We stared into the untempered schism and all we saw was this dodgy CSO effect

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Jack Graham

Jack Graham writes and podcasts about culture and politics from a Gothic Marxist-Humanist perspective. He co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper. Support Jack on Patreon.


  1. Matt M
    November 15, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

    Thanks for this. I was a bit bemused by Phil’s post earlier in the week calling anyone who voted for Trump “evil”. It’s that sort of polarism which helped Clinton lose the election.

    The main problem was that for the conservative voter, Trump was the obvious choice. For the liberal voter… you had Clinton, who embodies many of the most horrible ingrained political elites, with a terrible record on war and welfare as you expanded on. There was no good candidate, just two really bad ones. A Clinton win would have been just as problematic, just in different ways (I was actually much more of a supporter of her until I read about a lot of the wikileaks stuff in the news, which I found absolutely terrifying. I’m sure there’s equal chicanery going on in Trump’s camp)

    The moment I saw her campaign basically repeat the anti Brexit ‘stronger together’ campaign – ie start to accuse anyone not voting for her as sexist and racist and ‘deplorable’ I knew it would fail, because even if you’re right, you’re never going to get people on your side by insulting them. Didn’t work at Brexit, didn’t work for Ghostbusters and didn’t work for Clinton.


    • Kyle Edwards
      November 15, 2016 @ 5:11 pm

      I suppose that Phil’s rather blunt statement raises the question of whether consciously committing what it an unquestionably evil act make the person who commits it evil. I would argue that, to an extent, it does, though there’s certainly just as a convincing argument for the other side. Clinton’s bad, yeah, but would she be that bad for the country? I think she would have been a clear downgrade from Obama, but she couldn’t do near the damage Trump will.


  2. David Brain
    November 15, 2016 @ 5:55 pm

    As with the UK EU referendum, the binary choice was between bad and terrible. (In this case with additional possible third party choices of stupid or more stupid.)

    The US Democrats made exactly the same mistake in 2008 that the UK Labour party made in 1997: that was their opportunity for internal reformation (if not complete revolution), but that was also exactly the moment when such change would have been rejected because, hey, they’d just won big so they must be doing something right. Hence their surprise when they replace a charismatic orator with a technocrat and proceed to lose – not by a landslide, but still lose.
    The only upside for me is that it’s clear that the Republicans (and the Tories here) are also utterly broken as parties, but they don’t seem to have noticed yet. And the danger in the US is more at the State level, not the national level. Set against that, of course, is that the positives are also going to be at the State level – the reason “equal marriage” is a thing now is because it came upward from the States rather than down from above.


  3. Luca
    November 15, 2016 @ 6:53 pm

    “Trump is not, of course, anti-establishment or un-mainstream, in any way.”

    Yep, I see him as an expression of undiluted self-interest. I’m currently re-reading your earlier Tricky Dicky series and finding that they dovetail pretty nicely with the Trump articles. Right now I’m halfway through Part 3 and really getting into your description of primitive accumulation.


    • Daru
      November 15, 2016 @ 6:58 pm

      This is my comment, I seek to take it back from the bug that has tried to take it from me.


  4. Daru
    November 15, 2016 @ 6:57 pm

    The comment bug is still here – I published the comment by Luca above with my own details and instantly on loading it the webpage changed my details to someone’s that I have never seen before!


  5. Richard Evans
    November 16, 2016 @ 10:49 am

    Hey Jack,

    Brilliant stuff, cuts through the impacted faeces like a hot knife. The stuff on the Clintons and particularly on HRC is nasty, true, and crucial – we mustn’t let ourselves look away from that stuff, however much we hate Trump. The record is there for all to see, whatever the ideological posturing of each side. None of that positioning matters to the people turned to “bloody mince” in the eternal war of all against all, all those human beings (inescapably our brothers and sisters, socially, genetically, cosmically) are just collateral damage to the bastards who uphold the foul, amoral, inhuman system of capital. As ever with capitalism, you just need to follow the money, and you’ll soon find yourself swimming in blood.

    “The dirt is liberalism” – a slogan for our times! I expect to see it (italicized properly, as I’m currently unable to) written in zircon rhinestones on a cut-off crop top on sale in Top Shop by the spring.

    Finally, this paragraph:

    “Trump is not, of course, anti-establishment or un-mainstream, in any way. The liberal wing of the same ideological establishment that made him a TV star tries to disown him. The same establishment that coddled him, enabled him, deregulated him, sponsored him, let him (almost certainly) evade taxes, funnelled money to him, and permitted and encouraged him to accrue huge amounts more money than he inherited from exploiting the working class, now reacts to him with horror. And he is delighted by that horror, he plays up endlessly anything that makes him look like he is ridiculed, disowned, criticised, persecuted, mocked, and hated by the establishment. Because he knows his supporters want to believe him to be a source of horror and fear to that establishment. But this pretence is carefully cultivated. It is a nonsense, of course… but it’s easy to sell a bridge to people who really, really want to believe they’re going to get one.”

    Applause, Jack. Job done. No-one need say any more on the subject of millionaire US businessmen and their seemingly paradoxical appeal to the masses as outsider maverick figures, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. Guy’s got a fucking skyscraper in NYC with his fucking name on it and he’s a fucking outsider! In that one paragraph, you’ve nailed it. It’s exactly that. US ideology in action. A perfect x-ray of the American skull, revealing the superdreams of a supernation, the twisted logic by which a nation deceives itself and looks away from the truth.

    Good stuff, Jack, really fucking good. Keep going, man, you’re in the zone.



  6. Gavin Burrows
    November 16, 2016 @ 8:01 pm

    ‘”Trump is not, of course, anti-establishment or un-mainstream, in any way.”

    Did you hear Ann Coulter’s claim that Trump is “against the ruling class”? The chutzpah is so breathtaking that in a weird way it’s almost admirable!


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