Donald Trump: Emperor of the Lumpen Proletariat or the Stalin of Capitalist Counter-Revolution?

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2202 ... September 28, 2020
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Donald Trump: Emperor of the Lumpen Proletariat or the Stalin of Capitalist Counter-Revolution?

Bryan Palmer

Donald Trump defies easy classification. His location within the politics of class eludes precise definition. If there is no doubt that he functions in the interests of capital, his capacity to not only expose but also exacerbate the fraction-ridden nature of this highly differentiated entity and the state that oversees its collective interests is unprecedented.

Trump’s willingness to openly espouse the racism, national chauvinism, anti-semitism, and misogyny that runs rampant in ruling class circles is, among those who have attained the presidency, unique in modern times. His conscious use of this reactionary arsenal in appeals to a mobilized mass base of marginalized and often downwardly mobile people may well deflect attention away from those whose interests he routinely serves. They occupy positions in the American class hierarchy far removed from the dispossessed.

Obfuscating Trump’s class politics is his jettisoning of the conventional concern most political leaders within bourgeois democracies exhibit in not wanting to appear crassly self-interested. In... this he shares more with the dictators he admires than many of the politicians who have aspired to and achieved the American presidency in the post-World War II years. Shameless and self-centred to the point of a narcissistic inability to grasp that he alone is not the centre of a universe of power (that an individual is not the state!), Trump’s purpose of advancing his accumulative interests and holding firmly to any and all authority he has amassed is transparent beyond boundaries of past belief. Combined with a jarring, but now routinized, erraticism, this makes for difficulty in pegging Trump to a consistent class politics. Yet such a politics does, of course, exist.

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