There just aren’t that many left sites worth reading these days for anything other than know-your-enemy purposes. One outstanding exception to this, however, is the Black Agenda Report (“News, commentary and analysis from the black left”) which, having apparently resisted absorption by the system, consistently provides a fresh and provocative take on things.
Of course, BAR and I obviously disagree regarding the site’s insistence that any self-defensive movement by middle American whites is necessarily racist and supremacist, however, reading around that one can appreciate the articles’ consistent recognition that the the co-optation of black community leadership by the globalist system represents a betrayal of the real interests of the black working and middle classes and that the “resistance” is a ruling class ploy.
Of particular interest is an article by BAR editor Glen Ford published in July, Russiagate is a Ruling Class Diversion, which I’ve been meaning to discuss since then but, due to my habitual procrastination, am only getting around to mentioning now.
The article begins by reviewing the system’s response to Trump’s election:
Trump’s howling racism was what made Democrats believe he was the ideal candidate for a trouncing by Hillary Clinton, who could be counted on to escalate Barack Obama’s general military offensive and to aggressively pursue TPP and other corporate governance arrangements…. When Clinton lost, the ruling class panicked and resolved to bring down the Orange Menace no matter the cost to U.S. institutions and to the appearance of stability in the very bosom of the empire. The rolling coup was begun.
Mr. Ford correctly goes on to claim, in terms we would not use, that Trump’s movement is fundamentally racial at its core:
Donald Trump proved that his white base is more enthusiastic to support a candidate that affirms white supremacist “values” (yes, that’s what they value most) than they are about maintaining an aggressive military posture everywhere in the world… These same voters were presumed to be the most militaristic cohort in the nation, dependable fodder to elect fire-breathing war hawks. But clearly, Trump’s base — composed of a majority of whites – cares more about white supremacy in the U.S. than waging endless wars abroad. And, they either hate “free trade,” or don’t care enough about it either way to abandon their White Man’s President.
Looking forward, Mr. Ford recognizes that there is no going back for the Republicans or the Democrats:
Trump still retains the support of his white majority. Most importantly, these white supremacists feel affirmed, as “a people,” by his presence, and what they perceive as Trump’s loyalty to them. They are feeling “Great Again.” And they are reveling in their national strength, as a bloc…. This re-energized, aggressively white supremacist, intensely self-aware White Man’s Party will assert its permanent, militant and very large presence in the U.S. political spectrum, no matter what happens to Donald Trump…. and they now hate the Democratic Party in a far deeper way than before, when it was perceived as too concerned with Blacks and other “minorities.”… The “witch-hunt” against Trump is perceived as an elite mob out to lynch the “deplorables” — or, at the least, to decertify them as decent Americans.
As far as the ruling class is concerned, this transformation of the Republican Party into an implicitly white party will force the bulk of it into the Democratic Party, which will essentially become the sole party of the plutocracy.
… the establishment corporate Republicans that Trump crushed in winning the GOP nomination will not win back his followers’ allegiance unless they become more like Trump, i.e. more blatantly white supremacist. Which is decidedly not the corporate way, in the 21st century. Thus, corporate America, wedded as it is to a “diversity” doctrine that means little to the masses of Black people but is a red flag to the White Man’s Party “deplorables,” will be forced to identify more publicly with the Democrats, or pretend to be apolitical.
With a decreasing ability to mobilize the majority of white voters, the Democrats will be forced to increasingly rely on Blacks and other minorities for their electoral numbers, however this, in turn creates significant difficulties for the elites at the top of the Democratic Party, since the minority base would like to see significant economic change.
The Trump phenomena — and the resultant ruling class hysteria — has stolen the corporations’ option to pose as “non-partisan” actors in U.S. politics. They are forced deeper into the Democratic camp, creating further contradictions for the “inclusive” party, which must ultimately answer to a more clearly defined — and also more self-aware – constituency of the “left,” most broadly speaking, if it is to preserve the duopoly. This other half of the country, slightly bigger than Trump’s white majority base, is composed of a minority of whites, virtually all Blacks, and large majorities of Latinos and other minorities. It is way to the left of the Democratic Party and roiling with economic demands that the Lords of Capital will not, and cannot, fulfill while keeping on the path of a global race-to-the-bottom and deepening austerity, enforced by endless wars.
In order to maintain this unstable bloc of top and bottom against the middle, Mr. Ford tells us, the elites must come up with a diversion, otherwise they run the risk of a fundamental and, to them, unfavorable re-alignment of American politics:
Therefore, there must be Russiagate hysteria — or some other fictitious obsession — primarily to divert the attentions of the “left” half of the electorate, most of which is broadly social democratic (the Black component is the most left-leaning, and peace-oriented). If the duopoly were to collapse, and the various cohorts of the U.S. political spectrum were reorganized along ideological lines, the two biggest parties would be the Trumpist White Man’s party and a social democratic party with a platform to the left of 2016 Bernie Sanders, with the (rightwing) Democrats and establishment Republicans coming together in an avowedly “centrist” party, the smallest of the three. Space would also be created for more radical and libertarian politics.
The ruling class is determined to prevent such a scenario from occurring, and thus needs a permanent, all-consuming diversion. But the Russiagate hysteria — or something else like it — cannot be maintained indefinitely; U.S. political structures cannot withstand such an institutional assault by the ruling class, itself.
As interesting as Mr. Ford’s take on things is, I need to point to several errors. In the first place, while Mr. Ford correctly sees that corporate America is committed to multiculturalism, he misses the fact that it is precisely the discourse of “anti-racism” and diversity that welds the Democratic coalition together far more effectively than claims of Russian interference. It is the demonization of the white middle strata that most effectively maintains the power of the Wall Street Democrats via their mobilization of the Black and Latino communities, not “Russiagate” (which is clearly not achieving any real popular traction in spite of the media’s relentless flogging).
Mr. Ford also misses the fact that, when it comes to economic policies, any white populist movement is as likely to espouse many of the sort of New Dealish policies that pass for “socialism” today as is a left movement liberated from the control of the centrist Democrats, especially as even center-right corporate interests decamp to the Democrats.
While Ford is correct that the Trump phenomenon reflects a defensive white movement which, as I’ve said elsewhere, can only be understood in the context of the combination of the arc of Black protest beginning with the death of Trayvon Martin through the events of Ferguson and the growth of Black Lives Matter, he is incorrect to reduce it to that. Trump’s ability to win, for example, a significant number of Latino votes reflects a parallel and often overlapping civic nationalist impulse spanning racial groups.
As with many on the “far” right, Ford seems to ignore the possibility of the simultaneous growth of a populist civic nationalist movement and identitarian movements, since arguably globalization and the “race to the bottom” he describes are profoundly inconsistent with the material interests of middle and working class Americans of all nationalities.
And so, while I don’t say that it is likely given the reality of racial politics in America, there is at least the theoretical possibility of the development of a plebian anti-globalist/anti-corporate bloc involving various racial/ethnic groups pursuing a policy of economic nationalism in the event of a break-up of the Democratic Party coalition.