The election of Donald Trump to the White House has been a cold shower not only to many Americans but also to myriad intelligent individuals committed to social transformation and justice the world over.
Many know very well that the mainstream neoliberal approach to economic development and politics, as well as the current version of globalisation, has created injustices and tensions. We also know that political systems, not only in the US, are rigged to favour special interests, corporate giants and lobbying, which often is the euphemism for legalised corruption. Yet we found it paradoxical that a man who embodies the most vicious aspects of global capitalism and a natural disrespect for social welfare and the working class can be viewed as the man of change.
The election of Trump has triggered a cascade effect throughout society, but not one of social transformation.
To the contrary, dominant forms of oppression are starting to become more accepted by society. Rather than moving forward, we seem to be catching up with the past. Racist movements, whether in the US or in Europe, feel emboldened by the election results, and they promise to replace neoliberalism with parochialism.
Violent ideas and remarks about minorities and women that would have been frowned upon a few years ago, are becoming more commonplace. Thus, fringe sentiments run the risk of becoming mainstream.
It is evident that most of Trump’s promises will not be kept. It is nonsensical and outrageously expensive to build a separation wall along the Mexican border and it is impossible to repatriate millions of immigrants. It would be possible to reform trade agreements (indeed, a debate about the desirability of certain forms of international trade is desperately needed) but a staunch capitalist such as Trump will not do it, let alone the Republicans around him. He obviously never meant what he promised, but most voters were gullible enough to believe him.
Although Trump presents himself as the anti-imperialist hero who would like to bring America back to America, patching up relations with the various Putins of the world, he may very well end up doing the opposite. We have seen it already. George W Bush was elected on the basis that he would disengage from the world after a decade of Clinton’s far-reaching ventures.
Read the full article on Business Day: http://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2016-11-23-trump-leaves-citizens-a-job-to-do/