Saturday Report: Progressive movement

Saturday Report: Progressive movement
Saturday Report: Progressive movement

Noam Chomsky shares some of his insights on why voting is not the end of our work. It’s only the Beginning – as well as what the progressive movement needs to do in the years ahead. 

Joe Biden has won the election, the Democrats failed to materialize a blue-wave landslide, and it is clear we will continue to deal with large-scale Trumpism. Why is nearly half the country continuing to support a dangerous charlatan leader with such a feverish passion?

The very fact that someone could be considered a serious candidate after just having killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Americans through a disastrous response to COVID-19 is an extraordinary victory for Trump — and a defeat for the country, for the world, and for hopes for a decent future.

Trump has shown political genius in tapping the poisonous currents that run right below the surface of American society. He has skillfully nourished and amplified the currents of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia that have deep roots in American history and culture, now exacerbated by fear that “they” will take over “our” country with its shrinking white majority. And the concerns are deep.

He has also skillfully tapped reservoirs of anger and economic resentment among the working and middle classes who have been subjected to the bipartisan neoliberal assault of the last 40 years. They may not know the details or understand the mechanisms that have been designed to undermine their lives, but they see the outcomes. If they feel that they have been robbed, they have good reason and the Democrats offer them nothing new.

Trump refusal to accept a Biden victory!

My uneducated guess is that it won’t come to that, but it’s a speculation with little basis or credibility. Trump has strong reasons — maybe even his personal future — to hold on to office by any possible means. We are not in the days of Richard Nixon, who had good reasons to question the legitimacy of the vote he lost in 1960, but had the decency to put the welfare of the country about his personal ambitions but Not Donald Trump. He has still a month to wield the wrecking ball that has already diminished the United States, harmed the world and severely threatened the future.

Next steps for the Progressives?

For the progressives, elections are a brief interlude in a life of real politics, a moment to ask whether it’s worth taking off time to vote — typically against. In 2020, the choice was transparent, for reasons not worth reviewing. Then back to work. Once Trump is fully removed, the work will be to move forward to construct the better world that is within reach.