Trump’s Victory Confirms 2016 as the Year WASPs Began, Alarmingly, to Embrace the Far Right in Significant Numbers

9.11.16

A photo taken by Andy Worthington in New York in January 2016, used as the cover image for Andy's band The Four Fathers' song "Neo-Liberal Bullshit Blues," which features a verse about Donald Trump.

Please listen to “Neo-Liberal Bullshit Blues” by my band The Four Fathers, with its verse about how “Donald Trump is no answer / He’s just a selfish and dangerous fool / He’s just another version / Of the Neo-Liberal Bullshit Blues.”

Like June 23, 2016, November 8, 2016 will go down in the history books as a day when dreams of progress and tolerance and hope were brutally dashed. On June 23, in the UK, a slim majority of voters who could be bothered to turn out to vote in the EU referendum gave a kicking to the British establishment and endorsed racism and xenophobia, damaging the economy for no discernibly important reason whatsoever, making us a laughing stock around the world, and resetting the UK’s default position on tolerance to one in which foreigners can be openly abused, and anyone foreign-born, or appearing to be foreign-born, can be treated as “the other.”

In the US, as Jonathan Freedland wrote for the Guardian today, “We thought the United States would step back from the abyss. We believed … that Americans would not, in the end, hand the most powerful office on earth to an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar.”

And yet, that is exactly what happened, and the parallels with the UK are, unfortunately, illuminating. Voters gave a kicking to the establishment, represented by Hillary Clinton, and white voters turned to Trump, the showman who, like Nigel Farage, pretended to be a “man of the people,” even though that was patently untrue.

Trump’s appeal, like Farage’s in the UK, was primarily to WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), for two particular reasons: firstly, because their lives have been eroded by the relentless crushing greed of neoliberalism, although they are spectacularly poor at working out who it is who has been exploiting them, and always seem to end up in the arms of their exploiters rather than working out that someone with a socialist message offers the only hope of salvation; and, secondly, because they have been kept in an endless state of alarm about the threat posed by the “other” — Muslims and Mexicans, for example, in the US, and Muslims, east Europeans and refugees in the UK — which has been played upon by cynical politicians (or, in Trump’s case, self-seeking showmen disguised as politicians) and the ever-present cynical and manipulative media.

To be fair, Hillary Clinton was an unconvincing candidate, lacking an ability to connect with people that Barack Obama clearly had (and how apparent it was whenever he popped up to support Clinton), and that, sadly, Trump was also widely perceived to have had. However, Trump’s victory owes much more to the two profound sources of disaffection I outlined above — the threat posed by the “other” and the perceived erosion of people’s living standards by an “enemy within,” the establishment.

The racism, I admit, scares me, as Britain has become a place of open racism since June 23, reminding me of the country of my youth, in the days of Enoch Powell, before Rock Against Racism did so much to move my generation beyond racism and to celebrate multi-culturalism and diversity. In Trump’s America, too, the intolerance must be deeply alarming.

As my friend Larisa Alexandrovna Horton wrote on Facebook earlier today, explaining why she was banning anyone who voted for Trump:

This man ran on a platform that said refugees are evil and parasitic. I am a refugee. This man ran on a platform that said journalists are dangerous and that laws need to be passed to silence them. I am a journalist. This man ran on a platform that emboldened and legitimized Antisemitism. I am a Jew. This man has consistently bragged about assaulting and dehumanizing women. I am a woman.

On these fronts, however, we can at least fight back. On the economy — on the betrayal of the people by a corrupt establishment in which politicians only look out for their interests of corporations and the banks — we face, it seems, a much more uphill struggle to convince people that the answer to their problems is some form of socialism, some political framework that puts the needs of the people — all the people — before the greed of the corporations and the banks.

As I read recently (and I’m sorry I can’t remember who made the statement), neoliberalism, the prevailing capitalist model that is grinding us all down, works by making as many people as possible feel as insecure as possible as much of the time as possible.

How is that meant to be the basis for a happy, functioning society?

It isn’t.

Neoliberalism is killing our planet, our jobs, our hopes and our happiness, and we must find a way not only to resist it, but to work out how to persuade our fellow citizens, on both sides of the Atlantic, that they are being misdirected, that they are being lied to by representatives of the establishment masquerading as outsiders — the billionaire Donald Trump, and the former commodities broker Nigel Farage.

