Na Flip Chart Fairy Tales je bil pred dnevi objavljen odličen komentar (hvala, Črt!) o valu populizma v ZDA. Natančneje, o cikličnosti populizma v ZDA. Komentar pravi, da to, kar se danes dogaja v ZDA s “trumpizmom“, za ZDA ni nič novega. Nekaj zelo podobnega so že doživele v 1920-ih letih. Če lahko trumpizem danes označimo kot ksenofobni nativizem, ki izkorišča anksioznost tradicionalnega dela prebivalstva, prizadetega z dejanskimi učinki globalizacije ter strahom pred tujimi migranti, lahko enake vzorce najdemo v 1920-ih letih. Prohibicija, ki so jo takrat uvedli v osrednjem delu ZDA, je bila dejansko oblika kulturne zaščite protestantske večine pred tujci pod krinko prepovedi alkohola, ki so ga priseljeni (katoliški) Irci in Italijani uživali v neprimerno večjih količinah. Zaščita pred pijančevanjem, nemoralo in kriminalom.
The forces behind prohibition may sound familiar. Its supporters were mostly white protestants from rural and small-town America. Many people were disturbed by rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and immigration. They felt that their America was under attack. Campaigning organisations like the Anti-Saloon League were able to link their anti-alcohol aims to wider fears about immigration and social change. Many immigrants came from countries with drinking cultures and the increase in immigration at the end of the 19th century coincided with a rise in the consumption of alcohol. The cities with their crime, low morals, drunkenness and immigrant populations contrasted sharply with the small towns with their social order, morality, temperance and Anglo-Saxon protestant populations.
Podobno je bil vzpon Ku Klux Klana skrajna in množična oblika kulturnega boja proti drugačni kulturi, ki bi utegnila ogroziti tradicionalne vrednote protestantske večine.
These days, the Klan is a series of somewhat ridiculous dressing-up societies, prone to the occasional outburst of localised violence. In the 1920s, though, it was serious and organised, with paid officials and a national structure. And, the most important difference from today, it was mainstream.
Exploiting similar fears and social forces to those which led to the enactment of prohibition, the Klan grew rapidly. It burst out of its Deep South homeland and formed powerful chapters in such unlikely places as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon. It took control of state governments and courts in Colorado and Indiana. In some parts of the country it became like the Nazi Party in Germany or the Baath Party in Iraq. You had to join it if you wanted to get on. There is even a story that Harry S. Truman was advised to join the Klan when he was a judge in Missouri, as someone might suggest joining the freemasons or the Rotary Club.
No, tako prohibicija kot KKK sta bila le deset let kasneje preteklost. Franklin D. Roosevelt je odpravil prohibicijo in začel s programom socialnih in gospodarskih reform, ki so prinesli socialno državo. Na drugi strani so KKK-jevce uničili tako, da so njihove vidne predstavnike in simpatizerje razkrinkali kot koruptivne osebnosti, ki KKK mrežo uporabljajo za svoje zasebne cilje.
Odgovor na ksenofobni populizem je torej v dvojem. Prvič, v odpravi vzrokov za povečano nezadovoljstvo, torej v več socialne države in v programih, ki ustvarjajo nova delovna mesta. In drugič, v razkrinkanju lažnih mesij kot koruptivnih in kriminalnih osebnosti, ki populizem izkoriščajo za osebno bogatenje.
In v Trumpovi Ameriki ne bo nič drugače. Najprej je Trumpa treba razkrinkati kot šarlatana in koruptivca, po njem pa bo prišel čas za novega F. D. Roosevelta, ki se bo lotil tudi poprave ameriške bolne socialne države, zdravstva in šolstva. To so ključni generatorji sedanje socialne mizerije, brezperspektivnosti in anksioznosti deprivilegirane polovice ameriškega prebivalstva.
Yet less than ten years later, the Klan had collapsed and Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office, implementing his programme of liberal social and economic reform. Some of this is due to the sheer ineptitude of some of the KKK leaders. If you claim to be upholding American morality but your senior figures keep getting convicted for corruption, eventually even your most loyal supporter start to lose faith. Despite the Klan’s grip on many US states, the dogged determination of its opponents, such as the journalists Grover Hall, gradually exposed its leaders. Once its image became tarnished, its ‘respectable’ supporters, the politicians, lawyers and businessmen who had given it cover, melted away. By the mid 1930s it had almost ceased to exist. The year that Roosevelt became president also saw the repeal of prohibition.
Both prohibition and the rise of the KKK were symptoms of a nativist backlash against immigrants and social change. There are clear parallels with what has happened in the US and elsewhere in the last year. The lesson from the 1920s is that there is no quick fix. Those who want to fight back just have to find the loose threads and keep pulling at them until they unravel. As Tim Mullaney says, by keeping the heat on, Donald Trump’s opponents have already made a pretty good start. America saw off reactionary nativism once before. It should be able to do so again.