Trump, Mair and The Gods That Failed

Published on In The Half Light, by PaulOC, Nov 9, 2016.

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, much like the Brexit vote in the UK earlier this year, has been greeted by mainstream commentators with a mixture of vapid incomprehension and shrill, moralistic denouncement. The emptiness of these responses reflect a central problem for liberals, centrists, so-called ‘leftists’ and others in advanced capitalist countries, namely that their gods have failed them. Capitalist development and competition, wedded to (and notionally tempered by) limited, representative democracy and consensus politics have all proven inadequate to the historical tasks before them.

The capitalist system is in profound crisis, dating from at least the 1970s, and as a consequence traditional models of acceptable politics are collapsing. This tendency has been well documented by Peter Mair in his book Ruling the Void. In this book Mair, through careful statistical analysis, shows that democracy in the West is being hollowed out by a twofold movement: wherein political elites withdraw from the people, and the people in turn withdraw from political elites … //

… in terms of politics on the ground, the widening gap between rulers and ruled has facilitated the often strident populist challenge that is now a feature of many advanced European democracies … Each of these particular versions of the challenge to the political mainstream has its own nationally specific set of ideas, policies and interests, often revolving around shared expressions of xenophobia, racism and cultural defence, and usually emerging on the right wing of the political spectrum … But each is also marked by a common and often very explicit hostility to what is seen in the different countries as the national political class … //

… The task of socialists … has to go beyond simply defending the status quo against fascist encroachment. The repeated crises of capitalism are what drive people to such desperation that they will even listen to racists and fascists in the first place; thus socialists have the responsibility to develop and present a realistic alternative: namely a socialist alternative. This alternative must be positive and appear convincing; it must be grounded in solidarity, cooperation and class struggle and emphasise a democratic, socialist response to capitalist crisis … We should take the experience of the SPD before 1933 as a warning: a workers’ party that allows itself to become an administrator of the capitalist system by joining or supporting bourgeois governments – and thereby providing left wing cover to austerity – runs the danger of becoming identified with the system itself. It risks discrediting any claim to be an alternative to the status quo. In times of economic crisis like 1929 in Germany or today … millions begin to turn their backs on a status quo that no longer offers them a future. It is precisely then that a credible socialist alternative is needed to channel the anger of the masses in an emancipatory direction. The building of such an alternative is a task the importance of which must not be understated, particularly in the midst of the deepest economic crisis since 1929 … //

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Related Books and Old Texts about above article:

Related Links about this US Election:

Other Links:

Surgical strike on black money, on Geopolitical Analysis, by K.N. Pandita, Nov 12, 2016;

Two separate worlds, on, by Thierry Meyssan, Nov 8, 2016: during a very important meeting of the Security Council – not even mentioned in the Western Press – on 28 October, the United States voted against UNO cooperation with regional organisations which include Russia, and therefore also China. By refusing to work with others, and thus to admit that other powers are their equals, Washington has taken the path towards a division of the world into two distinct spheres and the end of economic globalisation;

Die Gefallsüchtigen – KenFM im Gespräch mit Wolfgang Herles, 103.45 min, von KenFM am 7. Nov 2016 … der Kaiser ist nackt;

Worker Cooperatives: Movements for Social Change and Personal Empowerment, by Richard Wolff, uploaded by Democracy At Work, Nov 6, 016: part 1 of 2, 30.08 min; part 2 of 2, 28.26 min;

Brexit – After the Referendum, What’s Left? on In The Half Light, by PaulOC, Nov 5, 2016: there is nothing to celebrate today. The vote by a small (but significant) majority of people in the UK to leave the EU is not a victory for working people, for migrants, for socialists or left activists of any stripe. It could have been: if Labour and the main trade unions had seized the moment and set out a strong, principled, anti-racist and anti-capitalist case for leaving the EU. They didn’t, and the moribund radical left was so fragmented and disorganised, that it’s interventions had little or no bearing on the debate …;

Imagining and Bringing About a Socialist World – with Richard Wolff, 57.34 min, uploaded by MNN NYC, Oct 31, 2016 … America has been a capitalist country for ages, but not everyone believes this system is what’s best for the majority …;

The rhetoric of bilateral dialogue, on KASHMIR and IDPs, by K.N. Pandita, Oct 28, 016;

Is Capitalism Broken – An Interview With Professor Richard D Wolff, 31.52 min, uploaded by Dori Huyghe, Oct 24, 2016;

Divided they fell: the German left and the rise of Hitler, on International Socialism, Issue 137, by Florian Wilde, Jan 9, 2013;

Machtverteilung im Mittelalter, 4. Feb 2006;

… and this:

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