“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”—Milton Friedman
Anyone paying attention to the Bernie vs. Hillary vs. Trump American election cycle knows that this is no longer business as usual. Both parties within the two-party system have experienced shakeups that have deviated from the preferred script of the respective political elites.
Bernie Sanders, a lifelong registered Independent, became a Democrat in the 11th hour in order to get in front of the camera and inject a European-style, social-democrat consciousness into the public. This anti-plutocratic sentiment proved quite inconvenient for the Hillary campaign. Now that Clinton has firmly secured the nomination, it is no secret that it took an enormous effort on the part of the DNC and corporate backed media to ensure the rigging of the election in her favor. The “Bernie or Bust” group are a testament to the awakening Left of the nation that patience is thinning for the corporatist Democratic party.
Cue the reality-show star… You’re hired!
On the Republican side, Trump—the farthest thing from meritorious you can find—became an unstoppable phenomenon: a reality-show imbecile with no substance and an all-brash style that the most xenophobic and racist elements of the American Right craved covertly for years, now to be unleashed via overt anti-intellectualism and bigotry. So powerful was this reality-show star’s presence that the shoo-ins for the Republican nomination had no chance. Just as Bernie proved inconvenient for the Hillary script, so too did Trump prove troublesome for Bush, Rubio, Cruz, and the others.
The most telling sign of the times is the ineffectiveness of even Citizens United’s diversion of plutocratic interests’ gargantuan funds in order to prop up candidates. Jeb Bush, with his hundreds of millions of dollars diverted to artificially prop up his campaign, was annihilated by the Trump firestorm, which ran its campaign on a fraction of the funds. As for the long view of history, the degree of unpredictability in this election cycle seems to be presaging a fundamental collapse of the political order. Considering that true revolutionary shifts occur in such circumstances—and not piecemeal sanitary reform within the bounds of status quo acceptability—American radicals with a nuanced sense of history can now sense the opportunity of a lifetime.
Trump = division of American Right
In historical context, this means that a new paradigm is emerging: one that defines the cyclical loss of hitherto perceived infallible power of the elites to control everything. While Hillary indeed succeeded in defeating Bernie, the other outsider— Trump—succeeded fabulously at finalizing the great schism of the American right. Now, many prominent Republicans, including previous nominees Mitt Romney, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and others, will be trying to ensure a Hillary victory.
Hillary is safe, she is status quo, she is business as usual. Trump is a volatile, tactless anti-intellectual and would be the lowest quality president this nation has ever had. He represents a division of the American Right and breakdown of stability. A Trump presidency would publicly slaughter any hope for equal opportunities. The toxic, divisive environment he would create would ensure an unprecedented agitation in the populace. While his supporters would enthusiastically and sheepishly support him, he would be the most hated president in history.
This is precisely why Trump is a godsend to the radical Left. He would be the most revolutionary president in history.
How to get a leftist into the presidency is not what the Left should be deliberating. They must comprehend that the onset of a candidate like Trump is a harbinger for the collapse of the current political order. Any radical authentically critical of the American plutocratic empire recognizes this collapse as the only political occurrence that can predicate a sane, rational system. The plausibility that someone so crude, simplistic, and unpresidential, with zero political experience, could soon be Commander in Chief indicates that the prevailing political chapter is ending. Consider the magnitude of difference between the current order and a radical new vision of America the Left might imagine (totally free of plutocracy and militarism, focused instead on the grand visions of rationally attaining the common good). The Trump presidency political breakdown will provide the space for the radical Phoenix to rise from its ashes, a Phoenix that could never be born from the current system.
Every authentic radical leftist will do everything they can to support a Trump victory—not because he represents what they represent, but precisely because he represents the exact opposite of what they represent. All revolutionaries, radicals, and Jacobins know that presidential elections every four years provide the illusion of people-power while unelected plutocrats pull the strings uninterrupted year-in and year-out. At best, sanitized weak liberalism reigns within the corporatist Democratic party that throws reformist bones to the people—just enough to placate them and forestall real revolutionary sentiment.
Reformist concessions? Have you forgotten your lessons?
If we are to imagine the authentic Jacobin vision of a radically new government, economy and society, we must accept that it will never emerge from intermittent reformist concessions of center-right Democratic policies. If we determine to make any headway towards public banking, we must view luke-warm concessionism as a deadly intravenous sedative to the spirit of the people. Every radical knows that true change emerges when the people rise up, demand a new way, implement the vision, and do not take no for an answer. Such a movement requires the fuel of enormous emotion, drive, and will.
