Opinion: The Rise of the Right
In the last couple of years, the United States has moved so far to the right that the most vulnerable in our society have now become the most criminal. Questions regarding police violence have remained unanswered and have become more urgent. In the midst of this escalation, old groups have become the new answers to an old question. There has been a rise in contemporary politics of right-wing nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and extreme xenophobia. This wave of fascism is all that it was expected to be. The problems that we have today are awesome in their scope, and, at the same time, they should be understood as a matter of life and death.
The Trump administration, in its environmental impact statement, has reported an increase in global temperature by seven degrees Fahrenheit. A recent Business Insider article proclaimed, “There's so much CO2 in the atmosphere that planting trees can no longer save us.” The article explains that under current conditions, reforestation is no longer a sufficient solution to climate change. In fact, a land mass the size of North America would have to be converted into rainforest in order to suck up the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It also hints a much more bleak future for the world well into the 21st century.
The old questions of whether patterns of consumption and production under late capitalism are sustainable must be raised. This is especially true, since the victims of the changes brought by capitalism will primarily be the international poor and migrants that will face drought, extreme heat, and famines due to the extreme abuse of the environment.
Due to the failings of capitalism, immigrants have now become a problem for the West. Current responses to the immigrant crisis resemble the rise of private prisons in the 1980s. We head towards a world where hyper-detention and mass deportations are a way of life, whether we like it or not. This vision of what is to come should not be seen as a possible future. It is happening now, and it is dragging us ever so quickly to the right.
What stands out about the current shift to the right is how easily it is happening. The Democrats have given support to the Trump administration numerous times on matters of military expansion. The question is thus: what should we expect of our future? We currently face a slow and steady descent into fascism.
This new and audacious wave of reactionary policy has, once again, brought conflict into the lives of sex workers and trans members of our communities. The Trump administration's desire to remove the word “gender” from UN human rights documents — to reinstate an old notion of gender on “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable” — is another example of this reactionary politics. The recent Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA-FOSTA) bills promote overcriminalization, resulting in increasing police interaction with sex workers. This has led some to anticipate an increase in the more exploitative aspects of the sex trade.
The current trend toward the right continues unabated. At the current moment, we are indeed headed toward catastrophe. And it is happening not because we did not know what was happening, but because we participated in it.