‘Even the President of the United States has to stand naked’: Trump Strips America’s Corrupt Democracy

‘How Corrupt is Britain?’ edited by David Whyte is a collection of powerful and punchy essays that shine a light on the corruption embedded in UK politics, policing and finance. In this article,  David Whyte extends his study of corruption to the U.S., turning his eye to President – Elect Trump’s recent appointments and the continued love affair between the U.S. government and private interests.

Donald Trump’s pitch to the people on the eve of the election in November was that only he could overturn the “years of sordid corruption” in the Washington establishment.   But his earliest appointments are beginning to line up like a familiar identification parade of establishment crooks.

His nominee as Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, a company currently embroiled in a major Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation for publishing false reports about its assets.  The ‘white nationalist’ Steve Bannon, appointed as White House chief strategist has been exposed for channeling millionaire donor funds through a ‘charity’ to fund his work for the extreme right-wing Breitbart News. nude-trump-1  And Trump’s newly crowned head of manufacturing, is Andrew Leveris, the CEO of Dow Chemicals who was also investigated by the SEC for fraud, although the case has apparently now been concluded.  Perhaps the icing on the cake is the appointment of the climate change-denying corporate lawyer Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

But the alleged frauds that tie those appointments together is really not the headline story.  The headline story is that, perhaps unsurprisingly, they all have a long track record of rabidly opposing any regulation that gets in the way of business.

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Protesting the Capitalist University by Henry Heller

The University of Manitoba is on strike. Since 1st November, more than 1,200 faculty members took to the picket line to protest the lack of funding for education, a need for workload protection and safeguarding for fairer tenure and promotion procedures, in addition to addressing several job security issues for instructors and librarians. Author of ‘The Capitalist University’, Henry Heller is a professor of History at the University of Manitoba, he writes here of the strike and how the walkout resonates with the themes of his book. 

Authors don’t often get to live out the denouement of their books. Yet that is what is happening to me as I blog.  On 20 October Pluto published  The Capitalist University: The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States, 1945-2016. Its last chapter deals with university-of-manitoba-faculty-on-strikethe development of the neoliberal university and the growing resistance to it on the part of faculty and students and other workers. Two weeks have gone by  and I find myself on a picket line at the University of Manitoba on a faculty strike against the neoliberal university. As we stand vigil at the gates of the University the days are rapidly shortening and getting colder. Overhead the geese are quickly and excitedly fleeing to the south. But each morning since 1 November I find myself on the morning shift defying the university’s attempt to impose total control over the work of professors and librarians at our university. We are an important part of a rising tide of class struggle developing both inside and  outside of universities across the globe against the ravages of neoliberal capitalism.

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