But seriously, may I give you an extreme example from the putative ‘left’? To say this blew me away when I read it this morning…would be an understatement. This is from Part 2 of 2; I haven’t been able to bear reading/watching Part 1.
‘Scholar Henry Giroux in conversation with Paul Jay says ‘lesser evilism’ is the wrong way to frame the elections – it’s about what’s better for the strategic interests of an independent people’s struggle’
After referencing Pt I’s discussion on Trump’s neo-fascism, lies by Clinton, lies by Trump (and his wife’s plagiarism, Jeebus, who cares save some partisan hacks?), the evils of finance capitalism:
JAY: But there is still a difference here, and I think it’s an important one. The constituency of the far right, of the Trump Republican Party, and as we talk about in the first segment it’s a constituency of the American public willing to accept a level of kind of overt fascism. A rhetoric that would support rounding up Black Lives Matter and putting them all in jail and charging them with conspiracy for terrorism.
That’s certainly the language we’re hearing already. And from Sheriff David Clarke that speaks and others that directly try to connect the language of Black Lives Matter with the assassination of cops. Even though there’s not a shred of evidence of any of that, quite the contrary. Black Lives Matter made it clear that they have nothing to do and don’t support anything like that. You know we know that it wasn’t that long ago that the amendment to the NDAA, the act that authorizes the financing of the military, where there’s an amendment where the army itself could round people up and put them in detention camps.
In fact, again here’s the enablers of this sort of thing. Barack Obama signs off on that to even include US citizens. But this you can see this regime–if it’s a Trump regime surrounded by a David Clarke and Rudy Giuliani. I mean, these are the guys that would use that legislation to round people up. What I’m getting at is there is more danger here, and this language of greater evil and lesser evil, I think it’s a mistake to even frame it that way. It’s not a moral question and evil’s a moral category.
This is a strategic tactical question for people that are organizing to defend whatever democracy is left, and to try to move society forward to something new. That if these guys are in power there is going to be far less room to move. Because these are the guys that will make dissent illegal. The Clinton type forces, Obama type forces, they depend on a black folk. They depend on a Hispanic vote, they depend on educated voters, they depend on urban workers who don’t fall for this kind of stuff. So as long as there’s still electoral politics for the foreseeable future, there is. We don’t know how long that last. I actually think strategically it is better to have a Clintonesque presidency–I mean a Clinton, not -esque, a Clinton presidency. But be truthful with everybody what this all means.
GIROUX: I completely agree with you. I think that Trump is a real immediate danger to the planet and to human existence. And I think any vote for him is far more dangerous than, let’s say, a vote for Clinton. There were two things you could have recognized here. At one level, you’ve got a system where power is now separated from politics. The social contract is basically all but dead. Certainly on the extreme right. Meaning that power is global and politics is local. The people who now control the states, who control the nation states are basically global international organizations.
We’re talking about the IMF, the World Trade Organization. I think that in Clinton at least strategically there was an attempt to sort of waive the idea that Clinton give lip service to against the reality of the politics that she produces. That’s an opening. I think that in short term and long term strategies. I think you’ve pointed to this. One level on the short term, I think we have to put somebody in power at the moment that is not going to destroy the planet and end up putting everybody in a concentration camp or in a prison.
I mean that’s a real danger. To think that what he can do to the Supreme Court and to claim that Clinton is just as bad as she is because she’s a warmonger, I think is nonsense. I mean as bad as she is, she’s not Trump. She’s not the extreme right. But is she acceptable as a [carry on] for what it might mean to expand the possibilities of democracy? Absolutely not. [snip]
GIROUX: Paul, you and I under Trump will be put in jail.
JAY: No doubt.
GIROUX: I think under Clinton we’ll be ignored. But it seems to me that there’s also another issue. There’s also the possibility that the Democratic Party basically will recognize in some ways that the demographics and the mobilizations that are taking place all over the country have to somehow be addressed. And that might make it a party that’s a little more–actually less parasitic than we’ve assumed that we’ve–and predatory that it might become. I don’t know.
Ah, hope springs eternal, doesn’t it, Henry? Yup, and that’s exactly why the People’s Revolution will march in Philly next week, hoping to…influence the Party Platform. Er…both of you must have forgotten that under Obama, the DHS considers all dissidents ‘terrorists’ already.
