“Fuck the Establishment”

Forget the email server scandal. Bernie Sanders dismissed it as a sideshow during the Democratic Primary and he was right. All politicians are hypocritical and lie sometimes. Forget Wikileaks and the Podesta emails. They merely gave confirmation to existing biases. What undid Hillary Clinton was the same sentiment that was behind Brexit. Ordinary working people, and yes many of them are racist but again a sideshow, who are sick of elite liberal and conservative politicians alike promising change and never delivering.

The “Establishment” of corporations, senior bureaucrats, mainstream media and the politicians that serve them rolls on to its own agenda, bickering at times over the details but relentless in serving its own selfish interests.

A few years ago there was a call to arms by the Occupy Movement. This was successfully negated by the media either ridiculing them as hippies or ignoring them and subjecting activists to surveillance and harassment by the authorities. Not enough of the 99% supported them. The time was not right and there was no leader to coalesce around.

In Britain it took a bombastic populist like Farage to kick start a loose coalition of pissed off Englishmen against the British and European Establishment. He had been doing this for years in the European Parliament, with senior Eurocrats his favourite target for accusations of moral turpitude. This was music to the ears of an increasingly large section of the population outside London who felt abandoned by the market reforms of successive neo liberal Labour and Conservative governments, and who felt helpless as what they perceived to be their British way of life, was “overwhelmed” by open door immigration via Europe. Many poor or struggling middle class people may not fully understand the nuances of neo liberal economics but poverty and struggle street can make you angry. The liberal toffs of the Establishment in London, and by extension the Establishment in Brussels, were a perfect target for this anger. Brexit was a giant “Fuck You!” A moment of anarchy.

The same forces are at play in the US. Trump is a narcissistic, ignorant clown but so many Americans are angry with what has happened since the GFC that they see a vote for Trump as a giant “Fuck You!” to the US Establishment and its spokeswoman Hillary Clinton. They would rather take a chance on a fool like Trump than subject themselves to another 4 years of status quo. The 2016 election is another moment of anarchy. Trump lacks coherence and stability but he has promised to reign in Wall Street (yes that is ironic); put the brakes on the military and the corporations who serve them; negotiate with Russia and China rather than aggressively confronting them militarily; disavowed the TPPA and NAFTA; crack down on immigration; and spend up large on infrastructure. He is hypocritical and probably unstable, yet it a measure of how angry so many people are with the Establishment elite, that they prefer a wild gamble on this man than another 4 years of the same. Even the old Reds under the Bed chestnut with Russia didn’t work.

On top of this was the arrogant decision by the Establishment to sabotage Bernie Sanders campaign and install the unpopular Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate. To them a socialist like Sanders was as much a danger as Trump. Probably even more so. Head to head Sanders was a clear favourite with the voters against Trump, as opposed to Clinton. However his policies were too big a threat to Wall Street and the Washington foreign policy and defense elite. Like the Occupy movement he was ignored or ridiculed and then covertly sabotaged by the Democrat machine. It was galling for many supporters that he then threw his support behind Clinton rather than standing independently, perhaps believing he could garner policy leverage over Clinton in return.

Without Sanders it was Clinton or Trump, and Trump was clearly the anti establishment contender. He is loud, crude and ignorant but he is not a Washington insider and nothing else matters. By removing Sanders the US Establishment has reaped what it sowed. Hopefully Trump will reign in the crass, racist, misogynistic hyperbole of the campaign and get on with bringing meaningful change. I doubt all of this will be for the better. That is the consequence of the Establishment meddling. Trump is their Frankenstein baby and they deserve the blame.


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