Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Micro-Tribes of the Red Macro-Tribe

There is an interesting new piece from the leftist “antifascist” writer Matthew Lyons. He could be considered a “Blue Tribe fundamentalist” (similar to Chomsky and Carson, but not as sleazy as Reid-Ross or crazy as Gillis) so his work is often ideologically tunnel-visioned but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the US “far-right.” This is a fairly good overview of the micro-tribes within the Red Tribe, though it’s incomplete as it focuses only on the fringes, not the majority of the 74 million or so who voted for Orange Man. The whole piece is good but these are the money quotes:

“Since his 2020 re-election defeat, Trump has led millions of his followers and a major section of the Republican Party in militantly rejecting the results of the vote—something that no other defeated U.S. president has ever done or even hinted at doing. The recent scenes of Patriot activists, Proud Boys, and QAnon conspiracists assaulting the houses of Congress and staging armed protests at state houses across the country give new meaning to the term “insurgent supremacists.”

“Despite his administration’s disastrous responses to the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, despite opposition from many Republicans and a majority of capitalists, despite his blatant use of public office for personal gain and self-promotion, Trump came within about a hundred thousand votes of winning. Not only did he receive more votes than in 2016; his support increased among every major demographic except white men—including white women, Black and Latino voters, LGBTQ voters, and Muslims. Although racism and misogyny remained central to his appeal, his appeal could not be reduced to them.”

“I have argued since 2015 that, although Trump has promoted fascistic politics and policies in various ways, key elements of fascism as an overall project were missing. These included (a) a rejection of the existing political system, (b) an organized mass mobilization outside and against the established order, and (c) a totalizing effort to transform society according to an ideological vision. Now, however, Trump has embraced the first two of these elements. And although it’s doubtful he is able to put any goal before his own self-advancement, there are many people ready and eager to give overall ideological direction to the movement he has helped unleash. Trumpism might not represent full-blown fascism yet, but it is rushing in that direction.”

I disagree that Trump represents “fascism” as much as a kind of Nixonian sore loser, more Berlusconi than Mussolini, although it’s possible to argue Trump has exhibited Erdogan-like tendencies at times. But the most important aspect of the above analysis is the acknowledgment that “anti-system” attitudes are growing on the right end of the spectrum and that the Red Tribe, like the Blue Tribe, contains many micro-tribes of its own. And I would argue that the lumpenproletariat has the most diverse collection of tribes of all. Lebanon, here we come.

Read the entire essay here.


Leave a Reply