This is the history lesson the elites know all too well, so they will do anything in their power to ensure a Hillary victory. While trust in her is certainly diminishing as popular anti-plutocracy consciousness emerges, a Hillary victory will certainly placate the Left and numb revolutionary consciousness much more than will a Trump victory.
Had King Louis XVI paid more attention to the people’s needs and placated them with reformist policies, France well could have remained a monarchy to this day. Due to the utter contempt the French masses harbored towards the monarchy, sufficient will was built up to incentivize the implementation of a radical new anti-monarchy Republican vision. In retrospect, would we have preferred a reformist monarchy to a Republic?
The perfect vile thesis for the necessary radical antithesis
The dialectic must play out fully for an ideal vision to materialize. The Thesis must become so great, so vile, so contemptible as to spark a radical Antithesis. The greater the action, the greater the counter reaction. The people act once they have something to react to. After mass murders, gun legislation is discussed. After bank collapses, bank regulations are implemented. After terrorist attacks, measures of “public safety” and surveillance are implemented. None of these things would happen except as a reaction to a perceived problem. No action occurs in a vacuum. Revolutions are always reactions. Therefore, for a revolution (the largest political reaction of all) to occur, the thing being reacted to must be so emotionally stirring as to inspire change to an immense degree.
Since Trump is an anti-intellectual with zero substance, we cannot know with certainty what level of toxicity his presidency will directly produce; but it is clear that he elicits extraordinary contempt and emotion from his detractors, more so than any other candidate in recent history. Has there ever been a campaign in the primaries, let alone the general election, whose rallies continuously get flooded with protesters and that in every respect get shut down? Do you imagine that all those anti-Trump protesters are lifelong activists, or that many of them were riled up from previous political apathy? If the primaries produce such a knee-jerk reaction, can you imagine if he actually becomes president, the reaction from current anti-Trump protesters, and how many more protesters there will be?
Obama’s replacement of Bush bought the elite eight more years.
In the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the Left had already run out of patience, and Bush fatigue was palpable. Per usual for the action-reaction process, it was the Wall St.-induced collapse of the economy that precipitated the reaction known as Occupy, years later. Would Occupy have emerged in the absence of an economic collapse? Could Debt Erasure have registered as a legitimate imperative or barged into the public conversation without the sudden mass homelessness of mortgage holders?
Now, imagine if Bush had had four more years left. Luckily for him, he was already a lame duck. But, if in the context of massive Bush fatigue exacerbated by a financial collapse Bush was to remain president much longer, it’s reasonable that the Occupy movement could have become much larger, better organized, and more effective than its final state. Instead, it petered off. Why? Because of the greatest marketing feat in history: the 2008 Obama campaign and election. The elite know when fever pitch is nigh. They’ve learned their history lessons. The elite know when to scale back a bit, when to seemingly give the people what they want, just as FDR’s New Deal put off an inevitable revolution, allowing the elite to give up a little at the time, so as not have to relinquish all later.
As most on the Left realize in retrospect, Obama was indeed business as usual: bailouts for Wall St., corporatists swept into positions of power, expansion of the war on terror, more than Bush could have dreamed. But in the moment, the euphoria was all too real. Again the dialectic played out, but this time in reverse, so fatigued by Bush were the people that an articulate African American democrat with a rhetoric of hope and change was all the masses needed to produce a landslide victory. Eight more years were bought. The revolution was again postponed.
Some have argued that the leftist backlash during a Democratic instead of Republican administration lent further legitimacy to the movement, since it wasn’t simply an anti-republican, but an anti-system revolt. There is some sense in that argument, but it’s undeniable that the veneer of leftist ideals that Obama marketed placated an otherwise more effective uprising. In the end, leftist veneer, superficiality, and marketing have worked well at cooling revolutionary sentiment. Trump has zero veneer and illusion to pacify the left; he has direct brashness. He will ipso facto jolt people out of their seats with a greater sense of revolutionary purpose than any tactful president could. Trump is the most inspiring president a revolutionary can have.
Breaking up the banks is not enough.
