THE US ELECTION AS A TURN OF AN ERA
Non-violent Resistance against Trumpism
By Bernd Drucke
[This article published on 11/30/2016 is translated from the German on the Internet, www.linksnet.de. Bernd Drucke, b. 12/24/1965 in Unna, is a doctor of sociology, the editor of the anarchist monthly Graswurzrevolution, a free journalist and author. He lives in an alternative housing project in Munster.]
Karl Marx modified a Hegel quotation that world-historical facts always occurred twice, "the first time as tragedy and the next time as farce" (1). Since November 9, 2016, we know they can occur as tragedy and farce at once.
"Neoliberalism now seems to be in the process-optimization of world history," the sociologist Rudiger Haude said with raised eyebrows.
A FARCE AS TRAGEDY
The election in the United States on November 8, 2016, was a farce. People chose between two extremely unsympathetic and anti-social persons for the office of commander-in-chief of the most powerful state of the earth.
On one side, Hillary Clinton was supported by the powerful military-industrial complex of the US, Wall Street, and the liberal "establishment." As a Senator, Clinton supported the neocolonial offensive wars against Iraq and Afghanistan engineered by the Bush regime and is jointly responsible for more than a million civilian war deaths since 2001 (2) and for the genesis of the "Islamic State" out of the debris of the Iraq War. As Secretary of State under Obama, Clinton has to accept direct responsibility for the expansion of the drone war claiming many victims.
She is a war criminal. In a television commentary about Clinton and Trump aired on October 5, 2016, on arte, Hillary Clinton gloated after the former Libyan head of state Gaddafi was murdered by a mob in Libya on October 20, 2011, as a consequence of the Libyan war jointly organized by Clinton as US Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton's spontaneous and misanthropic comment was "We came, we saw and we killed him."
The arte documentary showed how Clinton with Obama and other members of the US government sat before the screen and watched as Bin Laden was executed on May 2, 2011, without legal judgment by a US military killer commando in the name of a democratic state.
It is a tragedy. That persons like the extreme narcissist, racist, sexist and misanthropist Trump and the war criminal Clinton could come to power in the most powerful state of the world shows that parliamentary democracy is fragile. This is evidence that anarchist criticism is right here.
The election result of November 9 makes clear how the brainwashing and brutalization of large parts of the white male population have already advanced through capitalism and the mass infantilization media. These are dark times.
On the eve of the election, the popular Marxist and FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper) columnist Slavoj Zizek desired Trump's victory. Trump is as "vulgar, racist, misogynist and dangerous as described" (3). But his presidency is the only chance for social change long sought by the radical left.
Like this leftist Zeitgeist philosopher, some leftists in Germany before 1933 thought an election of Hitler and the NSDAP would not really worsen the political situation in the Weimar Republic but would trigger a general strike or even a social revolution – as with the 1920 Kapp coup d'etat. With several members of the KPD, the illusion prevailed "We come after Hitler!"
Many of them landed briefly in the KZs (concentration camps) shortly afterwards and did not survive the Nazi time.
Zizek and his very naïve assessment reflect the weak knowledge about National Socialism in Germany and fascism in Italy, Spain and elsewhere.
"Clinton is a bloody mess but trump is a fascist. Therefore I will vote for Clinton to prevent Trump," one indignado of an alternative housing community in California said on ZDF before the US election. Many leftist US Americans thought like this young activist. Some will not vote anymore, given the predictions declaring Clinton the certain winner before the election. Everything seemed clear. Everyone who could remember the false predictions that a majority in Great Britain would not vote for Brexit before the referendum on June 23, 2016, should know election research cannot really forecast a poll result. Prognoses can influence an election in a problematic way.
I had hoped Clinton would win the election and prevent the presidency of the far more terrible sexist and racist Trump. On the eve of the US election, there were even calls of US American anarchists to vote for Clinton to prevent Trump, the candidate of the Ku-Klux-Klan.
We must really understand Donald Trump and his extreme right-hand man Stephen Bannon (4) as modern fascists of the 21st century.
Bannon was editor of the "Breitbart News" homepage, the most important megaphone of the "Alt-Right." "Alt-Right" is the formal abbreviation for "Alternative Right," a form of trivialization for neo-Nazis, right-wing nationalists and all who believe in the superiority of the white race" (5).
