February 23, 2017
January 4, 2017
What Just Happened?
Blame the Chicago Cubs. Everybody familiar with the rules of baseball, and the unified field theory of the universe, knows that if and when the Cubs were to win the misnamed World Series, the shock to the space-time continuum would be so great that either a meteor would crash into the earth, ground zero being Wrigley Field, or a person would ascend to the highest public office who would be so loathsome, so malevolent, so venal, so petty, so belligerent, so dishonest as to embody all that capitalism is and can ever be– an Ultimate Bourgeois, so to speak. And the Ultimate Bourgeois is and can only ever be a social pathology.
Fortunately the meteor missed. Unfortunately the Ultimate Bourgeois did not.
Or don’t blame the Cubs.
This, like the meteor, has been a long time coming.
This election result has been spawned and spewed from the 43 year offensive of the bourgeoisie, a class owning the property of society, engaged in a struggle against the very elements, living and congealed (accumulated) of their own wealth.
The election of the Ultimate Bourgeois is the result of 43 years of the US bourgeoisie’s contest with the structural, intrinsic, but not always or ever uniform, decline in the profitability of capitalist production.
The election of the Ultimate Bourgeois is the result of 43 years of transferring wealth up the social ladder, a transfer given a perfect, and perfectly hideous acceleration in the last 8 years; the ultimate unrecovery.
The unrecovery is, and has been, financed, literally by the decline in “labor’s share” of the product; by the decline in median incomes (still below the 2007 mark); by the reduction in manufacturing employment; by the decertification of unions spreading from the “private sector” to the “state sector;” through the elimination, reduction, looting and bankruptcy of pensions; by the markets and the governments working, as the always do, on behalf of capital.
The election of the Ultimate Bourgeois is the result of 43 years of “rolling-back” the feeble steps towards racial equality that drew energy from the century-long migration, the release, of black labor from the countryside, from the plantation economy, from the tenant farm, away from the share-cropping brutality of the South and into the cities; into industrial exploitation. Equality was the child of the need for access to black labor. Creeping, growing, accelerating inequality is an attack on that child; get rid of black labor, expel it from production is, as labor in general is expelled. Equality costs, and the bourgeoisie ain’t buying.
It’s been a long-time coming. We’ve listened so long to the bourgeoisie crow about “free markets,” “free trade,” the “invisible hands,” “entrepreneurship” we (almost) forgot the ideology of capitalism has nothing to do with “economics,” because economics is nothing but class struggle mystified. We (almost) forgot that “economics” is an after/before the fact excuse, a set of marketing tools for the particular attacks being executed in that time and those places.
The degrees of separation between the Tea Party, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch Brothers and the Trumpets, the Bannonists, the Spencerites, the neo-fascists are always less than six, and are always counting down to zero. Proof? The vice-president elect, Mike Pence, one of the Koch brothers’ favorite horses in their stable of state governors looking to move up.
“Neo-liberalism,” “neo-conservatism,” “laissez-faire,” “monetarism,” “alt-right,” “ultra-right” “liberalism” “protectionist” “populist” “Keynesian” are entries, and entrees, on capital’s menu, where one class’s meat is in fact poison.
It’s the “economy,” that is to say, class struggle. It’s international. And it’s a wave of reaction: Macri’s Argentina, Temer’s Brazil, Duda in Poland, el-Sisi in Egypt. It’s a wave of reaction built on the defeats to the working class not only over 43 years, and again– 43 years as compressed in the last eight years. The defeat of the strikes in France 2009; the “kettling” of the student-led actions in the UK; the coup in Egypt; the (inevitable) collapse of Syriza; the containment and canalization of the workers in Wisconsin… all that weighs like an Alp on the brains of living, thinking, working people.
That’s the thing. Time speeds up as it runs out. Impaired accumulation of capital focuses a “structural trend” into concentrated immediacy. That concentration is familiarly known as “crisis.”
What’s the difference? Here’s the difference. In eight years of a regime dedicated to deporting migrant workers, the Obama administration succeeded in expelling 2.5 million workers. Eight years.
Donald Trump and the Trumpets vow to expel 2-3 million more workers in one year, the first year of the regime. Is this possible? Systems, under capitalism, including a “judicial” system are sized for demand, for peak demand. Can the “judicial” system, the deportation systems even process this number in a single year? Of course not. That’s the point of the Trumpets’ “plan.” The repressive machinery and police forces need to be expanded. The system breaks down? Perfect. Emergency measures are the obvious response. Trump isn’t about the “ends justifies the means.” Trump is about “the means are the ends.”
Obama represented the structural tendency, so to speak, the long term trend. Trump represents the concentration of the tendency. Is there a difference? Not is, but was. And time’s up. The structural tendency becomes the crisis.
Now what? There are those who think: “Now we prepare ourselves for the period when Trump fails to deliver on his promises, and working class whites look for an opposition, a coherent, socialist opposition.”
Everybody wants that to be right. Of course we prepare ourselves, but the stirrings of class consciousness are not found, and are not going to be found when Trump and the Trumpets don’t “open the mines;” don’t “bring back the jobs;” don’t “slap a 35% tariff” on everything from air-conditioners to tomatoes entering from Mexico. The stirrings of class consciousness are found in the defense of immigrant laborers, immigrant students, immigrant children. The stirrings of class consciousness are to be found in defending women’s access to safe medical procedures.
Class-consciousness may, or may not, begin at the “point of production.” It achieves, it becomes, only through the struggles of the whole society. We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of the last sixteen years, regarding voter suppression drives as a split among the ruling class, a squabble among thieves. It was, and is, the means for defining, refining, tempering, hardening, sharpening the state as the guarantor of bourgeois property.
It is the rule, with exceptions providing additional proof, that capital puts a Republican into the presidency when it’s going into a recession, and a Democrat when its needs to come out of a recession. It’s a bit more than just a chance that the capitalist economy will tank again, although the difference between expansion and contraction becomes more semantic than real, when “recovery” itself embodies the dynamics of contraction. Marx wrote in the Grundrisse that the price of beef may be high or low, but it always involves the same sacrifice for the ox. He wasn’t kidding, and the oxen weren’t laughing.
The movement toward class-consciousness begins with the defense of immigrant labor. No ICE raids on the workplace, or schools. No deportations. All workers are “legal.” No layoffs, no wage cuts, no “tax advantages” for corporations “promising” to move from one state to another. No restrictions on women’s access to safe medical procedures.
So, who are we? We’re nothing and nobody. You are all.
Please direct all comments to this Red Marx thread