Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Trump as Morbid Symptom

Our thinking about Trump's victory in the American presidential elections must be located within the wider framework of the rolling crisis in global capitalism.  This enables us to think the rise of Trump, the Brexit vote in Britain, the coming ascendancy of the right in France (embodied either in Marine Le Pen, or a returning Nicolas Sarkozy), and the growth of the far right in Germany, together.  These are alarming developments, but must be viewed dialectically as potentially part of ultimately positive changes.  'The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying', Gramsci famously noted in his discussion of political authority, 'and the new cannot yet be born.  In this interregnum, a great variety of mordid symptoms appear'.

Here are several articles culled from the Verso website.

Firstly, Mike Davis - virtuoso historian of Los Angeles, of disaster, and of the American working-class:

Not a Revolution – Yet

And second, Wolfgang Streeck, theorist of the end of capitalism:

Wolfgang Streeck: Markets vs. Voters

Third, Alain Badiou, unreconciled revolutionary philosopher:

And some historical comparison, from Johanna Brenner and Robert Brenner:


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  2. Hello Conor, greetings from the October memory of the passenger sitting near you on the Milano-Firenze train.:) Thank you for these posts on the Usa elections. This enormity is hard to digest, and Trump's nominations and appointments make it real and even darker. We need to re-tool to resist during this interregnum, and to include so many more in this process! Not sure how I will do it, but I feel I have this responsibility, as limited as my sphere of influence is (really, no sphere whatsoever at all, but still, that's how I take it). I was also wondering what your thoughts are on the referendum in Italy. I ended up not voting just because of complications with residence requirements, but I was quite confused by the whole thing, and friends of mine of great intellect and integrity were equally distributed on both fronts and for a range of different reasons, and with this " welcome back home" crash course :) I was not able to develop my thoughts on this. Gasp! So in a way not voting spared me a difficult decision. At least Austria showed some signs of sanity, but it may be a very small sign... I hope all is well.
    My best regards,
    PS for reasons that I do not remember, years ago I had set "Elisa" as my display name, as you may see from a deleted post. When I saw it, I edited and here I am re-posting. Just in case you were wondering :)

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    2. Good evening Laura!!

      How lovely to get your message! And I remember my time on that train very fondly and happily. We had a great conversation. I agree with all you say here about Trump. About the Italian referendum, I confess I know shamefully little, except that the proposed reforms seemed to increase centralised state control and to encroach on local democracy. This does not sound, to me, like a good idea! But I know far too little about the Italian political system to venture more comment.

      I hope you have a lovely Christmas! Please stay in touch with me!