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Rhetoric or Right-Wing Revolution?

The revolution will not be televised

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President Donald Trump participates in the 2017 Joint Winter meeting

President Donald Trump participates in the 2017 Joint Winter meeting

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President Donald Trump participates in the 2017 Joint Winter meeting

Miguel Arriola, Intern

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The sweeping agenda of the Trump Administration and the acrimonious divisions that have been exposed in American politics have led some to wonder about the current social paradigm in the United States.

In an interview that aired April 12, the award-winning investigative journalist, Allan Nairn, told Democracy Now that he believes that the Trump Presidency is part of a right-wing revolution.  This revolution “has captured control up to this moment, of the Presidency, the House, part of the Senate, and now the Supreme Court.”  

“If they abolish the legislative filibuster in the Senate, which they may, then they will have total absolute control of all branches of government, and will enter a radically new phase beyond anything that’s happened so far because there will be absolutely no constraints on what they can do”, said Nairn.  

This may indeed be a serious concern if one considers several of the policies, positions, and statements that have come from the Trump Administration in the short time it has been in power. According to Nairn, “Trump brought in a coalition of broadly rightist elements: racists, neo-fascists, the Republican establishment, the Koch brothers, oligarchs– all sorts of elements with their own very well defined agendas for radical change in the US.”  

He explains that some points of those agendas do clash.  However, in his assessment, they agree on 80% of things and they are moving forward with their plans, repealing restrictions on pollution, police forces, and criminal liabilities for corporations.  

Additionally, he notes Steve Bannon’s aims to dismantle the administrative state as revolutionary and says that it must be stopped. If it is not stopped, government departments across the board like the EPA could be severely damaged and protections for the poor, women, and protesters could be rolled back.  

Nairn believes things can be prevented from continuing in this direction.  “History is moving at a much faster pace now.  Events have sped up.  Bigger change is possible faster than it was before”, said Nairn.  “So it is conceivable that if there is enough resistance from the streets, if there is enough activism within the many corners of the system where concessions can be won…it might be possible to reverse some of these revolutionary steps from the right.”

If this is a revolution, then it is not complete.  It has not been on scale of some larger twentieth century revolutions such as Mexico, Russia, China, and Iran.  It is a gradual revolution which is still limited in scope.  It is more akin, in its limited effects, to revolutionary changes such as those of the Civil Rights era and the New Deal, which were changes that have been lasted decades.  

Many of the Trump Administration’s goals have been blocked or hampered and most of the gains made by the right are still reversible in the next few years.  There is still some manner of democracy in the US. Therefore it may be premature to definitively call this a revolution although it may indeed be one. Like other revolutions, this one is not made up of a monolithic group of people but rather competing agendas that converge at some points.  

Should Nairn be correct in his assessment of the current state of American politics, then now is indeed the time to resist unpalatable social, political, and economic changes.  Organization, protest, and the halls of power are the venues through which we should surge to prevent a relapse into some of the social problems that we had already made steps to remedy.

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Rhetoric or Right-Wing Revolution?