No words

I am so pissed off by the immigration ban, and all the circumstances surrounding it.  I feel as if the most pessimistic predictions about a Trump presidency are coming to fruition, and the truly morbid ones sound realistic.  Are we currently witnessing the rise of the American Hitler?  The fall of the US?  Is this the prelude to WWIII, this time with nuclear weapons?  Does anything else matter?

When I set out to write a post, I usually start with a potentially contentious point, and build arguments in favor or against it.  But in this situation, there is no contentious thesis, and no one to argue with.  This is unacceptable, and I can’t think of what else to say about it.  I don’t think I could bear to turn it into yet another thesis and essay.  Blogging simply isn’t the right tool to address this problem.

I have a draft, entirely unwritten, where I talk about the value of low-priority activism.  For example, atheist activism is still valuable even though religion isn’t the root of all evil.  Feminism is still important even if not everything can be blamed on the patriarchy.  It’s okay to fight for a thing that is not the most important thing.  Anyway we don’t even know what the most important thing is.  You get the general idea.

I still stand by this thesis, but just this moment I’m not feeling it.  Because right now we do know what the most important thing is, and that is to stop Trump.


  1. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I am unable to able.

    I thought the nonsense would take a minute but nope, just quick response bs in realtime.

  2. says

    I disagree: stopping Trump is not the most important thing. Allow me to quote myself:

    It is important to resist, but we should not resist Donald Trump per se. Trump is a symptom, not a cause. Trump is not some sort of weird aberration of neoliberal capitalism: his presidency is the outcome of the actually existing institutions created by the actually existing members of the bourgeoisie and the professional-managerial technocrats. Trump is what capitalism does: we know this because we are capitalist, the capitalists have near total national hegemony, and Trump is what we actually did.

    We know that Trump is not the first choice of the Republican party leadership, and thus not the first choice (or second, i.e. Clinton) of the capitalist class, but he’s a perfectly good third choice.

    However much harm they will cause, the immigration ban and the rest of Trump’s antics are not the main danger. The main danger is the Republican agenda of using racism and class antagonism to secure absolute power to the capitalist class.

    Suppose we were to impeach and convict Trump. We get Pence, and the Ryan agenda — repeal the PPACA, destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and stop pretty much any federal or state government spending on anything but police, prisons, and the military — proceeds unimpeded, perhaps even faster than it would have under a Trump presidency.

    Trump is not just Trump, not some singular monster; he’s a Republican, and he’s a capitalist. The capitalists are the ones who must be stopped.

  3. says

    @Barefoot Bum,
    The main argument I can see for Trump not being the greatest threat (as compared to say, Pence), is that he’s inept, and will provoke widespread dissent. I guess I could see some sort of roundabout strategy of keeping Trump in power because he is weak. But part of the reason he’s weak is that we want to kick him out, so not trying to kick him out feels self-defeating.

    Just as I’m skeptical that either patriarchy or religion is the most important problem, I am also skeptical that capitalism is. Honestly, I don’t know how I would argue that it is or it isn’t, outside of simply asserting it. Anyway I’m already on record as saying that it’s good to fight for things even if they are not the most important things.

  4. says

    I pretty much agree with you completely.

    Let me phrase my point from a different direction. I have seen exhortations by reasonably strong lefties that we must support the Democratic party as it is (i.e. anti-Sanders) because, well, Trump bad!

    The easiest (simplest?) way to defeat Trump is to support the Republican party,and endorse everything they want, but only if they get rid of Trump. If the Republican leadership knew it could both win the next few elections and, more importantly, advance their agenda, they would impeach Trump immediately. And I think it’s plausible that a Pence presidency with a Republican congress and Supreme Court would at least not show Trump-level insanity, and Pence is, I think, much less likely to start a nuclear war. I think, however, that this argument would not persuade most people who oppose not only Trump but also the Republican agenda.

    But if someone such as myself also opposes the Democratic neoliberal agenda, why should the argument that I should support the Democratic party because Trump! be any more persuasive?

    The above is not to say that we should not oppose Trump. Of course we should, but I think we should not be reactive: each of us should oppose not just Trump, and not just oppose Trump, but oppose what he stands for and oppose him in a way that furthers our own agendas, not just maybe moves the world away more slowly from our agendas.

  5. says

    I think there’s some parallel between Clinton vs Trump and Pence vs Trump. Many people viewed Clinton as a “lesser evil” and refused to vote for her, while others argued that the “lesser evil” was still the right choice. But perhaps some of the latter group privately believed that Clinton was not a lesser evil at all, but a legitimately good candidate. Will those people now support Mike Pence, or will they decide that they didn’t really believe in the lesser evil arguments after all?

    Personally, I liked Clinton’s agenda and didn’t really see her as a lesser evil. But I also believe in the lesser evil arguments, so I would also support Pence over Trump. And at that point we could move on from Stop Trump to Stop Pence, and then to Stop Republicans, and then to Stop Neoliberal Democrats (which is a thing I may or may not support when I have to make that choice).

    I think of this as the “greedy” strategy–the one that results in the best immediate outcome at each step. A non-greedy strategy would be, e.g. threatening not to support Democrats until they move further left. I think you would advocate some sort of non-greedy strategy, right Larry? Makes sense, although I prefer the greedy option.

  6. says

    Go to Department of Homeland Security for facts.
    1 All countries chosen by Obama Admin
    2 ISIS has stated it will use refugees to infiltrate as part of Jihad
    3 ISIS present in all these 7 countries 15 other Muslim coutries not on list
    4 These countries do not have law enforcement as we know it so documents need to be verified
    5 90 day ban until new procedures are in place
    If the only terrorists are Muslims then it becomes a Muslim 90 ban
    search Phillip Haney ex Terror expert in DoHS as to what Obama got upto scary
    Clintons Saudi sidekick HUMA was worse for having been a Muslim Brotherhood supporter

  7. says

    @Jayesh, I think our views have quite a bit more distance than you think. For instance, I don’t think that the risk of terrorism is significant enough that it should influence immigration policy at all. That’s like worrying about sharks over traffic accidents. Letting in refugees would save lives EVEN IF it led to terrorist attacks. Anyway, aren’t most terrorists in the US from the US?

    And that’s not even the only idiotic thing about the immigration ban. They also banned people with green cards (at first) and visas.

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