From Pine View Farm

The Dispossessed 5

Werner Herzog’s Bear ain’t buying the hype. He’s fed up with the

. . . false argument that Trump’s support lies in the economic slide of the white working class, not in racism. On its face, this just isn’t true. If Trump is about soothing economic pain, why are the black and Latino working classes, who have suffered WORSE than the white working classes not voting for Trump en masse? Why aren’t they energized by his language about “trade deals”? I mean, the answer is so obvious that I don’t even have to say it.

Since the first black captives were sold off the boat in the English colonies in 1619, racism and economics have been mixed.

Chattel slavery was an economic system in which a few gained wealth from the forced labor of others. Racism is a legal-social-political construct developed largely in the late 1600s in Virginia to justify that servitude as something that was “meant to be.”

The two are consequently intertwined, even as they differ in kind.

Racism has been a powerful tool to control not only black and brown people, but also poor white people, a misdirection play to get them to look away, look away, look away from political economy. As Lyndon Johnson said,

If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.

Mr. Bear is quite correct. That many of Trump’s supporters may be economically disadvantaged, as well as racist, does not make them or him any less racist. It does, nevertheless, provide cover for media to ignore the racism.

Indeed, media in the United States are adept at not seeing racism, even when the “whites only” and “colored only” signs stare them in the face. One needs look no further back than Andy Griffith’s gentle, mythical Mayberry to see this: A Piedmont North Carolina town with no, nada, zilch, not one black person.*

There are persons running for President who speak capably and knowledgeably about political economy (you and I may or may not agree with their conclusions, but they speak neither from nor to ignorance).

Donald Trump, serial con artist and recidivist bankrupt, is not one of them.

(Follow the link for the rest of Mr. Bear’s post.)


*It just occurred to me to wonder, was Mayberry a sundown town?



  1. George Smith

    May 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Actually, on his book tour for “Listen, Liberal,” Frank has said many times that Trump’s a bigot and recognized the same in his followers. In the book, Trump doesn’t even enter the argument although the Clintons do. It’s worth a read because his reasoning is, well, reasonable in that the Democratic Party pretty much ceased being populist. I’ not going to go into it again here because it’s obvious Frank’s thesis is now, by something of developing historical coincidence, extremely unpopular with those worried that Sanders is damaging Clinton.

    But months before this happened the alternative press had been giving the book very good reviews and Frank plenty of interview opportunities.

    Frank only began dealing with Trump in media appearances because things have gone the way they have. He said he started listening to Trumps entire speeches and alongside the volume of hateful stuff there was also his obsession with trade issues.

  2. Frank

    May 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Do you mean Thomas Frank?

    I’m not sure the Democrats, even under FDR, could ever have been described as having been “populist.” Populism was very much a white, upper midwestern agrarian movement, though there was certainly some overlap with Keynesian liberalism.

    Just musing here.

  3. Grung_e_Gene

    May 25, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Under the government of LBJ, the Democratic Party began to make good on government protections for minorty groups, blacks, hispanics, women, teh gaaaaays!, and the white working class began to punish them for it. Further, the Republican Party, at the behest of their Plutocratic Masters, transferred the costs of the social safety net entirely to the backs of the white middle class, so that whites would be further driven from minorities. Of course, the middle class exists because of the social safety net and government benefits.

  4. George Smith

    May 25, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Yeah, Thomas Frank.

    Here’s a review/discussion from a Norwegian pub called Class War. Use Chrome and Google will do a sufficient job at translating it, enough to give you the gist.

    I have an ebook copy and a lot of the progressive press reviews have steered discussions of it into the rise of Trump. The book was finished pre-Trump.

    Frank’s said he voted for Sanders in Maryland and he’ll vote for Clinton. However he’s also made clear he expect nothing to change if she’s president; there won’t be any real attempt to address what he calls “the social problem,” or inequality. He’s also been amazed at the suggestion that Bill Clinton be used to revitalize the economy as have I. That’s in the piece from Norway, too.

  5. Frank

    May 31, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I am convinced that, were it not for Viet Nam, Lyndon Johnson would be remembered as one of the great Presidents. Sadly, Viet Nam was a result of his fear of being called “soft on Communism” by Goldwater.

    The Republican Party has poisoned our politics for many years.