Americans who work for social justice regard Trump as an enemy. He tramples treaties and governs by insults. But he is the honest face of a machine that has for decades sent jobs overseas, foreclosed homes, sent troops to war, militarized the police, corrupted elections, polluted the land, punished the poor, enriched the rich.
Every prior president has served this machine. We believed LBJ would destroy our generation. We thought Nixon was the scariest thug in the basement. We thought Ford was a clumsy stooge. We feared Reagan would explode the world. We thought the Bushes aggressively dumb. Even Clinton and Obama yielded to bankers and bombers.
All presidents have allowed the machine to become larger. Now so large that it can smash the middle class during the next market crash. Therefore, politics will probably become even cruder after Trump, as the middle class becomes angrier. That’s how Hitler rose.
There is no easy fix. Electing excellent people is not good enough. Once elected they are surrounded by greed. Demonstrations and petitions are not good enough. They’re easily ignored. And Hope is just another word for helpless.
Completely reversing dangerous trends, to build a stable economy based on ecology and justice, requires us to rebuild our nation, our cities, our own lives, starting where we live. New infrastructure will reduce fossil fuel use to a fraction. This gigantic task will fully employ the next ten generations.
At the same time, the middle class can rebuild itself as a powerful and generous Mutual Class. The Mutual Class gets ahead by getting together. We protect our homes and happiness without attacking the poor, by creating housing co-ops on land trusts, by starting health co-ops, starting solar co-ops and insulation co-ops, by expanding urban agriculture, establishing free universities that teach neighborhood management, moving our money into credit unions that support the above, and even printing our own community currencies.
These practical local and regional models reclaim direct control of land, law, and money, for people who are eager to fix problems rather than gripe. As they merge nationally they will pull authority toward sanity again.
Glover is founder of more than a dozen organizations, such as Citizen Planners of Los Angeles, Philadelphia Orchard Project, Ithaca HOURS local currency, and the Ithaca Health Alliance. He taught urban studies at at Temple University, then ecological economics and Jefferson University. He is author of six books on grassroots economies.