Earlier this year, an economist named Branko Milanovic published a book called “Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization.” Milanovic analyzes global economic data from the past quarter century and concludes that the world has become more equal – poor countries catching up with rich ones – but that Western democracies have become less equal. Globalization’s biggest winners are the new Asian middle and upper classes, and the one-per-centers of the West: these groups have almost doubled their real incomes since the late eighties. The biggest losers are the American and European working and middle classes – until very recently, their incomes hardly budged.
During these years, resistance to globalization has migrated from anarchists disrupting trade conferences to members of the vast middle classes of the West. Many of these have become Trump supporters, Brexit voters, constituents of Marine Le Pen and other European proto-fascists. After a generation of globalization, they’re trying to derail the train.
– pgs. 53, 54 inThe New Yorker, October 31, 2016 – THE UNCONNECTED, by George Packer
Initially, Clinton was caught off guard by the public’s anger at the political establishment. She casually proposed her husband as a jobs czar in a second Clinton Presidency, as if globalization hadn’t lost its shine. One of her advisers told me that Hillary’s years in the State Department had insulated her and her staff from the mood of ordinary Americans. So, one could add, did her customary life of socializing with, giving paid speeches to, and raising money from the ultra-rich, whose ranks the Clinton family joined as private citizens. (From 2007 to last year, Bill and Hillary earned a hundred and thirty-nine million dollars.)
– pg. 58, ibid.
Anyone who votes for Trump – including the Dartmouth-educated moderate Republican financial adviser who wouldn’t dream of using racial code words but just can’t stand Hillary Clinton – will have tried to put a dangerous and despicable man in charge of the country. Trump is a national threat like no one else who has come close to the Presidency. Win or lose, he has already defined politics so far down that a shocking degree of hatred, ignorance, and lies is becoming normal.
– pg. 60, ibid.
The vaunted American dream, the idea that life will get better, that progress is inevitable if we obey the rules and work hard, that material prosperity is assured, has been replaced by a hard and bitter truth. The American dream, we now know, is a lie. We will all be sacrificed. The virus of corporate abuse – the perverted belief that only corporate profit matters – has spread to outsource our jobs, cut the budgets of our schools, close our libraries, and plague our communities with foreclosures and unemployment. This virus has brought with it a security and surveillance state that seeks to keep us all on a reservation. No one is immune.
– pgs. 226, 227, DAYS OF DESTRUCTION: DAYS OF REVOLT, Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, Vintage Canada, 2013
The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term inverted totalitarianism in his book Democracy Incorporated to describe our political system. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation, and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise, and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. Corporations, hiding behind this smokescreen, devour us from the inside out. They have no allegiance to the country.
– pg. 238, ibid.
We have to turn our backs for good on the Democrats, no matter what ghoulish candidate the Republicans offer up for president. All the public disputes between candidates in the election cycle are a carnival act. On the issues that matter, there is no disagreement among the Republicans and Democrats.
– pgs. 266, 267, ibid.
It will take some time for the real meaning and the full implications of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States of America on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, to be properly understood. Trump’s victory represents a sort of political revolution in the superpower America, because no one has ever been elected president there who did not have some kind of background in their political or military establishment. At the same time, it is interesting that Trump’s defeated Democratic Party opponent, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, won more popular votes than he did. It was in the so-called electoral college where Trump prevailed.
President Trump will find a permanent, professional class in the various branches of government, such as the State Department (foreign policy), the Pentagon (military), the Treasury Department (financial), and so on, which will bring him down to earth somewhat once he assumes the presidency in mid-January of 2017. What we mean is, the American version of what we would call the public service or the technocrat class in Belize, will tell Mr. Trump precisely what he can or cannot do. He would ignore these career experts at his presidency’s peril, and the peril of the United States of America.
There were certain dramatic policy calls which Mr. Trump made during his campaigns for the Republican Party nomination and for the presidency itself which he may have to modify. Still, what the American voters have done is give Donald Trump a mandate to turn things upside down if he has to, so that there can be a reversal of the downward socio-economic trends which the white American middle classes and working classes have been experiencing since the birth of globalization and free trade a quarter century ago.
Remember now, demographers have been predicting that by the middle of this century, if current population trends continue, whites will become a numerical minority in America. As it is presently, African Americans and Hispanic Americans are more than 25 percent of the population, and when you throw in all the Asians (Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Vietnamese, Pakistanis, and so on), the non-white population of America may be 30 to 35 percent. Present population trends have sparked a visceral fear in white America, a fear which exaggerates the anxiety they have been feeling where their declining economic fortunes are concerned.
