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New Left Review 103, January-February 2017

dylan riley


Vilified by the entire cultural establishment and virtually every media outlet in the country, with the partial exception of Fox News, Trump managed to win the Upper Midwest—outperforming the opinion polls in Ohio by almost 10 per cent—as well as seizing Pennsylvania. Does his victory mark a fundamental shift in American politics, and if so how should we characterize the figure who embodies it? One thing should be said right away. Contrary to what some have suggested over the past eighteen months, on the left as well as on the platforms of outraged liberalism, Trump is not a fascist. [1] See for example Timothy Snyder, ‘Him’, Slate, 18 November 2016; Michael Kinsley, ‘Donald Trump is actually a fascist’, Washington Post, 9 December 2016; Richard Steigmann-Gall, ‘One Expert Says Yes, Donald Trump is a Fascist’, Huffington Post, 18 July 2016. The likely beneficiaries of this misplaced, excitable charge will be the strategists of the Democratic National Committee. The political conditions in which he operates are quite different to those that shaped inter-war Europe, when exhausted ruling classes were prepared to countenance the suspension of bourgeois liberties and installed in office hard-right thugs who would physically eliminate the threat of workers’ revolution. Trump lacks a party organization, a militia and an ideology; his foreign policy as so far announced is isolationist, rather than revanchist—and indeed, what territorial losses could the us wish to reverse?

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Dylan Riley, ‘American Brumaire?’, NLR 103: £3

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