Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Toeing The Line Between Revolt Against Trump And Revolt Against The Democratic Establishment

I've got some bad news: the 2016 election is still going on, and it will probably keep going on for a while. All that's changed since November 8 is that the contest now takes place in the general political realm instead of presidential politics. Trump and his team of proto-fascists continue to throw out absurd and dangerous disinformation so as to bend the fabric of publicly accepted reality to their liking. Sleazy corporatist "liberals" continue to use shaming, scapegoating, and failing all else outright lying so as to hold onto the little public support they still have. And as was also the case in 2016, the majority of Americans who aren't buying into the self-serving political brands of either of these two forces are in agony while trying to navigate the tedious and grotesque game that they've been forced into.

Like it or not, the fascists and the sleazebags are in almost full control of the political establishment right now, and before they're hopefully replaced in the following elections, all we can do is work to tie them down best we can. What complicates our hopes for doing so is that instead of being in one piece and thus easy to oppose, these two groups are in competition. This gets in the way of our ability to oppose them because in this situation, attacking them has become a double-edged sword.

Caitlin Johnstone explains this problem in a recent piece:
Every time I write an article suggesting that progressive rebels should focus on attacking the Dem establishment instead of Trump, I get a deluge of comments and messages saying “We can fight both! We can walk and chew gum at the same time!” No you can’t. You cannot do that. You will fail. You will fail because this is a media war, a war of perception, a war of narrative. It is impossible, in our current political climate, to feed into the “Trump is a monster” narrative without simultaneously feeding into the “any Democrat would be better” narrative, because the establishment Democrats are doing everything they can to use anti-Trump narratives to elevate themselves so that they can take back control of the government without espousing a real progressive agenda. 
The national narrative determines how people vote, and they will vote with the Democratic establishment if we support the Democratic establishment narrative by collaborating with their desire for us to focus on Trump.
Going by that, it would seem that the solution is to simply focus on bringing down the corrupt Democratic cabal instead of feeding into its slyly self-elevating narrative about the monstrosity of Trump. But while I'm otherwise an enormous fan of the messages that Johnstone works seemingly every day to spread, I see some big flaws in the approach she's advocating. Namely that putting aside the Democrats' fear campaign, Trump absolutely should be feared.

Johnstone argues in her case for the counter-productiveness of revolting against Trump that while he and his cabinet are certainly very scary and power-hungry people, there's no danger they'll be able to circumvent the larger systems within our government's structure. "The Deep State goes very deep," she writes, "and the power structures entrenched therein are very old. The POTUS faces a long, hard, uphill slugfest of a battle in his attempts to restructure America’s power systems, and the majority in both parties openly or secretly hate him and his stated agendas."

She's partly right. What with said Deep State already being in full-on battle mode against Trump, I don't expect him to take very much control over it, even if he pounds away at its power structure every day for the next eight years. But that Deep State is mainly located within America's military and intelligence agencies, which can only contain Trump to an extent. Many other political facets exist which aren't so impervious to the influence of the president, and they alone may well be what enables his continued rise to power. While this will sound hard to believe, what I'm talking about is the Congress, the Senate, the governorships, the state legislatures, and the American public in general. Yes, the White House does have a way to expand its influence into these areas, and it runs through the last event that brought about an era of president-worship and grotesque nationalism in America: a major terrorist attack.

If and when the U.S. is attacked during Trump's term, the tables are going to be turned in his relationship with America's power structures. As the president, by default he'll become the main figure people will want to be loyal to amid a moment of great uncertainty and grief, and this will give him unparalleled power. With the newfound backing of the majority of the public, he'll easily be able to make the members of lesser elected offices, whether or not they hate him, go along with his agenda out of "national unity." It's then that Steve Bannon and the other terrifying Trump puppeteers will move in for the kill, suppressing dissent, going on reckless military ventures, and generally laying waste to the constitution and our democratic institutions. If you think I was led to believe this by the eager-to-fearmonger establishment Democrats at the Vox or The Washington Post, just look at what the avid Democratic Party critic Chris Hedges thinks about what will happen under this administration.

In short, Johnstone may be right for the moment in assessing that revolting against Trump is an act which feeds into the narrative of the larger threats at work, but that very likely won't be the case a year from now after circumstances allow him to take far more control. So returning to this article's main point, what's to be done about all this? Every time we attack Trump, we're inadvertently helping the Democrats. And every time we attack the Democrats, we're inadvertently helping Trump. The paradox that people like me find ourselves in when faced with this dynamic is maddening, and it's no doubt provoking a lot of us into hopelessness and apathy.

Rest assured, though, there is a solution. And it's as uplifting as it is simple: rather than spending all our effort on attacking our opponents, which, in spite of its partial importance, is ultimately an act which feeds into the revolution-strangling dynamic of the two-party system, we mainly try to build up alternatives. The hidden weakness in the system of mutually controlled opposition that the Trumpists and Clintonists have created is that ultimately, in spite of their over-emphasized differences, they serve the same interests. Which is to say the interests of the corporations and oligarchs that prop up both of them. If we can take away, for just one example, the ability of Goldman Sachs to lobby and donate to political candidates, Trump and the neoliberal Democrats, who are both deeply influenced by the bank in different ways, will lose massive amounts of money to run their campaigns and organizations. Then they'll be forced to rely on individual contributions from their ordinary supporters, who largely have far more positive desires than those of Goldman Sachs, or else be politically flattened by the dynamic small-dollar funding operations of the Berniecrats.

