Still so clueless about with whom they grapple. Bleating like a beaten baby seal: ‘Where’s the rational dialogue?’ Beyond pathetic...America’s future still steered by the cynical, self-dealing, manipulative class. Their vessel? Poorly educated, white, easily scared and angered, Baby-Jesus-loving mobs with some racism sprinkled in. The same Plutocrats who prospered under the Warlord floating on a sea of venom, hatred and irrationality making steady progress for the Port of Status Quo.
- The Stiftung Leo Strauss
When you leave here, you’re not only going to know the value of Jesus, you’re going to know the people who rule the world. It’s about vision. Get your vision straight, then relate.Talk to the people who rule the world, and help them obey. Obey Him. If I obey Him myself, I help others do the same. You know why? Because I become a warning. We become a warning. We warn everybody that the future king is coming. Not just of this country or that but of the world.
- David Coe
The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid symptoms.
- Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks
This the Interregnum of the 21st century. Its been a long time in the making, but with the spasmodic collapse of the Third Way in Europe, and Neoconservatism in America, it has finally arrived. Bush, the Warlord alluded to above, certainly presided over this period, though I'm not so sure he did any more than accelerate symptoms that were already decades old.
The situation, as I see it, is this. As we traditionally understand, politics is between left and right, towards the middle between liberal and conservative, at the fringes between communist and fascist. And as a very general rule of thumb, that summed up most of the 20th century, deviations like the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact aside. However, that system is dead. Kill it, burn it with fire and chuck what remains of it away. The map is no longer useful, at least not in Europe or North America (other regions may vary, please check with your local political commentariat). No, this is how the new system works. First, you have the remains of 90s neoliberalism, which is wedded to international capital and liberal democracy, insofar as the latter supports the former, and overlooking all contraditions that may arise from this relationship. Corporotocracy, if you will. Obama exemplifies this, as did Blair during his first term, as did Bill Clinton. It is somewhat dismissive of rights, and cares nothing for ethical leadership, but it is only contemptuous of such things when they stand in the way of profits. It inclines to the "centre", wherever that may currently be defined by rent-a-pundits and the like.
Then we have the second partner in this relationship, the radical, populist right. This can be expressed via foreign policy, as with Bush and Blair during his second and third terms. Or it can be internally directed, as with Berlusconi, and his fascist-lite re-ordering of the Italian political landscape. Or, in the worst of possible worlds, it can be both, as with the radical American right currently gutting the Republican Party of the "squishes" - that is to say, moderates - that remain, throwing its energy into conspiratorial lunacy, cooperating with the race-militias and populist fundamentalists to intimidate those who reject their program, no matter how timidly. At the most obvious, this results in groups like the BNP or Front National, or if they do not even care for the pretence of democratic norms, the likes of the Aryan Nations and the KKK.
That's where we stand. That is our present. Any "left" is co-opted by the corporotocracy, or it is irrelevant. The Trots and democratic socialists and Maoists can cry bloody murder, but outside of the University and some third world movements, they are gnats, both small and soon to die. The right is split between its love for international capital, and its secret affiliations with extremist populists. They will fall to one side or the other, eventually, but those parties who haven't already been co-opted, in other words, those not in the United States, like to believe they can keep up the balacing act for forever.
There is a third actor in this little power play. It can side with either of the above two, and frequently does, making it diffuse and harder to spot. It ultimately has its own agenda though, and therefore should be included. This third group is of course hardline religious fundamentalism, of many varities. Most obviously, we have Christian and Muslim extremists, but equally hardline Jewish fanatics have taken control in Israel (or people willing to act like hardline Jewish fanatics to garner support for their ugly security policies - it makes little real difference) and in countries like India we have the likes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, or Shiv Sena. However, whatever their many differences, they often have similar aims, and thus cooperate on occasion, such as when Muslim and Christian organisations condemned the inclusion of contraception in aid packages to the Third World (because what the world really needs right now is more starving, unwanted babies). Their agenda is socially conservative, theocratic or close enough, authoritarian in the extreme, and often well-connected among the rich and powerful. The exemplar example is The Family, who straddle both populist and elite versions of Christianity, are highly enthusiastic about money and willing to work with everyone from Hillary Clinton to fascist propagandists and Third World dictators to achieve their goals.
