Helicopters For Breakfast

1.  Capitalism obscures and protects itself in and as the reproduction of discontinuities.  Nothing, no things, is/are connected.  Every thing, all things, is/are (a) one-off(s).  There are no oppressive institutions, only aberrant policies; no structural, no designed, inadequacies, simply errant, or poor, or negligent execution.  No social relations, period, just bad actors.  This narrative of non-connectivity was given its perfect expression in the words of Margaret Thatcher, channeling Hobbes:  “And you know, there is no such thing as society.  There are individual men and women, and there are families…It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then also to look after our neighbors.”

And those that are not your “neighbors”?   Those theys?  Well, the British capitalists have shown the world how to handle them, all the thems perfidious Albion has encountered in Kenya, in Jamaica, in the then Malaya, in India, China…”Fuck ’em where they breathe,” is the banner flying just underneath the Union Jack. “And god save the Queen or King or whatever idiot from the House of Saxe-Coburg is gobbling up the royal stipend and occupying Windsor Castle.”

2. No connections, no continuity– no society, and no social relations; no relations of production, no organization, distribution, administration of social labor to account for, or be accountable to.  Nothing but private property, the atomized, fragmented, property drained out of just that social labor so blithely denied.  No connections, only the exchanges established in and by the market, where the connections are immediately extinguished when realized in the process of exchange.

No connection, no continuity, no relation of the ravages of the global pandemic to the strangling of public health networks, as public health after all is the embodiment of social responsibility– of life beyond individuals, of life greater than that confined to home and family.

No connection, no continuity, no relation of fatal infections to those forced to labor without the minimal protection in an out of the medical care sector.

No connection, no continuity in the failure to act in coordination to defeat the virus and the belligerent religious nationalism that has been generated in India, Brazil, the Philippines, the UK, the US, Hungary, Russia; that has been generated  to direct the asset-stripping impulse of capitalism against the possible awakening of class consciousness.

No connection,  no continuity, between the implosion of the markets during the pandemic with the previous over-saturation of those markets for coal, gas, oil, steel, automobiles, and aircraft.

No connections; nothing that can be traced to the past.  Until…….the past is revealed in the  future where, ten or twenty years from now, capitalism still hasn’t recovered, and recovery itself is but an archaic concept.  Capitalism has no imagination, a piss-poor memory, and only the disturbing deja vu of failed exchanges, impaired accumulation, and value evaporating into air thick with pollutants.

3.  In 1949, the US Supreme Court justice, Robert Jackson announced that the US Constitution was not a suicide pact.  Jackson, who had prosecuted war criminals at the Nuremberg trials  was concerned that protecting the “speech” of Nazis might just be self-destructive for a so-called republic.

Guess what?  He was wrong.  The US Constitution is a suicide pact, as those hedge-funded, Amway-enrolled followers of the president made quite clear with their protests against the public health restrictions.  The restrictions were made necessary, not for reasons of public health, but by the neglect of public health by said president.  His followers wrapped, in kevlar vests embossed with the 2nd Amendment, hugging their AR-15 assault rifles, marched on the state capitals of Minnesota, Michigan and several other states, demanding their right to purchase lawn seed, frost their hair, bear arms and act as a source of infection.

What does democracy look like?  It looks like white people with semi-automatic weapons enjoying each other’s company at the tattoo parlor, the hair salon, at Burger King and Dairy Queen; all decked out in the latest camo-fashion, including face masks, while doctors and nurses sleep in their cars to avoid transmitting infection to family members.

The US Constitution guarantees every real American the freedom to become a super-spreader and overwhelm intensive care facilities; guarantees the freedom to jeopardize the health of all others, and if you don’t like it move back to New Zealand, or Iceland, or Taiwan, or South Korea where you belong, you un-American un-patriotic Muslim Jew Communist Black Mexicans.

4.  The thing is, if there is no society, no history, no connection, no relations of production determining what is happening, then there can be no explanation. Even they know that providing an explanation is a good way to make a living, even if, particularly if, the explanations provided are at best delusional.  Just ask Rupert Murdoch, and hurry.  He should be dead soon.

So we get, from the merchants of delusion, a substitute.  The substitute for reason, for cause, for social relations of production is……..conspiracy.  The trading in delusions creates coincidence out of the official disassociation, and coincidence becomes conspiracy theory.

