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ALL AH WE IS ONE: Trump and company

Tennyson Joseph, [email protected]

ALL AH WE IS ONE: Trump and company

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The fact is that the so-called European civilisation – ‘Western’ civilisation – as it has been shaped by two centuries of bourgeois rule, is incapable of solving the two major problems to which its existence has given rise: the problem of the proletariat and the colonial problem, that Europe is unable to justify itself either before the bar of ‘reason’ or before the bar of ‘conscience’; and that, increasingly, it takes refuge in a hypocrisy which is all the more odious because it is less and less likely to deceive.  – Aimé Cesairé, Discourses On Colonialism

WHEN THIS WEEK we witnessed the simultaneous expressions from one of the leading Barbadian businessmen, Sir Charles Williams, and one of the leading US and global capitalists, Donald Trump, the above reflections from Martinique-born Aimé Cesairé immediately came to mind.

Writing after Europe had cannibalised itself after World War II, Cesairé was showing that Europe had lost the legitimacy of its claims to natural moral and civilisational leadership and that its dripping fangs and claws were exposed for all to see.

Trump’s open declaration that America should debar Muslims from entry, and Sir Charles’ outburst in a normal industrial dispute showed that capitalism can no longer rely on its odious hypocrisy.

The common lesson in both of these episodes is that these leading representatives of capital in their respective domiciles have both been forced to expose their deep-seated [positions], which under normal circumstances have remained hidden and latent, and “covered up” by idealistic liberal myths of social equality and the decency of capital.

It is a waste of ink to debate [from where] Sir Charles’ or Trump’s perspective are motivated. To engage in such frivolity would be to deny the obvious . . . . Instead, a far more urgent task is to analyse what is happening to capitalism today, which has rendered its myths useless in providing comfort either at the periphery (Barbados) or the centre (USA). In short, why is capitalism and “Western civilisation” now so insecure that its dislikes have now become its instinctive response to the slightest challenge?

One possible answer is the deep-seated collapse of the existing order which has been unfolding since 2008. Both Trump and Sir Charles represent a certain type of hysteria of a class witnessing helplessly the collapse of its world before its very eyes. In such a context, desperation and [certain] outbursts have become normal.

Any lessons? Caribbean workers should rid themselves of all delusions. The leading representatives of capital are no longer able to pretend . . . . Reclaim Toussaint, Dessalines and Bussa. Forward Ever!

• Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs. Email [email protected]