Report on the ICC London Public Forum on Trump’s election and the rise of populism, April 2017

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jk1921
Report on the ICC London Public Forum on Trump’s election and the rise of populism, April 2017
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Report on the ICC London Public Forum on Trump’s election and the rise of populism, April 2017. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.
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jk1921
"In GB, PM Teresa May’s early

"In GB, PM Teresa May’s early election call is another attempt by the ‘traditional’ parties to regain a modicum of political control over the vagaries of populism – as is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to present himself as the ‘outsider’, ‘anti-establishment’ candidate."

Hmm, "vagaries of populism." I like that expression, but are we sure Corbyn is acting in the interests of the establishment Labour Party or is he something of an expression of the vagaries of populism himself--despised and hated by the New Labour establishment of that party?

BTW, that was a good summary of the meeting.

jk1921
"One of these problems is

"One of these problems is that the ruling class is able to use the reality of different living standards around the world and the chaos of wars outside the proletarian heartlands to create divisions within the working class."

This is, I think, a very key point: the reality of different living standards around the world (and with globlization, the reality even of different living standards for different parts of the proletarat within the same national space). This would seem to call for a reconsideration of Trotsky's idea of "combined and uneven captialist development" and how this continues to affect the social and political landscape of capitalism well into the period of decomposition. The sentence quoted above seems to suggest that the ruling class "creates" these divisions within the proletariat. It certainly plays upon them to mobilize public opinion in certain directions but does it actually create them? Have we as Marxists overestimated the tendency for capitalism, even in crisis, to reduce the working class to roughly similar living conditions creating the material basis for the solidarity that is lagging today?

Clearly, part of the problem today is that--in the old core countries at least--there is an older Fordist sector of the class whose expectations about life were forged in the social arrangements of that period. This tends to produce among this group a defensive posture and a tendency to want to defend the material gains of that period, one feature of which was the emergence of a certain "middle class" mentality associated with home ownership and community values--which is in decline today. On the other side, there are the immigrants who, despite their overall lower economic condition; have nevertheless come to the core countries for the very reason that it is a step-up for them. Many of them are eager to work hard to prove their value to the community and the nation and some percentage will accept working and living conditions that the older generations simply would not. So, we have on a situation in which one sector looks like a "privileged labor aristocracy," while the other looks like a form of "scab labor." Of course, this situation is played upon by the bourgeoisie of all political stripes to sow divisions, but another level it looks something like a fundamental feature of neo-liberal capitalism--combined and uneven dvelopment brought into the core itself.