“There are among us
today, as there always have been, those who act against the scheme of things
that degrades them, and in the process of action everything we have accepted
out of fear or insensitivity or ignorance is shaken before us and examined...
More important, from this total questioning of what has previously been
unquestioned, we learn. And such a process is not beyond the common man.”
media would like to print neat-and-tidy articles about Donald Trump’s
ascendancy, tracing the roots of his meteoric popularity to former Arizona
Governor Jan Brewer. This paltry offering to the public debate on ‘the causality
of Trump’ is amnesic at best, and at worst, it is distracting.
the media pretends to have done the spadework for us when it comes to the
genesis of Trump, citing “Republican voters” who were only yesterday drawn to Brewer,
a xenophobic authoritarian toadstool. This explanation is little more than a
Trojan horse, or a whitewashing of history, and the media has not spun its
slick web just to mark the trajectory of some social phenomenon rooted the anti-immigrant
myopia and national security madness of late. Whether a cover story, propaganda,
or plain ol’ disinformation, it amounts to little more than the art of the deal.
it back: Brewer signed-off on the despicable Senate Bill 1070 during her 2009-2015
reign, and in so doing, she qualified many of the racist sentiments that have bedeviled
the Mexican-US border for centuries. She put a finger in Obama’s face, raised
taxes and declared her support for the poor, all the while holding fast to
opportunism despite her signature tough talk and Republican credentials. Ultimately,
to whatever extent Donald Trump seems to be the 2.0 version of Jan Brewer, such
is not the case, and he is far more significant than the daily rags let on.
rise of Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that Marxism has an important
role in public life. For Marxists and their political allies, one of the most
salient features of Trump’s candidacy happens also to be something that the ruling
elites invariably loathe. Consider an issue like race and its significance to
American society today. Now, consider the fact that, despite all neoliberal
efforts and wars, a cohesive, multiracial, multiethnic and multigender
revolution remains possible in 21st century America. This is more
than enough to give the 1% night terrors.
to our television sets, radios, social media feeds, or lunch truck palavering,
we see what plays out everyday and in plain sight: the public unpacking of the
oppression that ideologically, racially and materially divides workers. Nor
does the public’s “unpacking” need to be conscious for it to take place; it is absolutely
real. And of course the oppression in question can be ramified along color
lines as well as class ones! But without cheapening critical observations on
class and race, or the just fruits that ramifying the two might yield for us given
their respective merits, it is possible to admit (thanks to pesky ogres like
Trump) that the ruling elites, employers, bureaucrats – and bosses and
plutocrats and oligarchs and so on – comprise the few who benefit the most from
our division as it stands. Hence, Marxism, capitalist divisiveness and Trump
have all come together!
do not pretend to deny that economic disparities often go hand-in-hand with
racial inequities, or for that matter, inequities pertaining to gender,
sexuality, age, creed, ability, etc. Disadvantaging some in perpetuity while
simultaneously hierarchizing the productive forces of society should, in the
imagination of any human being today, provide enough discomfort to elicit goose
bumps, or worse. This should be true for anyone who has felt a drop of acid
rain or breathed a breath of polluted air whose point-source is half-way around
the world, actively poisoning workers whose children starve while Trump
promises to “make American great again” by offering us more of the same.
climb is today a clear reminder that divisive oppression pervades the lives of
workers in our capitalist society, pressing into service all social problems
imaginable, including but not limited to the racially charged, bigoted and
xenophobic nationalism that Trump is hocking around the country. When this
happens, a “Trump” of any stripe will appeal to the everyman’s corrupted
commonsense, and such a figure will likely curry favor with millions of
Americans whose lives the capitalist system so miserably controls.
commonsensical nature of our current Trump problem takes many forms, but in the
sense that it is part and parcel to a long vein in American history (a history
of profits over people), we recognize that the taproot is entirely assailable.
It has been thus for some time; radical philosophy has armed us with the tools
necessary to engender a deeper, systematic analysis that explains the social
divisions on which Trump and his class prey and depend for dominance. Moreover,
this all signals Friedrich Engels’ “false consciousness,” which is worth
recalling lest we forget for one second that the ruling class’ ideology has
many times before attempted to etch away at the realities whereby white
workers, for example, assume their supremacy in manifold ways and further the
capitalist project, or the very thing that seeks to exploit them in the same
way it subordinates all slaves under the capitalist system, irrespective of
race or anything else.
the goose bumps mentioned above, capitalist exploitation ought to give any
thinking and feeling person reason to recoil, if not, rebel. No matter the upside
that comes from accepting supremacy along racial lines, submitting to such a
world (and its concomitant false consciousness) is precisely what sabotages
national and international cooperation against the capitalist disease. Needless
to say, a false consciousness makes the international socialist project
difficult to effect and sustain. Never mind contradictions like the 40-plus
percent of homeless persons in America who are white, or the 45 percent of
homeless persons in America who are below the age of 30. Never mind all of this
because, as Trump has espoused (just like the Nazis long before him), “Work
sets you free.” And by work, what Trump and his artless deal mean is endless slavery
the unthinking, skim-milk conservatism in the US, the poster child for racially
charged populism happens to be Trump this election cycle, who also happens to
be the likely Republican presidential candidate. What he shares in common with
his party members like Brewer is certainly more than just a line of racist,
capitalist succession of governance. But what they all share in his
ultra-nationalist rhetoric that panders to groups whose oppression they have propagated
for years, and to whose false consciousness Trump now pays lip service.
Mateo Pimentel is an Axis of Logic columnist, living on the US-Mexico border. Read the Biography and additional articles by Axis Columnist Mateo Pimentel.
© Copyright 2016 by AxisofLogic.com
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