We see with the rise of the radical right not only in Europe but recently in the United States, the general trend that the status quo– that is neoliberal capitalism has lost most of its legitimacy; so although it appears that this rise coupled with elements of white nationalism is scary, it must be understood in its broader historical context. People are fed up with the Clintons and Obamas and CNN news. They want change. Some, especially poor uneducated whites are not always able to articulate their frustration, so Trump makes it easy for them. Let’s not forget Trump spoke openly against globalization and “big moneyed interests”. If we really want to get people to organize we need to reach out to those white workers who voted Trump out of despair and hatred of the typical American politician. However, we cannot compromise on issues such as Women’s equality, and dignity for undocumented immigrants.
Saul Alinsky, whose successor, Ed Chambers, was Gecan’s mentor, argued that the ideological rigidity of the left—something epitomized in identity politics and political correctness—effectively severed it from the lives of working men and women. This was especially true during the Vietnam War when college students led the anti-war protests and the sons of the working class did the fighting and dying in Vietnam. But it is true today as liberals and the left dismiss Trump supporters as irredeemable racists and bigots and ignore their feelings of betrayal and very real suffering. Condemning those who support Trump is political suicide. Alinsky detested such moral litmus tests. He insisted that there were “no permanent enemies, no permanent allies, only permanent interests.”
Yes, some of Trumps supporters are indeed racist bigots, but we’d be delusional to label a third of America this way. They are not as some liberals claim, actual fascists, although the race could be made that their rhetoric sometimes has some neo-fascist undertones. They do not actually operate as a hit squad. If we really want to make change, we need to get on board with those who are ditching neoliberalism and push them to a better alternative other than right wing populism.