Latin America and the triumph of Trump

California election protests. AP

California protests over Donald Trump’s election. Photo: AP

By: Raúl Zibechi

For those who had any doubts that a new right has been born, Donald Trump’s triumph should convince them of the contrary. The new right has wide popular support, especially among workers and the middle classes beaten by the 2008 crisis and the effects of globalization, as already happened in England with the Brexit vote. We are facing a new world where this macho and racist right collects the rage of the millions that the system harmed. A right that’s nostalgic for a past that won’t come back, in a period of imperial decadence and the capitalist world-system.

What the United States elections revealed is the internal fracture that society experiences, the impoverishment of the majority and the obscene enrichment of the 1%. But the elections also revealed the shameful role of the communications media, starting with the “respectable” New York Times and Wall Street Journal that had no scruples in headlining that Trump was the candidate of Vladimir Putin. Robert Parry (the investigative journalist that uncovered the Iran-Contra scandal) asserts that the formerly respectable Times “has lost its journalistic way, becoming a propaganda and apologetic platform for the powerful.”

The campaign also revealed the fracture of institutions as vital to the 1% as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which was internally broken by pressures from Hillary Clinton so that it would not investigate her emails. Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, the international architecture the United States forged since 1945 and the 1% lost with Trump; they bet strongly on Clinton. Now they surround the winner to condition him, something that’s not going to cost them much because they belong to the same class and defend the same interests.

It’s probable that Blacks and Latinos suffer most with a Trump government. But, are they doing well now? Under the Barack Obama administrations African American deaths at the hands of the police increased exponentially, the income gap among Latinos and African Americans as compared to whites grew as a consequence of the 2008 crisis.

In 2013 white income was 13 times greater that that of African Americans and 10 times that of Latinos, while in 2004 it was seven times higher than the former and nine times higher than the latter. (El País)

The situation of immigrants will improve if they strengthen their organizations, extend them and mobilize against the 1%, but not because of what the White House decides. The Democrats’ policy consisted of coopting small elites from the racial minorities to use against the Black and Latino majorities, and to exhibit them as electoral trophies. They did the same thing with respect to women: feminism for white women from the high middle classes.

But it’s not the racism or the machismo that irritated the 1%, but rather Trump’s proposals regarding the financial sector and international policy. He proposed to increase taxes on high-risk fund managers, the new rich submissive to Wall Street. He defends an alliance with Russia to fight the Islamic State and sponsor negotiated exits in the Middle East. In the face of brazen interventionism, he proposes to concentrate on domestic problems. Another thing is if they’ll let him, since the 1% can collapse without a war.

From Latin America, Trump’s win can be understood as a moment of uncertainty in imperial politics towards the region. We must not venture a prognosis. Remember when Bergoglio was anointed Francisco I (Pope Francis), and many assured that he would make a reactionary pope? Under the Obama administration (initiated in 2009) there were State coups in Honduras and Paraguay, the illegitimate removal of Dilma Rouseff in Brazil, the right-wing insurrection in Venezuela, and the deepening of the drug war in Mexico, initiated by his predecessor George W. Bush. What’s worse is he couldn’t leave us with a “progressive” in the White House.

For the Latin America of those below things can change, in several senses.

In the first place, Trump’s macho and racist discourse can encourage the new rights and facilitate the deepening of femicides and the genocide of the Indian and Black peoples. Violence against the peoples, the principal characteristic of the Fourth World War/Accumulation by Dispossession, can encounter fewer institutional obstacles (even less!), greater social legitimation and the silence of the monopoly media. It’s not a new tendency, but rather more of the same, which in and of itself is grave. It will be more difficult to count on institutional umbrellas for protection and, for the same reason, the repressors will see themselves with freer hands to beat up on us.

The second tendency is that the system loses legitimacy when tendencies like those that Trump embodies are discharged. This process is already being profiled, but now a leap forward is produced with the loss of popular credibility in State institutions, which is one of the questions that the elites of the world most fear.

The third question is the division between the dominant classes, a global tendency that must be analyzed in greater depth, but that has destabilizing effects for the system and, thus, for domination. Basically, there are those who gamble everything on the war against the peoples and others that think that it’s better to cede something so as to not lose everything. It’s good news that those above are divided, because the domination will be unstable.

Finally, those below are going to have it worse. Instability and chaos are structural and not time-related tendencies in this period. It’s painful, but it’s the condition necessary to be able to change the world. We will suffer more repression; we will be in danger of being incarcerated, disappeared or murdered. A lot of suffering is seen on the horizon. Capitalism falls apart and the shambles can bury us. The other side is that many will stop believing that the only way to change the world is to vote every four or six years.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Friday, November 11, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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