The Company Of Monsters

HE CAME ON STAGE to the theme tune from Air Force One (1997). He congratulated his opponent on a hard-fought campaign. To the surprise of his supporters, he called for unity – an attempt to appease the plummeting markets – but he soon became bored and distracted. What’s the point of negotiating with invisible forces? Everything is visible, he thought. Everything is golden. ‘The forgotten men and women of our country will no longer be forgotten,’ he said. His supporters regained their gusto and cheered louder than before; they knew what he meant. He digressed for five minutes, wondering out loud why his entire family hadn’t joined him on stage, before exiting to the Rolling Stones’ 1969 single ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’.

So went the victory speech of Donald Trump, president-elect of the world’s dominant imperialist power. Several hours later, Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be seen and Nate Silver is somewhere in the desert dropping a boulder on his head, statistical anomalies leaking from his skull. Between them, the so-called centre ground and its positivist fantasies have dissolved. Politics is not a series of propositions kept like artefacts on a voter’s mantelpiece. It is an expression of who is and who isn’t human; it determines where the boundaries are drawn. Trump has used anti-globalisation ressentiment to draw the boundaries around whiteness, and his administration will police it.

The New York Times, which until late last night predicted a 85% chance of a Clinton victory, spent months trying to undermine Trump’s project. It did so by pointing out that he wasn’t a good enough capitalist – in-depth investigations revealed his real estate projects were riddled with failure and loss. It published an exhaustive list of everyone Trump had insulted on Twitter, which included Saudi Arabia, the Republican Establishment, television commercials, free trade deals, John Oliver and Fox News. The intention was to show how unworthy of the presidency he was. But all it proved was that there are many things that deserve to be insulted, and Trump was the only one doing so. Rather than question the system, liberals questioned his ability to scale it.

Fascism used to be liberalism’s defence mechanism. Don’t stray outside the limits of acceptable discourse: that’s where the monsters lurk! The mechanism has failed. Slowly but surely, electorates in the West are choosing the company of monsters. Still, we plumb hope from despair. If fascism is no longer an exaggeration then neither is the need for an impossibly different vision of the future: communism.

—Yohann Koshy

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