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Life Arts    H1'ed 3/21/20

Trump Has Not Out-Lefted the Left: It's What Fascists Do

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So now the word in the mainstream media (MSM) is that Donald Trump has successfully co-opted the so-called "American left." After all, they tell us, he's implemented Universal Basic Income (UBI); he's promised to set up government hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients; he's proposed delayed foreclosures and evictions and has strengthened unemployment measures for laid-off workers. Unwittingly, we're told, he has become a "socialist." And worst of all (for his opponents) under that new identification, his approval ratings have risen.

Does this mean he'll be reelected next fall even though his handling of the coronavirus crisis has been abysmal? Remember: he mocked it at first. The testing kits he promised still haven't materialized. And, as usual, his pathological duplicity makes it impossible for anyone to know what's really going on in the man's little head. Do his promises mean anything, or will they be rescinded tomorrow?

Nonetheless, there's a grain of truth in his latest manifestation as socialism's champion.

Additionally, if we understand fascism as "capitalism in crisis", Trump's co-optations can be unmasked as mirroring faithfully those of his forebears in that system. And finally, there's hope to be found in the president's rising numbers.

Trump's Socialism

To begin with, it must be acknowledged that all of the above (UBI, government-sponsored healthcare, policies preventing homelessness, and unemployment insurance) are indeed key planks in any socialist platform.

At the same time, it is also true to say that the president has very little choice in the matter. History has shown that in circumstances like these, heads of state interested in self-preservation and regardless of their ideological propensities, best serve their interests by intervening in the marketplace on behalf of their official constituents.

Put otherwise, the crisis at hand has once again exposed the fact that capitalism's regular-as-clockwork systemic dysfunctions can only be remedied by socialist programs. (There are no exceptions to that rule.) That's because government-coordinated socialism is far more efficient in addressing pressing crises than the necessarily disjointed, atomized and uncoordinated capitalist responses. This has been demonstrated most recently by China's quick success in dealing with COVID-19.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Retired in 2014, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 40 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program. His latest book is "The Magic (more...)
 

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5 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments  Post Comment

Mike Rivage-Seul

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One minute the MSM is vilifying socialism as unrealistic and fatal for Democrats. The very next they're finding it wildly popular and the reason Trump will likely get re-elected. Go figure.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 10:00:02 AM

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David William Pear

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Go figure indeed. It is because over and over so-called capitalism is a failure, has failed everywhere it has been established, and is constantly begging the government for subsidies, favored tax status, non-competitive contracts, police state protection, and military intervention for exploiting resources, markets and unfair trade treaties.

About every ten years capitalism is shown to "have no clothes" because it has to run screaming to the government for bailouts. Especially the hyper-capitalism of neoliberalism, which is a fraud and raid of the public commons. The bailouts for the capitalist oligarchs is always couched as "in the public good".

This time is no different in that the charlatans are going to throw the public table scraps, and call it a banquet. For instance the UBI will be peanut butter labeled as caviar. Corporations will get free money in exchange for junk-stock misnamed "preferred stock", i.e. low interest loans that will never have to be paid back, has no legal obligation, only a "moral" obligation, does not participate in the prosperity of a corporation, but has all the risk of failure. Universal healthcare will not be universal, medicine will be rationed by profit gouging, and the rich can isolate in luxury, while the peasants are forced to serve.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 11:04:03 AM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Very well said, David. Your point about "preferred stock" is especially helpful to my understanding. Thanks. What a scam all of this is.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 11:41:28 AM

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Thanks Mike. Your point that this is fascism and not socialism is well taken. Corporations will still rule.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 12:06:42 PM

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Nels Wight

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Nicely put, Billy. Mike always says it like it is, eh?

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 12:32:54 PM

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Reply to Nels Wight:   New Content

Thanks, Nels. I'm trying -- as are you. Keep up the good work.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 1:00:12 PM

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Chuck Nafziger

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There is one growing factor in this discussion: the fact that our fascist power structure does not need us anymore. Manufacturing has been off-shored, AI and robotics make most things here, Industrial ag uses machines and cheap gas, not people. We are now nothing more than plastic pawns in the elites' grand chessboard. They do not need our physical work, they fear our mental work, and our bank accounts are all they still want from us. We are resources to be harvested.

Everything is being done to make us confined, sick and stupid, just like cattle in feedlots.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 4:39:34 PM

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Mike Rivage-Seul

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Of course, there's a lot of truth in what you say, Chuck. But don't you think that all of this has opened the door to that leisure society that everyone was writing about fifty years ago? And at the same time, don't you think that the Green New Deal encouragingly promises new forms of planet-saving labor that would transform all of our lives?

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 4:55:57 PM

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If only your dreams could come true. The door is open for your vision, but the over-reaction with the National Guard being activated in places, and the fear mongering misinformation coming in 24/7, leads me to think that just as we walk through your door, a butler will appear wearing a militaristic uniform and guide us to the hidden door on the right with us confined, sprayed scanned, tagged, vaccinated and fed more GMO corn and antibiotics, just like the cattle in feedlots.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 5:49:30 PM

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Exactly, and they loathe and detest us with the utmost contempt.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 5:53:24 PM

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One solution is not to rely on the monster. Be as self-sufficient as

possible and the monster will die. Easier said then done.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 5:44:42 PM

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I'm drawn in this direction too. But I always wonder about it: doesn't it represent surrender to the rich and powerful -- allowing them to successfully steal our human patrimony without a fight?

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 6:20:22 PM

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