In August 2016, Bannon moved into Donald Trump's team as a chief advisor. The chief advisor of the future president will be the second most powerful man of the greatest nuclear power. Bannon is a nationalist who doesn't want to send his children to a school with "too many Jews" and carries on racist and anti-Semitic agitation on his website, a Jewish journal criticizes (6).
Directly after the election, Trump described himself as "President of all Americans." He is not a president of all Americans. He is the president of angry white men, the anti-Semitic "Alt-Right," with his racist, sexist and anti-handicapped slogans.
The powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) is glad about the victory of Republican arms lobbyists and announced the abolition of weapon-free zones in schools. That could be one of his first official acts as president.
The patriarch massively supported by Deutsche Bank is a great white hope of the US coal industry that hopes for a return to the coal age from this denier of climate change. For ecology and the world climate, the victory of the coal-, nuclear power- and fracking-lobbyists would be a maximum credible accident.
THE "FRIENDLY FASCIST" IN THE WHITE HOUSE
In an interview, the leftist US filmmaker Michael Moore said on the election result November 9: "Bertram Gross wrote the book `Friendly Fascism' in 1980. He predicted the fascism of the 21st century will not have concentration camps, death trains or the like. Instead, fascism will have a friendly face and perhaps come to us through a television show. We elected a fascist of the 21st century today, someone who is a nationalist and racist contemptuous of women" (7).
WHEN SATIRE BECOMES REALITY
What was still an ironic joke in a sequence of the Simpson cartoon series in 2000 will become the bitter reality on January 20, 2017. The vulgar billionaire and notorious liar who humiliated people on his mediocre Reality show and boasted of his sexualized violence against women ("Grab her by the pussy") (8) was elected by 60 million US Americans as the most powerful man in the world.
Many white US men over 45 and also 52% of white US women actually voted for this anti-feminist.
In an interview published on November 13, 2016 with the "Rhein-Neckar Zeitung" newspaper, the US American anarchist Noam Chomsky sketched possible reasons why the real estate mogul gained a high share of the votes of white US American women across all sectors but particularly people at a low educational level and with medium or low income.
The emeritus linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) noted that much rage and disappointment over neoliberal policy made by the elites in the last generation had pent up in these people.
Even at the height of the economic boom in 2007, the purchasing power of the income of the working population in simple jobs was less than at the beginning of neoliberalism around 1980. Moreover, the conviction prevails that the government only helps minorities, neglects the hardworking white working class and loses its culture.
Chomsky explains: "Seen culturally, the US lives largely in a pre-modern time. Nearly half of the population assumes the earth is several thousand years old and that climate change is not a problem because Jesus Christ will return in the next decades. In their eyes, science must be wrong when scientific findings collide with the Bible. Up to the 2nd World War, the US was scientifically and socially backward compared to Europe. In some areas, this has not changed."
According to Chomsky, the Democrats in the 1970s stopped representing the interests of white workers. "Since then, they rally around their class enemies, the republicans. The tax policy of the republicans only serves the interests of the rich and powerful. They try to pass off a person like George W. Bush as someone with whom one would like to share a beer. Trump succeeded in a similar way."
The 88-year old intellectual sees an additional reason for the election of the demagogue in the fact that many US American women had lost their jobs and were ready to seek for scapegoats – like immigrants.
"In addition, surveys showed an overwhelming majority of voters wanted change. They were dissatisfied with the status quo. But Hillary Clinton stood for that status quo" (9).
POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ELECTION
In the first days after the election of the intellectual arsonist, over 500 racist attacks and crimes were made public in which the perpetrators usually referred to their leader Trump (10).
In the election campaign, Trump agitated against "illegals," Mexicans, Muslims, refugees, blacks, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, disabled and emancipated women. Now it can be feared that the Pandora box opened through his extremely aggressive election campaign may not be closed any more. The hatred of the "Trump movement" aroused by him and the surprise attacks against minorities and feminists will become everyday and probably increase under the Trump administration.
A president is a model for many children and young adults. Thus the Trump who rose from malicious horror clown and unscrupulous mobbing king to the US president will make sexist, racism and homophobia socially acceptable again. This is a catastrophe for all emancipatory-thinking persons and a physical threat for all non-whites.
This is a setback for feminism and for all people who respect human dignity. Many political and social achievements gained through struggle in the last decades, elementary civil rights, are massively threatened under the social-Darwinian Trump government.
