Advertisement

Fernwood 2021/22 leaderboard

Fear and Loathing in the 2020 US Election

The 2020 US election is over, and after a tight race, Joe Biden has won. But what was at stake in this vote? What could it mean for Canada and the Canadian left? The election is about much more than Donald Trump, and it provides some food for thought for socialists. In this collection, we take stock of this historic event, and what it could mean for America and the world.

  • Beyond ‘trusting the experts’

    Those who do wear masks may have trouble appreciating the degree of alienation experienced by people engaging in dangerous behaviour. Business owners will continue to promote conspiracy theories to try to open the economy. Notwithstanding these challenges, a critical recognition of both science and power will not only help stop COVID-19 but also make us more resilient in the face of the next crisis.

  • QAnon and America’s political moment

    QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory popular among supporters of Donald Trump, is symptomatic of a problematic digital culture of echo chambers and algorithmically sealed filter bubbles. Here, credulity, manipulation, resentment, tribalism, and misinformation mix and ferment into strange and powerful brews. Such is the dark side of participatory media. The roots of QAnon, however, run deeper.

  • Trump’s 1776 Commission: Cultural renewal by political repression

    The evangelical vision of the 1776 Commission—one of cultural renewal by political repression—hasn’t been put quite so plainly since the Reagan years, nor has it gone to such lengths to enumerate its enemies this century. But what is the meaning of this moribund commission and its program for social cohesion, now that Trump is on his way out? Will this remedial document have any political life whatsoever?

  • Jagmeet Singh was right to call for Trump’s impeachment

    Jagmeet Singh is the only Canadian federal leader who took a stand in favour of US President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Despite criticisms from Liberals and Conservatives that it was inappropriate for a Canadian politician to question a president’s legitimacy—or that such actions endangered the Canadian economy—Singh has been proven unequivocally correct by the passage of recent history.

  • America invades itself

    If both the new far right and the liberal centre crave symbols untouched by history, then an eye for the absurd is crucial in moments such as this. Faced with a vision of America invading itself, the time is ripe to consider the breakdown of an empire which has thwarted popular struggles for decades. Only genuine alternatives to this state of decrepitude can ward off even crueller self-parodies. Until then, the farce will go on.

  • The Capitol raid and ‘real-existing democracy’

    COVID was not planned, the election was not stolen, and the Democrats are not running a pedophile ring. However, there are some serious problems with how powerful groups and the media have framed the events. In particular, the storming of the Capitol building is being used to reaffirm the greatness of America’s pre-Trump “democracy” even though capitalism has existed in opposition to that democracy for more than a century.

  • The coup comes home

    If acquiescence to the far-right was not obvious before, it is now. But we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture. The same police criticized for killing Black people are now being entrusted with stopping white supremacy. The security agencies that surveil activists are now seen as the solution to avoiding another far-right coup. Even the most well-meaning law cannot avoid this contradiction.

  • Can progressives save Biden from disastrous economic policies?

    The key question revolves around progressives inside and outside the Democratic Party. Do enough of them have the needed clarity of understanding, courage to act, and wisdom to see their deficit in terms of strong organization? Can those who do seize the opportunity to ride a return of class politics into US society? Will they effectively resist both major parties’ efforts to silence and destroy them?

  • The US is about to boil over—the ruling class can barely keep the lid on

    The fickle corporate boss model of the US presidency may have run its course, but settler colonial racism remains intact, as does the possibility of national convulsion and white terror in an eclipsing empire—that is, unless socialism prevails in streets and state at once. The outcome of the US elections is too feeble an attempt to keep deferring the lid blowing off the boiling pot.

  • Don’t expect Biden to do much about the war state

    Given the evidence that business-as-usual will continue in the Biden years, perhaps it’s time to take that advice from Cornel West, absorb the truth about Biden’s future national security squad, and act accordingly. There’s no top-down salvation on the agenda—not from Joe or his crew of consummate insiders. Pressure and change will flow from the grassroots or it won’t come at all.

  • Why the United States is becoming ungovernable

    Trump is a con man. He didn’t deliver on promises, fomented bigotry and continued the wars. Biden has promised the least. His clumsy slogan “Build Back Better” shows the depths that even propaganda has descended to. Americans not satisfied that he isn’t Trump are labelled unreasonable spoilers. However, the widening gap between what Americans want and what they get may finally be making the nation ungovernable.

  • Against the centre: The past and future of Donald Trump

    The 2020 United States presidential election is both over, and yet isn’t. Donald Trump lost. Yet, on two scores the election is not done. One is that there are the tailwinds that propelled Trump forward. They continue blowing with no headwinds forecasted. Politics now threatens to become even more tribal, with the left potentially marginalized if discourse continues in this direction.

  • Long live the old flesh! Biden’s foreign policy picks signal a return of the ‘Blob’

    The truth is, Biden offers nothing beyond the visceral vindication of Trump’s defeat. A quick overview of his potential foreign policy picks confirms that there will be a continuity of right-wing economic and military policy under his administration, and a total commitment to the old brand of awful that reigned in pre-Trump America. Biden’s campaign slogan might as well have been Death to MAGA! Long live the old flesh!

