Friday, April 21, 2017
Liberals, social democrats and union leaders have to stop helping to normalize Trump
Take a look at the photo above.
In it you will see Leo Gerard, the Canadian who rose to become President of the United Steelworkers (and a Vice-President of the AFL-CIO) accepting a pen as a ceremonial gift from President Donald Trump who had just used it to sign an executive memorandum that, in this specific case, Gerard was in favour of as it allegedly met the short term interests of his membership.
Think about this photo for a bit. It has been a scant few weeks (and even days) since this was the setting where this same President used other ceremonial pens to sign orders and memorandums that did terrible things like clawing back women's rights and trying to impose racist and bigoted immigration restrictions.
Yet here is the head of a union that claims to care about worker's rights, women, the racialized and the marginalized willingly being used as a photo-op for the White House and accepting little tokens, both literally and figuratively, from the Great Leader.
This really almost defies the imagination.
Even if Gerard favours the executive order on steel, it is absolutely shameful to see him directly help to normalize and legitimize the Trump Administration.
This is part of a truly foolhardy pattern of actions by many liberal, social democratic and union leaders in North America that sees them willing to celebrate various actions by Trump when it benefits their narrow perceived interests or their bankrupt foreign policy or pipeline ideas.
Both Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley have recently played this game.
The Trump Administration is a vile cesspool of misogyny, racism, bigotry, and fundamentally anti-union views and no one who claims to represent the interests of workers or to care about equality and social justice should be standing by that man's side at any such event, let alone serving as a prop that allows Trump to continue to try to represent himself as on the side of the American worker.
Not long after the inauguration I warned of how regimes like Trump's manage to establish themselves as the "new normal" and do so in no small part through the collaboration of their alleged opponents.
And, as was all too predictable, that same Trump that had millions marching in the street and liberals denouncing him, in somewhat hyperbolic terms, as a fascist who was a threat to the very fabric of American democracy, is now winning praise and willing acquiescence from many of these same people for flexing America's imperial muscle and for adopting a tone they see as more "presidential".
Trump is an exceptionally dangerous and deeply reactionary man whose regime is highly unpredictable as it is more closely tied to the delusions of his own megalomaniacal, ego-driven, authoritarian personality than it is to any coherent ideological idea and vision.
His administration needs to be opposed across-the-board and strongly on every front. There truly is no place to pander to it, legitimize it or to play into its narratives.
See also: Trump -- Reflections on the state and the revolution
See also: Justin Trudeau's dangerous Syrian Trump gambit