Sunday, December 18, 2016

Against liberal nostalgia

"[T]he neoliberal variant of capitalism was not the result of a a “corporate coup.” It is the result of the familiar, systematic workings of a capitalist state seeking to resolve a crisis and restore the system to 'health'...

... to say that the last thirty years of neoliberal policy were not simply the result of a “corporate coup” does not mean that Donald Trump is simply a “boilerplate” Republican. If he were, how could we explain the tremendous fight the GOP establishment waged against him?

Trump did not receive a single donation from a Fortune 100 CEO, while a broad range of top military brass and establishment Republicans — including George Bush, Mitt Romney, Colin Powell, Paul Ryan, Hank Paulson, Bill Kristol, and others — either endorsed Clinton or suggested they couldn’t support Trump. All this indicated a wide-ranging consensus among the capitalist class behind Clinton, founded upon maintaining the status quo abroad (“free trade” and militarism) and multicultural pluralism at home — a consensus which involved rejecting Trumpism as unacceptable.

The electoral success of Trumpism has offered capital a tempting new ideological means to cope with the legitimacy crisis of the state: an authoritarian populism that can enable hard-right market-building policies, but which also provides space for the mobilization of fascistic political movements.


Yet, the incoherence of Trump’s policy paradigm — in some ways contradicting neoliberal capitalism, in others reinforcing it — makes it a risky gamble for a capitalist class seeking to hold the neoliberal project together despite mounting contradictions. Moreover, given the American state’s indispensable role in “superintending” global capitalism, the possible impact of Trumpism on its ability to manage and contain economic crises is also a serious concern."

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