As for fears of fascism, it is true that neither Trump nor Farage has militias like the Nazis, but it would be unwise to underestimate how both men could mobilize supporters in the street if that was their wish. Farage, for example, is already threatening to raise a mob to intimidate the Supreme Court judges in the UK who are legitimately ruling on whether Parliament must have a say in deciding the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU, or if the EU referendum was actually about empowering the replacement for David Cameron — Theresa May, chosen as the UK’s leader by just 199 Tory MPs — as a tyrant.

And Donald Trump, of course, has repeatedly incited his supporters to violence, as this New York Times video shows – and also see this Huffington Post article, and this exhaustive list.

And so, here’s an apposite poem about fascism by the British poet and academic Michael Rosen:

Fascism: I sometimes fear …
By Michael Rosen, 2014

I sometimes fear that
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress
worn by grotesques and monsters
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis.

Fascism arrives as your friend.
It will restore your honour,
make you feel proud,
protect your house,
give you a job,
clean up the neighbourhood,
remind you of how great you once were,
clear out the venal and the corrupt,
remove anything you feel is unlike you …

It doesn’t walk in saying,
“Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution.”

*****

As we try to come to terms with how a man described, at the foot of every Huffington Post article about him (until his victory), as someone who “regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the US,” I leave you with these thoughts from a US citizen on Facebook, which I found to break new ground in dealing with the discrediting of the position of President of the United States of America:

I will have no president. I respect the office far too much to ever call Donald Trump “president.” I’ve lived thru Democrat presidents, Republican presidents and have found something to respect in all of them. I have only disgust and loathing for Donald Trump and I’ll not call this washed-up, white-trash, racist ignoramus “president.” Ever. Will it make any difference? Of course not. It’s my own personal stand. I’ll do it for myself and my own self respect. America chose a very, very dark path today.

That’s just about it for me for now. I have no desire to hear Trump speak, ever again, or to read or hear almost anything being written or spoken about him. The prospect of four years of this seems like something from a medieval description of hell, as I could never stomach Trump for more than a few seconds. If nothing else, his inability to show any confidence that he could formulate even a single coherent sentence always shocked me, and I was unsurprised when I read that, as a speaker, he talks like a child; a third-grader, in fact.

And so, yet again, I wonder how this has come to pass, even though I understand what led to it. How is this possible? Perhaps, as we begin to work out what this might mean for so many issues of great importance that affect not just the US but the rest of the world, we all need to consider whether it is possible that, when it comes down to it, a clown who isn’t a politician can’t really do the job of president, and the Republicans may end up as a mess rather than as a functional government. I certainly hope so, but I also freely admit that I’m in uncharted waters, that we’re all in uncharted waters, and that the future looks rather disturbingly uncertain.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

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55 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here are my thoughts on Donald Trump’s election victory, including the inevitable comparisons with June’s EU referendum in the UK. In both, racism – whether towards Muslims, Mexicans or refugees – is on the rise, and the establishment is taking a kicking. The latter is understandable, given growing anger about how the political establishment represents the interests of the banks and corporations over the needs of the people, but the answer, in both the US and the UK, is as spectacularly misplaced as is possible. Trump – a self-seeking, racist, sexist narcissist – is absolutely not the answer, just as the dismal Nigel Farage is absolutely not the answer in the UK (and nor, in both, is the Republican Party, the Tories, UKIP, or, for that matter, the mainstream Democratic or Labour establishment).

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Manahil Sikandar wrote:

    Where do u see ur gitmo campaign now?

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Ongoing, Manahil – but I don’t expect Trump to seriously prevent prisoners approved for release by US government review processes from being freed (20 of the remaining 60 prisoners), and I expect the Periodic Review Boards to continue. I don’t expect Trump to send anyone new to Guantanamo either, but there could be quite a fight about that. As for closing the prison, well, that was only really on the cards if Hillary won and the Democrats took both houses, so that won’t be happening (unless Obama takes the executive order route, which is unlikely), but the main thing is to make sure that, under Trump, no one new is sent to Guantanamo. The laws that existed before 9/11 are still all that is needed.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Yamil Arrifai wrote:

    Andy, dark times lies ahead… this was more motivated by racism than any other thing. Trump is unfit to rule a country big like that.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    He’s definitely unfit to hold high office, Yamil, but I do think it’s not just about racism, but also devastatingly misplaced economic concerns. All those poor millions, thinking that Trump will create new jobs, revitalise the economy, when he’s just part of the same neoliberal economic killing machine.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Yamil Arrifai wrote:

    It was a punishment vote to the democrats most of all too. The white lower class voted for him most of any other.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yamil Arrifai wrote:

    And yes, every potus is just a puppet for the real owners of the world ..

