“Time to burn down the Bastille.”

Pat Buchanan’s latest column – The Military/Security Plot Against Trump Is Real – summarizes the war against the president:

We are approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration… That the objective of this city is to bring Trump down via a deep state-media coup is no secret.

Buchanan continues, arguing that Trump needs to take the offensive:

To prevail, Trump will have to campaign across this country and wage guerrilla war in this capital, using the legal and political weapons at his disposal to ferret out the enemies within his own government….

He should campaign against the real enemies of America First by promising to purge the deep state and flog its media collaborators.

Time to burn down the Bastille.

All true enough but, as usual, Pat, for all of his insights still someone rooted in the system itself, misses the point that to be able to have any chance of having a real impact within the system, there needs a powerful movement outside of it.

Focusing popular mobilization on elections every four years and then sending everyone home in between does little in itself to build such a movement and, when mere electoralism fails in the face of the unified hostility of the elites, de-mobilization and passivity often follow – as the disastrous results of the recent French National Assembly elections show.  (See
Abstention rate “catastrophic” says Marine at GalliaWatch.)

Burning down the Bastille is a fine goal, but the question is: “who will do it?”

Georges Sorel on Donald Trump

Revolutions closely resemble romantic dramas: the ridiculous and the sublime are mixed so inextricably together that we are often unsure how to judge men who seem to be at one and the same time buffoons and heroes. – Georges Sorel, La Revolution Dreyfusienne

Sadly, as this performance plays out it seems that President Trump is more buffoon and less hero with each passing day…

On the Alt Right and the 59 Missiles

I’m not giving up on the God-Emperor yet…. But this is a very good reminder that he wasn’t ever anything more than a long shot. – Vox Day – Blunder or complete debacle?

Many of us, myself included, were willing to give working with the system a try to see what would happen. A dismal Trump failure will only mean that we will revert to the position we were in prior to 2015, when we were encouraging people to think outside the establishment and business as usual. – John Morgan – Trump’s Red Line . . . & Ours

The national bourgeoisie is a class which is politically very weak and vacillating…. They are part of the broad masses of the people but not the main body, nor are they a force that determines the character of the revolution. – Mao Tse-Tung – On the Question of the National Bourgeoisie and the Enlightened Gentry (1)

Not surprisingly, the Trump administration’s attack on Syria has caused consternation and anger across the spectrum of opinion of the nationalist right, especially given the on-going and apparently successful efforts of the military, financial and mainstream GOP to marginalize the Bannon wing of the Trump administration.

While much of the alt right and especially the alt lite blogosphere continues to (correctly) support the Trump regime at least critically, it is safe to say that the honeymoon is over.

Trumps reversion to a Clintonian foreign policy is, of course, disappointing but the response within the alt circles is also rather a let-down. Comments like Mr. Morgan’s reflect the fundamentally naive and apolitical nature of most of this movement – its inability to understand that the system and the elites behind it are fundamentally committed to globalism and multiculturalism and that only a mass, radical and independent movement of our nation’s working and middle classes will be able to challenge the current trajectory of development of 21st century capitalism in any meaningful way. Further, Mr. Morgan’s implication that the creation of such a movement is counter-posed to electoral work misses the point that, approached correctly, there is an important synergy between the two strategies.

Trump’s campaign, as important as it was in stimulating this movement, was too successful too quickly. Consequently, with no real political power base to counter the pressure on him from the political-military-economic establishment, the nationalist elements of his program are being blocked or dropped. And so, the recent events in Syria, however unfortunate, are no surprise and should be seen as a reminder that the hard work of real-world organizing lies ahead.

(1)See my previous post, Trump as National Bourgeois.

Surround the Cities!

… the imperialists usually begin by seizing the big cities and the main lines of communication, but they are unable to bring the vast countryside completely under their control. The countryside, and the countryside alone, can provide the broad areas in which the revolutionaries can manoeuvre freely. The countryside, and the countryside alone, can provide the revolutionary bases from which the revolutionaries can go forward to final victory. Precisely for this reason, Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s theory of establishing revolutionary base areas in the rural districts and encircling the cities from the countryside is attracting more and more attention among the people in these regions. – Lin Biao – Long Live the Victory of People’s War!

(Graphic from The New York Times via Platypus Review #94.)

The Civil War Left

sumnerattackedbypreston1No, not that Civil War… And, OK, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic but, on the other hand, maybe not.  After all, it’s true that the antifa violence at Berkeley a few nights ago was not really so shocking in itself.

There’s always been that part of the left which claims that the government is “fascist” regardless of who is in office.  Thus, the so-called “Refuse Fascism,” about which much is being made by commentators on the right, looks and sounds just like the same old Revolutionary Communist Party “coalition”, complete with the usual apoplectic rhetoric: it’s “Refuse and Resist,” “Not in Our Name” and “The World Can’t Wait” re-branded for the Trump presidency.

Similarly, for decades before they became the “black bloc” at anti-globalization actions, obnoxious anarchist provocateurs were an annoying presence at Bay Area demonstrations.

And so we know that, like the poor, the ultra-left will always be with us and, when they get the chance, they will act out in all of their usual infantile ways.

Up until recently, however, ultra-left antifa violence was directed at extremely marginal types – the Klan, the National Socialist Movement, etc.  Now everything has changed since, after all, if Trump is Hitler, then all of his supporters must be fascists (“little Eichmanns”?) against whom any violence is permitted. Consequently the usual attempts at shouting down speakers or otherwise disrupting events(1) have progressed to vicious physical assaults on ordinary individuals guilty of no more that wearing a MAGA hat or merely having a ticket to an offending program.

