‘Minority in their own Country’

The hard reality is that Trump is now President of the USA, despite everything. But the question that continues to haunt political commentators across the world is : why did many of those who in the past regularly voted Democratic candidates and Obama in the last two elections this time voted Trump. Reasons are many. But it is not difficult to focus at least on two basic points. They are failure and retreat of what is generally called ‘‘leftist, democratic, progressive, liberal and egalitarian’’ forces and policies, and almost simultaneous ascendency of what is generally called ‘‘conservative, reactionary, nationalistic, authoritarian and anti-egalitarian’’ forces and policies. This is a universal trend and one can generalise the issue by citing examples from developed and developing countries. In shorthand : France (decline of PS, rise of Front National), Holland (Gred Wilder’s Party), Germany (decline of SPD, rise of AFD), Brexit, ruling parties in Poland, Hungary etc, rise of islamist forces in Arab and Muslim majority countries, rise of Hindu fundamentalist forces in India (BJP), the Philippines (President Dutarte’s murderous anti-drugs policy), impeachment of Labour Party President Dilma Roussef in Brazil etc.

‘‘Between Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2016, America has transformed from being a majority white christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white christian nation (43 percent)’’. And Trump promised to ‘make America great again’ and warned that he was its ‘last chance’ to turn back the cultural and economic change. The promise that ‘‘the forgotten men and women of America will not be forgotten anymore’’ actually galvanised working class people, middle class people, low-imcome people who swarmed to the polls to elect Trump as their man of choice.

For several years now, successive governments of the USA have been trying to deport the 11 million illegal Latino immigrants. There cannot be any economic reason for that, because unlike in the EU, almost all illegal immigrants in the USA are working in the economy, which needs these cheap unskilled laborers for bad jobs that white skilled workers do not generally want to take. They are also not demanding, nor will they get, any help from the state. Maybe it is part of the last-ditch attempt by the white-Christians to prevent further erosion of their power and numerical strength in their own country. But apart from those who are caught while crossing the border, it is very difficult to do as it is difficult for saffronites in India to send all Muslims to Pakistan.

It is well known that, generally speaking, in times of economic crisis xenophobia increases. The disadvantaged locals look for weak scapegoats for their perceived sufferings. They cannot attack the capitalists or their political agents, who govern the country, but they can attack the immigrants who came from relatively poor countries in large numbers to work and make money in the US. This has been taking place in the UK before and after the Brexit referendum, where even Polish legal immigrants—white, Christian, and EU-citizens—are being attacked and sought to be driven out of the UK. This is also taking place in Germany in the wake of the large-scale forced entry of non-European non-white asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

Nearer home how Shiv Sena and Hindu fanatics succeed in fomenting communal hatred and make the minority community responsible for the economic hardships of the majority community has a close parallel with what is happening in America today—white Christians vs Immigrants.


Vol. 49, No.30, Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2017