So here we are. In a world that permits the absurdity of President Trump. I hoped this wouldn’t happen but suspected that it would; I wrote about this a few weeks ago. In that article I said the main reasons for this were the dominance of the neoliberal right and patriarchy.
What is neoliberalism? Well that’s one of the problems, it’s complicated to explain and has a long history. Neoliberalism has snuck in through the backdoor as the new grand theory that no-one has noticed.
Put simply neoliberalism believes in the following;
- The rule of the market
- Cutting public expenditure on social services and welfare
- Eliminating the concept of “public good” and “community” to replace it with individualism
To summarise, all of these things benefit the very wealthiest in our society whilst simultaneously creating division and mistrust in the population. It is a classic, and very successful, “divide and conquer” strategy.
The success of Trump is the conclusion of the American people being divided and conquered.
Being convinced to look after themselves in the face of great threats like inequality and economic uncertainty Americans have gone for a candidate who says he can lay the finger off blame at particular groups. Trump will give closed minded neoliberal solutions, all the while failing (deliberately) to explain to Americans that all of the problems they are facing are caused by rampant neoliberal capitalism.
This morning hearing the news that Americans have voted in Trump my Facebook newsfeed is full of my UK friends asking how on Earth this could happen; how could Americans vote for him? What have they done?
But we in the UK must be very careful. Afterall, people in glass houses really should not throw colossal stones. Because the simple fact is we have been making the exact same choices as our American friends. We too as a country have been hit by inequality and injustice caused by neoliberal policy such as austerity. And what has been our solution?
In our desperate attempt for simple solutions to complex issues we also have opted for isolation (Brexit), an authoritarian government and using immigrants as scapegoats.
Although the result of President Trump is as tragic and misguided as Brexit and the Tory government, his success is also as unsurprising.
We need radical change to our economy and politics if we want something different and positive. But my fear is that we the people are not ready and we will continue this march to the ludicrous right.