Of even greater concern is the tacit connivance in this on the part of elected officials, as well as the support for it expressed by sectors of the relatively moderate left.(2) Meanwhile, even among the left critics of the Berkeley riot there has been much rejection of the violence on pragmatic grounds but deafening silence when it comes to acknowledging that it might be simply wrong to intimidate and physically attack those with whom you disagree.(3)

Ominously, the bitterness of the current political climate is reaching deep into people’s daily lives. The notion of civil political discourse seems to have vanished, at least among leftists and politics has become a topic raised at one’s own risk, at least if one didn’t vote Hillary. (See, for example, Bay Area Conservatives Keep Meetups Secret Fearing For Their Safety.)

(In my own experience, the hostility of the other side is so intense that any political conversation among our small group of Trump supporters at the office now feels more like a clandestine meeting of the Communist Party workplace cell than a group of friends just shooting the shit in the break room.)

And so we have reached a point at which half of the country is considered not only merely wrong but actually evil by the other. We are the enemy to be intimidated and silenced – there can be no co-existence and no peace. We are obviously nowhere near there quite yet, but ultimately this is the mentality of civil war.(4)

Notes:
(1) Certain sectors of the left have a penchant for “no platforming” and have been all too willing to use it against dissenters in their own ranks, as the TERF’s (“Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”) have found out. Still, this is a far cry from the physical violence now celebrated by much of the left when it is directed at opponents to the right.
(2) See Prominent Leftists Celebrate Anti-Milo Yiannopoulos Violence at Berkeley.  One hardly needs to re-visit the story of the repeated attempts to prevent Trump rallies during the campaign, but if you do, see Moveon.Org Vows to Continue to Disrupt Trump Rallies or What’s the Use in Disrupting Donald Trump?.
(3) A good example of this is an article at Huffington Post, The Debacle At Berkeley in which the author ably argues that the black bloc’s actions were counterproductive, but goes on to say

I am not interested here in having a moral argument about violence in the abstract, or the line between destruction of property and assaults on people. Let’s save that for another time…

(Unlike many others, he at least acknowledges that this is an issue.)
(4) There is an worthwhile post in this regard at the interesting and well-written blog Delayed Mail mainly reflecting on the editorial response of pro-slavery newspapers to the dawn of the new year in 1861 and the prospect of a Lincoln presidency – New Year’s and the Superficiality of Secession. While I suspect that I disagree deeply with its author, it is well worth a read.

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?!

Love Your Enemy

Jean Hyppolite – If you are right, Mr. Freund, and the friend-enemy category determines politics, all that’s left for me is to just tend my garden.

Julien Freund – Mr. Hyppolite, as with all pacifists, you believe that you can choose your enemy, but that is incorrect. You believe that if you don’t want to have enemies, you will not have them. But it is the enemy who chooses you. If he wants you to be his enemy, so you will be. Your fine protests of friendship will be for naught. You will not even be allowed to just tend your garden. – From El ManifiestoJulien Freund o la imaginación del desastre. (1)

For decades middle American whites, having fled to the suburbs, hoped to “all just get along” – with disastrous results. Especially after the election of Ronald Reagan, the grassroots resistance of the 1950s-1970s quickly faded away and the MARs phenomenon celebrated by the late Sam Francis largely disappeared. Focused on “tending our gardens” we lived in a state of denial, naively trusting “our” elites to protect our interests. Decades passed and, with only a few exceptions, we slept while the transformation of the country continued around us.

With the economic crisis which began almost 10 years ago we began to wake back up, initially leading to the false start known as the Tea Party.  It has been, however, the increased aggressiveness of the our enemies and the overt betrayal by our “friends” under Obama which created the basis for the Trump revolt at the grassroots.

There was no better example of this than the campaign of Hillary Clinton, a campaign that reflected almost explicitly the belief that a new hegemonic block had successfully been consolidated based in a large part on the identification of white middle America as its “enemy”.

As it turned out, HRC’s approach was premature and she has been roundly criticized for her over-confidence.  Much of this criticism, however, has been of her strategy and tactics rather than the neo-liberal core of her politics(2) and there is always some danger that the Democrats will adopt a more subtle approach until the balance of power has shifted further in their direction.

Thus, the risk of course is that, as was the case following Reagan’s election, the MARs 2.0 movement that brought us victory in November will dissipate.  And so we should be grateful for the completely unconcealed and unrelenting hostility of the other side.  Fortunately, as much as we might wish that our enemies would just leave us alone, it is clear that there is no returning to tending our gardens in peace.

 

Notes: (1) For Spanish speakers, a useful collection of articles on Freund can be found in issue #84 of Elementos which in turn can be found at the unfortunately now-inactive New European Conservative.

(2) For example, see the widely-discussed essay by Mark Lilla The End of Identity Liberalism, which, after denouncing the “repugnant outcome” of the presidential election, rejects the bludgeoning approach involved in the identity strategy which mobilizes minority constituencies in a direct assault on whiteness.  Instead, Lilla advocates a liberalism based on a more gradual and inclusive “hearts and minds” approach, advising the avoidance of unnecessarily direct conflict:

As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale.

And:

A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension.

In other words, to Lilla it’s still more about boiling frogs than breaking eggs.