Calm Before the Storm?

I haven’t been posting much lately because, honestly, there hasn’t been that much I’ve felt moved to post about.  This isn’t to say that nothing has been happening – more that, whatever dramatic and even terrible events may have occurred, they have had a same-sh*t-different-dayness to them for awhile now.

I expect that things will be getting more interesting as the 2020 elections approach, however, not so much because of who will end up as president as because of just how out of hand things promise to get in the meantime and the likelihood that American political culture will be permanently changed as a result.

Judging from the noises coming out of the Democratic pack, as typified by the recent travails of Beto O’Rourke and the buzz over reparations, it seems like the race/gender cards will be getting played harder and faster than ever before.

Thus, while I only look at The Root when I’m feeling particularly masochistic, I have to at least partially agree with Michael Harriot’s recent piece The 6 Kinds of Woke White People. Occasionally amusing and consistently indicative of the unapologetic disdain for whites so prevalent in the Democratic Party and most of the “left”, the article tells us:

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From the Black Agenda Report

There just aren’t that many left sites worth reading these days for anything other than know-your-enemy purposes.  One outstanding exception to this, however, is the Black Agenda Report (“News, commentary and analysis from the black left”) which, having apparently resisted absorption by the system, consistently provides a fresh and provocative take on things.

Of course, BAR and I obviously disagree regarding the site’s insistence that any self-defensive movement by middle American whites is necessarily racist and supremacist, however, reading around that one can appreciate the articles’ consistent recognition that the the co-optation of black community leadership by the globalist system represents a betrayal of the real interests of the black working and middle classes and that the “resistance” is a ruling class ploy.

Of particular interest is an article by BAR editor Glen Ford published in July, Russiagate is a Ruling Class Diversion, which I’ve been meaning to discuss since then but, due to my habitual procrastination, am only getting around to mentioning now.

The article begins by reviewing the system’s response to Trump’s election:

Trump’s howling racism was what made Democrats believe he was the ideal candidate for a trouncing by Hillary Clinton, who could be counted on to escalate Barack Obama’s general military offensive and to aggressively pursue TPP and other corporate governance arrangements…. When Clinton lost, the ruling class panicked and resolved to bring down the Orange Menace no matter the cost to U.S. institutions and to the appearance of stability in the very bosom of the empire. The rolling coup was begun.

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What’s Left?

Pity the poor left, reduced to shilling for the military, the CIA, the FBI, the foreign policy establishment, the Democratic Party, various Silicon Valley billionaires, and now the “bourgeois press” (as we used to call it when there actually was a left).

For most of the left, this absorption into the system has gone almost unnoticed, however there remain a few individuals swimming (with great difficulty) against the current.

An interesting example of the agonies endured by some in an effort to maintain an independent position can be found in the introduction to a 2015 article by Paul Street republished yesterday at CounterPunch: Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People.

Street’s article is now prefaced by a groveling, paragraphs-long apology for daring to take a critical stance toward what any leftist once recognized as one of the pillars of the system:

I detest the malignantly racist, sexist, narcissistic, and authoritarian pathological liar and bully Donald Trump on many different levels, and I share none of his sick world view, but the corporate media really is, well (to use Trump’s recurrent phrase), “the enemy of the people.”

Here below is an essay I first published (on the venerable radical Website ZNet) in the late summer of 2015…. It was written from a Marxist and international socialist and anti-imperialist perspective and not at all from a Trumpian, white-nationalist standpoint.

He goes on to wring his hands over what he calls

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On 2017

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive

2017 seemed to open with such possibilities that it is difficult to see the year as anything other than a disappointment as it draws to a close. As 2017 began, Trump’s accession to power seemed to show that anything is possible, while alt.x movements achieved a prominence undreamed of even just a year before.

How different things seem today as the year comes to an end. The nationalist wing of the Trump regime has been utterly vanquished, while the administration has moved away from a commitment to the issues that attracted our support in the first place.

Meanwhile, the anti-system right, which, in spite of being the target of a concerted campaign to silence it, went from success to success in the early months and middle of the year, now seems to have run out of new ideas in its efforts to move from the internet into “real life”.

And yet, it is more accurate to critique the unreality of the expectations than the actual progress of events. They should remind us of all of the obvious things that we missed in the thrill of victory – that moving forward is not so easy as it might have appeared one year ago, that we are a small and weak movement, that our enemies will fight us every step of the way with every means at their disposal, and that we have a very long road ahead of us indeed.

With that in mind, let us value the very real gains of 2017  – mainly the qualitative metapolitical shift in the nation’s political discourse – and look forward to building on that for a productive 2018!

Good News All Around

I’ve been otherwise engaged the past few weeks and so have been neglecting my posting, in spite of the fact that lots of good things have been going on.

