In the previous nine posts, I have discussed Trump’s ultra-nationalist interpretations of terrorism and immigration, his anti-internationalist economic nationalism, his alliance with corporations with respect to the environment, his populist rhetoric, and his emphasis on military strength. In these posts, I frequently have commented that the Left does not have an adequate response to the neo-fascist project of Trump. The central problem is that the Left does not have an alternative grand narrative.
Many in the Left reject grand narratives, because the grand narratives of the past justified exploitation and discrimination, and even the narratives of the Left have failed to create human emancipation. But the Left childishly overreacts, validating Lenin’s concern that Left-wing infantilism is one of the greatest threats to revolutions (see “The infantile disorder of the Left” 12/19/2016). The problem is not grand narratives per se. Grand narratives are necessary for the creation of any human society; and in the modern era, they are necessary for forging any national project. Rather, the problem has been that the grand narratives of the past were written from above, from the vantage point of the upper classes and the dominating nations; and the narratives of the Left failed to escape this ideological web, reflecting a subtle Eurocentrism.
In the present historic moment, a grand narrative from below is being written by the leaders and intellectuals of the Third World, which constitutes the great mass of humanity that is colonized, excluded, superexploited, underdeveloped and impoverished, and without voice in international political affairs. Indeed, the leaders and intellectuals of the Third World anti-colonial movements have been formulating a narrative from below since the Haitian Revolution at the end eighteenth century. Seen only superficially by the politicians, activists and intellectuals of the North, this Third World project is a heroic creation, and it reveals the essential goodness of humanity. And it establishes a duty for intellectuals and activists of the North: to encounter the various contemporary and historic manifestations of the Third World project, taking seriously its insights. Such personal encounter with the Third World project of national and social liberation would enable intellectuals and activists of the North to formulate a narrative for the peoples of the North that would be tied to the universal grand narrative being forged by humanity, and that would be capable of delegitimating the liberal, neoliberal, and neo-fascist ideologies of the political establishment and the political culture.
In the following nine posts in this series of nineteen posts on Trump, I offer suggestions for a possible narrative of the Left, an alternative to the corporate neoliberalism of Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama as well as to the incipient neo-fascism of Trump.
For posts on the Third World project of national and social liberation, see the category Third World.