the ‘reasonable’ voice of the Democratic Party. The party aligned with the wolves of Wall Street that is decimating their lives. The party which directs the Washington War machine as it destroys any country that does not kneel before its interests.
The media, while it has the occasional independent voice, is, in general, a united, well-controlled force owned by international corporations, well represents their interests. It endorses the freedom of capital to do as it wishes worldwide. Government agencies, such as the CIA, acting as agents of capital, carefully stage and report on events. This copy passes to the main media outlets and like a rolling wave spreads to every acquiescent TV station, and newspaper in the world. A lie repeated often enough becomes ‘the truth’ and all else deemed as fake news. These are the forces presently demonising tens of millions of Trump voters.
The confrontation at Charlottesville appeared to have been allowed to occur by the authorities, the question one must ask is who benefits from such unrest. The beneficiary appears to be the Democratic and some in the Republican Party who are conspiring to remove the glitch that is Trump and get back to the status quo. The campaign to link Trump and Putin as fellow conspirators plotting against Hillary Clinton is a case in point. When Trump attempted talks with Russia, it caused an uproar as any diminution of tension between the superpowers is opposed, for tension breeds fear and fear keeps people subservient. The population becomes more compliant to surveillance, the expansion of security, policing and mass incarceration. The threat of war allows the state print money and gather trillions in taxes, which instead of providing a health service, housing, and education, buys more profitable weapons from their supporters in the military-industrial complex. The money flows upwards, enriching the rich, while the frightened, confused and exploited, grow poorer and more alienated. To dehumanise large swaths of the population assists the ‘Deep State’ to intensify divisions and reaction leading to internal wars and chaos, a situation which could give the military the opportunity to bypass the electorate and allow the generals replace democracy in the interests of homeland and national security.
Hopefully, there are plenty of decent, conscious people who understand the dangers and are willing to improve the situation. The consciousness of a socialist alternative is spreading. It’s important that the empathy and inclusiveness evident in many within the United States attempts to include the frustrated white male of middle America.
People in Ireland and worldwide are interested in America; it is the country that poses the greatest threat to humanity regarding war and climate change. The economic ideology emanating from Friedman’s Chicago School has poisoned the US and every part of the globe it touches. The future of the USA may well determine the future of the world if it starts to believe the rhetoric as used by Obama, the concept of ‘American exceptionalism’, a belief that the United States is the biggest, strongest, smartest, richest, and most-deserving country on Earth. This arrogance is dangerous enough, but any further rightward shifts could bring the world as we know it, to ruin. Any action people may take, any arguments they may make, must not concern a Tweedledum or Tweedledee of US presidents, but the system itself and that must be from an internationalist perspective.
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