Trump – Old Wine?

There’s an interesting piece on our new president, Trump Revives the Fordist-Keynesian Pact at the Spanish blogs La Torre de Marfil and Hispaniainfo.

In it the author, Gabriel Garcia, asserts that Trump is no revolutionary, explaining that he is merely attempting to re-establish the economic-political order that reigned in the US from the end of World War 2 until roughly 1973, while arguing unpersuasively that Trump’s motivation stems directly from the fact that his own businesses (casinos and hotels) require a relatively well-paid population of consumers in order to prosper.

There’s no question that Trump’s economic populism aims to recreate something like the prosperous post-war years of increasing working class incomes and stable employment. However, Mr Garcia misses the national elements at work in the Trump movement. Explicitly, Trump espouses a civic nationalism deeply at odds with the otherwise-prevailing elite globalist discourse from both left and right. Implicitly, Trump’s movement and sub-texts represent the beginnings of an identitarian/national awakening on the part of middle America.  In the current world these elements are profoundly subversive in essence even if not in form since:

– The ruling class is globalist in its basic nature; nationalism in its ethno- or even its civic form is in fundamental opposition to the logic of capitalist development.
– The Fordist-Keynesian form was in the interests of the ruling class at the time – now it is not.
– Trump’s nationalism, while not revolutionary on its face, calls into question the current neo-liberal system itself – like “Peace, Land and Bread” did to the existing order in 1917.
– Neo-liberal globalism includes an assault against the prosperity and even the being of middle America.
– The demonization of middle American whites as racists, homophobes, misogynists, etc works to paralyze resistance on our part, while mobilizing various minority communities as troops in the struggle against us.
– While Trump is no revolutionary himself, his refusal to accept the political limits of the dominant discourse opens the door to much more radical movements.
– As Garcia acknowledges, these revived nationalist projects are taking place in the US – the center of the globalist system – rather than in some relatively peripheral country.

None of this is to argue that we will be building barricades any time soon (or even ever) or that Trump will really attempt to push his agenda a significant distance toward its logical conclusions (although the evidence of the past couple of weeks gives one hope). Rather, he represents a least the possible opening of a new political age.

Notes: Mr. Garcia’s post is centered on an extensive quote from a recent book by Laureano Luna – La lucha obrera en la era del capitalismo global.  Luna is an interesting figure who originated the term “autonomia historica,” expressing a recognition that the Spanish anti-system right needed to break with its addiction to LARPing the 1930s.  He was involved in the formation of what seemed to be a very promising enterprise, a party called the National Left in 2010 or 2011, which unfortunately seems to have gone nowhere. The book sounds like something worth reading if I can actually put my hands on a copy.

Talking about Mr. Luna’s book, I was once again reminded of how irritatingly expensive all of those interesting-sounding Spanish magazines seem to be – things like Nihil Obstat (at 20€ for the latest copy) or Revista de Historia del Fascismo (at 18€) – and when you add in shipping… How about some e-versions?!

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2 thoughts on “Trump – Old Wine?

  1. Good afternoon.

    As author of the article I thank you for your interest. The comparison I make between the economic proposals of Donald Trump and those of Henry Ford is that both entrepreneurs were aware that the stability of capitalism depends on a broad middle class and purchasing power. The self-destructive tendency of neoliberalism shows that a return to the Great Depression era is no utopia and that is why Trump would seek to return to postwar economic policies rather than suffer it.
    As a Spanish I can not know all aspects of the program and the popular support movement around Donald Trump. I have been able to investigate that the working class of the United States is part of the new president while the big companies (Google, Facebook, Starbucks, etc.) are against. Your analysis has seemed very interesting and I will take it into account to better appreciate the future Trump administration.

    A cordial greeting,
    Gabriel García

    Like

    • Gabriel – Thanks for your comment. You make an interesting point and I agree that the parallel can be drawn, however what is consistent with the interests of big capital in one phase of development is radically inconsistent in another.

      Across the world it seems clear that the global elite has little interest in stability in general or maintaining a prosperous middle class in the first world in particular. While Trump is literally a capitalist himself, he had very little support from within that class and especially not from within its upper levels. Instead, that group backed Clinton overwhelmingly.

      (By the way, in another post I argued that Trump can be better understood as representative of an American national bourgeoisie in conflict with a now-globalized/post-national ruling class – Trump as National Bourgeois.)

      Like

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