I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party and nor has Donald Trump, but listening to Trump’s inauguration speech, one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
The short speech was one part Lenin and one part Gennady Zyuganov, the current and long-time leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
The first half of the speech was a diatribe against an old elite out of touch with the common man, the working man, the struggling man, the salt of the earth. I couldn’t help but hear tinges of Bolshevism in a speech talking about government as a Peoples’ Vanguard rather than that of an old, failed, ruling elite.
The second half of his speech sounded like one of Gennady Zyuganov’s speeches in which he mercilessly criticizes Russia’s 1990s transition to a neo-liberal economy and how it has hurt the pride of the Russian people, hurt their morale, has damaged their health and spurred their traditional patriotism. Words speaking of the need for better education, for a better life for children, high employment in good industrial jobs, speaking against crime and drugs; it was PURE Zyuganov!
Yes, it seems that Russia influenced the American election after all, but not in the way people suspect. Donald Trump, whether consciously or otherwise, has been influenced by Russia’s 1990s experience, when a great nation was made weak. Although it was centrist Vladimir Putin who Made Russia Great Again, Trump’s solutions for making America great again are far more rhetorically reminiscent of that of Zyuganov, whilst his views on the role of a nation could best be described as ‘Socialism in one state’, the policy pursued by Stalin against the world revolution theory of Leon Trotsky.
Although it was centrist Vladimir Putin who Made Russia Great Again, Trump’s solutions for making America great again are far more rhetorically reminiscent of that of Zyuganov, whilst his views on the role of a nation could best be described as ‘Socialism in one state’, the policy pursued by Stalin against the world revolution theory of Leon Trotsky.
Many neoliberal and neocon interventionists, in fact, come from Trotskyist backgrounds, a brand of Communism abandoned early in the days of the USSR, but one with many followers in the west, especially after the Second World War.
Trump, by comparison, sounded far more traditionally Soviet.
Now before anyone gets carried away, I’m not saying that in fact, Trump is a Bolshevik, he’s certainly not. But the fact is, his traditional social values, patriotism, respect for the sovereignty of foreign powers, promotion of high employment and industrial might, are all values far more similar to that of the Soviet Union than the politics of recent American history.
Indeed traditional conservatives have far more in common with traditional socialists than they do with liberals of any stripe, let alone Trotskyists or neocons.
So, congratulations President Trump. Russia did not influence the US election, but many Russian thinkers and politicians may well have influenced Donald J. Trump.