[Marxism] Trump and the reluctance to reckon with something fundamentally new

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Fri May 10 10:16:36 MDT 2019

thanks for the clarification, Dayne.

Trump is far from unique. There is Sergio Matterella and Beppo Grillo
leading the Italian government. In Britain there is Nigel Farage and also
Boris Johnson, the latter of whom may be Britain's next prime minister.
There is Marine le Pen in France. Although all these have ties to fascists,
I don't think they are fascists, or in the case of Italy I don't think it's
a fascist government. I just don't think any of them have the mass private
army that would make it possible for them to unleash the mass state
terrorism and the total smashing of all workers organizations that is the
hallmark of fascism.

John Reimann

On Fri, May 10, 2019 at 4:49 AM Dayne Goodwin <daynegoodwin at gmail.com>

> On Fri, May 10, 2019 at 3:00 AM John Reimann <1999wildcat at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> . . . Dayne seems to use bonapartism and fascism interchangeably. . .
> No, didn't mean to give the impression i use bonapartism and fascism
> interchangeably.  I think of Trump as a fascist - at least proto-fascist -
> not as a Bonapartist.  In particular i was responding to your frequent
> comments on how much of the capitalist class dislikes Trump.
> On Fri, May 10, 2019 at 3:00 AM John Reimann <1999wildcat at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Thank you, Dayne Goodwin, for actually commenting on the essence of the
>> article.
>> Let's look at it from the other point of view - that of bourgeois
>> democracy. Under that form of rule, the bulk of the capitalist class must
>> be able to maintain a widespread base of support in the working class and
>> the petit bourgeois. Not just general support for capitalism, but also for
>> the policies it deems as necessary. As the example of the Chamber of
>> Commerce shows, I think that that support has largely slipped away. Take
>> some other issues: The TPP, "free" trade in general, the Paris Climate
>> Accord, the accord with Iran... And, most important, whom it wants elected
>> as president. Its first choice was Jeb Bush. Then came Hillary Clinton. The
>> overwhelming bulk of the capitalist class did not favor Trump.
>> I think that bonepartism arises when the capitalist class can no longer
>> rule in the old way and the working class cannot take power - usually
>> nowadays because of the role of its leadership. In that sort of situation,
>> a strong man or woman arises, partly out of control of the ruling class
>> itself. Not all bonapartist regimes are identical. Not by a long shot. On
>> the one hand, we have the examples of the PRI in Mexico, which ruled for 70
>> years. It was the old Lazaro Cardenas who brought it to power, exactly out
>> of the sort of situation I described. Once in power, he and the PRI leaned
>> on the working class, at times ruling in its favor, and along the way
>> looting the capitalist class. Then there is the old Batista dictatorship in
>> Cuba. Interestingly, he originally came to power as a "leftist" and he
>> ruled with the support of the Cuban Communist Party. I think it was similar
>> with Peron in Argentina. Then there is Putin, who I would argue is also a
>> bonapartist dictator.
>> Note that in all these cases, bourgeois democratic freedoms are not
>> completely eliminated.
>> Dayne seems to use bonapartism and fascism interchangeably. I look at it
>> differently. I think fascists have a crazed mass base and their own private
>> army of thugs. Hitler's SS are the classic example. That's what allows
>> fascism to go a lot further. (I used to think there was a hard and fast
>> difference between bonapartism and fascism, but I'm not so sure anymore.
>> Look at Pinochet in Chile. He went nearly as far as some fascists did. Or
>> Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti, who had his private army of thugs, the Ton Ton
>> Macoute.)
>> In neither case is the mainstream of the capitalist class "thrilled" with
>> its ruler. In Mexico. the capitalists large and small constantly grumbled
>> about how the PRI dictatorship ripped them off. (Read Traven's "The State"
>> for a description.) While a wing of the capitalist class is happy with
>> Trump's policies that lead to improved quarterly results, there is also a
>> major wing that is deeply unhappy. For a hint at what is coming, look at
>> the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner that Trump's (in)Justice
>> Department fought. Why did they fight it? As retribution for Timer Warner's
>> editorial policies against Trump. I think this is clear from reading the
>> opinion pieces in the NY Times and the Washington Post, vs. the Wall St.
>> Journal the deep, deep divisions in the US capitalist class. And even his
>> supporters are very critical of some of his important policies, especially
>> his trade policies.
>> Finally, as far as the Putin-Trump relationship: Sure, Trump gets
>> something out of it. He gets the silence of Putin as far as his (Trump's)
>> past. He also gets the electoral help. And while the extreme weakness of
>> the Democrats' candidate was by far and away the main reason that Trump
>> won, I don't think we can dismiss the effect of that support. According to
>> Craig Unger ("House of Trump, House of Putin") studies by UC Berkeley and
>> Swansea University in Wales concluded that Russian intervention swung 3.23%
>> of the vote for Trump. That was overall, but because of the electoral
>> college system, what matters is state-by-state. Trump won Wisconsin 47.2%
>> to 45.5%. He won Pennsylvania 48.2% to 47.5%. Etc. So, if Russian
>> intervention just tipped the vote in such states by half of that overall
>> estimate, it made the difference. (NOTE: I am NOT saying that Trump won
>> because of Putin. It's like a football game where one side, which normally
>> is faster and stronger, vastly underperforms with a number of fumbles,
>> missed catches, and general lack of attention. But because they're faster
>> and stronger, they keep the game close. Then the ref blows a call in favor
>> of the other team. That call was the final straw, but all the fumbles and
>> lack of attention of the stronger team is what really made the ultimate
>> difference.)
>> The main thing is this: Maybe Trump does not represent a qualitative step
>> towards bonapartism, although I believe he does. But in any case, never
>> before in US history have we had a president who had such ties to a rival
>> capitalist class, and one that rules through outright bonapartism at that.
>> Shouldn't that cause us to step back and look at the situation in the US
>> through fresh eyes?
>> John Reimann
>> On Thu, May 9, 2019 at 10:35 PM Dayne Goodwin <daynegoodwin at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> some thoughts -
>>> doesn't 'Bonapartism' develop in a situation of relative stalemate in
>>> the class struggle?  Is that the situation in the U.S. today?
>>> Does past historical experience indicate that the bulk of the capitalist
>>> class is typically thrilled to adjust to relying more and more on a fascist
>>> dictator?
>>> Is the Putin-Trump relationship one-sided or do they both find some
>>> advantages in it?  Maybe Trump's 'friendly' relationship with Putin is an
>>> ancillary asset as Trump jockeys for power in the U.S. capitalist state?
>> --
>> *“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
>> Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
>> Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook

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