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    I think presidents are not quite puppets, Yamil – rather, the entire political machine is working for and with big business and the banks pretty openly.
    As for the Democrats’ failure, I think it has to be accepted that Clnton made an unconvincing would-be leader, but I also think that racism and misogyny also had a part to play in the voting.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Urban Gazelle wrote, in response to 3, above:

    Andy, nobody new sent; this is a great concern of mine.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Rose Ann Bellotti wrote:

    Andy: it is imperative, absolutely imperative, that Obama succeed in getting Gitmo closed and those for whom there is no evidence of ANY wrongdoing closes before herr Trump can take over. He has promised to fill Gitmo up and his Republican henchmen in the Congress are right there with him. Imperative that Obama act, and act quickly. The door is almost locked shut. I despair.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    I understand your concerns, Rose, but I’m not sure Obama can close it before he leaves office. He could issue an executive order, but then he would need to compel the authorities wherever he wants to move the men to to play ball, and I simply don’t see that being possible, because of 15 years of the Republicans demonizing them as some sort of superhuman existential threat.
    In addition, I honestly don’t think sending new prisoners to Guantanamo is an easy thing to do. The US rarely operates in a vacuum. It did immediately after 9/11, but it has no excuse for doing so again right now, and there would be massive opposition internationally, and from numerous sources domestically, to any serious plan to resume sending anyone to Guantanamo.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Urban Gazelle, please see my reply to Rose Ann Bellotti. It’s not impossible, but I think it is unlikely.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Amy Phillips‎ wrote:

    Oh my gosh Andy, I feel like next year at our annual shut down Guantanamo demonstration, we will be there protesting it’s expansion. My country has just become my worst nightmare.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    I know, it’s horrible, Amy, although I’m not expecting Trump to genuinely follow through on his wild statements on the campaign trail – the Mexican wall, the ban on Muslims entering the US, for example. Adding to the population of Guantanamo would attract serious opposition internationally, and also domestically, from Democrats, lawyers, NGOs and the liberal media, so I’m hoping it won’t even be proposed if it is, though, there’ll be a big fight, and we’ll be as absolutely right as we’ve always been.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Amy Phillips wrote:

    Thanks for your post Andy. I’ll read and share.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Amy. Take care. We need to look after one another right now, just as we did in the UK after the EU referendum in June. This is what it felt like: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2016/06/26/life-in-the-uk-after-the-eu-referendum-waking-up-repeatedly-at-a-funeral-that-never-ends/

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    I replied to my friend Michael McCollum after he posted the following:

    The problem with some anti-war folks is they don’t know how to build coalitions from their allies. Proof is their constant battle with the Democrats instead of the Republicans. It is an antagonism that needs to stop. Yes I know that Democrats voted for the Iraq war…that was engineered by the f*cking Republicans.
    I’m done playing light ball on this. I worked my ass off to stop the Iraq War alongside coalitions that were more focused on tearing each other down than getting anything done. I worked against torture with organizations that focused on the real issues before they got thwarted by Democrats who felt it was in the interest of national security to go with the program. But I still know from experience I’m more likely to get them to change their views to help us than to get a Republican to change their views.
    Greens against Democrats…stupid as it gets.
    Democrats against Greens …same f*cking coin, different angle.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    The venom against Hillary Clinton here on Facebook from people who were not Trump supporters, but who preferred him to her was astonishing, Michael. People are picking the wrong battles. I’m still reeling from how most of my left-wing friends in the UK voted to leave the EU, when there was definitively no clear and present danger from the EU, unlike from a racist electoral uprising aka Trump. Have technology and social media and self-gratification and that ever-present sense of entitlement made everyone unable to follow a logical chain of events from start to end?

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Michael McCollum wrote:

    Exactly! it’s perfection without reason. They live in a fantasy land.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    This is what the algorithms are doing to people, Michael. Everyone in their own echo chamber. I remember when I started online nine years ago the internet was almost a level playing field at the time.Then the self-contained citadel of Facebook turned up, cut off from the world wide web, which was troubling, but the biggest thing I noticed was when Google started tailoring searches to what it decided we wanted to see. And now the echo chambers get smaller and smaller, like isolation cells.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Michael McCollum wrote:

    Thank you for all your hard work brotha! I can never give up the effort knowing that you and all our good brothers and sisters are doing the hard work. Thanks man!