But let’s return to the quote by Mumia. Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Mark Lewis Taylor used the quote to anchor his ‘The Time is Now: To Defeat Both Trump and Clintonian Neoliberalism’. In it, he takes note of the fact that both his white and economic privilege will cause some major cries of hypocrisy as he makes his case. It’s not that I agree with all of it, but in the main I do. But I digress; I’ll clip in a few parts and hope that you might read the rest, even as I believe his possible prescriptions for the future are a bit weak, although being a Seminary prof, he may have felt he’d had to soften his stand, advocating for a new electoral politics. Who can say?
“‘If Trump is the price we have to pay to defeat Clintonian neoliberalism – so be it.’ – Mumia Abu-Jamal
With these words the revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal offers a bold challenge to those who circulate the fear of a Donald Trump presidency to drum up a mandate for voting for Clinton.
Mumia’s words were shared with me just a month ago in a prison visit with him. On the eve of Trump’s show at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Mumia’s words are a timely challenge to Bernie Sanders’ endorsement this week of Hillary Clinton’s drive for the presidency. Sanders’ mantra is anchored in the fear of Trump: “I will do everything possible to help defeat Trump.”
But it is not just a Trump presidency that needs defeating. It is just as important to defeat the very “Clintonian neoliberalism” whose party Sanders now joins.
The Sanders campaign was important. This is not so much because of Sanders, but because he rode the power of wider and deeper movements of peoples’ alienation which, in the end, he could not accommodate. Predictably, Sanders has now abandoned those movements’ basic requirements for a “political revolution.” Still, we can credit the Sanders campaign for exposing the Democratic Party’s deep allegiance to U.S. corporatist and imperial agendas.
Amid our current political crisis of a rising political right and a consolidating corporatist state (what I discuss here as “Clintonian neoliberalism”), we need those movements now more than ever. As Abu-Jamal told Chris Hedges in another prison visit, “This is our hour of protest. We have to physically resist. We will reclaim our power when we say no, when we refuse to cooperate. We must, in everything we do, defy the architects of imperialism, neoliberalism and mass incarceration.”
(Some rather unwarranted homage to Cornell West…) then:
Trumpian authoritarianism and Clintonian neoliberalism are actually co-partners in a joint system of rule. Trump’s authoritarianism is often a hidden bitter fruit of Clintonian neoliberalism. Social movements for democracy must fight them both together.
I will explain. Consider first, though, that Trump may be a “price we have to pay.”
TRUMP AS PRICE TO PAY
The talk of needing to stop Trump is a legitimate fear. But the talk is spun in ways designed to provoke a stampede toward the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. In this way, the fear is often left unexamined and unchallenged.
I don’t know how Abu-Jamal would develop further his own claim that I have placed atop this essay. Note though that it features no naïve bravado that overlooks how menacing a Trump demagogue in the White House could be. He surely knows how vulnerable would be the front-line targeted groups of U.S. history under a Trump presidency. I am thinking primarily of black and brown peoples, Muslims, Mexicans and other immigrants that Trump’s rhetoric has already vilified.” [as per his statement’s to Hedges]
Taylor references statements by Palestinian American activist Linda Sacour on CNN saying that if you don’t vote Clinton, you’d better be ready to watch us go to the camps, and that the nation was founded on genocide, built on the backs of slaves, etc., then he offers more egregious examples of ‘founding violence and incarceration’, and understands the fearsome images of the camps and ‘lynching trees’ well, then poses four rejoinders.
“…that we are already paying an enormous price under the system we have, and Clintonian neoliberalism has built that system stronger in the present day. That system was erected as much by Democrats as Republicans to serve the interest of the corporatist state that makes fodder of the poor. This is the context for the police murders of black, brown and often even white poor too. Our warehousing of human bodies (over 2 million in cages, over 7 million under some kind of correctional control – we call it, “mass incarceration”) is blight upon our nation, sheer torture and trauma for families of the sufferers. It is especially “a social catastrophe” for the black community,” as the National Criminal Justice Commission called it as early as 1996. The black community through the mortgage housing fraud crisis of 2006-2008 has suffered the largest setback in racial wealth equality in a quarter of a century. There are in the U.S. over 100 million in poverty, extreme poverty or “near poverty.” [snip]
“A second rejoinder I offer to those who fear mainly, and often only, Trump. I am reminded that we rarely act toward virtue – in political or personal life – when we act out of fear, even when there are real things to be feared. Princeton religion Professor Ed Glaude registered the point poignantly as he wrote about his problem with voting for Clinton. He admitted his own fear of Trump, but recalls this from his experience in African American communities of the South: “My daddy, a gruff man who has lived all of his life on the coast of Mississippi, taught me that fear should never be the primary motivation of my actions. It clouds your thinking, and all too often sends you running to either safe ground when something more daring is required, or smack into the danger itself.”
