Ben Ffrench examines the global movement spurring on Donald Trump.
In the early hours of Wednesday 9 November, the world woke up to a life changing result. The most unpredictable election in a generation had reached its conclusion: a candidate the world had never seen before had taken the most powerful position in the world – US president. Donald Trump has ignited the headlines, tearing up the old order; he has invoked an unstoppable feeling, familiar yet unfamiliar. He has torn up the geopolitical consensus, and the world will never be the same again.
Across the pond, from Athens to Dresden, from Brussels to Birmingham, a global upheaval is taking place. The neoliberal ascendancy, so dominant in the 90s and noughties, died a premature death in the form of the 2008 financial crash. Bloodied and bruised, the global order stumbled on. But the recent years have seen a revolution on an unprecedented scale: a crying out for radical change.
The European movements have sprung up like never before. In Greece, the radical left wing Syriza party took power from the old, stale and Conservative New Democracy Government. In Italy, Beppe Grillo’s five star movement is beginning to take centre stage, taking mayoralty of Rome through Virginia Raggi. In Spain, the rise of Podemos, and the charismatic Pablo Iglesias, has thrown Spain into political turmoil. Britain is at the forefront – Jeremy Corbyn has taken leadership of the Labour Party, an event not thought possible. The rise of UKIP shows a party who have achieved significant support throughout the country, on a tide of anti-immigration anger through their former and acting leader, Nigel Farage.
But the greatest change of all has been the most hard hitting: Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. A strong rejection of the old order, the referendum dethroned a prime minister, setting the tide for Donald Trump to spectacularly change the world and become President.
The remarkable rise of Donald Trump, though seemingly extraordinary, follows a pattern that has been in action for years now. And the political characters and leaders of the movement follow a distinct narrative. Donald Trump is not alone in his story: an aging, political ‘outsider’ with distinct ties to the finance and business establishment leads a far right campaign promising to make his country great again. Sound familiar?
The success of Donald Trump is clear for all Americans – he promised stronger trade deals for Americans, with economic rejuvenation, and a change from the old establishment. His Trump card was clear – the racial undercurrents were unstable, and he satisfied the right wing tendencies of the white middle class. It is a pattern being replicated worldwide.
America can expect dark times, if Donald Trump is true to his promises. Racial tensions will be reignited, and an America many thought long gone will be returned. Deporting Muslims will be an incredibly dangerous policy, giving excuse to extremists, and making America a much culturally poorer country. Trump’s policy of deporting all undocumented migrants is not only implausible, extreme and immoral, it would deprive the USA of a great workforce.
The election of Donald Trump has many positive elements that the world can take from it. The message is unambiguous. No longer can great countries sit by, whilst a neglecting political establishment neglects the livelihoods of its people. Workers’ rights, protections and jobs must be stood up for, and harmful trade deals stopped – a neoliberal, corporate message that only represents the interests of moguls like Murdoch and Rothschild has to go. It is clear that Trump has no intention of doing this, cutting corporation tax for the wealthy, and giving his friends in the city free reign – a divisive, neglected USA will suffer even more. But with the French presidential elections on the horizon and Marine Le Pen and the Front National gaining support, the stakes are high, and the reality is clear.
It is no longer acceptable to follow the old ways. It is time for positive, global system change, for the good of the world.