In 1927, Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou made the silent classic Metropolis. The film is set in 2026, where wealthy industrialists - such as Joh Fredersen - reign over workers who live beneath the ground (picture above is a still from the film). It ends with an anarchic workers' uprising.
In the current issue of Frontline, there are many reports on Trumpland. Perhaps the most important is an essay by Aijaz Ahmad that anchors the issue. My own report, coming after, merely catalogues the 598 day election and its aftermath. You can find it here. There is an assessment in the report of Trump's agenda. He has already backed off from a great many of his campaign themes - a Muslim registry, a wall against Mexico, the criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton. But he brought these wild horses to the races, and someone is going to want to ride them. The increase in hate crimes since the election is an indication of that. Trump says he wants to concentrate on the economics, but even here there is incoherence. Will his trade agenda actually be able to disrupt the global commodity chain and return high paying manufacturing jobs to the United States? 'Sparks will fly', I write, 'but smokestacks will remain unlit.' These sparks will turn against those whom he has pointed toward as basically un-American. We are on the set of Metropolis.
The report opens with the protests across the United States against Trump's ascension. Whether these protests will go anywhere is to be seen. That is the reason I turned to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to orient me in the new dispensation. The interview I did with her appeared this week in Alternet. She offers her views on why Hillary Clinton lost, on the role of the Greens, on voter suppression, on Trumpland and on the future possibilities of politics in America. You can read the interview here. At the close of the interview, I asked Jill about Trump's affirmative statement on Japanese internment. She responded, 'We the people must be ready to physically protect targeted communities and engage in civil disobedience to protest racist policies and any attempts to enforce them. We can’t think or act like this can’t happen to us, our friends, our neighbors, in our communities. We must stand in solidarity with communities under threat and demonstrate that we are there to protect and advocate for them'.
The day after the US election, I went to Vermont to deliver the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture. It was impossible to give the lecture - on the philosophy of regime change - without saying something about Trump's victory. The first minutes of the lecture, therefore, are about that election. The rest - drawing from The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution - is a reading of the idea of regime change. You could watch the lecture here.