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Likewise, Michael. The thing is, Trump will be the third president to own Guantanamo, and I’ll keep fighting to get it closed down, as will many others. The place stinks, and we have right on our side. This is true of so many other issues – accountability for torture, the drones, the wars, the environmental destruction, the lack of gun control, the daily police killing of young black men, the bloated prison population and the widespread use of solitary confinement, the untaxed billionaire leeches, and the lawless greed of Wall Street and the City of London. On every front, we have to keep fighting.

  23. the talking dog says...

    Amusingly (or horrifyingly depending on one’s perspective) Farage has been a huge supporter of Trump. Anyway, I think the last thing the Farages of the world want to do is move MORE FOREIGNERS under their control… I just don’t see GTMO expanding under Trump… for one thing, we’re not really having the kind of “major combat operations” that generate many prisoners, and of course, anyone “bad” is probably targeted by drones. Don’t see that changing much.

    In its best light, many American voters saw a Hobson’s choice between a neo-liberal warmonger internationalist who sold out working people with trade deals and a demagogic populist “straight talker” (albeit at a third grade level) who “probably” didn’t mean most of what he said… both parties nominated the only candidate the other might defeat, and someone had to lose after all (and so, of course, we ALL did).

    GTMO is STILL an embarrassment to America (whether Great Again or not), The diplomats under Bush tried to whittle it down, ditto Obama, and I assume, so will Trump’s. Much will be the same, though the xenobophobic, White nationalist, misogynistic tone that has been set is not likely to disappear. This has been a difficult twelve months or so for me, personally, having lost my father, two of my friends of his vintage, and now, any semblance that my country is not largely populated by atavistic bigots (with Mrs. Clinton eking out a very small margin in the meaningless “popular vote).”

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, TD. Good to hear from you, of course, and to have your reflections on the Disunited States of Trump. I understand there are protests across the country tonight, which seem to involve lots of young people refusing to accept him as their president. That won’t change the result, unfortunately, but it is important to start with dissent – and I hope they stick with it.
    I’m glad you share my assessment of Guantanamo under Trump – and presumably lots of his other fighting talk that was just for show. However, “the xenobophobic, White nationalist, misogynistic tone” you mention is worryingly real, and, of course, is also a hallmark of life in divided Britain right now. Just as in the US, it affects half the people who could be bothered to vote (with, I note, Clinton and Trump both getting 59 million votes, although she actually got 220,000 MORE votes than him nationally). The majority of the half that voted Trump, however, like the majority of those here who voted to leave the EU, are the ones remaking our countries in their backward-looking, venomously angry, racist image – and unfortunately there’s no discussing anything with them in our post-fact reality. Just perhaps, when none of their hopes come true, they’ll think again, but I’m not holding my breath for that. Nothing I can find lets me know that people get smarter as time goes on. We’ve been dumbing down for decades now, and it shows.
    The popular vote in total, btw: Clinton 59,882,064 votes (47.7%), Trump 59,662,744 votes (47.5%).
    Via http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

  25. arcticredriver says...

    Thanks Andy!

    If I were to encourage our American friends to elect a billionaire businessman, I would have encouraged them to elect someone like Warren Buffet. Some American electors think that since Trump guided his corporate empire to 4 billion dollars, he could do the same for the American economy. They forget he was an undisciplined gambler, who engaged in highly risky borrowing, and had to declare multiple bankruptcies. If his policies revolve around undisciplined gambling he could drive the USA to bankruptcy.

    Yesterday, when discussing the stunning election of Trump, I was most concerned over his shocking admission of being a serial assaulter of women. But, when I went home, and remembered other Presidents who were unfaithful, like JFK, who may have given the OK for Marilyn Monroe’s murder, or Bill Clinton, who exploited his most junior staff, and yet are remembered as fine Presidents, I decided Trump’s claims Global Warming is a Chinese Hoax is a much more dangerous aspect of his Presidency.

  26. arcticredriver says...

    Trump is a cipher. And, it may be that he and Republicans in the Congress’s House and Senate cooperate to repeal Obamacare, cancel NAFTA, Okay the pipeline for Alberta’s Tar Sands bitumen, but he may be such a bully even other Republicans won’t cooperate in some of his other measures, like deporting America’s 15 to 25 million undocumented workers.

