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

Monday, January 16, 2017

From Obama to Trump: The Failure of Passive Revolution [a must read article]

Click here to access article by sociology Professor William I. Robinson posted on TeleSur.

I regard Robinson as one of the most astute analysts of political-social events in today's world. He has a solid understanding of history from a class-based leftist perspective.

He begins his analysis by delineating various aspects of what he refers to as the "passive revolution" that occurred under the Obama administration:
The Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci developed the concept of passive revolution to refer to efforts by dominant groups to bring about mild change from above in order to defuse mobilization from below for more far-reaching transformation. Integral to passive revolution is the cooptation of leadership from below and the integration of that leadership into the dominant project.
I am not enamored of this term although I agree with much of it. There is nothing revolutionary about it. It is simply the capitalist ruling class's attempt to pacify and delude the public into accepting its hegemonic role and to pretend to be serving the public while actually serving its own tiny class interests. People like Obama and Bernie Sanders for varying reasons are rather easily co-opted into serving the ruling class's liberal wing to pacify the general public. The ruling capitalist class loves to divert people's attention from the class war onto other subjects like terrorism, the drug problems, and identity politics.

I think he accurately describes the significance of Trump's victory.
Trumpism’s far-right agenda – contrary to superficial interpretations – constitutes a deepening, not a reversal, of the program of capitalist globalization pursued by the Obama administration and every U.S. administration since Ronald Reagan. The crisis of global capitalism has become more acute in the face of economic stagnation and the rise of anti-globalization populism on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Trumpism does not represent a break with capitalist globalization, but rather the recomposition of political forces and ideological discourse as the crisis deepens and as international tensions reach new depths. 
And, I think he places "Trumpism" in a correct historical context:
Whether in its 20th or its emerging 21st century variants, fascism is, above all, a response to deep structural crises of capitalism, such as that of the 1930s and the one that began with the financial meltdown of 2008. I have been writing for the past decade about the rise of 21st century fascist currents in the context of the new global capitalism. One key difference between 20th century fascism and 21st century fascism is that the former involved the fusion of national capital with reactionary and repressive political power, whereas the latter involves the fusion of transnational capital with reactionary political power. Trumpism is not a departure from but an incarnation of the emerging dictatorship of the transnational capitalist class.

Trumpism and the sharp turn to the extreme right is the logical progression of the political system in the face of the crisis of global capitalism.
There is so much substance included in this article. I recommend listening to his remarks in the early 2015 interview (16:40m) in which he addresses questions about the history of the OAS in the context of neoliberalist agenda, the differing US strategies toward Venezuela versus Cuba, and his expectations about the OAS summit of April of 2015. (If you have difficulty viewing this on your computer that uses a Firefox browser, I might be of assistance. The other videos are not very important.) 

I also like his advice about fighting back against the latest iteration of ruling class strategy, Trumpism, and for the interests of working people.