By Kumar David –
A new left emerges as Democratic Party’s challenge to Trump fizzles out: Trump’s big victory in Muller probe
After a two year investigation, respected former FBI Director Robert Muller III’s report concluded that there was no conclusive proof of collusion between Trump and his election outfit with Russia. It is a big victory for Trump and a defeat for anti-Trump mainstream media. The vindication unleashed a Trumpian offensive against the Democratic Party and liberal media which are snivelling and licking their wounds. It opened the way to dismantling and dismembering Obamacare, building the “Wall” on the Mexican border and advancing anti-immigration legislation. Trump is crude, capricious and plays trumps to his Base but he keeps his promises to his Base, though it makes liberals, intellectuals and ‘respectable’ folk cringe. I do not question Muller’s integrity; what has so far been made public of the report is a thumbs up for America’s die-hards just when alt-right ideology was on the retreat globally.
As the post-Muller debate heated up Trump crowed: “This has been an incredible week for America. The economy is roaring, the ISIS caliphate is defeated 100 percent, and after three years of lies and smears and slander the Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over”. The Democrats hoping for juicy titbits to fight back with intend to obtain subpoenas for release of the full report without redactions, and the underlying evidence; but the game is lost and this cock won’t fight anymore.
Vedic seers in the two thousand year old Linga Purana predict “Thieves will become kings and kings will be thieves” – ah they took the words out of my mouth! Trump is manifestly unfit for high office and denigrates the presidency; he evokes outrage and scorn at home and abroad; a blighted nationalist described as racist and homophobic Trump is also a crude crotch-grabbing sexist and reveller in ‘pussy-talk’. Unsurprisingly an egregious by-product of his anti-Islamism is that he fuels what a friend in an e-mail described as: “A concerted campaign to discredit New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Arden because of her bold stand on Christchurch. There is also an insidious campaign to make out that the targeted mosque was a recruiting centre for Islamist terrorism in a despicable attempt to justify this act of terror”.
Nevertheless about a third of America – the white working class in manufacturing and mining, and marginalised rural white folk in the mid-west and south – a ‘solid minority’ of poorer voters give Trump wholehearted support. Supposedly respectable conservatives, market-blighted GOP leaders and big business which has profited from tax cuts and awaits the dismantling environmental protection (cheer leaders for more climate change), all cheer him on though they are sceptical of his agenda and recognise the irreparable damage he is doing to America’s overseas agenda.
The Muller Report has not been released and only a summary prepared (doctored?) by Attorney General – Minister of Justice – William (Bill) Barr (a Trump appointee) and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, despite clamouring by Congress and the public. However we can be certain that Muller has not explicitly found Trump guilty of collusion; a big propaganda victory for the President. The report will say: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The backlash from the “no proof” verdict would have been insignificant if the Democrats and the media had had class politics on their plates.
I have clueless friends whose refrain is about American productivity, the quality of its universities, the worth of its democratic institutions and the merit of the capitalist market. But what can quickly turn the tables on Trump is if the economy turns sour; the Cassandras are many. True the US economy is ticking along but slowing down after just three good quarters; prognostications are that a recession is overdue. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in We are 15 Minutes from Midnight in The Telegraph of 29 March writes: “Citigroup has issued an explicit recession warning advising clients to wind down risky assets and prepare to ride out a storm. The bank’s investment team said the US Federal Reserve over-tightened monetary policy waiting too long to stop raising interest rates or slow the pace of quantitative tightening (reverse-QE). The economy is below the waterline and will most likely succumb”.
The ‘new-left’ in the Democratic Party
American intellectuals, the Democratic Party and the liberal media (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, etc.) in the eyes of the aforesaid ‘solid minority’, live in cloud cuckoo land. All part of the swamp, the better-off classes who never understood and still do not understand what ails America or why the horde loves Trump. The polished dudes and ritzy women on top-tier TV take home $10 to $20 million a year; second tier personalities make a million. How can the poorer two-thirds of society struggling to pay rent or mortgage, keep kids fed, clothed and schooled – off the streets and off the opiates – put “gas” in cars and keep up hope of a better future, identify with this glitzy lot? The wealth, income and expectation gap between the lower eight deciles and the top 20% in the US is so vast that a hooligan like Trump, if he presents himself as the champion of the underprivileged, can go places.
The exceptions are the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Lee Carter, the Democratic Socialists of America to which the last three belong and which traces its origins to Eugene V. Debbs. A new socialist left is taking shape among young Americans and those divorced from the DP’s mawkish mainstream and the syrupy sentimentality of the liberal media about capitals implicit domestic and global goodness. I am been in the US often (and am at the moment) and have not once heard serious discourse of class, society and state in the mainstream media; political-economy (socio-economics) is taboo; the media only deals with syrup. Ms Ocasio-Cortez sometimes seems more charged up by GND or “Green New Deal”, a term introduced by journalist Thomas Friedman in 2007, than by hand-to-mouth existence, healthcare or education. However in the GND there is a blending of socialism, but say it softly, with a programme for America’s future.
It is a trend and I am certain will have lasting impact; a new cultural and intellectual alignment is emerging. I urge reads to spend a useful hour with the four video-links given below. It is necessary to start only the first; the other three follow-on. I doubt that a GND or socialist challenger like Bernie Sanders will secure the DP’s presidential nomination in 2020 (Jo Biden is the front runner); but give it time, the writing is on the wall.
For want of an agreed name I will call this phenomenon the New Democratic Green Left; NDGL for short in this essay. It represents a modernised amalgam of socialism and liberalism with particular emphasis on the environment. It is a two edged sword; one edge Socialism for the twenty-first century, the other Liberalism stripped of its capitalist baggage. Recall that liberalism turned capitalism’s handmaiden relatively late in its life. Its early but aborted roots lay in the Reformation (Luther 1483-1546, Calvin 1509-1564) and the tussle against the Catholic Church’s strangulation of thought and conduct. But the Reformation itself became an impediment to the intellect. The European Enlightenment associated with Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694-1778), Rousseau (1712-1774) and Diderot (1713-1784) represents the true flowering – a revolt against both Catholic and Protestant religious straightjackets, power, wealth and state authority.
Liberalism as the social philosophy of capitalism came much later and reached its apogee in John Stuart Mill (1806-1883). Both Adam Smith (1723-1794) and David Ricardo (1772-1823) were not liberal philosophers but economic theorists. Materialist, empiricist and physician John Locke (1632-1704) fitted an altogether different philosophical mould. The point is that true Enlightenment liberalism is not bound to capitalism at its umbilical cord. The NDGL by emancipating liberalism from its perceived bonding to 19-th and 20-th Century capitalism is resurrecting its roots which blend naturally with modern socialism.
The environmentalist-socialist-liberal programme of the NDGL movement focuses on seven declared elements.
Move America to 100% clean and renewable energy
Create family supporting-wage, union jobs
Economic security for communities that have historically relied on fossil fuel industries
Justice and equity by prioritizing investment, training, economic and environmental benefits.
Family-sustaining wages; education; health care; housing;
Push back against monopolies
Economic security for those unable or unwilling to work
This programme has been declared unrealistic and hard to finance, even for the USA the world’s most prosperous nation. Marx of course would heartily disagree; vide his panegyric to the productive power buried in the collective abilities of society when it achieves its highest potential and is freed from the fetters of capitalism. NDGL aficionados say with great emphasis: “This programme is a whole, it is a bundle, you cannot separate this or that element that the market desires and leave aside the rest”. The capitalist market, much as it may wish to, cannot for example have saleable environmental products while rejecting the remainder of the package. One part cannot stand without the rest; the whole is integrated.