    Former Bush speech-writer David Frum, (a closet Canadian who coined the phrase “Axis of Evil”), was one of the commentators the CBC used during its coverage of the election. It seems he is not a fan of Trump, and predicted serious scandals. Maybe he will be impeached?

    One of the other commentators pointed to Trump’s late-night tweets as a sign of Trump’s unsuitability to be POTUS. Frum predicted that, once inaugurated, Trump would no longer send out alarming tweets. However, he said that this was the only way a frustrated Trump had to hit back, when he was insulted, and that once he was inaugurated he expected Trump would use the IRS and other government agencies to get even with those who offended him.

  27. Thomas says...

    Trump is a racist, sexist bigot who wants to bring back water boarding or worse.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    I still find it extraordinary that he was elected, arcticredriver. I watched him this evening on TV, meeting Obama in the White House, He appeared as a mx of a brain-damaged child and a primate-like old man, confused and insignificant next to Obama, who looked like the healthy, confident grown-up. I honestly don’t think he has the ability to be president.
    There are certainly scandals he’s ducked to date, which may well resurface, but I can’t see how he can get on with the professional politicians in the party he’s supposed to lead. I watched the repulsive Paul Ryan with him today, pretending to be friendly, but his body language was no less cold than Obama’s. I thought Britain was the world’s laughing stock after Brexit, but America takes the biscuit with Trump.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    He’s definitely the former, Thomas. The latter I think is all talk – but there are certain Republicans who want that, and who are hoping he’ll be their route to it. However, I find it impossible right now to gauge what kind of working relationship he can have with the party’s leadership in Congress.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Andrew Clinton wrote:

    I believe you are missing the point. While it may be easy to point to racism as the culprit (and not saying it does not exist), it was the uneducated white men who came out in the millions and won for Trump. This demographic group saw their jobs sent out of the country and became poorer and unemployed….their dignity taken away from them. They became the “deplorables”….angry and alone with no one to advocate their interests. Since Clinton never embraced them offering plans on how to get them employed again and instead reduced them to rabid racists, they voted for change. Their only alternative was Trump who ran as an outsider who promised to end NAFTA, end unfair trade agreements, tax American companies who built companies in Mexico and shipped their products to the U.S. and offered them more than WWIII as a jobs program for the poor. This is the demographic group who is waiting for Trump to change their world. On the other side of the aisle are tens of thousands of Americans who have come out across the nation to protest the Presidency of Donald Trump. They are not going away. They will be vigilant to see what Trump does. It is true people of color will no longer be able to look to the federal government to investigate and prosecute the burning of Black churches and threats or attacks against the “others”, anyone not-white. So it remains for those communities to organize and protect themselves against the neo-Nazis, the KKK and the militias who support Trump.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your comments, Andrew, and I agree with you and apologize if my focus on racism overshadowed what was supposed to be an equal focus on those who are – or feel like they are – victims of an uncaring, corporate, globalized world that is squeezing them out. I think they will discover, before too long, that Trump – and the Republican Party – have nothing to offer them at all, but we shall have to wait and see, and in the meantime I think it quite likely that there will be an increase in racism from those who were spurred on by his dangerous and hugely irresponsible rabble-rousing.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Rick Staggenborg wrote:

    I agree with Worthington that Trump won an overwhelming share of the votes of white men because they are lashing out at whoever they are told is responsible for the problems they are facing that are actually due to neoliberalism, as well as a host ofimaginary problems related to fear of “the other.”

    I disagree that this indicates that there has been a large rise in racism. It seems to me that it has mostly just become more acceptable to express such views publicly (along with xenophobia and misogyny).

    It is still true that in younger people, these forms of bigotry are actually decreasing. The difference is due to a lot of factors: media distortion and the relative likelihood of older v younger voters to show up at the polls play a large part.

    As for the consequences of the president’s racism, I think we should have been at least as concerned about Killary’s propensity to kill brown women and children all over the world with no compunctions as we are about Trump’s slanderous statements made for political gain.

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your thoughts, Rick. I think a precipitous rise in racism may be something we are seeing more of here in the UK than in the US, but nevertheless Trump’s openly hostile racism when he spoke of building the Mexican wall, banning all Muslims from coming the US and deporting all undocumented workers played massively to the racists in the US.

  34. James says...

    “Ongoing, Manahil – but I don’t expect Trump to seriously prevent prisoners approved for release by US government review processes from being freed (20 of the remaining 60 prisoners), and I expect the Periodic Review Boards to continue. I don’t expect Trump to send anyone new to Guantanamo either, but there could be quite a fight about that.”

