Resistance to Trumpism

Against Left Economic Populism


by Brendan Cooney


The rise of Trumpism, and the global rise of proto-fascist movements, have triggered calls on the left for a renewed left politics which can offer an alternative to Trumpism and fascism. A common theme is the call for a new left economic populism, of which Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution” may be the one of the most prominent examples in the US. This new left economic populism is not all that new. It is a romantic populism that harkens back to the “glory” days of American prosperity in the post-war boom of the mid-20th century, when the US had a relatively robust welfare state, wages rose, policy makers saw a big place for the state in the maintenance of capitalist growth and regulation of class conflict, the state invested in big infrastructure projects, and the US had a strong manufacturing base which employed many people.

The new left economic populism calls for a redistributionist politics which aims to decrease income inequality through progressive taxation, higher minimum wages and generous social welfare programs. It often calls for the state to guarantee universal free health care. It calls for regulation of financial capital. And it calls for the state to jump-start economic growth through massive social spending programs, especially infrastructure spending that favors green design.

This essay critiques some of the assumptions behind this economic form of left populism. Left populism can take on other dimensions outside of this economic form, but this essay’s content is restricted to a discussion of left economic populism. Read More

Trump, Le Pen, Neoliberalism: Mea Culpa from a Far-Left Sanders Supporter

by Prestyr John

Mea Culpa: I have been following Andrew Kliman’s frequent warnings that Trumpism—and now, the possible victory of Marine Le Pen and her National Front in the French elections—pose a far more serious danger than neoliberalism does. I tried for a long time to disprove this in my own head. I didn’t want it to be right, because it’s just hard to admit that what I’ve been arguing and working for during the past year and a half is just not working out.

In fact it was just plain wrong. Read More

No Normalization of or Collaboration with Trumpism: An Open Letter to Platypus

by Andrew Kliman

To the Platypus Affiliated Society:

I decline your invitation to participate in a Left Forum panel on “Marxism in the Age of Trump,” for two reasons.

First, you write,

We ask the panelists to consider the following questions: …

Why has Trump incited such hysteria on the Left? How do we make sense of this phenomenon?

What would it mean to oppose Trump from the Left?

These questions make clear that the panel is designed to ridicule and disparage the anti-Trump Resistance, which I support and am part of. The fear of Trumpism experienced by tens of millions of immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, women, leftists, and others is completely legitimate, not hysterical.
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