Sunday, January 14, 2018

Late Season's Greetings: No Merry Christmas, no Happy New Year

[I wrote this on December 25. I didn't post it then, but after shithole and Hawaii ... ]

There was no Christmas in my house this year: nor in my heart.

I've spent hours and hours meditating on how I felt thirty years ago, and how I feel today.

Because then I was on the verge of despair. As I am today.

As 1987 came to a close, I was still in Managua, absorbing the collapse of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. Few on the left then even saw it, but somehow, pretty much as long as I'd been in Nicaragua I'd not been able to close my eyes to countless problems even though I trusted --more than that, I was convinced as a matter of religious faith-- that no matter how battered and bloodied, the Revolution would win through.

But by the end of 1987, I'd finally admitted to myself that it wasn't true. The essence of a people's revolution from below [not "regime change" from above] is the organized movement of masses of regular people trying to take control of society to forge a better future. In Nicaragua, by the end of 1987, that movement was dead. The militias, unions, associations of farmers and women and students were all hollowed-out shells rapidly being transformed into nests of bureaucratic privilege. I was losing my religion,.

After the truth became undeniable a couple of years later, many on the left blamed the Sandinistas. I did not. The poorest country on America mainland with an adult population about 1% that of the United States was unable to withstand Washington's onslaught, especially after the Soviets stabbed them in the back, refusing to provide the promised planes and choppers that the Sandinistas needed to fight the contras, and Western Europe provided only token, symbolic help.

The Nicaraguan revolution was drowned in the blood of the war, asphyxiated by the economic crisis it produced. But worse, its heart was ripped out by the way it was condemned to solitude, left twisting in the wind. There were many things that the Sandinistas did that people considered mistaken and debilitating. And there was an overriding question of the growing indications of the demoralization of the revolution's leadership, the FSLN.

And I don't mean just or mainly fighting spirit, although there was that too. I mean a loss of integrity and honesty, the taking of privileges that, minuscule as they may have seemed, simply devastated the trust of the population in the Sandinista Front given the desperate economic situation most people faced.

I left Nicaragua having made two interconnected decisions: that I would abandon politics and journalism.  I did then, at least for a little while but I went back to both, thinking the Cold War is over, we are living in a new world.

What has that to do with today?

The feeling of dread, that what we feared might come to pass has already become inevitable, that the ghost of Christmas future is here not to give us warning and a chance of redemption, but to mock our stupidity, especially the idea that we are "the resistance."

It's been more than a year since Trump achieved a majority in the slaveocracy's electoral college even though he lost the election by three million votes.

It is time to stop pretending that he doesn't know what he is doing, that he is alienating "our" allies or that he isn't accomplishing much on account of Congress.

It may all be an act or he may quite sincerely be delusional and even psychopathic. But you are what you pretend to be.

He acts as if he actually believes the United States is in a war of all against all, and "we" have been betrayed by "our" leaders who were trying to get along with many other countries instead of insulting them, threatening them militarily and confronting them economically.

I don't think there's a concept in current political discourse more wrong headed than that Trump is just playing to his base, throwing them a little red meat, protecting his narrow slice of the electorate and similar drivel.

What Trump is doing is to cohere a mass movement that is unconditionally loyal to him. He is doing so by constantly projecting himself as the sole embodiment of "America First," and saying the problems "regular" Americans face are due to betrayal, to treason.

He is not running for re-election, he is campaigning to become America's Putin -- actually, worse.

No comments:

Post a Comment