    I sincerely doubt Trump will allow any detainee to be freed. He picks the Secretary of Defense. The PRB process will possibly continue if Trump doesn’t repeal it by executive order but the prisoners will rot for at least four years. The 20 detainees approved for transfer better pray that Obama frees them by January. I also doubt that Trump won’t add anyone to Guantanamo. The Republicans control Congress so no one will complain.

    It’s over. Guantanamo will remain open for at least four years.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    We’ll have to wait and see, James. He’d actually have to want to scrap the Periodic Review Board system to prevent any future releases (beyond the 20 men currently in the queue, for whom, I expect, arrangements are currently being made in most cases), and I’m not sure that will be all that feasible. This isn’t the height of Bush-era hysteria; it’s long years down the line,and there’s much more evidence out there now to demonstrate that tired, ill, old foot soldiers should be allowed to go home.
    And as for sending new prisoners to Guantanamo, it’s easy to say in opposition, but in government the reality is that federal court trials work exceptionally well, and Guantanamo is a mess, where the law is broken – and, honestly, not in a good way that you can actually sell to anyone sentient as a good idea.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Andrew Clinton wrote, in response to 31, above:

    I agree with you this formally disenfranchised group, the uneducated while male, will discover the Republican Party has nothing to offer them but there is one thing, in my opinion, to look out for. One is a new tax payer movement who will say, “If our President does not pay taxes, why should I?” This is an axiom both the Right and the Left can agree with. Without money the government cannot continue. No more wars. Let’s see what happens. We do not need to declare “Revolution!”. We just need to not fund it.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that’s interesting, Andrew, and much more of an issue in the US, where you have libertarianism, which we don’t really have in Europe in the same way. Our alleged libertarians are all rich, and don’t want the rich to pay taxes, but as in the US (and as with Trump), they want the poor to pay. A revolt would certainly have some leverage, although it might also prompt serious unrest.

  38. damo says...

    The thing about america is america has at points been so magnificent or should i say its people have been so magnificent…..positive people willing to give anybody a chance …….that seems in the past america it seems started dying from the inside out becomeing the sad place it is now and the election of…….chump…..shows that for me and maybe my generation growing up in 70s britain with all its problems…..which now seem like nothing compared to now…..my generation worshipped america…..it was oz fantasy land the land of milk and honey in a way ……chump….is the american dream…a vile vertion of it……but he won becouse he played right into peoples fears just like the vile ukip and just like the vile farage and ukip its all just smoke and mirrors empty words …..chump and farage are like oz the mighty…..in reality there both just little men behind a curtain……the american dream is over for most if it ever did exist for most…it was telling on the channel 4news in the run up to the elections how they filmed jon snow in the derelickt packard plant…packard has been gone for over 50 years those glory days so called …..are gone… Thease shysters are peddling false dreams listening to the news 70 thousand children are homeless in the uk .yesturday i saw for the first time …in this country ……..people starting to live in there cars…………

  39. damo says...

    There seems nothing crueler and more wicked than leading desperate people on .

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Damo, at this rather sad time. It’s certainly depressing to see America’s decline, as we all looked up to the US in our youth, but the decline in living standards began under Reagan – who, significantly, watched Thatcher to see if the destruction of workers’ rights and the selling off of the family silver was a possibility – and since then America has forged ahead in the creation of an ever-growing gulf between the rich and poor, and the hollowing out of the middle class, always providing further opportunities for greed for those watching from outside, like the UK – although we are, sadly, pretty adept ourselves at choosing leaders whose only mission is to fleece us.
    Of course, young people still look to the US with reverence, but look at the culture now – insatiably greedy multi-millionaire performers, and a faux-rebellious rap scene with a plethora of dark menacing swagger that often sounds to me like it’s just one step away from the gangbanging of some barely dressed groupie, and the loss of all melody and beauty. I don’t mean to sound like an old git, but, honestly, how is any of this supposed to stand up to Curtis Mayfield or Aretha Franklin?
    So as for Trump and Farage, as you so expertly describe it, they’re “like oz the mighty … in reality they’re both just little men behind a curtain,” peddling lies about resurrecting an industrial past that is long gone.
    How sad that people don’t realise that the answers they seek are from complete charlatans, and that if they want real change they need to find would-be leaders prepared to challenge the very economic basis of our societies – the neoliberalism that has outsourced all the jobs that used to be here, the dying dinosaur of an outmoded form of capitalism that won’t recognise that we need a new model of reality, centered on environmental survival and on fairness and a recognition that all lives matter.
    As for people living in cars, the heartless Tories will only say that if they can afford a car then they’re not really poor. They won’t be happy until children are freezing to death on the streets.