Across the Atlantic, the German elections and the extremely strong showing of the Alternative für Deutschland shows us the the wave of European national-populism continues to rise.

Meanwhile, here at home the victory of insurgent GOP senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore over establishment favorite Luther Strange, in spite of Strange’s backing by Donald Trump himself, shows the essential strength of the populist revolt independent of the president.  If there it is anything that will keep Trump remotely honest, it will be developments like this.

Finally, the growing NFL protests, due to their inescapable presence at the heart of America’s favorite pastime, will certainly help prevent the deplorables from slipping back into business-as-usual passivity, especially in light of the demobilizing effect of Trump’s betrayals.

Over the decades since we fled into the suburbs we lived in a state of denial, drugged by the the mass entertainment complex, the comforts of hyper-consumption and the general peace and tranquility of whiteopian life, while the demographic and political balance shifted against us.  It is only the the increasingly aggressive actions of our enemies over the past decade or so that have led us to begin to accept the reality of our situation and the need for our own resistance.

Just as the spate of riots and Black Lives Matter-inspired protests between Fergusson and the 2016 elections undoubtedly played an enormous role in mobilizing the Trump base and arguably made difference between victory and defeat (indeed, I think that the Trump candidacy itself might not have happened at all without middle America’s response to the growing arc of protest which can be traced back to Trayvon Martin) the disrespect and fundamental hostility toward the traditional American nation and its history shown by the players and the craven and cynical connivance in this on the part of the owners can only be a salutary goad to our movement’s base.

 

From James Petras – “Who Rules America?”

There’s a challenging new article from long-time left scholar James PetrasWho Rules America? The Power Elite in the Time of Trump available on his website as well as The Unz Review, analyzing the unraveling of the Trump presidency.

After an interesting analysis of the various contending blocks within the elite and the defeat of the Economic Nationalist wing represented by Steve Bannon, Petras concludes:

Trump had already lost on all accounts. The ‘final solution’ to the problem of the election of Donald Trump is moving foreword step-by-step – his impeachment and possible arrest by any and all means.

What the rise and destruction of economic nationalism in the ‘person’ of Donald Trump tells us is that the American political system cannot tolerate any capitalist reforms that might threaten the imperial globalist power elite. [Emphasis in the original]

He goes on to indict the left:

Writers and activists used to think that only democratically elected socialist regimes would be the target of systematic coup d’état. Today the political boundaries are far more restrictive. To call for ‘economic nationalism’, completely within the capitalist system, and seek reciprocal trade agreements is to invite savage political attacks, trumped up conspiracies and internal military take-overs ending in ‘regime change’.

The global-militarist elite purge of economic nationalists and anti-militarists was supported by the entire US left with a few notable exceptions. For the first time in history the left became an organizational weapon of the pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-Zionist Right in the campaign to oust President Trump.[emphasis added] Local movements and leaders, notwithstanding, trade union functionaries, civil rights and immigration politicians, liberals and social democrats have joined in the fight for restoring the worst of all worlds: the Clinton-Bush-Obama/Clinton policy of permanent multiple wars, escalating confrontations with Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela and Trump’s deregulation of the US economy and massive tax-cuts for big business.

He closes with a very faint optimism:

We have gone a long-way backwards: from elections to purges and from peace agreements to police state investigations. Today’s economic nationalists are labeled ‘fascists’; and displaced workers are ‘the deplorables’!

Americans have a lot to learn and unlearn. Our strategic advantage may reside in the fact that political life in the United States cannot get worse – we really have touched bottom and (barring a nuclear war) we can only look up.

Once Again in Berkeley

Today’s rampage in Berkeley by antifa thugs is one more opportunity for the left to disavow the practice of brutal physical assault on any opponent they can get their hands on, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.

Almost none of even those few on the left who publicly dissent from antifa tactics can actually bring themselves to just say that it’s simply wrong to beat people up because you disagree with them.

A good example of this is to be found in the “democratic” socialist magazine In These Times‘ (hardly the voice of the black bloc) debate Should We Deny Fascists a Platform? Even the most moderate of the 3 interlocutors, Nathan Robinson, can still only manage in his contribution We’ll Beat the Fascists With Ideas, Not Fists an argument based on expedience:

The appeal of shutting down right-wingers is easy to see; after all, nobody should want to see these speakers’ poisonous doctrines spread. But in the short term it’s counterproductive, and in the long term it’s suicidal.

It hardly needs repeating that to significant sections of the left the definition of a “fascist” is extraordinarily broad, exceeded only by that of a “racist”.  And so, as I have argued elsewhere (for example, here and here) for the vast majority of the left, free speech for the deplorable 1/2 of the country that voted for Trump is something to be allowed only when and if it suits our various radical and now even our not-so radical would-be Big Brothers.