Each of the three factions I have named, the religious fundamentalists, right-wing populist extremists and corporate owned centrists, are using the population as the terrain where they are fighting their own war for eventual dominance over each other. The corporate owned faction are the most foolish and blind, as I'm sure you are not surprised to hear. Naïvely, they believe that everyone is playing for essentially the same stakes in the domestic arena, that the right-populists and the religious nuts are just acting out, and can be placated with scraps from the table of power, or will eventually settle down and normalise into more usual political parties.
This is why they'll ultimately end up on the dustbin of history. Goldman Sachs can't stand up to the power of pure faith, or burning hatred. They're a soul-less, money-making (or rather, scrounging) machine, and yes, for now they can wring every penny they need out of the Federal government. But sooner or later, the money is going to run out. The economy is shrinking, the jobs are vanishing, and vast portions of the world's wealth has disappeared - either into black holes, or very private bank accounts. What happens when there is nothing more left to give, when the choice is between another bailout or keeping the lights and heating on in the Senate?
The right-populists, on the other hand, are dominating events, even while they are essentially powerless. Out of the three branches of government, a few sleeper cells in the judiciary, intelligence and military communities, and over-represented in the press, they nonetheless manage to present themselves as legitimate, if not co-equal partners, despite spouting conspiracy theories that would make anyone sane feel ashamed for even entertaining. And they have an alliance with the religious fundamentalists, naturally. The populist elements, at least. The desperate need for the media to present equivalence between the somewhat nasty, but relatively sane corporotocracy, and the racially motivated, security-obsessed and delusional Movement means the average person is left with unease at the latter, but without the conceptual tools to understand, or even resist their program. They are not interested in liberal democracy and representation is not their goal. For the first time in history, they have tasted real power, real wealth and real influence, and it was snatched away from them after six years. Even Hitler managed 12, the Soviets 82. To be fair, it was a close call. It took Iraq, Katrina and the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression to do the trick. Before the latter, it still seemed like a close call. In their position, I'd feel robbed as well.
But they feel robbed for another reason: power is their right. Politics is existensial, defeat by the Democratic faction of the corporotocracy is akin to death for them. They quite literally view their victory as the possible end for America - which may explain their shrill animation. Hierarchical control is a must, being further down on the chain of command, or even being irrelevant, is an intolerable display of weakness.
And the religious theocrats are the smartest of the lot. Backing both horses in this race, they will no doubt have a measure of control and influence no matter who ultimately comes out on top. And furthermore, with their own base of support, they will not be reliant on any patrons, they will be full partners in any coalition. That also means it will be very hard to control them, and they may ultimately slip the leashes others try to craft for them, and seize control in their own right. They have the fervour, the support and the know-how. No matter how things turn out, they ultimately benefit. The corporotocracy is willing to use them to further economic aims, the populists social ones. But in the end, they're the ones getting played.
And so, here we stand, in the dying months of 2009. Obama has shown himself to not only be owned entirely by the corporotocracy, which was to be expected, but to be weak willed and indecisive, which was not. The Boy Prince flinches, whenever he has to face down the Movement and its proxies, and they savour every one of those flinches. They operate on principles of pure power, and this weakness is beautiful for them to see. Nothing could be a more soothing balm for the humiliation of November 5th. He dithers, has no priorities, and because he is too weak to face down his enemies, lashes out at his allies instead, kicking the progressive dogs because to kick the Movement would result in a far nastier response. And, like a battered wife, the progressives take it, telling themselves his second term will be better. It wont. The Boy Prince is incapable of turning the tide. He'll win his next election, no doubt, but all that will come of it is more of the same.
Meanwhile, the "Birthers" and "Teabaggers" gather. Glenn Beck's 9/12ers denouncing those who mock them as "ACORN" agents in the streets. Ridiculous names and simplistic slogans, but infiltrated by the likes of Stormfront, the Aryan Nations, Minutemen and others who have issues with race and plenty of guns. They're only trial runs, though. The Movement blitz on the townhalls this summer was a test, to ensure the mechanisms work correctly. They do, of course. Their eventual aim is obvious, but their operational status still eludes me. Where will the hammer fall next? I ask not to prevent it, but to reveal more of how they plan to proceed. The Democrats are determined to be losers, even to these incompetents and quasi-fascists, and are not worth saving, even if it was within my means.
The situation for the Republic is dire, and with it, the western world follows, albeit reluctantly in some cases. Therefore, more now than ever there is a need to understand our common peril, and prepare against it.