  • Weather report: Biden barometer falling—storm front for the left

    Progressive mobilizations against the right and its reactionary politics rarely, under capitalism, garner an appreciative response from the so-called mainstream centre, even as it often benefits from this support. For after Biden’s slow trotting victory lap in the calm atmosphere of a congratulatory consensus, a hard rain’s a-gonna fall. And the deluge will not be pounding the right. It will be drowning the left.

  • The terminal politics of ‘more of the same’

    We are living in a time of biomedical, economic and ecological crises. A Biden administration will only offer more of the same measures that will fuel the rise of something even more aberrant than Trump. The only alternative lies neither in unity with the political centre nor in the false hope of deliverance by lesser evil, but in mass social action and the forging of a clear socialist project.

  • Prop 22 portends dismal future for gig workers in America

    Last week, all the richest liberals in California were celebrating—and not just Joe Biden’s victory. On November 3, Golden State residents voted on a ballot measure called Prop 22, a proposal which will have an enormous effect on the livelihoods of thousands of gig economy workers in the state. This means that, in California, many workers at Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates are no longer considered “employees.”

  • The king is dead, long live the king

    The real Joe Biden will re-emerge in the weeks ahead, as he selects and announces the members of his cabinet. But the best indication we have about the type of leader he will be is the assurance he provided to some of his rich donors at a ritzy Manhattan fundraiser in June of last year: if he were to become the President of the United States, Biden told them, “nothing would fundamentally change.”

  • After Biden victory, much work remains to be done

    The defeat of Donald Trump is unquestionably a good thing. He posed a devastating threat to democracy and had to be dispatched. But the ideology and politics which made Trumpism possible are barely unscathed, and the Democratic Party seems unwilling to grapple with the reality that only a multiracial working-class coalition can build a better society.

  • American requiem

    The sterility of the liberal class, serving the interests of a Democratic Party that disdains and ignores them, fuels the widespread feelings of betrayal that saw nearly half the voters support one of the most vulgar, racist, inept and corrupt presidents in American history. An American tyranny, dressed up with the ideological veneer of a Christianized fascism, will, it appears, define the empire’s epochal descent into irrelevance.

  • Trump or Biden—whoever wins, the world loses

    Throughout the Trump era the Democratic Party has been happy to welcome into the fold a murderer’s row of former intelligence community operatives and neo-conservative Bush-era Iraq War architects as long as they were critical of the president. If Biden is able to win this election, he will not be leading a party that has any interest in winding down what remains of the moribund American empire. Quite the opposite.

  • The politics of cultural despair

    The physical and moral decay of the United States and the malaise it has spawned have predictable results. We have seen in varying forms the consequences of social and political collapse during the twilight of many great empires. But blinded by self-delusion and hubris, as if we are somehow exempt from human experience and human nature, we refuse to listen.

  • Republican and Democrat: The choice between two right-wing parties

    Canadian progressives must loudly oppose the efforts of representatives of the American capitalist class (of whatever political stripe) to subjugate Canadian interests to those of the United States. This does not mean adopting a nationalist position, but rather developing a solid and enduring cross-border strategy against our common enemy, capitalism, and those who serve it.

  • Strange bedfellows: Trump’s political base

    Trump represents one class and one large subsection of Americans that rebelled against the politics of the so-called “Golden Age” that contributed to the transition to neoliberalism, the effects of the which shifted the political economy of the US to the right and the resulting epic inequality, macroeconomic instability, and the social and health crisis that followed.

  • Joe Biden and the new climate denialism

    As Biden seems poised to move into a dominant position in the race for president, the progressives and socialists who vote for him can’t become complacent like they did after Obama’s victory in 2008. The only way to push the administration to take the kind of climate action necessary to avoid the worst warming scenarios will require an organizational effort not seen in the United States in many decades.

  • US election: What could it mean for Canada and the Canadian left?

    One can go on ad infinitum to list the issues with Trump, his coterie and hangers-on in the Republican Party, and his supporters. But while Trump’s administration and domination of one of the two major political parties in the US is horrible enough for the American people—especially working class folks—his power, ideology, policies and social base threaten people in other countries, particularly Canada.

  • Why America’s economic war on China is failing

    Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are committed to a policy that will not cause China to surrender to the ambitions of the United States. Whether or not the US can backtrack from this policy orientation and begin a dialogue with China remains to be seen; doing so would be, of course, desirable.

  • American democracy and the twilight of the fools

    If Biden allows Trump to weaponize language like this, the American narrative will further shift toward a realm of “alternative facts” and enter a hellish realm of ambiguity, ripe for the plotting of totalitarian propaganda. Given the United States’ global power, allowing such an atmosphere to rule could have severe international repercussions.

  • The difference between the US and China’s response to COVID-19 is staggering

    The United States continues to have the largest total number of cases of COVID-19. The government continues to flounder as the number of cases escalates. Not one state in the country seems immune to the spread of the disease. Meanwhile, in China, ever since the virus was crushed in Wuhan, the government merely has had to contain small-scale localized outbreaks

Browse the Archive