This essay by George Ciccariello-Maher was written for arranca! issue #51 (forthcoming), to provide an overview for a German-speaking audience on the dynamics behind Trump's election and the resistance to his presidency.
With the election of Trump, the tempo of our collective disaster has shifted dramatically. Rather than the slow-rolling nightmare of Clintonite neoliberalism, for which Obama was more continuity than respite, this nightmare has suddenly shifted into high-gear with each new day bringing — via a string of brutal executive orders — a new hell to ponder, lament, and resist.
How did we get here? The debates are seemingly interminable and inevitably self-serving.
Protesters blockade Vancouver International Airport to prevent deportation of Lalibar Singh, December 2007. via No One is Illegal Vancouver.
Things are often clearer from the outside. I currently live in Mexico, where the stakes of a Trump presidency are so obvious that his unexpected victory has provoked the worst collapse in the peso in nearly a decade. Here, the left-wing daily La Jornada recently put things as clearly as they need to be put: “There is a difference between legal and legitimate,” and the outpouring of street protests that greeted Trump’s election have made this difference perfectly legible. Just because Trump was legally elected doesn’t mean we need to accept his presidency — and much less his racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic ideas — as legitimate.
You've probably heard a lot about the Bolivarian regimes in Latin America by now - but have you heard about Venezuela's 1,500 grassroots-lead communes which have been their driving force? In this article, originally published in ROAR magazine's first issue, George Cicciarello-Maher guides you through the political mobilisations of contemporary Venezuela.
George's new book, Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela, is out now and 40% off until Sunday 30th October. Click here to activate the discount.
George Ciccariello-Maher is a writer, organizer, and professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University. He is the author most recently of Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela, and is currently a visiting researcher at the Instituted for Social Research at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) where he is researching popular self-defense movements. Here he picks 5 essential book for rethinking the history of communal power in Latin America and beyond.
The Latin American commune dates to long before the events of Paris 1871. Never emerging fully-formed—why would we expect it to?—the history of the commune cuts into and across much broader struggles for popular self-government that began before colonization. Just as the Spanish comuna can encompass everything from a local community to a fully-fledged collectivist society, so too do we need to excavate the real, living history of the commune in a nuanced way that does not sacrifice social content to any predetermined form.