  41. damo says...

    Hillary like new labour blew it they opened the doors for the tories and trump sorry but they ignored the working people ignored the working classes

  42. damo says...

    Sorry to sound mean but no body likes rich white middle class liberals

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, everyone’s been ignoring the working class, just as everyone’s been ignoring those in search of socialism, Damo. The focus of politicians has been incredibly narrow – just the rich, bankers and corporations.

  44. damo says...

    Hillary was all about wallstreet and corps…..the working class didnt believe her just like the uk working class have abandoned labour and embraced ukip they dont trust labour well lets see wot happens when trump dosent deliver

  45. damo says...

    You know andy i wish we could report on somethings that are positive my god what a change….global environment healing ….global poverty levels plummet …world peace declared…..but we all just find ourselves gagging in disbelief at the next spiral in hummanitys race to the bottom….its funny films like soylent green …mad max ……arent those films warning us about wot the future will become it just seems were incapable of learning or reading the sighns and warnings …….its like the madhouse

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s mostly doom and gloom, Damo, although there were two Supreme Court rulings against the government on the bedroom tax that are good news: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/09/the-bedroom-tax-supreme-court-rulings-what-happened-and-what-does-it-mean
    But the bigger picture? Well, we’re engaged in an epic new struggle that’s out in the open after decades half-hidden – the progressives against the old white dinosaurs. Jerry Springer was on the BBC last night talking about how, socially, every generation has become more tolerant than the one before, and you can see what he means in general in terms of racism and sexuality, but he added, of course, that Trump’s victory was a victory for the bitter old white people who want a return to the horribly unequal past. And I think that’s also what’s happening in the UK with Brexit, although in both places that’s not the whole story, and I have much more sympathy for the other complaint – about the economic devastation caused by late capitalism’s greed, outsourcing and globalization. And that, of course is where the Democrats and Labour have failed, as they’re part of the same system of economic destruction. For years, I’ve said that I would like to see protectionism, with jobs brought back to the UK (which, obviously, would mean increased prices, but people really ought to ask how they can buy a brand-new item of clothing for £3), but it’s not something that any other mainstream politicians have been prepared to talk about. It should have been a paternalistic Tory policy, but their conversion to neoliberalism seems to have been total, and now we find that the only people prepared to even contemplate discussing protectionism – and gaining support as a result – are people like UKIP and Trump. I think it’s a discussion we really need to have.

  47. damo says...

    I agree were in the age of the bitter….lol..theres a bitterness in the air a fuck you …im allright……i would have thought that yes jerry springer …….should…….be right we as humans should be advanced you know like the crew of startrek…lol where as long as your doing no harm it dosent matter what or who you are ….but last year my friend was very badly beaten in a homophobic attack …..this was by millenial kids born in the late 90s both black and white and wots even worse some of the attackers were white middle class so that bitterness isnt just old white people ………its everywere andy like a fog a poison miasma they did a great act in court of acting like blameless innocents ..and got off despite overwhelming evedance …..theres something very wronge with people at the moment…..we know how we should be liveing…we know how the world could run …we know what a fabbulass advanced green global society we could all be a part of…theres a film everybody should watch the remake of the day the earth stood still starring keanu reeves theres a passage of dialog were one of the scientists says to klato…keanu….so you come to save us…no i have come to save the planet from you …youve come to save the planet from us..but we could change…….weve watched weve waited if you die the earth lives if you live the earth dies there are only a handfull of planets capeable of supporting complex life this planet cant be allowed to die for the sake of one species…………but we could change …….the process has allready begun…….it was an overlooked film andy but one with a very powerfull massage…we should be this advanced global society by now ….whats the problem

  48. damo says...

    andrew marr is on…giving a platform to marie le pen and some goon from leave means leave…..god

  49. damo says...

    all thease c..ts can talk about is war and hate and fucking greed ……andy do you think the process has begun as klato says

