Since Trump began his campaign for president, so-called “white nationalism” has enjoyed media coverage not seen since the 1960s and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. The objective of White Nationalism is to create a separate white nation state. It is a crass and absurd doctrine but is finding a constituency among white unemployed workers who erroneously believe their problems arise from immigrants, refugees and African-Americans.
When Trump won the presidency, a leading white nationalist, Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” – a web site giving voice to supremacists, racists and conspiracy theorists, - stood on a podium and shouted out “Hail Trump! Hail Victory”, while some in the crowd gave “seig heil” salutes.
Spencer, who is director of the white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute, commented:
“We are going to be powerful – not as a cheerleading section, but as a vanguard and as a critical force that is pushing him in the right direction” (Mother Jones.com)
However, white nationalists have already started to cool-off with Trump’s presidency. Spencer, recently told CNN:
"I have described it as the morning-after period. We got euphoric and a little drunk on success. I am getting worried that he won't work on really big important issues like immigration -- that he'll get caught up on little things like making fun of people on Twitter."
Last month, Spencer even tweeted:
"The #AltRight was aligned with the Trump cheerleaders for 2016. That period is over."
Trump has even gone so far as to distance himself from Spencer and his supporters saying “I condemn them, I disavow, and I condemn” (SUNDAY OBSERVER, 3rd June 2017). Trump protests too much. His politics of hate, bigotry and xenophobia attracted the White Nationalists to him in the first place. It is like a punter visiting a brothel and then complaining of an itch.
Another white nationalist, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party, described Trump as “the gate-way drug” to white supremacy. He went on to say:
“He’s not one of us and everyone needs to know that. But he’s opening political space. He’d definitely opening up political space for people like ourselves” (How White Nationalists are taking their Political Cause to America’s Neglected Rust Belt, Lois Beckett, SUNDAY OBSERVER 3rd June 2017)
But whether Spencer agrees with Trump or not, his "Hail Trump" speech has had a major impact on alt-right. Since video of it emerged, there's been a split of alt-righters who believe the neo-Nazi rhetoric has hurt their own cause.
Nevertheless White nationalists believe that Trump’s election has given them a political space they have not enjoyed before. Like Trump, these groups are canvassing the support of the white unemployed and economically desperate in States such as Kentucky, seeing in their economic plight a large group of worker receptive to their supremacist ideas.
Spencer is a white nationalist who believes that there should be “peaceful ethnic cleansing," where people who are not of European descent “voluntarily” leave the United States. What of White Nationalism‘s fantasy of a future US “peacefully cleansed” of non-whites to make “White” America “great again”? In any case, the idea of a “white race” has been scientifically disproved – there is only one race, the human race. Whatever the colour of the skin, we share the same blood groups and so on. As Professor Michael Hadjiargyrou, chair of the Department of Life Sciences at the New York Institute of Technology wrote:
Despite notions to the contrary, there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior.
Science highlights these similarities in our embryonic development, physiology (our organ-based systems), biochemistry (our metabolites and reactions), and more recently, genomics (our genetic makeup). As a molecular biologist, this last one is indeed the most important to me — data show that the DNA of any two human beings is 99.9 percent identical, and we all share the same set of genes, scientifically validating the existence of a single biological human race and one origin for all human beings. In short, we are all brothers and sisters.
Like Hitler’s NSDAP, white nationalists offer the white working class nationalisation or state capitalism of key industries. Nationalisation has nothing to do with socialism. State ownership of the commanding heights of the economy is not the same as the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society.
There are, unfortunately, some white workers in the US who do believe in the inferiority of African- Americans, who do resent them, and even hate them. They want segregation and separation. They see race as the issue not class. However, they are a minority.
We can consider, though, a thought experiment
Say that the White Nationalists did gain political power and “peacefully” made the US a white-only country, whose population was drawn only from those of European descent.
There would still be the private ownership of the means of production and distribution. There would still be a capitalist class and a working class. There would still be class exploitation and class struggle.
And even if the “free market” capitalism favoured by some white nationalists, existed, say, something similar to the form of primitive captalism found in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, there would still be economic crises and trade depressions, bankruptcies and periods of high unemployment.
The white nationalist’s imagined utopia would soon become a conflict-ridden dystopia and collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
And has nationalisation been a success story for the working class? Workers were still exploited in nationalised industries, still made unemployed and still had to struggle and strike for higher wages and better working conditions. Private capitalism and nationalisation are, like free trade and protections, just two sides of the same capitalist coin.
Ethnicity is a non-problem for socialists. The working class is made-up of workers; black and white, male and female, young and old. A world working class faces a world capitalist class over the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution. Class solidarity not class division should be the watch-word.
As Marx rightly pointed out, the working class has no country: “we cannot take from them what they do not have”( COMMUNIST MANIFESTO). Instead of the poison of nationalism, racism, and xenophobia the way forward for the working class is world socialism.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.