As an American who lives in the United Kingdom, I have witnessed the disturbing rise and empowerment of two nationalist populist movements, Brexit and Trump. The wounds of the first were still smarting when the debilitating blow of the second were felt. Can’t go home and don’t want to stay here, is how a lot of us migrants feel. In the ballot booth and on the streets we are losing and no amount of clicktivism nor encouragements to organise and protest are able to change the decadence of global democracy. The democratic method seems to have about a 250 year shelf-life before becoming its own worst enemy. France will be next to expose how the wisdom of the crowd turned into the ignoble masses.
With the exception of state-supported hacking, cracking, and document leaking which did a doozy on Clinton with the support of the FBI and Wikileaks—the old methods aren’t working. What is needed are new modes of counter-hegemonic governance. Towards that goal I am going to do nothing. Social evolution is slow and silent not obvious and obnoxious. It is time for a break into scholarship and away from reactionary tabbing back and forth from The New York Times and Breitbart, The Guardian and Drudge.
Hopefully this moment of pause will be an opportunity to devise the lost art of blending the best of family scale anarchism with social liberalism’s human rights and some form of expert representation. Democracy is failing, providing the type of leadership the world doesn’t need in this moment of mass migration, climate change, and extreme wealth disparity.
I am to blame for the diminishing returns of the democratic method. With my daily scopophilic obsession with relishing every foible, I helped the Trump trainwreck crash into the White House. While celebrating the rational and inherently conservative nature of the British, I assisted in the denial of the Brexit reality.
As a pathetic penitence for my sins of feeding the liberal elite preoccupations of condescension with my smug likes and retweets of Trumpisms—which have an economic value and thus reinforced the media’s focus on Trump—I deactivated Twitter this morning. My last tweet was something like: “democracy inevitably empowers nationalistic populism which is categorically opposed to the multicultural globalism of the moment.” A South Indian friend of mine responded, “As a brown man I would get lynched in that world.” A valid concern to which I wrote “there must be a form of authority delegation and rule of law enforcement that does not enfranchise the idiotic and socially suicidal.” My wife reminded me of the class bigotry of my statement, pointing blame on neoliberalisation, particularly the privatisation of education and public media systems like radio, television, and cable. So (if I were on Twitter) I would add “neoliberal democracy” to more accurately articulate the root of the empowerment of national populism. I know, “post-democracy” isn’t new to readers steeped in Nancy Fraser and Slavoj Žižek and who understand the inherent violence of majority rule over minority voters. Žižek was a Trump supporter, claiming like an apocalyptic prepper, to want to shake the foundations of the system, to drain the swamp and see what emerges from the muck. So too do the Trump voters, but what little news I can’t help but receive already points to a Cabinet packed with oilmen, billionaires, and others who by din of business contacts, lobbying assassins, and wealth can’t help but be insiders to the DC beltway.
I am hurt and confused. This state of being isn’t unlike that experienced by the demographic that brought Trump his victory–uneducated, formerly middle-class white males. I can relate. I come from this white working class American demographic, from fly-over country, as the coastal elites call my ignorable home state of Idaho. Post-graduate education turned me into the liberal who enjoyed trashing the sick joys of the Trump train of sexism, racism, cat-calling, and folly. Addiction to those cheap kicks have turned into a poison whose only remedy is a detox, and after that denial, and after that an acceptance that with both Brexit and Trump we can at least trust the stultifying bureaucracy, the calcified institutions and their lethargic processes to slow the full sign of mortal infection. Stagnation isn’t a solution but it is a welcome response to impending disaster.