Naomi Klein V Trump 4

The victory by Trump has been characterized as a ‘ferocious backlash’ ∗(20) by Ms Klein, and yes, that’s what it was. However, what was the backlash against? There was no trigger moment. It had a lot to do with the electorate looking at a dead end; turning round to see Fagin awaiting them. ‘Got to pick a pocket or two’. Exasperated is a solid verb; it sums up the feeling many felt. They, the people, had been screwed by all those in power. Trust was on a bus to some desert, somewhere.

Trump may be a flash octopus having tentacles into everything but crucially, he was not part of the political establishment. He had no history of promising sunshine only for it to piss down. Therefore, the backlash was an attempt to find a safe shoreline, a place to put their feet up for a while and take stock. Get some rays! To become the unforgotten! (27)

It is little wonder that Starbuck’s boss could present the coffee shop as a ‘third place’, a retreat, (25) clever advertising! Presenting the coffee shop, as a sanctuary from the hustle of daily life for half an hour or so. The ‘left’ need to get better at marketing!

Another mistake would be to run with the assumption that Trump’s vote came from rednecks only. Lots of ordinary decent folk cast their vote for change, change that offered some protection that wasn’t clouded in deceit. The electorate wanted something different and not from the same old political class. It’s just a pity they chose wrong. But the choice was limited.

A similar experience was sought in France with the election of Macron. He had been a member of the political class but managed somehow to distance himself and to be perceived as an independent. Macron’s different label won’t last long. In many countries around the globe we have witnessed the voting public thrashing about trying to find honest representation.

What Trump offered was a sense of stability and fed the emotional hankering for how things were. He promised to bring jobs back. (219). Allow people to hold fast with the beliefs that they grew up with.

The big question the democratic left have to answer is how to engender trust. The need is to convince ordinary Joe that there is the prospect of a brighter future. Make a future seem plausible, even desirable, (220). And one that needs everyone to help build. In the present political climate most will scoff and say it’s not possible. That’s the task, to find a methodology of approach that stirs the juices and makes people want to go there.

A starting line for thought is what happens when Trump is booted out? What are the choices?

Involvement would be my keyword. And stop talking down to people. Assume that they can rationalize and offer a bona fide response. Start the conversation and don’t be surprised if you don’t get a word in edgeways (edgewise). Moreover, it would be foolhardy to make it all about Trump, ‘anti Trump camp’ (17) for when he’s kicked out people might slouch and think everything’s all right now; time for a coffee. “And that was not a safe place”. (98)

Ms Klein’s verve at writing goes without saying (?). However, her rhetoric seems to run away from her at times; “…with unleashed white supremacy and misogyny.” (220) Who let the dogs out? In her list of the nasty side of capitalism she adds, “That white men are better than the rest.” (257)There is no qualifying of these remarks; they are simply left to interpretation.

I’m sure she does not intend to insult all white men but wants to unleash her vent at the Neanderthal supremacists, no problem. However, if taken out of context it opens her up to attack. In such a scenario it could be construed as suggesting that that attitude is embedded in white culture. No!

In explaining how heartless the system is and of an elite, “That treats government as a resource to be mined for private wealth, leaving wreckage behind.” (99) She makes a powerful statement that needs to be explored more fully. E.g. subsidies:

  1. Just how large are they?
  2. Which industries benefit most?
  3. What is the return on investment to the nation?
  4. Should this money not be better channelled?

Moreover, governments borrow vast sums and like any ordinary Joe have to pay interest on the loan.

  • U.S. as of November 2016 gross national debt was $19.8 trillion. Interest on debt in 2014 was $231bn rising to $799bn in 2024. WOW!
  • UK in 2015 government debt was around £1.56tn interest was £43bn
  • Canada projected for 2016/17 is $1.4tn the previous year’s interest was $62.8bn

It’s a double whammy, government borrows loads – gives out loads in subsidies, and we pay. In both these examples the big boys are getting fat on our money.

In effect government is propping up the market. It exposes the tale of the neoliberal economists that the market creates its own checks and balances.

Big Q’s: How much are governments pumping into the economy? And, how reliant on government financial input is the market?

As for the ‘wreckage’; there is a whole, whole lot less money to spend on essentials – welfare, health, education and infrastructure.

It’s true the rich pay taxes but: the rich giveth and the rich taketh away – with interest!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States#Calculating_the_annual_change_in_debt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_national_debt

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/cost-of-government-debt-in-canada-2017.pdf

There are two statements which keep me upbeat:

1

“The economy is much bigger than the market. We will not be able to build a good economy – or a good society – unless we look at the vast expanse beyond the market.”

Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide (456)

“Altruism, generosity, solidarity, and civic spirit are not like commodities that are depleted by use. They are more like muscles that develop and grow stronger with exercise.”

Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy (130)

I so want to believe!!!

*Naomi Klein, NO Is Not Enough

Ah hell, an Addendum

At present the American Left are on a major anti-Trump campaign. It’s a single issue, it’s a bull run. It’s an issue that will NOT end the plight of millions of poor in the country. They might succeed in getting him out, then what. Go back to the political class for guidance? Why do their job for them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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