Volume 10, Number 2 (2017)

The Rise of Nationalist Capitalism and the Future of Imperialism

Gregory Reck and Dinesh Paudel

Donald Trump’s victory in the United States presidential race is touted in the mainstream press as an aberration based on ignorance, apathy, deceit, and external meddling in the political process. However, if one examines the victory within the global context of the rising tide of political rhetoric and sentiment that is nationalistic and protectionist, then this election outcome appears to follow a certain emerging political logic whose outcome for global capitalism and imperialism is uncertain. The rise of xenophobic nationalism in countries like Poland, Hungary and Austria is one thing, but the election of Trump to lead the most economically and militarily powerful country in the world is quite another. While mainstream economic and political analysts have speculated on what this might mean for globalization, the questions for international political left movements have not been raised. Now that the U.S. has joined the bandwagon of nationalism in the Global North – the collective core of the global empire of capital imperialism – critical reflection on what this might mean for global left oppositional movements is paramount. For the political and economic mainstream, globalization is a world order of progressive integration that, despite its periodic negative economic episodes, is a model of relative economic stability and growth. Mainstream concerns about Trumpism center around the potential for negative disruptions of this order. However, when globalization is viewed through the lens of the Marxist analysis of imperialism, another set of questions emerges: Will the rise of this antiglobalization nationalism create changes in the way that imperialism operates through global capital? If so, what will be the architecture of this new imperialism? How will this new architecture shape the global left’s opposition?