You Can’t Fight Trump Without Understanding The Anti-Globalization Movement
Rank-and-file Democrats are doing a terrible job of understanding the Trump phenomenon. It’s appalling how isolated these two groups still are from one another; how these people share a country with tens of millions of Trump voters without ever talking to any of them about their worldview is beyond me. There’s a reason Bernie Sanders has kept trying to tell people both before and after the election that Trump wasn’t elected because of stupidity or racism, but nobody’s listening to him. Hardly anyone is seeing what he’s pointing at.
Trump, like Sanders, and like all progressives who are worth a damn, is an anti-globalist. He opposes the way multinational corporations and banks have used legislation, war, and predatory trade deals to subvert the needs of the nation to powerful elites who are not limited by or loyal to it. You cannot understand the Trump movement without understanding globalism and the anti-globalization movement, and most Democrats don’t. Anti-globalization was the crux of Trump’s entire campaign, and most liberals are still squealing about racism and sexism as the thing that got him elected. This is wrong, and the rank-and-file left will be unable to mount any meaningful grassroots counteroffensive until this changes.
I doubt any of the hyperventilating Democrats who are breathlessly gasping that Trump is the next Adolf Hitler have taken a moment to reflect on the fact that Hitler was not exactly the posterboy for non-interventionism. Trump has been advocating non-interventionism so extensively that some critics have been accusing him of isolationism, which, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is kind of the exact opposite of trying to conquer the world and make everyone look like Ryan Gosling. Non-interventionism happens to be an essential part of both the progressive and anti-globalist movements; if you support America’s policy of military interventionism and world-policing, you are not progressive, you are a war hawk like Clinton and Bush.
I’m not interested in defending Trump (though I confess I do get a cheeky kick out of it when fauxgressives think that I am), I’m saying it’s important to understand where his support comes from, and the few ways in which that support lines up with the progressive agenda. Right now hardly any Democratic party loyalists do, and I’d venture to say that more than a few proper lefties are confused on the matter as well. Whether or not Trump ends up making good on his pledge to never betray the nation to “the false song of globalism” is irrelevant to my point here; my point is that he was elected by Americans who are sick of globalism and the way it enslaves and exploits them.
The reason you’ve been hearing the word “neoliberalism” so much more since the last election cycle is because the election was a battle between globalism and anti-globalism, and neoliberalism is the carrying agent of globalism. If neoliberalism is HIV, corporatism is AIDS, and globalization is the AIDS epidemic. Neoliberalism is the political ideology that enables these multinational corporations and banks to enslave the nation to corporatist interests, and this corporatism spreads across the globe (hence the name) as the boundaries between nations become marginalized by those whose ability to amass power and profits is not limited by them.
So when you hear about Trump killing predatory trade deals and threatening penalties on corporations who move jobs overseas (as Bernie also wanted to do), that is a movement in the exact opposite direction of the neoliberal/corporatist/globalist agenda, because it’s placing nation above corporation. It infuriates the neoliberals, including the so-called neocons who are just neoliberals that pander to the right (which is the singular reason that neocons like McCain and Graham oppose Trump so aggressively). So when you see the neoliberal establishment Dems forming an alliance with the neocons to oppose Trump, you’re seeing a battle between globalists vs. anti-globalists. Globalism is shaping the primary battle line.
This is why it’s essential for the political left to get a solid understanding of what globalism is before Trump can be opposed effectively. For one thing, you can’t fight an enemy you don’t understand, and all the “Trumpsters are Nazis” schtick is doing nothing but swinging at shadows and digging the opposition in tighter. For another, the globalists on both the left and the right are doing everything they can to exploit the good intentions of progressives and manipulate their energy and enthusiasm to undermine Trump’s anti-globalist agenda and advance their globalist one. We need accuracy and efficiency, and we need to prevent hijacking. If we can’t do both of these things, we’ll either be ineffectual or we’ll be highly effectual for the benefit of the globalists.
So get clear on where you stand. If you think the US should be invading other countries to advance corporatist interests, if you like the idea of trade deals that allow corporations to sue governments in private tribunals judged and decided by corporate lawyers if that government’s environmental regulations hurt corporate profits, if you’re fine with American jobs being shipped overseas to be done in sweat shops by people toiling under brutal conditions for pennies on the dollar to line some plutocrat’s pockets, if you’re fine with corporations being able to cripple unions by threatening to move the business to Mexico if workers demand a reasonable wage, if you approve of a few elites manipulating entire economies and rigging the way we feed ourselves and generate energy for their own benefit, then you’re a globalist, and you should support the Clintons and the Schumers and the Pelosis if you like the letter ‘D’ or the Bushes and McCains and Grahams if you prefer the letter ‘R’.
If you’re like me and you think those policies sound like a great way to create hell on earth and drive us into extinction, though, then you’re an anti-globalist, and you should fight those things and the people who stand for them.
If we can get clear on where these battle lines are, we can get clear on the kind of battle we’re fighting against the Trump movement, and to be sure there are some yuuuge differences. For the Trumpsters, bless their MAGA-emblazoned hearts, anti-globalism expresses predominantly as economic nationalism; they believe America can secure its borders, place nation before corporation, install a few protectionist policies and replace massive globe-spanning trade agreements with bilateral trade deals between individual countries, and the almighty dollar will take care of the rest of their problems. Since they honestly believe this, they’re not necessarily being hypocritical by letting Trump place extremely wealthy bankers and CEOs in his cabinet, since capitalism and corporatism are two different things, and you can still technically “drain the swamp” of the kinds of corruption they’re interested in purging while having a bunch of capitalist exemplars in your cabinet.
We here on the anti-globalist left know there’s no Magical Free Market Fairy who’s going to whisk away all our problems with the wonders of American industry. We have the other half of the plan. We know that when taxes are diverted to infrastructure projects and services and social safety nets that help ordinary people, economies thrive. Put money in the pockets of ordinary people and they will spend. It’s called stimulation and it’s what the US economy has been screaming out for for years.
So that’s where we differ with Trumpsters, and we have a lot of wisdom to share with our right-wing anti-globalist brethren. But we’re not telling that story to them are we? We are not communicating any of that. Instead we’re wearing vagina hats and screeching about homophobia. No wonder we look crazy to them.
So yeah, whether Trump makes good on his anti-globalist promises, who knows, but I know that I’m not self-defeating enough to hope that he doesn’t. I don’t hate myself and my species enough to hope that he fails just because he’s not from my tribe.
And I also recognize a friend when I see one across the aisles. We have to start acknowledging our similarities with Trump’s people, and talking to them directly about our shared interests and our differences, rather than screaming insults that have nothing to do with anything.
Of course, you could just insist they’re racist and sexist and stupid and you’re better than all of them and be done with it. I’m sure that’s what a lot of liberals are content with doing. They’re enjoying the drama and the sense of self-righteousness and nothing will unstick them from their new favorite hobby of Trump bashing.
But for those of us who are trying to actually save our species, anti-globalism is our in with Trumpsters and there are areas we can team up with them, and even help them keep their beloved leader on track.
I don’t know about you but I just want to get the job done. I want to make this world safe and sound for my children. I write like their lives depend on it because they do. If there’s a way to overturn the globalists without waiting four more years, then I’m down.