We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Trump browbeats Australian “ally”

Click here to access article from World Socialist Web Site.
Just two weeks in office, Trump’s aggressive “America First” economic nationalism and militarism are sending political shockwaves around the world. Not only has the new president launched provocations and threats against Europe, Mexico, Iran and China, he has deliberately placed a question mark over a number of Washington’s key partnerships—with NATO and the European Union, and with Japan, South Korea and now Australia in the Asia-Pacific region.
Trumps actions reflect his background as an aggressive capitalist who is accustomed to control everything in his firm. Now he thinks he is in charge of America, Inc. and is acting accordingly. Given the dominant international role that the US-led Empire plays, this reckless style can have very serious consequences for the ruling capitalist class which appears to me to be divided currently into two factions (see this and this).

Assuming my theory is correct, if Trump's aggressive style of management may be too much for the Rockefeller faction and if he becomes too much of a loose cannon, or is influenced too much by ziocons, the Rockefeller faction may have second thoughts about supporting him. Meanwhile the CIA faction may be merely waiting for him to commit more diplomatic blunders before removing him from office. Once Trump is removed, most Americans will express a collective sigh of relief and gratitude, and quietly acquiesce to the same old policies pursued by the CIA and the neoliberal ruling class.

C. J. Hopkins has a somewhat different view that I have much respect for. He sees a unitary capitalist faction represented by the usual neoliberal capitalists who are merely using Trump and his "fly-over" followers by pretending to pursue neo-nationalist policies. Thus he sees only a political faction versus a solidly entrenched neoliberal ruling class.
People, unhappy with how Capitalism has been restructuring their lives since the end of the Cold War, and aware that power has been gradually shifting from sovereign nations to supranational entities, multinational corporations, international institutions, and so on, are reaching for the only alternative on offer, Neo-nationalism, in one form or another. Which is what the Trumpians and the Brexit gang are promising, a halt of the spread of global Capitalism and the restoration of national sovereignty.

The neoliberal ruling classes, naturally, would like to prevent this from happening. Which, make no mistake, they are going to do (although they may let Trump, Bannon, et al. go ahead and have their War on Islam to finish destabilizing the Middle East first). What is being marketed to us as the “resistance to Trump,” technically, is a counter-insurgency operation … the global neoliberal establishment quashing the neo-nationalist uprising. But that kind of thing doesn’t sell very well. What sells much better is Hitler hysteria, neo-McCarthyite propaganda, and emotionally loaded trigger words that short circuit any kind of critical thinking, words like “love,” “hate,” “racism,” “fascism,” “normal,” and of course “resistance.” 
How such a contradictory nature plays out is to me mind-boggling. Hopkins sees the neo-nationalist views of the Trump camp being easily subverted by the powerful neoliberalists with the result that a war on Muslims will be needed to distract Trump followers from this takeover:
...Bannon (who will continue to run things while Trump obsesses over the size of his whatever) will be relentlessly pushing his agenda forward. The scary thing is, he is obviously smart enough to know that his insurrection is doomed if the fight remains merely on the economic level (i.e, trade deals, bringing back jobs, et cetera). He understands the global economy, as do the rest of Trump’s Goldman Sachs team. Which means it probably won’t be all that long until the War on Islam gets officially launched, as there’s nothing like a war to unite a country … and manufacturing military ordnance at home won’t screw with the price of people’s smartphones.
How the factions are constituted or whichever faction "wins", we will definitely lose unless we organize ourselves into a powerful opposing independent force capable of challenging and overturning capitalist rule. But I fear, much like Hopkins, that most of us are ill prepared to pursue independent actions based on real knowledge about class rule, and consequently our actions will mostly be manipulated by one faction or the other. 

Hopkins' view does not obviate a view advanced by F. William Engdahl who predicts that US policies will try to seduce Russia away from China in a divide and conquer strategy.  

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