  50. Andy Worthington says...

    First of all, I’m so sorry to hear about you friend being attacked, Damo, and the coldness of that attack reminds me of A Clockwork Orange, and why Stanley Kubrick accepted that his film should be banned: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/1999/sep/11/alantravis
    I mention that film only because the coldness of it, while reflecting something timeless and horrible about human nature, seems much more relevant now that it was then, because we can see how people now are becoming dangerously dehumanised, in part through 30 years of depoliticisation, in part through the atomising effect of technology, and of course the result has also been a rise in far right sympathies becoming mainstream and normalised.
    Part of the problem is the complete failure of the supposedly mainstream liberal media to tackle the domination of the market by unprincipled right-wing newspaper owners and editors, and it only gets worse when the BBC extends a platform to someone as repellent as Marine Le Pen, and then stokes the fire with a – presumably rabid – Leave campaigner. Where are the grown-up voices calling for tolerance and, in no uncertain terms, putting down those who encourage racism – and racist violence, as these people do? The opposing voices are absent, and today we’re all supposed to bow down in memory of all the military who have lost their lives, but not the civilians. Part of the preparation for making us docile and accepting has been to encourage us to be jingoistic and militaristic – the pride about the Olympics, the endless Union Jacks, the increase in approval ratings for the Royal Family, and the pride about our military. People don’t know that the Royal British Legion and their wretched warmongering red poppies are explicitly for members of the military only, and not for the civilians killed. These people don’t care about civilians killed in war, even their own, as we can see from the children being killed as I’m typing this as a result of our warmongering interference in any number of countries around the world. Despicable.

  51. damo says...

    one of the most sad things i saw today a program featureing ……maimed ex soldiers mainly white working class …..legs missing arms missing horrific injuries …..one of the biggest groups of street homeless is ex servicemen suffering pts disorder yet thease poor sods were desperate to get back into the ……….. fight………. for who andy the polititions the corperates……..right now amidst the hell of syria….bp…is extracting oil …..all the while children are blown to bits…eviserated andy….. wtf…..why in gods name are people not smashing those warmongering polititions to pieces destroying those corperations ending the fighting right now…seeing those crippled ex servicemen and pictures of dead little boys washed up on beaches…shorly enough is enough

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Damo. I wish I could respond with anything positive, but I can’t, of course. I’m only reminded of my previous comment, about how people have been brainwashed to hang f*cking Union Jacks everywhere, to think Britain is “Great” and the best country that ever existed, to love the ridiculous and inexcusable Royal Family, and especially Prince William and Kate Middleton, to revere the military war dead, fighting for “our” freedoms – as if – and not to understand that the warmongers in particular are the most disgusting and disgraceful liars of the lot. Every Remembrance Sunday should be a 24-hour sustained howl of anguish by all those poor people who actually went to fight but who realised how they were being played by their corporate, imperialistic masters – the principled anti-war activists of Veterans for Peace UK, who tell the truth when no one else does: https://vfpuk.org
    https://www.facebook.com/vfpuk/
    https://twitter.com/vfpuk
    You know, a few years ago, I went to see Roger Waters’ “The Wall” at Wembley, which, of course, is magnificently anti-war, but guess what? Only one charity was allowed to noisily ask for donations outside the venue – Help for Heroes, another front for the imperialist murderers, masquerading as an organisation supporting veterans. The only real supporters of veterans are those who want to make sure that they don’t go to fight illegal, immoral and unnecessary wars of choice in the first place.

  53. damo says...

    funny how the……..royals……..are allways here at rememberance sunday….they started ww1…..the bloodsucking parasites

  54. Andy Worthington says...

    I had two revelations that made me a pacifist for life when I was young, Damo. One was watching The World At War when I was ten – and particularly the episode about the concentration camps – and the other was learning about WWI at school, when mass murderers like General Haig sent millions of young men to be slaughtered in the first salvo of war as industrial-scale mass slaughter. I never got over the shock at the wave after wave of young men being sent out to be killed, and it made it crystal clear to me how the working class are, historically, nothing more than cannon fodder, and how we would all have been sent out to be slaughtered if it hadn’t been for those damnable pacifists who got rid of national service.
    I have much more contempt for our political leaders when it comes to war than the royals, but I do of course find it amusing that the “Windsors” are in fact the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family who changed their name overnight in 1917. I wonder how many of our fellow citizens actually know that?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/11693813/How-German-is-the-Queen.html

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    By Nov. 19, Hillary Clinton’s vote total had grown to 63,390,669, while Donald Trump was on 61,820,845 votes — a difference of 1,569,824. Sad that the Electoral College system makes the decisions, as Clinton obviously won the popular vote.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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