Tag Archives: Third Way

Mein Drumpf


The man, the hand gestures.

In a little under a week’s time, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. The property tycoon, reality show host and serial bankrupt (yes) will lead one of the largest and most sophisticated war machines on the planet.  Much has been made of Trump’s lack of a political hinterland by the media.  Indeed, he has no experience of political office and this supposed outsider status, claim his supporters, is what makes him so appealing.   “He’ll shake up the establishment” say his supporters.  Yeah, I guess he will but not in the way you think.

Even Warren G. Harding, to whom I have often compared Trump, had political experience as the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as senator for the same state.  Like Trump, his cabinet was stuffed with millionaires.  Yet, even Harding described himself as “unfit for office”, something that Trump is unlikely to do, such is the size of his ego and evident lack of self-awareness.  Harding’s presidency was dogged by scandals and he died in office.  I’ll just leave that there.

Trump has dodged questions about his fitness for office by attacking his opponents.  This is the classic tactic of deflection but it also signals his inability to accept responsibility for his actions and, moreover, the words that come from his mouth.  I know it’s unfair and unreasonable for a lay person like myself to make a remote psychological diagnosis based on a handful of signifiers, but Trump is a rampant narcissist.

On the question of whether or not he’s racist?  Well, Trump has consistently denied it, yet he’s been busily appointing racists to his cabinet and his White House staff.   This appears to encapsulate the contradictory nature of the man himself: he will say one thing and do the complete opposite.  What cannot be denied is the way in which America’s racists, xenophobes and Nazis have been emboldened by Trump’s victory.  His supporters may shrug, roll their eyes and claim “a few Nazis marching doesn’t mean anything” but I don’t recall the same thing happening when Reagan or the Bushes won the presidency. Do you?

Trump’s campaign slogan was the simplistic: “Make America Great Again”. This kind of slogan is reminiscent of Hitler’s and Mussolini’s rhetoric and suggested a return to a mythical past.  During the bruising election campaign, Trump had been compared to both dictators by many commentators.  The Cat once thought a closer comparison could be made to Louis-Napoleon, the future Napoleon III, who spent a great deal of time and effort attracting the votes of the poor.  But that’s where any resemblance ends.   Unlike Louis-Napoleon, Trump has not written a treatise on the elimination of poverty (Trump doesn’t even read books).  In fact, he hasn’t mentioned the issue of poverty at all,  preferring instead to charm the impoverished with magick slogans and by blaming Muslims,  immigrants and foreigners for for their social condition.  One more thing: Napoleon III was a soldier.  Trump dodged the draft.

Trump’s ploy was thus cynical and calculating.  He appealed to the reactionary instincts of many working class whites by pressing their buttons and schmoozing them, while at the same time making moves to consolidate and extend the power of America’s filthy rich – all of which he did in plain sight.  Time will tell if Trump will morph into a latter day Napoleon III, but to do this, he will need to use executive powers to declare a state of emergency and stage a coup against himself as Louis-Napoleon did in 1851.  Let’s hope that idea never pops into his head.

So is Trump a fascist? Fascism in the early 21st centuries doesn’t wear uniforms and smash up printing presses as Mussolini’s Blackshirts had done in the 1920s.  These Third Position fascists have appropriated the language of the Left and consciously adopted a victim mentality.  Their anti-intellectual thinkers (sic) have concocted conspiracy theories, like the Frankfurt School/Cultural Marxism smear, and barely concealed their racism behind the language of classical liberalism.  19th century Liberals like Lord John Russell were quite content to see the Irish starve to death during The Famine, because they saw themselves as superior specimens of humanity.  They were committed social Darwinists.  The fascist is also a social Darwinist at heart.

The so-called ‘alt-right’ are, to be sure, fascists in all but name.  They are mostly male and mainly white.  They think feminism is a ‘cancer’ and loathe equal rights for minority groups.  They bang the drum for nationalism and glorify the military. They also follow Trump.  No doubt some of them may even call themselves ‘libertarians’.  Their freedom is a checklist of textbook freedoms for their fellows.  Third Positionist parties will often use the word ‘freedom’ to deflect attention from their patent opposition to the freedoms of Others .  We can see this in the name of the now defunct British Freedom Party and others on the continent that purport to be the ‘guardians’ of freedom.

Third Positionists have also taken advantage of the confusion generated by mainstream politicians, who have provided them with ideal conditions in which to propagate.  Indeed, the triangulationism of Tony Blair’s Third Way and the nouveau Conservatism of David Cameron, which sought to ape it, must take some responsibility for the rise of far-right in Britain.  One failed to meet dog-whistle racism head on and the other actively employed it.  Both of them were obsessed with superficialities and refused to address real structural problems, and politicians from each party continue to foster division and hatred through their appropriation of the far-right’s rhetoric on immigration.  The extreme centre is no place to be at a time like this!

Trump may have cast himself as an outsider and self-styled opponent on the ‘elite’ but he is one of the elites.  He didn’t start in business by saving up quarters that he earned through bagging groceries at Walmart.  He went to expensive educational institutions and his daddy handed him a few million to get the ball rolling.  Trump is a corporatist and corporatism is central to fascist economic thinking.  Fascism is nothing more than the marriage between the state and corporate power. It only sees the working class as drones, breeding machines or as ‘boots on the ground’.