Over eleven million illegalized persons in the United States are under extreme pressure.
In his first interview after the election, Trump announced he would deport to Mexico or arrest two to three million "illegals" in the first months of his term in office.
In the election campaign, the misanthrope made clear he would legalize again and apply water-boarding practiced by the CIA under war criminal George W. Bush and prohibited again by Barack Obama. He wants to introduce "many even more horrific things," Trump said literally. Terror functions as an interrogation method, he said in February 2016.
Human rights and empathy have no meaning at all for this self-declared "winner type." The jubilation over the victory of the patriarch triggered worldwide by Orban, Le Pen, Petry, Wilders, Erdogan and other misanthropes makes us fear the worst for further developments in many countries of the world.
Fascist movements and right-wing nationalist parties see themselves strengthened through Trump's success and speculate on growth and election successes in many European countries. Autocrats have an upwind and can rely on a brother in the spirit in the White House.
An end of the European Union is actually foreseeable if the right-wing extremist Hofer (FPO) is elected president of Austria in December 2016 (this did not happen, translator's note), if Geert Wilders' right-wing nationalist party wins the election on March 15, 2017 in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen has a real chance of being elected the first female president of the Front National in France in May 2017 (11).
The election of an anti-foreigner agitator or rabble-rouser as the 45th US president is not a turn to the good.
Noam Chomsky seems worried. "The most important news this week is not the election in the US but a report from the climate conference in Morocco showing that global warming is accelerating and the ice surface in the Arctic has diminished 30%. At the same time, the most powerful country on the earth has elected a party that has the destruction of humanity as its goal. But all the media only report about the superficial consequences of the election. I find that shocking."
Already in 2012, Trump made the absurd claim the "concept of global warming" was invented by the Chinese" to damage the competitiveness of American industry.
In the election campaign, he announced he would revoke the signature to the Paris Climate agreement. Trump could "select someone to de facto abolish the Environmental Protection Agency in the US who openly denies climate change. This person is even proud he has environmental protection organizations like Greenpeace as his enemy. He will ensure the Environmental Protection Agency has no influence any more," Chomsky fears.
TRUMP AND THE WAR
On one hand, Trump announced rearmament in the US. At the same time, he wants to largely reduce the US military engagement abroad and concentrate on "destruction" of IS. A military cooperation with the similarly autocratic and homophobic Putin regime is likely.
Henrik Paulitz presumes the alleged "isolationism" of the new US president will lead to a new distribution of the tasks among the global war powers, not to fewer wars. Trump follows developments that were already speeded up for years. "Spending far more in the future for armaments and engaging as a `leading' military power in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to Central Asia will be demanded of Germany. This is an extremely ominous scenario" (12).
On one hand, the German war minister Ursula von der Leyen seemed shocked over Trump's victory in the US election. On the other hand, she enthusiastically accepted his demands and will carry out a drastic increase of German arms spending against the will of anti-militarists and large parts of the population. The arms industry and reactionary circles that long dreamt of Germany's resurrection as a military power gloat.
PERSPECTIVES OF EMANCIPATORY MOVEMENTS
New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington… Since November 9, there have been great nonviolent demonstrations against the hate preacher in most cities of the US under the motto "Not my president!"
The shock over Trump's election victory and politicization, that is enlightenment about power- and rule conditions, leads to radicalizing many emancipatory activists. Grassroots movements in Martin Luther King's tradition and non-violent mass movements against the projects of the Trump regime are popular. Feminists mobilize for a million-woman march to Washington on January 21 (13).
What about Germany? The protests against the G20 summit on July 7/8, 2017 in Hamburg should become a great Anti-Trump demonstration. The interventionist left (iL) announced the demonstration. Thousands upon thousands of activists are expected at the protests. "G20 is the summit of global capitalism where Angela Merkel will shake hands with right-wing demagogues like Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Wladimir Putin. Established politics cannot tame the monster of a strengthened right-wing that it created itself. The integration power of the ruling order decreases from day to day, the iL-press spokesperson Emily Laguer comments. Everyone who stands for a society of solidarity is invited to join in the protests (14).
Anti-fascist resistance, civil courage in the increasingly aggressive daily routine, linkage of emancipatory movements and solidarity with fleeing persons and the marginalized will be more necessary than ever in the next years in Germany, the US and worldwide.
The anti-capitalist and emancipatory struggles suffered a setback with the election victory of the big capitalist. Still, these battles are not lost.
Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City known for his extreme right-wing positions, described the election success of his friend as "one of the greatest victories for the American people since Andrew Jackson."
"WHO WAS ANDREW JACKSON?," MANY WILL ASK.
"Andrew Jackson was a land speculator, a merchant, a slave-trader and the most aggressive enemy of Indians in the early phase of American history, "explained the US American historian and non-violent anarchist Howard Zinn (1922-2010) in his classic work "A People's History of the United States" (15). The civil rights- and peace movements formed the main theme of Zinn's historical research. As a practitioner of "history from below," he offered a revision of the American writing of history. His book tries to describe American history from the perspective of groups usually hardly noticed in the writing of history including powerless victims. The world needs people like Howard Zinn.
ANARCHIST PARLIAMENTARY CRITICISM AFTER THE US ELECTION
As anarchists, we do not want to govern or to be governed by minorities. I'd like to make my decisions in a self-determined and collective way. Grassroots revolutionaries know the non-violent, rule-free society is still a utopia but its realization would be the form of social organization that most emphasizes human rights.
In the "Special issue on Criticism of Parliamentary Democracy" (GWR Nr. 146/47/48) appearing in 1994, we read: "Unlike nationalist and neo-Nazi parliamentarian criticism, anarchism criticizes parliamentarism because too little is freely discussed, not too much. It criticizes its effectiveness of governing, not its apparent incapacity. (…) Direct action is the immediate form of self-determination. Parliamentary representation is handing over the right of self-determination to others or self-incapacitation."
While the above analysis is still correct today, it would be wrong to call an Austrian election boycott on the occasion of the Austrian presidential election in December 2016. In Austria, a racist with a national-socialist worldview and a green bore are contenders in the election. If a little cross can help prevent a fascist from being hoisted into a power position, then anarchist women will make this cross.
An election result like that in the US represents an extreme backward social and political step removing us even further from realizing a liberal-socialist society. Thus we decide for the lesser evil in the choice between fascism and liberal democracy.
This does not mean our anarchist utopias are wrong or can be immediately realized at the ballot box.
Through the US election outcome, many will become conscious how problematic is a system that allows a misanthrope like Trump to press the red button and extinguish humanity.
More and more people recognize the capitalist-democratic rule system has a potential endangering humanity.
Interrupting the continued reproduction of rule is the goal of anarchism.
1) Zitiert aus: 18. Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte, MEW 8, S.115, https://marxwirklichstudieren.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mew_band08.pdf
2) Laut ORB (Opinion Research Business) wurden von März 2003 bis August 2007 zwischen 946.000 und 1.120.000 IrakerInnen getötet.
3) zit. nach Trigger Alarm, Der Spiegel 46/2016, 12.11.2016, S. 12
4) Zu Bannon und Breitbart siehe den Artikel von dju in dieser GWR, S. 8.
5) zitiert nach: Trumps Nazi-Helfer, Der Spiegel 48, 26.11.2016, S. 21
6) Sergey Lagodinsky: Was auf uns zukommt. Womit haben Juden in den USA und Europa angesichts des Erfolgs der antiliberalen Bewegung zu rechnen?, in: Jüdische Allgemeine, 17.11.2016, www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/27009
7) SZ, 9.11.2016. www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/us-wahl-wir-haben-einen-faschisten-gewaehlt-1.3243303
8) siehe: www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/trumps-video-anatomie-eines-politischen-g... und https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wM248Wo54U
9) US-Wahl-Analyse: Warum Trump, Professor Chomsky? Interview von Christian Altmeier, in: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, 13.11.2016, www.rnz.de/politik/hintergrund_artikel,-US-Wahl-Analyse-Warum-Trump-Professor-Chomsky-_arid,234526.html
10) vgl. Der Spiegel Nr. 47, 19.11.2016
11) siehe Coastliners Artikel „Kommt nach Trump in den USA Marine Le Pen in Frankreich?" in dieser GWR
12) Henrik Paulitz: Trump und der Weg Deutschlands zur Weltordnungsmacht, in GWR 414, Dezember 2016, S. 9f.
13) Siehe: http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/11/11/million-women-march-being-planned-for-january-21-2017-in-d-c/
14) Weitere Infos: www.g20-hamburg.org
15) hier zitiert nach: https://zinnedproject.org/2016/11/andrew-jackson-time-revisit/