The Deep State Versus Trump

Published at 13:24 on 16 February 2017

It’s real. Trumpists are whining about it and Establishment liberals are cheering it on.

What’s the ramifications in this for anarchists? I think this discussion on Reddit captures many of the points. First, the Deep State, like any part of the State, is not the friend of anti-authoritarians. But second, the pre-Trump status quo is far better for anarchists than the sort of fascism Trump could easily unleash. In this, the Deep State serves much like Stalin did against Hitler: not necessarily a Good Guy, but someone who can be much more easily lived with and coped with than the Bad Guy both of us have in common.

Currently, the Intelligence Community seems to be fighting Trump in the least harmful way remaining available to them: by leaking damaging facts about his regime. That allows the influence they wield to be moderated by public opinion and lawful processes. Exercising influence via leaks is greatly preferable to doing so via more overtly forceful techniques such as blackmailing, assassinations, coups d’etat, etc.

The leaks are still unlawful, of course. Classified information is being released to the public without following the legally mandated formal process of declassification. But the law isn’t prefect; in fact, it’s already failed mightily by letting an authoritarian demagogue (precisely the sort of person it has intended to keep out of high office) into the White House.

The crisis, in other words, already exists. By choosing to deliberately leak, the Intelligence Community is responding to an existing constitutional crisis, not creating a new one.

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