Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Farce as Tragedy

I refuse to let what just happened steal my mind.

I so totally refuse to "make an effort to understand" the people who have become vectors for a fascist spectacular politics. What to reach for? I'm reaching for the Eighteenth Brumaire, which I've been thinking about anyway because of my Verso book:

In the Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx rhetorically describes the lumpenproletariat as a "class fraction" that constituted the political power base for Louis Bonaparte of France in 1848. In this sense, Marx argued that Bonaparte was able to place himself above the two main classes, the proletariat and bourgeoisie, by resorting to the "lumpenproletariat" as an apparently independent base of power, while in fact advancing the material interests of the "finance aristocracy".

...Marx identifies Louis Napoleon himself as being like a member of the lumpenproletariat insofar as, being a member of the finance aristocracy, he has no direct interest in productive enterprises.
[sorry I just pulled this from Wikipedia but it makes the point just as well as anything. The page says that the final bit there is just "rhetorical" but after last night's election, no, wrong.]

At the end of this month, the president-elect of the United States will face trial for committing massive fraud through Trump University. He openly vows to have his children run his family business, which will enrich him through his office in the manner of a post-Soviet kleptocrat. The depths of a Trump presidency defy our imagination. It is safe to assume it will not be popular. Trump and his party will probably respond with vicious anti-democratic measures. But fighting for democracy is part of America’s heritage, from abolitionists to suffragettes to the progressive reformers. Maybe you thought that fight was confined to history. It will go on.

And Trump does not represent the future. He only barely represents its present. His party controls all three branches in large part because its voters are overrepresented in the House, the Senate, and the Electoral College. He represents a rage against the direction of America they have no way of stopping. Even a complete halt to all of illegal immigration and a total deportation of every undocumented immigrant will not prevent the growth of nonwhites into an eventual majority. Republicans are increasingly focused on voter suppression and other anti-democratic measures to allow their shrinking cohort to rule. Trump is the perfect champion of their project.---Jonathan Chait

For eight years, the country has lived with Barack Obama as its President. Too often, we tried to diminish the racism and resentment that bubbled under the cyber-surface. But the information loop had been shattered. On Facebook, articles in the traditional, fact-based press look the same as articles from the conspiratorial alt-right media. Spokesmen for the unspeakable now have access to huge audiences. This was the cauldron, with so much misogynistic language, that helped to demean and destroy Clinton. The alt-right press was the purveyor of constant lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories that Trump used as the oxygen of his campaign. Steve Bannon, a pivotal figure at Breitbart, was his propagandist and campaign manager.--David Remnick


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