democracy, latest, USA
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Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism

by Richard Moser, via Counterpunch

We live in an age of consequences; intended and unintended; environmental and political. If we are to avoid, or at least blunt, the worst of what is to come, then we must look to the root of our problems and to our own roots for solutions.

Fear is the main enemy. Fear will paralyze us and perpetuate the system. That is why fear is the machines’ strongest weapon. Given the unprecedented disgrace of the primary election and the pitiful weakness of both Trump and Clinton as candidates, we are likely to experience a fear-mongering crusade without parallel in American electoral history. People get ready, because fear is all they have left.

But take heart. History has not come to an end. Its almost as if there is a moral order to the universe: as if karmic forces are putting us hard to our lessons; as if “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” is the new and true law of life.

Those who vote Clinton to fight Trump (or even Fascism) cannot escape the consequences of American politics by traveling down the same road we have taken every four years. We are already way past the bend. Setting aside consistent polling data that has for months shown Sanders far and away the best candidate to defeat Trump, a vote for Clinton is a vote for “more of the same.” And this “more of the same” is precisely the existing order of things from which Trump sprang.

Support for Clinton may, or may not, defeat Trump this time, but, as Green Party candidate Jill Stein has pointed out, Trump has deep roots in the existing system, a system the Clinton machine has helped to create and will fight to maintain. Trump grows right out of American political soil, he is an expression of our political system and political culture, not an exception to it.

The two party system is a system. For three decades at least, the “mainstream” or official American discourse has drifted steadily to the right preparing the way for the rise of Trump. The lesser evil has paved the way to the greater evil, not prevented it. But, lets keep our heads. The same two party system is showing unmistakable signs of decline. It is up to us to create a democratic resistance with the capacity and vision to defeat Trump.

We cannot afford to adopt the simplistic idea that fascism is a plague, a virus, a disease of the mind and spirit more mysterious or irrational that other political beliefs. It can be understood well enough to combat it. Like all the great “isms” and ideologies, fascism defies easy or precise definition. Let’s leave the ultimate question of what Trump is, and what fascism is, open to debate.

But strategy demands a working definition if not a conclusive one. Trump is without doubt the bogeyman and the biggest baddest bogeymen in modern memory are fascists. But bogeymen do not just appear out of nowhere. Fascism can be understood as a set of institutional relationships.

In an era of rising fascism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to Congress:

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.  That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.[emphasis added]

The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe, if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

Both lessons hit home.

Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.  This concentration is seriously impairing the economic effectiveness of private enterprise as a way of providing employment for labor and capital and as a way of assuring a more equitable distribution of income and earnings among the people of the nation as a whole.”

Since 1938, the corporate power has grown dramatically. It is not just “stronger than their democratic state itself,” it has merged with the state. The failure of “assuring a more equitable distribution of income” is part of the on-going crisis that set the stage for Trump and the threat of fascism. In the end however, its all up to what “the people tolerate.”

Who can deny that the merger between the immense wealth of the corporations and the political power of the government is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the US politics since the Sixties? The corporations rule and share sovereignty with the state.  How else can “Citizens United” be interpreted, except as a recognition of this fact, many decades in the making.

Power is the new profit and like prior forms of capital accumulation it knows no bounds, even unto ecocide.

The corporatization of our institutions has drained away any democratic content they once contained.  More than the direct control of institutions by some corporate board members, corporatization occurs when institutions internalize the corporate model, adopt the managerial mindset, and run some essentially public service like a business.  The military has become big business.  Generals manage wars not win them.  Prisons, schools and universities, political parties, media, hospitals, even some of our labor unions operate on managerial models.

The Clinton machine played a pivotal role in creating the corporate power particularly in the key financial sector. By abandoning its New Deal voter base, becoming the party of Wall Street, and accomplishing core Republicans goals, the “third way” Democrats embodied triangulation. The Clinton machine took the merger of power and money to its logical conclusion by innovating a new form of global political corporation known as the Clinton FoundationProfit is power, power is profit.

While the Clintons had to engineer this merger Trump was simply born to it. Trump is wealth inequality, entitlement to unearned riches, and its fusion with political power personified. Trump and Clinton are both, we hope, the final episodes of the so-called “Reagan Revolution. “ A revolution no president since has even tried to reverse. Not Clinton. Not Obama. Since Reagan only one major party candidate has even promised to return government to the vision and policies of the New Deal, and that, of course, is Bernie Sanders.

The consequences of this unchallenged corporate power — economic misery, distress, despair and death — have been pushing the white working class left toward Sanders and Stein and right toward Trump. The hollowing out of institutions like the labor movement, that once achieved some measure of political and economic democracy, are preconditions for fascism. The weakness of labor and the social movements leaves millions with nothing much more than resentment, sexism, racism, homophobia and the glory of our military might to assuage their wounded pride.

If the present trends continue to deliver “more of the same”— and we have no reason to expect Clinton to change course — then the broad economic and social conditions that gave rise to Trump will simply intensify. It is likely that far worse than Trump will arise unless the people make history. Remember, the bogymen of the past, the Bush dynasty, are now allies with Clinton providing political support and funding against this new and seemingly more dangerous threat.

Will Trump reap what the Clinton machine has sown?

Not if we break the cycle and support candidates and parties that actually represent our interests. Not if we build pro-democracy movements of all kinds. That means Sanders or Green Party in 2016 and the kind and scale of demonstrations planned for the Democratic Convention in Philly. Be there or be triangulated.Richard Moser writes at befreedom.co where this article first appeared.