Then he brings in the voices who advise not stampeding to Clinton as safe, privileged, etc., and asks, even so: do we shut our mouths because of it?
“No; so here follows my third rejoinder. On the contrary, we need to renew our commitments to the political movements on the ground and at work in contesting both the right and the “lesser evil” of today’s corporate and imperial state. As one part of these movements, we need those in the centers of entitlement to come out against Clintonian neoliberalism. “The camps” under Trump about which Sarsour warns us have already long been built. They are the U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers of our era. Bill Clinton’s unprecedentedly large build up of law enforcement and prisons, with his 1994 crime bill, provided the material and ideological conditions for later round ups and confinement of Muslims and Arabs. We should not cower behind our fear, least of all should we spread counsel to our students and the wider public that the “lesser evil” Hillary Clinton is the best this nation can do.”
He links to white allies’ civil disobedience in Philly with their placards reading “you don’t have to be black to be outraged’, and calls on more people of privilege to essentially up the ante until it’s in the Oppressors and Profiteer class’s own interest to stop the prison-industrial complex. He hastens to add:
“We must know that any creative coalition, any fresh vanguard for revolutionary change, must come from the most vulnerable themselves, from the communities long targeted by racist and misogynous power in the history of U.S. capitalism’s structural violence. It is these communities’ movements that put material pressure on the more privileged and protected to resist the corporate state.”
What I admire is that he tries hard to make the case that the most vulnerable aren’t powerless (I’d include all working people, all Rabble class.) against a Trump although the Elites among the whites and blacks in relative positions of power issue those warnings loudly…far too loudly.
“Black Lives Matter, the Black Youth Project 100, Dream Defenders, our reinvigorated labor movements, Socialist Alternative Party, Workers World, the movements for Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners, the MOVE Organization – all of these are organizations by some of our most vulnerable and repressed peoples who have combined with some from elite sectors to fight repression. Their fight will continue.
I wager that the fight of these new growing movements will be greater than the bluster, despair and demagoguery of a Trump regime – even with his henchman at the ready. We can face them down. The repressed can return. They can rise up against the order represented not just by the Republicans but also by President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, two faces of Clintonian neoliberalism.”
Believe it or not, there’s a lot more, including a more precise definition and history of the term ‘neoliberalism’, both domestically and as coloniing, neo-colonizing, Imperial design. He gives an impressive narrative of Clintonian neoliberalism that could be kept for reference, seriously.
He brings in Aimé Césaire’s contention that the US’s heavy neoliberal authoritarianism globally has boomeranged back in the forms of Bush, Obama, et. al. the many ways and events that have been spawned by the Empire’s colonizing military’s incessant brutality.
This quote he rings from Césaire makes it as clear as a bell to me:
“the colonizer, who in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal, and tends objectively to transform himself into an animal”.
I’ll stop there, except to note that Mark Epstein’s ‘Language and Revolution: a Modestly Proposed (No Futures) Exchange’ is an hilarious parody of Bernie asking Noam Chomsky, another Elite who will vote Clinton to Stop Trump™ . Well (ahem), allow him correct me, please:
“The following is a remarkable exchange we recorded for the Unipolar Oligarchical Observer in our very popular “Principles of the Sell-Out: Sell it as Principled” section, popularly known as “Adapt (and Publish) or Perish.” Both protagonists are remarkable in their own right, and certainly need no further introduction: Snarly Blanders, the Dependent Senator from [Ver]mont, known for his groundbreaking slogans “political revolution” and “a lack of future to believe in” and Foam Stompsky, the indispensable nation’s indispensable intellectual, a professional blinguist, who will help educate our readers in today’s most important universal principle: language is always more important than reality.” (the rest is here, perhaps too long to read given: bloviation parody, but you’ll get the gist.
Mumia had rec’d this new video tune on his Twit account: