Pence, Trump and Evangelicals

Mike Pence may well be the next president of the United States. Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale explain the relationship between Trump and evangelical Protestants like Vice-President Pence.  [This piece was first published in Turkish in Cumhuriyet ,August 12, 2018.]

For thirty years, the right wing of the Republican Party in the United States was dominated by politically organized evangelical Protestants. Their politics rested on three pillars. First, they were for sexually conservative ‘family values’ and against abortion, lesbians and gays, adultery and sex workers. Second, they were racists, especially towards black people, Muslim and immigrants. Third, they were pro-business and anti-tax.

Evangelical (‘fundamentalist’) white Protestants are only 17% of Americans. By contrast, more moderate white Protestants are 13%, Catholics are 18%, and 24% of Americans now say they have no religious affiliation. So evangelicals could never dominate politics. But they could dominate the right of the Republican party, using racism to appeal to a wider audience.

Then came Trump. He is different. In the last 40 years of neoliberalism, the US has become the most unequal of the rich countries. To understand his appeal, you have to understand the bitterness among ordinary Americans. In real terms the pay rate of the median man now is the same as it was forty years ago, in the time of his grandfather. Continue reading

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Sexual politics and Trumpgate

Students in Concord, California, breaking out of their high school to join gun control protests

The balance of power has shifted and Trump is going. Sexual politics has been central to this, Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale write. The turning point, the hinge of history, is Michael Cohen’s guilty plea over payments by him and Trump to two sex workers. That is not a sideshow.

When Trump was elected, the left, the feminists, the anti-racists, the liberals, the Democrats were in despair. Then came the women’s march on 21 January 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Everyone, on all sides, was astonished it was so big. Two things made it big: Trump’s anti-abortion politics and that the president was a pussy grabber (his words). They made it big because a third of Americans have had an abortion, the great majority of Americans love someone who has had an abortion, and every woman has been insulted or groped by a pussy grabber.

Before the march, many Democrats were inclined to follow Obama’s advice and try to work with Trump and influence him over the next year. The march stiffened them. Then, almost immediately, the occupations of the airports to defend Muslim immigrants made the politicians braver. And #metoo has meant a crucial shift in power at work. Pussy grabbers, rapists and abusers are losing their jobs.  Continue reading

WTF?

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Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale write:

Trump’s win this morning has left many of us in despair. To prepare ourselves for what is to come, here are some things we need to understand about class struggle, racism and climate change.

First, this vote is a victory for the far right and for racism on a global scale. Second, it is also partly a class revolt against the consequences of neoliberalism. Trump’s appeal to class anger through racism is a tragedy and an obscenity.

Trump’s racism and sexism matter. In this respect, Clinton was the lesser of two evils. Trump’s victory will unleash a right wing backlash on abortion, and it will be a license to arrest, beat and kill unarmed black men. Government repression of every kind will follow. So will persecution of Muslims, immigrants and refugees. Things will get easier for those who would harass, rape and torture.

Trump’s victory will give heart to authoritarian governments and far right racist parties around the world. It will shift the world to the right.

Trump’s victory is also a class rebellion. Almost every bit of mainstream commentary for months has been class blind. But forty years of increasing inequality has created a very considerable economic and cultural class division in the United States. On the one hand there are those who have done well. They are women and men, black and white, gay and straight. They are the head teachers and police chiefs, the fund managers and Soccer Moms, the college educated managers and professionals. Continue reading

Punishing bad boys: intersections of race, class and gender

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Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale look at Ann Arnett Ferguson’s Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity (Ann Arbour, University of Michigan Press, 2001).

This is a very good book about the depth of American racism behind the school to prison pipeline, the Ferguson and Black Lives Matter protests, and the new civil rights movement which is emerging in the United States. Bad Boys should also be read as a model for sociological research and theory. It is a brilliant example of how to do intersectional analysis.

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Sexual Violence and Class Inequality

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale. To download a pdf of this paper click here NLJN31Jan15FINAL

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Resistance to sexual violence is increasing globally. There have been revelations of abuse in many countries, protests against rape in American universities, a riot in Delhi, and mass protests in Kolkota. It seems a tipping point has been reached and this movement will grow. This paper offers a new, and perhaps surprising, way of understanding the roots of sexism, and sexual violence which we hope will help take this movement forward.  Continue reading