Paranoia is complementary opposite to the narcissist’s disorder.  If there’s only me, than all the rest are them and all of them are out to take what is mine.

What Bebel is supposed to have said about Antisemitism–“the socialism of fools”– gets a corollary:  Conspiracy theory is historical materialism for the panicked.

Here’s the thing, a “republic,”  the “rights,” “freedoms,” and “liberties” attributed to a “republic” can only exist to the degree that small property, and small-property holders find stability and feel secure.  However, capitalism allows the small- property owners, the shop-keepers, the shop-keepers’ customers no such feelings. Margins are just too small to accommodate that security, just as the razor, cutting (more than) stubble, doesn’t allow the throat to feel secure.

History shapes the personality to the times.  Production and reproduction of discontinuity gives us not just ambulatory psychotics, but marching psychotics; no longer the Bundys or the Daumers, but the marching psychotics of racist militias, of the once and future Nazis.

5.  There’s not supposed to be a connection between the official police murders (and unofficial murders) of African-Americans, and the fundamental organization of society.  There are only supposed to be incidents perpetrated by bad actors, or actors improperly executing policies, or, at worst, bad actors who haven’t been “properly trained” and therefore improperly executing policies.

The “institutions” are not intrinsically oppressive, because, after all institutions don’t really exist.  Maggie the Knife told us– there are only individual men and women…and families.

Capitalism may reproduce discontinuity, more correctly shed discontinuity in every circuit and every structure, but sooner and later the very weight of its actions, the patterns of behaviors, the repetition of events become so pronounced, so acute that the individual act becomes a lens, the lens acts as a prism and the prism projects the threads of real history, the history of accumulation, onto the concrete, on the bricks, and on the asphalt  of cities and towns, face down and handcuffed.

The police in Minneapolis murder an African-American man in daylight; they murder an African-American man who is handcuffed; who is in fact enslaved, not because that’s the sole function of the police, but because it is and always has been exactly a function of police.

Then it was the need to chain black labor to the land and needs of the plantation; of the plantation owner.  It was that need that gave rise to the fugitive slave acts which compelled every citizen of the then United States; compelled every resident of every state to provide assistance and comfort to the slave-catcher.  The fugitive slave acts created the specialist in slave-catching, who was, of course, a specialist in law enforcement, property being law.

It was those acts, and those slave-catchers enforcing those laws, or attempting to enforce those laws that triggered organized, and armed resistance, in the cities and villages of Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  The resistance was so intractable, so powerful that two US presidents had to deploy federal military forces to protect the slave-catchers.  Residents of Christiana, Pennsylvania, defending a runaway against demands for his return, killed the slaveholder and the slaveholder’s son.  In return, federal prosecutors charged 42 of the residents with treason,  seeking capital punishment against those protecting the runaway.  No jury would convict. That verdict did not vindicate the institution.  It was a verdict taken against the institution.

The institutions of law enforcement are always organized to protect the  property holder against the property-less, and it matters not if the property is in human flesh or  warehouses,  or automobile fabrication.

6.  So here we are, facing squarely the inadequacy of the institutions of government to protect and provide for the health of the population; facing  the structural intent of law enforcement to effect the suppression of the poor, the property-less,  twice so when the poor and property-less are people of color, thrice so when they are female.

Unlike some others, we have no objection–zero, zilch, nada–to the deployment of  US military force to the cities and neighborhoods of the home country.  We’re not so special, and no better than the  people of Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, or any of the countries where the US military acts with impunity.  When we say “Bring the Troops Home,” we mean it.  Put them in the streets.  Bring them home to Chicago, LA, DC, Minneapolis, Detroit, New York.  There can be no advance in the struggle for the emancipation of labor, of laborers, without fracturing military discipline by introducing class struggle into its ranks.   There is only one way to accomplish that: engaging those ranks at home in the struggle against the relations of power that condemn us all.

S. Artesian

June 11, 2020




2 thoughts on “Helicopters For Breakfast”

  1. You must admit political life is getting very interesting. Your article recognises that fundamental political relations need to be challenged including the hallowed US constitution just as here the beloved Human Rights Act which enshrines private property and the fruits of that private property needs to be highlighted. I had to laugh at the Personal Protection Equipment of the far right in the states against Covid – a semi-automatic carbine. I can only see the political turmoil increasing. Always enjoy your prose and your evocative imagery, real strengths.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: