These two tweets from President Trump articulate a desperate and full throated return to populist conspiracy fantasy.

In this thread I'm going to explain what that means....
...Populism splits everything into good and bad: ‘the people’ and ‘enemies of the people’. ‘The people’ is an idea, the opposite of the material diversity of flesh and blood human beings.

Politics is about representing people with different tastes, opinions, values and dreams...
... people from different classes, genders and origins; with different interests, talents, and problems. Democracy as a whole, including Parliament, the rule of law, civil society organisations, international co-operation, democratic freedoms and cultures, is how we negotiate...
...our differences and find ways of living together.

Our democracy is not perfect, but it is a huge achievement nevertheless and we should build on it, not devalue it....
... But ‘the people’, as conceived by populism, has one interest, one appetite and one resentful fury. Because ‘the people’ is really an abstract idea, it cannot articulate anything; it needs a leader to understand its eternal soul and to speak with its voice....
... Populism begins with the feeling that nothing that exists now is of any value and it is driven by sentimental nostalgia for a past which never really existed....
....Different populisms agree that the real enemy is the ‘liberal establishment’ which is portrayed as only cunning and selfish. It's accused of pretending that society is based on freedom and democracy but secretly running everything according to its own secret self-interest...
... News, according to the populists, is lies, concocted so that we will vote how ‘the establishment’ wants us to. Politics, for the populists, is a racket, in which a ‘political class’ only pretends to look out for the good of the country...
... Populism treats science and expertise as mortally corrupted by power. Even the principle of human equality, the populists think, is sneakily transformed by those with power into a way of keeping us unequal....
... Populism is utopian. Trump does not promise to make the US a little better but to make it 'Great Again'.

Populism has contempt for the rational policies that might improve things. Instead, it thunders that it will rip everything down rebuild a new world out of the ashes...
... It is easier to destroy than to create. Populism will never deliver what it promises. That is why the idea of the ‘enemy of the people’ is so important...
... Failure will be blamed on the cosmopolitans, the liberal elite, the people of nowhere, the people ‘without roots in the community’, the people with no culture, those who are only interested in money, foreigners, migrants and ‘the one per cent’....
...Antisemitism has evolved through many distinct species to become a ready-made emotional framework for imagining all of these enemies in one potent vision of evil.

Right populism is structurally similar to antisemitism and it is creating fertile conditions for its emergence...
...America can only be 'Betrayed' because Trump can never deliver the extravagant 'Great Again' that he offers.

It will lead to crisis, uneployment, violence and division’. Right populists will look for somebody to blame. They will find ‘enemies of the people’.
This was written for the UK election of 2019:

This might be useful too on populism and antisemitism.


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More from @DavidHirsh

26 Jun
Rebecca Long-Bailey didn't make a mistake, for which she should have been allowed to apologize. This is her politics. She was a key part of the Corbyn leadership. She was Corbyn's candidate for leader....
... Corbyn, for decades, embraced antisemitic politics. He thought that Israel was a key and symbolic evil on the planet. He was quite unable to deal with the antisemitism problem because it was integral to who he is politically....
RLB jumped to Corbyn's defence every week.
RLB didn't understand the antisemitism she excused.
RLB meekly listened to Pete Wilsman weave antisemitic conspiracy fantasy at the NEC.
RLB listened to an antisemite making a conspiracy speech at one of her hustings and said nothing...
Read 5 tweets
15 Apr

The 860 page Corbynite report aspires to be the founding myth of the left as it re-groups.

It is a classic 'stab in the back myth'. It claims that the reason the Corbyn movement didn't win in 2017 was because it was betrayed by its enemies within the party....
... If it had not been stabbed in the back it would have won.

All populist movements construct a myth of 'enemies of the people'. It is necessary to explain why the movement fails to deliver its extravagant promises....
... The 'stab in the back myth' is the founding myth. It explains how the enemies of the people have been responsible in the past for our misery and why the populist movement is needed.....
Read 13 tweets
28 Nov 19

[Thread] Jonathan Rosenhead, JVL and the antizionist Jews:

He says: "The Jewish people in this country will come to regret [the Chief Rabbi's intervention] because we cannot have the quarter of one per cent of the population, which is Jewish, telling everyone how to vote."

... This is to be read as a threat against Jews, whether Rosenhead understands that or not. Hannah Arendt is clear in her analysis of totalitarian language: predictions are to be read as intentions.

...This is one way in which Jews try to deal with the antisemitism that threatens them. It is a counter productive way, it does not diminish but it increases the actual threat. Rosenhead cannot tolerate living in a world where there is antisemitism which is irrational...
Read 12 tweets
30 Apr 19
The antisemitism 'over there' on the right is wholly similar to the antisemitism 'over here' on the left. The problem is right and left populism; proto-totalitarian politics and thinking; the creation of a political culture in which totalitarian movements can emerge....
... This way of thinking is conspiracy fantasy. And it is similar in structure, and entirely open to, antisemitism. Fighting left populism with right populism, or vice versa, adds to the populist zeitgeist....
... They feed on each other, they don't cancel each other out. The result is not that the populism we fear more is weakened, but that both are strengthened....
Read 5 tweets
2 Mar 19

It was inevitable that Jewish supporters of Jeremy Corbyn would eventually be purged.

Two of Jeremy Corbyn's most important allies are at each other's throats over Labour's antisemitism problem...
... Pete Willsman accused Momentum's Jon Lansman of trying to 'kill' him in a ‘semi-public bitch fight’. Lansman says Willsman threatened to 'do him in'....
... Pete Willsman and his comrades believe that the antisemitism storm in the Labour Party is all a lie. He thinks that it is got up by 'Trump supporters' in an effort to smear the left and to silence the voice of the Palestinians. ...
Read 15 tweets
23 Oct 18
[thread] 1.

Let's be clear about this: the campaign to bankrupt this Israeli guy who was doing business, by hounding his customers and by putting up a blood libel image near his stall, was antisemitic.


Antizionism of the kind that is rife on the left leads to antisemitic discourse, images, emotions and cultures. The campaign to incite people to single out Israelis for unique punishment is a campaign which aims to arouse anger with Israelis and those said to support them.

“We were accused of murdering, mass murdering, slaughter, criminals, we were called criminal enterprise. We were called baby killers.”

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has had a specifically clear and open antisemitic culture and has had for years.
Read 5 tweets

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