Glenn Greenwald recently retweeted this:
The essence of the elite meltdown over Korea is that these people are materially and cognitively invested in the maintenance of US empire, and when parts of the empire are proposed to be rescinded, they concoct all kinds of convoluted reasons why the status quo must not change.
That needs a revision:
The essence of the meltdown of some of the left over Russia is that these people are materially and cognitively invested in opposition to the Cold War, so when clear evidence of evil being done by Russia to the West emerges, they endlessly deflect from any and all evidence that such evil deeds exist.
I could now proceed rag on the radical left for falling into a pitfall with respect to the current fascist threat, by being so obsessed over remaining true to what was a valid priority, that they now overlook a far more pressing and dire threat.
However, it goes far beyond just the radical left. It seems to me that most ideologies are so mired in past ways of thinking that they can’t grasp the true nature magnitude of the current fascist threat.
Establishment Democrats still cling to the idea that their political triangulation between Reaganite conservatism and the remaining tatters of New Deal liberalism is the path to electoral success. They do so despite the Sanders campaign illustrating how popular leftist ideas can be, and despite the collapse of much of the Reaganite rhetoric of “free” trade and “free” markets illustrating how that ideology has basically died its inevitable death.
Never Trump Republicans are in denial about how there is a seamless continuum between Reaganism and Trumpism, and about how much their policies exacerbated the inequalities and injustices that Trump capitalized on.
Libertarians cling tightly to their classic liberal tenets despite the Paradox of Tolerance, showing a willingness to repeat the mistake of allowing the fascists the freedom to take over society and abolish freedom.
My main concern is what sort of alliance can be strung together to unseat Trumpism, drive it to the periphery, and permanently marginalize it, leaving it to die the death it richly deserves. No one side can do it all. The radical left certainly can’t, given the current lack of class consciousness and raw numbers, and the urgency to do it as soon as possible.
We don’t have time to build a radical movement first. To paraphrase a well-known neocon warmonger, we have to fight Trumpism with the forces we currently have available, not the forces we might wish we have. This means working with the Establishment Democrats and the Never Trumpers, as difficult and distasteful as that might be.
There is historical precedent for this. You think it was easy or simple for Churchill and Roosevelt to cooperate with Stalin? Let me assure you that it was not.
There is also historical precedent the other way. The statist and the non-statist left were incapable of staying united during the Spanish Civil War, primarily due to pressure from Stalin, and (with the exception of Mexico) the refusal of liberal nations to join Stalin in aiding those fighting fascism. This allowed the fascists to gain the upper hand and prevail, plunging that country into a four decades’ long night in which the light of liberty was extinguished.
So yes, I do follow the likes of Bill Kristol and Rachael Maddow regularly, and pay attention to what they are saying. As an antifascist, it is my duty to care about what they are thinking. It is all of our duty. (Note my wording: I said “care about,” not “agree with.” Of course it’s fine to disagree with them—I quite often do myself.)
But rants like “Bill Kristol is a neocon who supported the Iraq War, so why are you paying attention to him (and sometimes agreeing with him) you stupid rube of the Establishment” are not useful. Yes, keep in mind that these people will probably never fully be on our side. Keep in mind it’s going to be a temporary alliance. But also keep in mind that opposing garden-variety neocons and Establishment liberals in the context of a post-Trump bourgeois democracy is a lot better place to be in than opposing fascism in a totalitarian fascist state.
This goes for the other sides in this necessary alliance, too. Don’t refuse to support what anarchists are doing to oppose Trump just because we are opposed to the order you revere. Don’t fall for the idiocy that we are fascists just because we happen to share the level of contempt for the Establishment that fascists do.
Our contempt and that of the fascists comes from opposite ends of the spectrum. Fascists despise the current order because it is too humane and egalitarian. We despise it because it is insufficiently humane and egalitarian. We at least share certain core values like the pursuit of truth and the dignity of the human individual with you. You are much better off in a world where you are opposing us than a world where you are opposing fascists.
If you care about the survival of liberty, then regardless of your personal ideology, you must realize that events in the past few years have forced a decisive realignment of your immediate priorities.