To a certain extent, Americans are victims of their own successful economic philosophy, in that it is the very corporations, the institutions which have led America’s expansion and growth over the last century and a half, following the United States Civil War of 1861 to 1865, whose voracious, merciless, profits-first approach has now victimized white America’s middle and working classes. Globalization and free trade further enriched the super-rich corporations (or “one-per-centers”), but white American families could not keep up with the pressure from international cheap labor and technological wizardry. Nostalgic for the days of white power, white America turned to a putative, controversial Savior – Donald J. Trump.
Insofar as Belizeans are concerned, the most disturbing thing about Trump is his attitude towards immigrants. Trump sees immigrants as a reason for white America’s socio-economic problems, so he intends to begin his presidency by getting rid of as many undocumented immigrants as he can find. This number will include thousands of Belizeans who live in the United States. A struggling Belizean economy will have to absorb a flood of deportees, and things will become more difficult here as our thin resources become more stretched.
In our giddy, post-Hattie romance with consumerism and American tastes, very, very few Belizeans made allowance for the coming of such a day as this, a day when a bunch of Belizeans would have to come south instead of always going north. And so, all the resources which Belizean workers in the United States sent home during the five and a half decades since Hattie, have been used for eating, drinking, and being merry. By and large, Belizeans have been foolish virgins. We never focused on self-sufficiency. All we did was compete amongst each other to see which of us could consume more, and consume more lavishly. A day of reckoning is here.
Another aspect of the Trump presidency will probably be the death of the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders) agenda in Belize which the Barack Obama presidency was pushing so hard. Belize will return to the status quo ante, which is to say, keep your deviant games indoors. The Barrow administration was under a lot of pressure from Washington to liberalize Belize’s homosexual laws, and so Belize’s government, in seeking to please Barack’s Washington, ran into conflict with Belize’s traditionalist religious leaders. The joke may now be on a couple high-profile clerics who publicly compromised their congregations’ opinions in order to play ball with a Government of Belize which was playing ball with the Obama presidency in the United States. The Trump presidency will end all these ball games. Or, at least, that is what we foresee.
When Belizeans began going to the United States in increasing numbers after Hurricane Hattie in 1961, Belize’s was a decidedly black population. America’s then 10 percent black population was in the early stages of a struggle for civil rights which became more and more militant, violent even, as the decade of the 1960s unfolded. In America, black Belizeans, more educated on the average than their black American counterparts, benefited from jobs for blacks which became available because of the pressure coming from the black American civil rights agitation. But, by and large, black Belizeans did not identify with black Americans. Belize did not have the Pan-African vision that a Caribbean island nation such as Jamaica always displayed during the apartheid era. The UBAD organization, for which this newspaper began as an information organ in 1969, tried to educate black Belizeans as to our ancestry, traditional cultures, and our role in a changing, black-conscious world.
On Tuesday, black Americans voted reluctantly for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Many did not vote at all, and some actually voted for Donald Trump, who is as close to racist as any American presidential candidate has been in our lifetime. Not only are black Americans disillusioned with Clinton’s Democratic Party: black Americans feel betrayed by Bill and Hillary Clinton. They feel Hillary Clinton betrayed them in Libya, that Bill and Hillary betrayed them in Haiti with their Clinton Foundation, that Bill Clinton betrayed them with his crack cocaine laws. Black Americans, then, were so fedup with Clintons they refused to be spooked by the specter of a Trump presidency. We can only assume that black Americans are prepared to fight for preservation of their civil rights gains during a white power Trump presidency. The most dangerous aspect of a Trump presidency is the influence Trump will have on the composition of the United States Supreme Court. This is truly scary.
We have consultants who tell us that one good aspect of the Trump presidency will be an easing of tensions between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Our consultants feel that Hillary would have led America to war with Russia over the issue of Syria.
In the final analysis, people like us Belizeans can now only wait and see. We are a tiny, almost invisible, blip on the new President’s radar screen. The ideal would be for us to build a lobby in Washington to neutralize some of Guatemala’s influence there. But, lobbies cost money, and Belize is broke. That is, as they say, the bottom line. And that is a line we Belizeans have to begin paying attention to: there’s a hard rain about to fall.
Power to the people.