Behold rampant Wall Street greed and the consolidation of the global finance leviathan, whose too-big-to-fail status in the US led to the avarice-fueled collapse and subsequent bailouts that perpetuated the banking stats quo. Calls from the “revolution-light” camp of Bernie Sanders to break up the banks have lit up the board, under the correct auspices that too-big-to-fail is too big to exist. However, this still diverts attention from the truly revolutionary solution of nationalizing the banks. Under Hillary, the banks will continue to consolidate their global Empire of Plutocracy. Under Bernie’s “revolution-light”, breaking up the banks would have been on the table, would have faced enormous opposition within the political paradigm, and would still force society to succumb to private interests controlling the financial circulatory system of the nation. Public banking in the name of the people is revolutionary; a decisive end of the current order of governance will be its fertile ground.
To the masses on the left in today’s political climate, there is no bigger dialectical force than the vile, the contemptible, the imbecilic Donald J. Trump.
Envision it. It’s Friday, January 20th, 2017, and Trump is sworn into office after defeating Hillary Clinton. The racists and nativists are rejoicing and euphoric. The hearts of the rest drop in dread.
The most hated, reviled, contemptuous president in history now sits in the White House. He stirs negative reactive feelings like no president ever has—much more so than Obama in 2008. The large Latino community that Trump insulted so tactlessly is outraged. Many Latinos who were politically active before are motivated to a new level. As for those who were previously apolitical, they are suddenly provoked for the first time to start caring about politics. Grassroots progressive movements across the US suddenly see their memberships surge. Protests are constant. Occupy 2.0 emerges stronger than anyone could have imagined. Anger and anxiety rise to fever pitch. People are ready for revolution.
The stock market will crash soon, on par with 2008 and possibly 1929. It is in a bigger bubble than at the peak of 2007. This will no doubt create a political frenzy and stir reformist and revolutionary sentiment. Calls to break up or nationalize banks will magnify. Anti-plutocracy sentiment will surge. Realizations that the current system is no longer tenable will overwhelm the populace. Under Clinton, it will be manageable, though difficult. Under Trump, the synergy of emotional hatred for him with the realities of an economic crash will produce exactly the fever pitch conditions that will make a Jacobin revolution possible for the first time in American history. It will be the perfect storm.
Dystopia: the moment of the lifetime
We must not let this window of opportunity pass. It is precisely because a Trump presidency is perceived as dystopian that the radical left needs him to win. It is only under these conditions that the left will summon sufficient will to react, and that the radicals will have a space to grow, organize, and exert their grand new vision. You don’t get fiery motivation and laser focus from the embers of s’mores and kumbaya, nor from sleepy incense remains. A Phoenix rises from the ashes of CHAOS!
If you want an authentically left wing culture (rather than a sanitized reformist liberal one) on the foreseeable horizon, then ensure Trump wins the presidency. If you want slight progressive change to sputter piecemeal within the acceptable bounds of the economic elite, go with the lesser of two evils. This approach is ironically more evil than the greatest evil—Donald Trump—because this greatest evil will produce the greatest good via the inevitable counter-reaction.
The cultural revolution that began in the second half of the 20th Century marked a new era of hyper-individualism, weak liberalism, wholesale distrust of the state (from the right and the left), and a degeneracy into relativism. Society sleepwalked into a materialistic, self-interested daze and paved the way for the total legitimization of the plutocracy. They’ve sold us useless products en masse, for “expressing our individuality”, but that have blinded us into an apathetic stupor of hyperreal bread and circuses. With this presidential campaign cycle we were nudged towards the twilight of the dialectical phase of the late 1900’s, courtesy of a distrusted corporate apparatchik vs a populist imbecile outsider of no merit.
Nail the coffin shut before this place becomes Zombieville on Hillaroids.
Hillary Clinton represents bought time, a half-zombie artificial perpetuation of the status quo that refuses to die, even though it most certainly will in due course. Donald Trump elected will end an era, nail the coffin shut. The dialectic will play out, but if the great visionaries of the world want to make immanent the manifestation of humanity’s greatest potential, then we must make immanent the prerequisite conditions themselves. Trump’s presidency will decisively bring about the end of the current political order—certainly not an easy transition period, but the sword of Revolution must be forged in a flame!
The non-radical progressive left will sit uneasy with the Revolution imperative. They call for a “political revolution” á la Bernie, hence suffer from cognitive dissonance. Compromise, weakness, and rendering unto Caesar are easier. They want coffee without the caffeine, beer without the alcohol, and revolution without the Revolution.
