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New Left Review 103, January-February 2017


alexander zevin

DE TE FABULA NARRATUR

Empires and Tariffs

Dylan Riley’s suggestive comments about Bonapartism have both a superficial and a possibly more profound resonance for the present: in the former column, as a star of Page Six and reality tv, Trump as parody of Reagan, without his movie career or even his stint as governor of someplace by way of apprenticeship to power; in the latter, the sense of tensely balanced class interests, overhanging and to a degree independent of the conflicts raging beneath. [1] See Dylan Riley, ‘American Brumaire’, in this issue. It’s not clear to me that either gets us much closer to deciphering the ‘American carnage’, however, in part because the political context that inspired Marx to describe mid-nineteenth century France in this way, with its nostalgic and put-upon peasants, was so different. (In part, also, because it is too soon to tell if the monster bursting out of the rhetoric is not itself just another form of rhetoric, rather than a historically new formation, as the Bonapartist analogy implies.)

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