The overall political, cultural and social orientation of Trump’s administration does not bode well for the working class white people who voted for him, because it is they who will be shafted;  sacrificed on the altar of corporatism. But would Hilary Clinton be any better?  No.  What America really needed was Bernie Sanders and he was stitched up by the Democratic Party establishment.  Now we have a reality TV star and property tycoon as President.  Just think, over 30 years ago a reactionary former actor and state governor became POTUS and some people thought he was ‘great’.



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The Blair interview

I saw the Blair interview last night. There he was in his expensive suit and the hands…THE HANDS! He kept doing that thing with his thumb…you know that really annoying thing that he does where he jabs the other person. He kept doing the ‘gate thing’ with his hands too. He even pretended to smash things with his fist when he was talking about “reforming public services” (always worry when politicians talk about ‘reforms’).  The third thing that he said in the interview was “I mean, you know, look”. Classic Blair.

Aside from his range of hand gestures, we got the usual spiel from him: he didn’t regret the decision and he did what he had to do. He repeated the lie that the world is a “safer place without Saddam”. But the things that really stood out for me in this interview was his shallowness; this is not a man with any real depth and he proved that when he was talking about Northern Ireland. He apparently “bent the truth” in order to drive things forward. Is this a man we want as a Middle East negotiator? I don’t think so. Lying is a classic narcissistic behaviour. He also claimed to have cried tears for those Iraqi civilians who were killed by his desire to topple Saddam. Were these tears of a guilty man or was he just saying this in order to appear more human?

He looked like a man possessed at times, especially when he was talking about Iraq and his ‘might is right’ doctrine. My god, the zeal in the man’s eyes was frightening to behold. In another time and in another place, he could be a serial killer.

Towards the end of the interview he gave the most chilling performance yet. he talked of how it may be ‘necessary’ to ‘use military force ‘ to subdue Iran’s nuclear [weapons] programme. I do not want this man anywhere near a negotiating table; he’s demonstrated to me, beyond all reasonable doubt, that he’s only in it for himself. Blair is a warmonger who only cares about his place in history. Serial killers kill because, in their twisted minds, they believe themselves to be superior to others. They also wish to be famous – like Blair. The only difference is that most serial killers don’t get anywhere near the levers of power. Blair did.

As for his ‘drink problem’, this wasn’t a problem and he was certainly no George Brown when it came to drink: a whisky or a G&T before dinner and half a bottle of wine with dinner is hardly pushing the boat out. He said this in order to get our sympathy and for no other reason.

Blair also described himself as  “progressive” but, in his hands, that word has been divested of all its former meaning. What is so progressive about continuing the neo-liberal policies of the Thatcher government? In some respects Britain is  like Chile but without the military junta. The illusion of individual economic freedom freedom is used to mask the lack of social and political freedoms.

Blair’s place in history is assured but not for the reasons he imagines.

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Third Way, Third Position, Third Camp…it’s all bad news

I am not a fan of thirds; I am suspicious of anything that describes itself as a “third” something or other. What am I talking about? I am talking about the tendency of today’s politicians to claim that they are taking a political third ‘route’ –  for want of a better expression.They are dishonest with themselves and dishonest with the voting public.

We’ve had Third Way, Third Camp, Third position and Third Reich. I’ve had a belly full of them! The Third Way was espoused by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton; it was adopted by European social democrats as a way of appealing to wavering voters who would ordinarily vote for a conservative or Christian democratic party. In the process, the Third Way actually took social democrats further to the right, so that they were barely distinguishable from the left wing of conservatism. Proponents of the Third Way fell into the arms of the world’s bankers and now we live the consequences.

Third Camp was a Trotskyite position during WWII that was taken up by Max Shachtman and his followers. Third camp socialism was against all forms of imperialism, including Soviet imperialism. The Third Camp dissolved into various camps, some of them became social democrats who were avowedly ‘anti-communist’ in their rhetoric; others went on to form a variety of Trotskyite groupings. Third camp became nothing more than a shabby compromise and like the Third Way it was discredited and criticised by many Marxists – particularly as many Third Campers ended up becoming neo-conservatives.

The Third Position was an attempt by Euro-fascists to soften their line and present themselves as ‘nationalists’. It claims to oppose both ‘communism and capitalism’. Like the Third Camp, they want to appear neither left nor right but have a great deal of trouble concealing the fact that they both are racist and right wing. While Nick Griffin and the BNP have made piecemeal gestures to appease their critics, people like Patrick Harrington have tried to continue the ‘political soldier’ idea outside the BNP. I’ve actually argued with Harrington on a well-known political forum and he tries to c0me across as reasonable but always betrays his ‘true self’ through his comments on race, class and immigration. The Third Position is the bastard offspring of the Third Reich.

The Third Reich has been done to death. We know what it stood for and we know that we don’t want it.

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Filed under Ideologies, Society & culture