May 20, 2017

Trump, Trumpism and the Resistance

[This article was written for publication in an upcoming issue of Gnist (which means Spark), a Norwegian magazine affiliated with Rødt, the Red Party there. It is published here at Fire On The Mountain with the kind permission of the editorial staff (redaksjon is the delightful Norwegian word--red action!) of Gnist, which should be credited by anyone wanting to spread this around.
Dennis O'Neil]

Greetings again from the Belly of the Beast. I wrote a couple of articles last year for Gnist’s predecessor publication Rødt, on the US elections. Now I am requested to report on the first four months of the Trump regime and Trumpism.

The biggest question I hear from European friends is “Just what the hell is going on over there? Please explain Donald Trump to us.”

We in the US feel precisely the same way, only worse. In the last three months we have experienced a daily barrage of blatant lies, reports of incompetence and stupidity, constant leaks from infighting insiders, massive graft, 180 degree policy shifts, Trump Twitter storms, threats of war, trashing of governmental norms, vicious gossip from insiders. Not only is it extremely stressful to live through, but it’s so intense that following any particular trend or development becomes nearly impossible, even for well-resourced newspapers and websites, let alone for individuals.

Is Trump simply doing the thing he was placed in office to do: Head up what Marx called “the general staff of the bourgeoisie,” the state? Not in any discernible way so far. Individual capitals or sectors of capital may approve particular policies—especially cutting down on regulations that constrict profits and more generally the promise of lightening taxes on corporations and the ultra-rich. Overall though, the ruling class needs a stable economic and political environment in which to maximize profits and they haven’t got that. 80% of the top positions in the federal government have still not been filled! Increasingly, the bourgeois media is calling for Trumps’s ouster, through impeachment or other, unnamed mechanisms.

There is of course the related issue of whether Trump is a puppet of the government of the Russian Federation—out of admiration for Putin, as payback for help in winning the US election, in response to blackmail. There is more evidence for heavy Russian influence than there is against it. As I write this article, the desperate attempts of the Trump regime to derail or crush any investigation of his campaign’s channels to Russia and his administration’s contacts with them since are causing a crisis of governance in the US.

Which brings us to the broadest question: is Trump a fascist? I still answer

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