A Way Forward
During the recent presidential campaign, I noted that it was very obvious that the mainstream media (except Fox) and a good deal of the so-called new internet media were pulling for the multicultural globalist candidate. Even though having the media being so clearly in the bag for Clinton may have helped galvanize the support for Trump, it seems that the media are using much the same playbook to try to oppose the new regime. We see very funny skits on Saturday Night Live, impassioned awards speeches by celebrities, and sharp opinion pieces about the new administration. On the Sunday talk shows we see the same old news anchors and pundits that gave Trump free airtime during the campaign now trying to whip up an existential fear of his administration.
The same flimsy news sites that claimed Sanders would win over super-delegates, then that Stein would prove voter fraud, now offer up the false hope that Trump is just about to be impeached. Slightly more serious outlets claim that he is already failing and that our existing institutions will step up to stop him before he goes too far. So what are they waiting for?
The Democrats should be the first line of defense. But though they make some pretty speeches they haven’t, except for Gillibrand, shown the stomach for any serious opposition. Even if they did, they don’t really have the votes. Plus, they are still fighting over whether they are going to continue to be the party that attracts big donations from technocrats, or the party that could possibly attract young Sanders supporters.
In old black-and-white movies the people would be saved by the court system, but in our high-definition world, the Supreme Court will lean solidly conservative with my fellow GP alum Neil Gorsuch replacing Scalia. We’ve seen that attorneys-general can be fired, and that judges can be replaced. The Deep State has been cited, but many entrenched bureaucrats prefer to keep their jobs, and those that don’t are already being purged. Some articles even claim that the Republicans will eventually rein in Trump – though they’ve haven’t shown that ability so far.
No, if opposition doesn’t come from the people, it won’t happen. We’ve seen a lot of peaceful marching, but public protests also provide the stage for black bloc-type thugs to provide violent images for media. Unfortunately, violent opposition plays in to the hands of an alt-right that is already well-versed in violence, is well-armed (with all those guns that Obama was supposed to take away), and, according to the FBI, has infiltrated many local police departments.
Just marching will not be enough. A Counterpunch article, Class War, Yet? suggests an alternative, but it requires work and organization:
The way forward for progressives today, however, is becoming increasingly clear. A new book by George Lakey, co-founder of Earth Quaker Action Group, describes how such egalitarian societies have been formed in other developed countries. His book, “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right and How We Can, Too” traces the mostly peaceful revolutions of the 1920’s and 1930’s in several Nordic countries, and how much further they went then our own New Deal.
In Norway, for example, workers formed a new “oppositional” party, separate from the existing ones controlled by the oligarchs. The new party established its own newspapers as well since the oligarchs owned the media too. There were strikes and mass actions, but ultimately the workers’ party won by running on a platform that emphasized jobs for all, as well as universal healthcare, free education and pensions for retired workers, all paid for by significant tax increases on the very wealthy. There were no “poverty programs,” vulnerable to cutting by the oligarchy. Basic economic rights were established for each and every citizen, and it became the basis for the culture of the entire society, as well as the source of Nordic pride.
In a recent interview I did with George Lakey, he explained how Norwegian workers came to understand their plight. The majority of the people realized that they had been living in a “pretend democracy.” Even though they had a parliament, free elections and choice of their MP’s, “it was the economic elite that made the main decisions and directed the economy.”
The effect of educating the workers led to a necessary “polarization” of public opinion. The workers “finally understood that there was an economic elite running things and that it opposed what the people wanted, getting rid of poverty. But poverty is just fine for the elite; they are doing great. So we need to polarize, we need to understand that this is a we versus they situation.”
While that sounds good, I doubt that the Norwegians had nearly as fractured a society as we do. We have large groups of European, Hispanic and African ancestry and significant groups of Jews, Muslims, Asians, and Native Americans. It has been fairly easy for the oligarchs to keep us at each others’ throats.