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The Magical Thinking of the US Liberal Establishment

Having lost the US election to Trump reactionism, rather than recognize their role in the reemergence of fascism the Democrats have resorted to magical thinking. Rather than realizing they were part of the problem of fascism––that they enabled Trump, that they were part of the settler-garrison racist ethos that is USAmerica and thus presented not even the ghost of a marginal alternative––the Democrats resorted to conspiracy theories about Russian hacking. As one of my good friends joked, the neo-liberals that once prided themselves in their hawkish realism have taken to bandying about the kind of conspiracy theory crackpot explanations that they always accused Republicans of making. Anything but realize that there is something deeply wrong with US democracy and the USAmerican project.

This magical thinking is all the more ludicrous since, like most conspiracy theories, it is necessarily ineffective. Trump will still be inaugurated in a few days, the liberals will crow about foreign hackers and allow this to prevent them from actually resisting fascism (after all, if it's a conspiracy then one can do nothing but complain), and in the process deride and hamper actual anti-fascists, who despised Clinton almost as much as Trump, from organizing a viable counter-movement. It is a farcical and contradictory standpoint as well: Clinton won the majority vote, so the imagined Russian intervention was apparently not that effective, and the millions of working poor who did not vote did not have their minds hacked––they simply did not participate because they saw no reason to take part in the circus.

Maintaining that Putin was the hidden hand behind Trump's election possesses its own particular irony. Putin, the product of the shock therapy liberalization of the former Soviet Union, inherited a social formation that was itself the product of US interference. Putin only exists because the US violently tampered with the various political processes that generated glasnost and perestroika. He is a US-created Frankenstein that has turned against its creator.

The fact that we are to take this conspiracy theory seriously is repeated ad nauseam by mainstream news sources who have recently gone out of their way to declare everything outside of official sites of propaganda fake news. Never mind the fact that serious journalists who knew the identity of the people behind the leaks were saying that these leaks were not Russian, never mind the fact that the Guardian was caught falsifying an interview with Assange (who, though problematic, is no more ethically dubious than mainstream journalists)… the proof is apparently the statements made by the intelligence community who are now supposed to be trusted when, if we were realists about government "conspiracy", they ought to be treated as the least credible sources.

But why precisely would the CIA claim Russian interference? It would be a mistake to see the intelligence community as Democratic partisans interested primarily in supporting the Clinton campaign just as it would be a mistake to believe that they are telling the truth about Russian involvement, particularly since the latter has been disputed by those journalists and experts who are autonomous from the intelligence community and have long challenged the "real news" sites of propaganda. Moreover, the fact that the intelligence community is making these assertions but is not organizing the kind of measures that it could and should organize in the face of a foreign threat (i.e. a military coup, assassination, everything it possesses the means and vocation to do as the most powerful intelligence organization in the world) is quite telling.

The fact is that Trump is an outlier who, because of his enormous ego and self-mythologization, saw himself outside of the bourgeois political community. To be clear, he understood himself as part of the bourgeois class––he revelled in the cesspit of bourgeois parasitism and depredation, pretended he was a self-made man, played the patriarch plutocrat. The problem was that he was new to the US political establishment, an especial bourgeois community that understood its national class commitments required a certain level of cooperation within the sphere of governance, and thus imagined he could make it his own… rebuilding it like another Trump Tower, transforming it into a season of the Apprentice, squatting in the Oval Office and pissing around its boundaries. Since the government is not a single corporation and the president is not a CEO, the kind of macho self-mythologization of lumpen-bourgeois avatars like Trump is immediately at odds with governance. The US president has long functioned as a figurehead who represents the entire spectrum of the bourgeois class, a participant in a variety of institutions that maintain hegemony. Obama, despite using progressive language to win the election, understood his role and embraced austerity capitalism: all the teary farewells to his regime should not be allowed to drown the fact that he represented a government that was to the right of Richard Nixon. But Trump, who wallows in his retrograde fantasies, will be even more right… But that's not what makes him a problem––what makes him a problem is his hyper-macho "I-will-be-in-charge-of-everything" bravado.

The Russian conspiracy theory is intended to make him fall in line. The US intelligence agency does not care about the fascist emergence he represents since they have been more than happy to endorse fascist dictators and fascistic measures; they simply want him to be a team player in US hegemony. Indeed, the fact that the conspiracy theory has been successful as a disciplinary measure can be judged in Trump's recent flip-flopping over some aspects of his isolationism: in the face of these charges he is now condemning Russia and proving that he can be a team player with US hegemony abroad. Once he agrees to that, the US intelligence community will be more than happy to let his fascist supporters to proliferate since fascism has always been something with which the US has been happy to permit. That is, the intelligence community is not an anti-fascist front, and it would be a mistake to treat them a such, but only concerned with maintaining imperialist business as usual––a business which has always gone hand-in-hand with USAmerican ethos. Hence, any resistance to the Trump presidency in the US must break from the magical thinking promoted by the Democrats, refuse to assume that the CIA or FBI will ride into save the day, and stop thinking that the Hilary Clinton regime is a viable alternative to the viciousness of the Donald. Every US president, from Obama to Clinton to Trump, should be treated as anathema; the US must be removed from the world and the US itself.