In the end, liberal presidents within the current political paradigm will only act as another fix to a drug addict dependent on immediate satisfaction but too weak to endure withdrawal necessary to come out fundamentally healthier. The satisfaction of weak reformism over the greater evil of conservatism keeps us drug-stupored, just enough to maintain the plutocratic status quo. Popular movements like that of Bernie Sanders are an indicator of increasing anti-plutocratic consciousness among the masses (presaging a possible but not inevitable “real” Revolution), but effectively placate the more progressive of the population during the election, then shepherd them safely into the corporatist Democratic camp, as Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary so painfully proves.
Once again, Trump represents the breakdown of the political order. Therefore, he is the chemotherapy to the cancer that is our system. He is the poisonous, painful pill to swallow that will most certainly cause the left to suffer massively and feel the near death of the nation. It is only under this wide-scale agony that heroes come to the fore, for a hero by definition rises precisely to overcome such circumstances. This toxic environment then will finally awaken the hero archetype among would-be revolutionaries. They will rise from the ranks of the people so appalled by the breakdown and the degeneracy of Trump that they are willing to forge the best and most courageous version of themselves to ensure future generations never face such a monstrosity again. Let us fertilize the soil of the nation with a stinking Trump presidency so heroes may rise to bring about the radical Jacobinism that will not only redistribute material goods as to provide basic needs for all, but guide the nation and ultimately humanity towards the stars.
Reboot, not Reformation
It is not time for a reformation; it is time for a reboot. To reboot means to definitively end the neo-aristocracy’s absurd consolidation of wealth that accumulated according to the rules of the old game. A reboot means that visionary leftists seize power following the breakdown precipitated by Trump. They enact Debt Erasure to begin the economy afresh, to wash the sins of the economic masters who will eventually lose grip in the midst of the chaos. To perpetuate the world’s indebtedness to the elite is to opt for continuous subjugation, in which no reformist ‘revolution-light’ will ever have the guts to overcome. The will to take such daring, transformative actions can only be born from the ashes of the old paradigm.
Neitzsche proclaimed “God is Dead.” It is time for us to proclaim, “Plutocracy is Dead.” Even in the midst of the left in the mainstream political paradigm, the stench of plutocracy’s dead rotting corpse will distract us and stand in our way. The Reboot is the answer. The end will come about when banks are publicly owned by the commonwealth and when Debt Erasure and the Millionaire’s Estate Tax ensure that never again do plutocrats perpetuate their influence intergenerationally. These essential measures will stamp out once and for all the vile notion of aristocracy from the history of the world and bring about a true new order of power to the people.
True vision is radical: our greatest selves possible—ever.
This is the true vision: the radical guidance of the polity towards the greatest versions of ourselves inherently possible in life in the universe. It is not enough to demand fairer wages, paid maternity leave, and regulated banks, although that is certainly a mild start. These things could be had realistically by the trickling reforms of modern liberalism, as the US might strive to become more like Northern Europe. This is not radical; it is just playing catch-up with what already exists in the world. No, the Radical Revolutionary vision consists of much more ambitious goals: To break the shackles of plutocracy and lobbyists 100%; to create an effective, visionary state with a grand positive liberty vision that accomplishes difficult ambitious projects on par with the Apollo missions; a Green New Deal to maximize employment and strive towards 100% sustainability ASAP; an ambitious education revolution that creates Equal Opportunity for Every Child through universal Custom Education; the Resource Based Economy; total elimination of poverty; radically increased social harmony; and a conscious striving towards continuously increasing intelligence and self-actualization among its citizens. This is the radical Phoenix that can rise from the ashes of the political order that Trump will burn down, if we seize the moment and take it back from him!
Of course, the breakdown of the current vile plutocratic order is insufficient on its own. It is simply the end of the old, an obligatory step to make way for the new. Presented with that opportunity, it is of utmost importance the left have a strong coherent organized vision to fill the inevitable void. They must out-will the right wing if they are to seize the day and guide the U.S. towards a new chapter illuminated by reason, vision, merit and the common good. It is precisely this moment we face in the near future that will determine whether we can make America great to radical visionary standards for the first time in history.
To all radicals, Jacobins, revolutionaries, visionaries, and idealists of the Left: