In his article in the Swiss newspaper NZZ, Slavoj Žižek warns rightly that the left’s response to Trump’s election should not just be self-complacent moral indignation but include hard self-criticism. I can’t agree more. Even when I embrace and welcome actions of icons like Meryl Streep or companies that back away from the new president, there is a big danger just below the surface. When large companies known for their precarious social impacts or celebrities that belong to the establishment and supported Hillary Clinton are now portrayed or portray themselves as the spearhead of resistance, the anti-Trump movements descends into a rebranding event for the establishment where the exponents of society fight as the brave against the villain (who is eventually removed) and where at the end the Statue of Liberty is replaced by a statue of Hillary, the new Jeanne d’Arc of America … In other words, a Hollywood-like show for a big whitewash of the current establishment and its economic order.
True critique has to address more than the person of Trump. Even when Trump is vulgar and lacks almost all presidential qualities, it is the things he stands for that have to be addressed and fought against: Unconstitutional decrees first, but also increased military spending, social injustice, tax exemption for the rich, illegal wars, etc.
As Žižek writes, the left has the unique opportunity to renew itself. The left lost because they (i.e. the Democratic Nomination Committee) sidelined and boycotted Bernie Sanders, because they ignored the urge for true change, because they – the establishment – wanted to go on and on with profits for the rich and losses for the poor ignoring the underprivileged in the middle of their country. With Trump in the Oval Office the left (the DNC and the Democrats) should finally see the writing on the wall and act. Only a radical departure from the current economic system that is socially, ecologically and morally corrupt and rotten can bring a change. Only a departure from the neo-liberal credo will mobilise the masses.
For once the press is not blindly parroting and blandishing the actions of the White House as they usually do. It is therefore the time for true critique.
Overcoming Trump means …
- replacing the aggressive, (regime-changing) foreign policy of the last 65 years with a policy of mutual respect, acceptance of international law and the pursuit of peace (including the abolishment of nuclear weapons worldwide)
- reducing military spending from 50% gradually to 5%
- ending NATO
- ending the fossil fuel era and shifting to 100% sustainable energy
- preventing climate change
- reducing threats to democracy like extreme wealth concentration
- ensuring minority rights and counteracting racism
- lessoning the gap between rich and poor
- creating a single payer health care system
We truly don’t need self-complacent moral indignation and self-presentation.
Real Trump-resistance is fact-based!
1 e.g Uber
2 e.g. Madonna
4 There is no military threat to the US anywhere in the world.
5 Contrary to public opinion, NATO is not a defensive but an offensive and often aggressive alliance. It did not defend during the last 20 years but invade and kill.
6 Climate change will not be preventable any more but it can be contained according to the Paris agreement.
7 Trump’s rise to presidency is just the most recent attack of unregulated, excessive wealth on democracy – with unprecedented impacts.
8 Education is the key to counteract racism. One has to start in kindergarden …