A critique of political theater and neoliberal ideology

Liza Platonov

Donald Trump can not be voted out of existence. He is your neighbor with an American flag on their truck, he is your employer who thinks Blue Lives Matter, he is Joe Biden. He is corporatism, he is imperialism, he is political theater, he is everywhere. Donald Trump is not an individual: he is a terrifyingly pervasive ideology. He is not the boogie man — the boogie man is the system of institutions that comprises the neoliberal capitalist state. So don’t act like you’re surprised that Donald will not denounce white supremacy, because he lives, eats, and breathes it — just like his entire fan base, just like this entire genocidal colonial settlement that would not know the value of human life even if it was put into familiar American terms and had a price tag.

As people keep dying and as the earth and its resources keep being bled dry, collective US society has yet to pry open its eyes and identify the culprit of it all. Yet another corrupt old white man is not quite the ultimate enemy that the corporate media and its political propaganda machine will mislead you to believe. Social collectives composed of brainwashed Americans unaware of their positionality (so sure that they are autonomous individual actors rather than projections and extensions of the state) are busy infighting. Unsurprisingly, that infighting boils down to bipartisan finger pointing at individual “bad guys” like Donald Trump. Thus, I reiterate: Donald Trump belongs to a demographic directly produced by the ruthlessly exploitative US empire and the ideology it feeds its masses: one that is dehumanizing and corrupting at its core. That materialistic ideology is the enemy of all people and all life on earth. The government of the United States was built on it and its education system spreads it. The state and the elites profit from it as it ensures their stability by maintaining the status quo. This nation is deeply entrenched in the same muck of racist, ableist, hetero-patriarchal neoliberal capitalism that it was founded upon. Pretending otherwise is a waste of precious time. Already, the Democratic party has spent decades bemoaning systemic failures, systemic racism, and systemic inequality — all while refusing to name the system at hand (that would be far too self-incriminating).

To the US, ignorance and complacency are very profitable. Both are key to the great American feedback loop, wherein the misinformed and divided masses do not challenge the state or its imperialist empire, thus allowing it to further misinform and divide them. However, because the capitalists fear organized opposition most of all, they don’t stop there. To further circumvent rebellion, they put on a political theater that is nothing but reform and appeasement under the guise of progress.

The US government force feeds white nationalist capitalism to each person and institution in so called America. Nothing escapes its umbrella. Each decision that the state makes is a carefully planned move that is meant, ultimately, to benefit itself and its partners in crime — the corporate elites… right? Maybe not quite: in fact, I’m coming to think even such a distinction is misleading. If you frame it one way, the corporate elites and the United States government have an exclusive partnership. As the state maintains power through corporate lobbying and investment, corporations are able to hoard their wealth and profit off of state-sanctioned wars, war and prison industries, inequality, the commodification of rights, and imperialism. If you follow that line of logic a step further, you could frame it this way: the two entities are interconnected components of the whole of imperialist American neoliberal capitalism, more widely referred to as democracy.

That label is yet another government lie. On the one hand there is capitalism: a mechanism that will always prioritize profit, market growth, and increased productivity (thus never prioritizing the people or the earth). On the other hand, there are systems of governance that are transparent, accountable, and prioritize humanitarianism and sustainability. The two concepts are inherently at odds. So, if your argument is that Donald Trump, the individual, is the end all be all of US fascism, and that Joe Biden, the individual, is America’s last hope for ‘bringing back’ US democracy, you’re being thoroughly fooled by a non-democratic state.

No government that puts the interest of a handful of wealthy elites first is a democracy. Today, plutocrats (wealthy corporate elites) are at the top of the command chain in the plutocracy that is the USA. To discuss this government and yet refrain from framing the entire organizational system in the context of capitalism, imperialism, and the climate is backwards. Our praxis — in order to be a productive one — must recognize the truth and reject white capitalist socialization.

Now, let me be clear. My use of the word “must” is not me appealing to your moral high ground. I mean what I say in the most literal sense. Humanity is at a crossroads. There are two potential futures laid out. On the one hand, there is life continuing as we know it. On the other hand, there is the alternative: complete rejection of the overarching structure of modern-day plutocratic oligarchical global capitalism and complete rejection of the same forsaken ideology that enables it and is recreated by it.

Option one means accepting the apocalyptic world state that is quickly descending upon all of humanity and other earth as a result of irreversible climate change, which is the direct result of US consumer capitalism. It means a lot of imminent death – and in the meantime – it means that the black, brown, indigenous, and low income people who will be hit the fastest and hardest by climate change will also never see the liberation or reparations they deserve.

So option two it is.