6 Comments

  1. anonymous says

    There is no need to expand on Barbara’s succinct sentence: “This article is b.s.”. Rachel Bridgeland has written an excellent analysis of the sociopolitical meaning of the Leave win and of the attempts of those running the Labor Party to unseat Jeremy Corbyn. It is a crying shame that we in the U.S. don’t have writers of this calibre, and that Counterpunch would lower its standards and publish garbage like the above article.
    Anticapitalists have every reason to vote for Donald Trump, the most important one being that every vote that doesn’t go to Trump favors Hillary Clinton, who is a psychopath.
    But Europeans should also be singing Trump’s praises, and not just because he isn’t Hllary Clinton. He is anti globalization and anti-free trade agreements, which are more than mere trade agreements–they are Trojan horses containing binding rules that remove sovereignty from the people and their governments and place legislation in the hands of the transnational capitalists. Trump wants to tear up the TPP and NAFTA, which has destroyed hundreds of thousands of small farmers in both Mexico and the U.S. and created conditions for mass migration to the U.S.
    Trump is also against NATO, and this alone should bring Eurpeans out into the streets with placards bearing his picture. He is against Obama’s and Hillary’s endless wars for dominance of the Middle East using hundreds of thousands of mentally ill jihadists recruited by the CIA and Saudi Arabia’s database–nicknamed Al Qaeda–and armed to the teeth. Has it escaped the notice of Europeans that the migration crisis didn’t exist before Obama’s attempts to overthrow the governments of Libya and Syria and to destabilize north Africa? That Obama’s recruiting of extremists from Chechnya and Asia to fight in Syria has also added to the migrant crisis?
    Donald Trump is the anti-capitalist globalization and anti-war candidate, the first since George McGovern. People who imagine that they’re too intelligent to support someone as flamboyant as him should keep their own counsel, since this election is a zero-sum game. Any attacks on Trump only help elect Clinton.

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  2. “That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

    Got it: fascism “is” capitalism, on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s own admission. [“my emphasis”]

    “Since 1938, the corporate power has grown dramatically. It is not just “stronger than their democratic state itself,” it has merged with the state.”

    Yeah, right, because before 1938, the democratic state itself was actually run by politicians recruited from among the serfs and elected by the serfs, and the power of corporations was still and only then a premature newborn in an incubator.

    “The failure of “assuring a more equitable distribution of income” is part of the on-going crisis that set the stage for Trump and the threat of fascism. In the end however, its all up to what “the people tolerate.” ”

    So lets ‘vote’ this bitch into submission, eh, because everybody knows that each ‘vote’ cast under conditions wherein “the corporate power” is for the first time in history “ever” about to take a fascist turn and has effectively taken ‘ownership’ of “our” all so “democratic state” . . . counts! So get out there and vote, and vote, and vote, and don’t stop until “the corporate power” decides it can’t take it anymore and just packs up and leaves the United of America and everywhere else it now “owns” a government.

    “Since Reagan only one major party candidate has even promised to return government to the vision and policies of the New Deal, and that, of course, is Bernie Sanders.”

    Since Reagan! Oh please, please bring back the halcyon days of union busting and things like Nicaragua and El Salvador! Bernie, like Reagan and good old F.D. before him, will save us all from capitalism by saving capitalism from itself.

    And don’t forget to get out for the fire-works displays tomorrow evening! Because nobody does ‘fire-works displays’ better than the U.S. of fucking A. Just ask the Japanese.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All choices have consequences. The adage ‘as ye reap so shall ye sow’ is – I believe NOT a time concept – though delay and obfuscation can expand to an epoch at the end of which one arrives at one’s starting place and knows it for the first time.
    The nature of consciousness is what mind ‘does’ : extension and reflection through thought as the experiencing of existence.
    If false thinking is accepted as true then false results generate the reinforcement and validation of the false – as if it is true and truth is false. Look therefore to ‘where you are coming from’. A love of self in concept or image can only hate what does not support it and this ‘war’ is the fruit of identifying in reaction against such a sense of evil or exposure to invalidity.
    And the consequence of war operates the ‘mind’ of divide and rule in which truth or indeed self-honesty is the first and necessary casualty.

    I would offer this refinement to the above: Fear can be your friend and ally – because it can illuminate what you are not to reveal who you are. It can reveal false beliefs and associations so as to allow a truly present discernment and navigation of the situation you are participating in.
    UN-owned or denied fear is a back-door via which that which is NOT true of you works through you against your own desire and fulfilment – as a kind of thinking that runs as reaction.
    Anyone who is attracted to manipulation and domination as the way to validate their ‘self concept’ learns how to spot or cultivate the weaknesses in others through the disguise within what they want to be true – or not true – for themself.
    If you ‘get’ this you must realise that you NEED to own your fears – and other denied feelings – so as to wake out of the wishful dream that others feed upon at your expense. But even more than that – you cannot and will not accept such responsibility if your identity is dependent upon manipulating and feeding off of others.
    What goes around – comes around. If it comes around – feel honestly into it because what is yours is yours and recycling it as hate and blame sets you up to suffer. Truly owned choice can be changed for a more truly aligned one – and consequently more aligned experience and relationship of being You.
    If you sniff this writing – it is not guilting you with moral invalidation nor seducing you with self-specialness.
    Before a choice can be made or accepted, one has to be aware of what it is between – and a false framing of unreal choices operates to make sure that you do not choose to recognize and be free of false framing.
    In a sense whatever you choose from a true sense of your integrity expresses and embodies that integrity for all – because true presence does not inflate itself upon the invalidation or diminishing of others – even if they are making poor choices; choices by which they impoverish themselves.
    Fear and blame cultures operate to deny presence in which communication is natural. Fearing and blaming such impositions is more of the same.

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