In this and many other respects, fighting the system of predatory capitalism is a highly effective way to kill these two big, ugly birds with one stone. Another is to advance leaders, organizations and ideas which represent our agenda. This approach may have proved ineffective when the 2016 election was in presidential campaign mode because of the deep institutional obstacles faced by Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, but in this new political landscape, we have a lot more options. We can run candidates in state and local level races, where it's a lot harder for the neoliberal order to rig the game against us than was the case with the presidential election. We can build organizations and movements from outside of electoral politics, putting us in an excellent position to enact change where it matters: in the bottom-up. And we can force the political establishment to work in our interests by making clear to it, with strikes and boycotts and calls to political offices, that an uprising is coming if they don't start working for the people.

None of this is to say attacking the Trump administration and the Democratic establishment directly won't often be necessary. But if we can refrain from making it a central priority, and focus on ending the neoliberal status quo in general, their card house of controlled opposition will fall down.


  1. I still think the Resist Trump message resonates with many people, and is worth supporting on every level we can. True, Dems will try to usurp popular public support to themselves, but we have to keep pushing, and resisting them as well. People are getting used to paying attention, out of fear as well as anger. We need a "The Resistance will not be Compromised" message spread far and wide. Somehow we need to keep using Trump's constant barrage of lies, accusations, etc. against him, though, There's danger that he succeeds in getting us so disgusted at him that we start tuning out.

  2. Future Dawning is a non-political organization designed to unite people in a common cause, that of being in a state of TOTAL WELLNESS on a universal scale. We are Named FUTURE DAWNING because that is what we are. What each of us does is indicative of what our future will look like.

    Our mission is as FUTURE DAWNING ENTERPRISES is to act as an organization to design and implement other New Think organizations which will play their role in creating the future dawning in a non-political environment. We will be looking at and closely monitoring what is going on in our world/universe today. And we will be consciously designing organizations appropriate for our time and always in the interests of We The People who want to walk the Path of Peace with Love Being The Way.

    To accomplish what we intend we need a group of well informed people to aid in creating TOTAL WELLNESS as we move forward to consciously engineer a future that values all of life and are desirous of creating this universally so that we may live in the highest state of consciousness possible as the human family

    To accomplish this, I have set up a Facebook group entitled: THE CULTURE CREATIVES here on Facebook.

    The CULTURE CREATIVES is open to anyone who wants to present thoughts and ideas as to how we may move forward progressively to consciously engineer healthy systems which lead into our being a "totally well" society based on peace being our path and things like love, compassion and understanding being our way.

    The name The CULTURE CREATIVES emanates from a book by the same name, written by trends analysts Paul Ray and Sherrie Ruth Anderson. who discovered this "green" movement composed of mainly women (60%) but which was entirely spontaneous and not known as such by most of those who were involved in it. Since that time, the movement has emerged and been written about by others, but then has again gone underground until for some reason has been brought back into recognition seemingly knowing by a sixth sense, when the time to go underground and when to arise into view once again, was appropriate. At the time it was initially recognized by Ray and Anderson, it was estimated to number fifty million people both here in the United States and in Europe where it became known as "Transition Townes". Having no idea as to size at this time, but sensing that this is the time for all those who consider themselves to be a culture creative, I am beckoning you to come and join together as ONE MIND and to bring peace, joy and happiness to this world of ours today and to love one another knowing that we are ONE and that labels cannot separate us.

    Since this will be a very large gathering, there is much more to be accomplished, and while i want this to be as spontaneous an event as is possible, we cannot operate in complete chaos. So, i am looking for some volunteers to aid in bringing some sense of order to this. My thoughts are to ask for volunteers to become a Board of Bringing People Together and aid in establishing a few R&Rs which will bring about cohesiveness in a way that allows for freedom, but not so much that it stifles thought. While I am beginning this on Facebook, am envisioning many members which will require our own website, so my first thought also is to bring aboard volunteers with the capacity to design and publish this until such time as we are firmly based and economically - stable. Am also thinking of crowd-funding for The Culture Creatives group to get us off to a good start.

    Please respond to me by joining the Culture Creatives group i have set up on Facebook and let me know what role you would like play in this endeavor.

    Mary Rose, CEO and Founder - FUTURE DAWNING ENTERPRISES.

  3. Just want to add to the above that The Culture Creatives is open to all people who are creatives and want to participate in some profound way. It is also open to any group which considers its mission to be creative and fit within the overall mission of Culture Creativity. What we want to accomplish here is to bring as many people and groups together as is possible. Joining Culture Creatives does not mean losing your own label and your identity. What it means is joining together with each of us being a particle in this great new wave of change. And understanding that "united we stand -divided we fall. As Einstein told us, we cannot solve the challenges we face today with the same kind of thinking that caused them. In essence, we must move into another level of consciousness which requires that we adopt new lifestyles and ways of thinking so that we are preserving this world we live in for future generations and not stealing their future from them.

    Right at this time, we do not know how to do this so it is a time of putting our heads together and learning -- being creative and evolving into this new level of consciousness and changing the way we think about our environment and other things around us.

    with much love and caring during this time of great change. may we all be well.

  4. Thank you Rose and Community. I am posting the link to the new Facebook Group page for convenience of anyone who wants to participate in The Social Creatives https://www.facebook.com/groups/599636730239631/

  5. Hi again Rose. Please do share an update on your earlier comments: "Am also thinking of crowd-funding for The Culture Creatives group to get us off to a good start." Have you implemented a crowdfunding strategy? If so, how may I contribute? If not, how might I help manifest that strategy?