How Trump will force the Radical Left to regret their anti-globalist agitation
Donald Trump is the ultimate refutation of Lexit politics advocated on the Left and they will come to rue ever promoting the idea. Broadly defined, Lexit is a theory you can improve the conditions of the working class of a country by erecting barriers to the world market. No one has ever demonstrated why this would be true; it is simply accepted as a premise.
The idea actually comes in two flavors: the full-bodied Soviet model and the more watered down Keynesian model. The Soviet model requires direct state ownership of the means of production and management of the actual production process. The watered down KeynesIan version requires only state control of the object serving as money. Unlike the Soviet version, the KeynesIan model does not attempt to manage the actual production process but only the accumulation process. The capitalist accumulation process begins and ends not with a commodity but with a sum of money controlled by the fascist state.
Both models are subject to the limitation that each is difficult to maintain in what is referred to as an open economy. Both models more or less require state controls over movement of capital and labor. Both therefore are more or less resistant to the sort of global arrangements we associate with neoliberalist institutions like the EU.
Here we encounter a jarring paradox: the fascist state that has been the most vociferous in breaking up closed economies and remiving all barriers to freest possible movement of capital is also the one best suited to pursuing the sort of Keynesian policies that the advocates of Lexit favor.
It is impossible to imagine, but had Obama initiated many of the strong-arm tactics Trump is now engaged in, he would be a folk hero. To give just a few examples of what Trump has done just this week:
- Trump has called out the arms merchants, NATO members, TPP, NAFTA, automakers, and Silicon Valley.
- He has forced the titans of industry to come crawling on their knees swearing to move their production facilities into the US.
- He has forced the GOP to agree (in words) to a replacement for the hapless Obamacare program that will be cheaper, negotiate drugs price etc
- He has battered down the resistance of Democrat governments to changing their policing policies by threatening to withhold federal funds.
Of course, none of these accomplishments have actually been implemented. Corporate promises to move production to the United States may turn out to be far more apparent than real. And some changes Trump has made are for rather dubious reasons: he is withholding federal funds from cities not to stop police from killing citizens, but to end non-cooperation with the expulsion of migrant workers. Yet what radical ever expected the previous Democrat administration to implement even a single one of these economic policies in its first week, much less all of them together?
All of this is a radical wet-dream, yet radicals practically experience it as unendurable nightmare. If you ask radicals why they hate Trump so much, they will never mention these things, but will refer instead to Trump social agenda. The reason the Left don’t mention what Trump has done in his first week is that it is uncomfortably close to their own economic program.
It would appear at first that Trump has appropriated the economic program of the radical Left. In fact the opposite is true: the radical Left has never superceded the fascist economic program of the capitalist state. The economic program of the radical Left can be expressed in one phrase:
“Wage labor for the benefit of the wage slaves.
The same way it appears Trump has appropriated the Lexit politics of the Left, we find the worst elements of society appropriating these policies in Europe: UKIP, National Front, Alternative for Germany, etc. The essential class character of Lexit is indicated by the rise of Trump and the Euro-sceptic parties of Europe. The Left’s flirtation with “anti-globalism” should stop and this may now be impossible according to simpleton economist Michael Spence”
“It may be too late to persuade voters not to reject the existing systems, but there is still time to build effective alternatives. The potential upside to the tremendous uncertainty that many around the world feel is that we essentially are confronted with a clean slate. With previous presumptions, biases, and taboos having been erased, it may be possible to create something better.
Consider the US. New growth patterns and policies could take many directions, including the rejection of multilateralism, in favor of bilateralism or protectionism; immigration-policy shifts; expanded public investment and fiscal stimulus; regulatory changes; tax reform; or supply-side measures in education, training, and health care. There are risks and potential benefits in all of these areas, and the results will depend on the entire policy package.”
Simply stated, a fascist rebirth that has always been the aim of the radical Left in fact may actually serve as the starting point for a new round of capitalist accumulation.
No one has thought through how anti-globalization, UBI, jobs guarantee and other radical proposals might end up in a new nightmare for society. This is because radicals always assume the most favorable outcome for their pet projects and refuse to examine the potential down-side of the policies they advocate.
Hopefully Trump will show radicals just how bad their policies really can be.
Think about your anti-globalism nonsense when you’re in the streets defending migrant workers from expulsion by the Trump administration. Think about your UBI when the social safety net is essentially converted into a cash buyout. Trump did not invent the argument the world market was a threat to the working class, as this youtube video shows the Left did in the 1970s.
For decades the Left has told us how bad free trade was for the worker; Trump is the direct product of that Leftist anti-globalist argument.
What frightens radicals is the idea their anti-globalist sentiments will first find concrete expression in a massive concrete barrier on the border with Mexico. No one expected that shit. Radicals are now faced with a totally unexpected choice: to fight Trump they will have to reject decades of their own propaganda. They will have to do this or end up like Bernie Sanders, flirting with one of the most regressive administrations in American history.
Radicals cannot avoid this and need to very quickly pull the bandaid off no matter how painful it will be in the short run. We oppose protectionism in any form and stand against all attempts to limit the movement of capital and labor. You can bite your tongue and spend the next four years fighting the expulsion of migrant workers or you can change your views.
Your choices are simple: accept expulsions of migrant workers and border walls or fight for the end of all borders: fascism or internationalism.