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If Trump ‘enables the far-right’, who enabled Trump?

Until recently liberals have been happy to describe Donald Trump as a ‘populist’ or ‘white supremacist’. Then London Mayor Sadiq Khan suggested that he resembles a ‘20th century fascist’. A couple of days later the rising star of the American Democratic Party went a shade further. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chooses to describe the detention centres on American’s border with Mexico, designed to corral illegal immigrants prior to deportation, as “concentration camps”. She argues that as only a fascist would create concentration camps, ergo Trump is a “fascist”. She didn’t say that Trump is actually “Hitler”, although in following up on the theme a CNN presenter, Don Lemon, would actually do so.

Considering the horrors unleashed on the tens of millions unlucky enough to fall into the clutches of the Nazi regime, the absurd comparison with Trump could be taken as Holocaust denial.

Generally speaking, the more sober-minded critics tend to step back from such hyperbole, opting instead to justify their opposition on the grounds that even if Trump might not qualify as a fascist himself, ‘he enables the far-right’. Which is fine as far as it goes. But here’s the problem. If Trump has indeed enabled the far-right, who then enabled Trump? Or for that matter Salvini in Italy? Or Le Pen in France? Or the AFD in Germany? Or even Farage in Britain?

The result of the Australian general election last month is instructive. Labour’s sister party ran on a radical green ticket. Polls suggested it was destined for a landslide victory. But against all odds it lost, for the simple reason that the mining communities and the wider working class electorate had not been factored in. Which is understandable when ‘fuck off and die’ was the subliminal left-wing message. This is entirely consistent with the liberal Left’s abandonment of the working class across the planet. They have displaced class politics and progressive ideology with identity politics on the one hand and neo-liberal economics on the other.

The working class are, for them, the ‘left behinds’. And as the working class are, effectively, shouted down and then shut out by a haughty middle-class Left, the welcome map is laid down by other forces to articulate their concerns.

In other words the re-entry of the populist Right into the political mainstream, with remarkable consistency in country after country, has been facilitated not by Trump at all but by the hubris of a liberal Left who, while cleaving to globalisation, continues to regard itself (with zero self-awareness) as the epitome of socialist and anti-fascist resistance at the same time. Which understandably causes tremendous confusion.

In order to stop the rot, the imperatives are twofold: the working class must be brought in from the cold, and the far-right enablers on the Left need to take time away from the shovel.

This article first appeared on the Independent Working Class Association facebook page on the date given above and has been transferred here in August 2019.

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