Bannon’s Brain and Trump’s Mouth

Jake Greear

Bannon is the brains behind Trump and Trump is the mouthpiece for Bannon. This is becoming increasingly apparent. He is powerful within the administration for a few reasons. First, he is good at influencing Trump through flattery and suggestion. Second, unlike Priebus and other politicians, he has never felt the need to distance himself from Trump, which has made him a psychological asset for the beleaguered president. Trump feels Bannon is loyal, and that goes a long way. Third, Bannon has a relatively coherent worldview. It is a misled and despicable worldview, but he has one. Trump himself, like most of us, has a bundle of feelings where his ideology would be. Bannon weaves a logic within which those particular feelings can be enfolded. This is another way in which he psychologically valuable to Trump. And it makes him a convincing voice in Trump’s ear. Continue reading “Bannon’s Brain and Trump’s Mouth”

Selective Delegitimization and the Strategy of Refusal

Jeremy Arnold

National University of Singapore

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Those of us on the left who take Foucault and Arendt (among others) seriously have, at best, an ambivalence, towards the State and its putative legitimacy. On the one hand, the concept of state sovereignty; the (unjustifiable, but leave that aside) legitimate use of the means of violence; the disciplinary and biopolitical ideologies and practices of modern statehood; the rise of bureaucratic forms of rule and the “administration of needs”; the nation-state form’s regulation of and submission to capitalist modes of production; the global imposition of the nation-state form and its unruly capitalist kin through imperialism and settler colonialism: all of this renders the State a significant danger. Continue reading “Selective Delegitimization and the Strategy of Refusal”

On the Uses of Trump

Rohan Kalyan

Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech University

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In his 1970 book The Uses of Disorder the American sociologist Richard Sennett argued that the post-war generation of Americans that grew up in the suburbs were materially wealthier but psychologically more impoverished than their predecessors. This was due to a strange disruption in the emotional and sensory-motor development of adolescents. The latter grew up in relative abundance yet utterly lacked the ability and wherewithal to challenge themselves or their institutions in ways that might lead to a fundamental change in their way of life, even if such a change were demonstrably good for the whole of the human species and the planet itself. This relates to the election of Trump in two ways. Continue reading “On the Uses of Trump”

Eleven Theses on Trump(ism)

Martin Shuster

Assistant Professor, Goucher College

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1. Things are going to get worse. They might eventually get better, but, right now, the only effective means for any progressive movement is to understand that things will get worse, way worse. Take Trump at his word, and understand that what’s implied in his plans is a massive depression on the scale of the 1930s, the deportation of millions of people by some sort of militarized force, a wholesale assault on women and minorities, and likely a global war and conflict on the scale of a third world war. This is a danger to the world, but especially to minorities and women. Brace for the worst. If the worst does not happen, be glad, be vigilant–fascism does not need the worst. Be prepared for this. Continue reading “Eleven Theses on Trump(ism)”