Article 43


Friday, March 05, 2021

Crossroads To Fascism

image: nazi trump

In 2019, 34 million people lived in poverty in America. For a family of four, that means earning just $25,000 per year. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 35 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, including more than 10 million children. A household that is FOOD INSECURE has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life. Children are more likely to face food insecurity than any other group in the United States. The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of families without stable employment.
- Facts About Poverty In America

People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society - given that middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, and almost all the economic gains are going to the top. The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out: (1) The working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has, and its major vehicle for organizing itself - labor unions - have been decimated; (2) students (who have been in years past a force for social change) are laden with debt and face a lousy jobs market, and don’t want to rock the boat; and (3) the American public has become so cynical about government (in large part due to Republican tactics) that many no longer believe reform is possible.
- Robert Reich

AMERICA IS A FAILED STATE, and it is what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls the system of “inverted totalitarianism.” And by that he means its not a classical totalitarian society like fascist Germany or Stalinism, it’s more like the end of the Roman Republic where you still have the old language, the old institutions, the old iconography and symbols, but they’re rendered meaningless. Even under Nero and Caligula there was still a Senate.
- End Times For Democracy

The rupture of social bonds, caused by the breakdown of society, income inequality, social stagnation and the disempowerment of the working class, is expressed in innumerable dark pathologies. A fractured public carries out self-destructive behaviors, out-of-control gun violence, opioid addiction, and sexual sadism - in an attempt to cope with dislocation, impotence and pain. Moral crusades are an expression of this cultural sickness. They are emblematic of a society in deep distress, unable to cope rationally with the problems besetting it. These crusades always make things worse, for once they are exposed as ineffectual, they invariably breed a frightening fanaticism.
- The Curse of Moral Purity

CHANGE, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and MASS MOBILIZATION, as with the YELLOW VESTS movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion. The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.
- I’m Voting Green

Crossroads of US Politics Today

By Richard Wolff
Democracy At Work
March 4, 2021

In this Wolff Responds VIDEO, Prof. Wolff talks about the changing political landscape in the United States With the US capitalist economy in rapid decline, desperate Americans faced with unemployment, stagnant wages, and massive debts become vulnerable to scapegoats provided by shrewd politicians who seek to protect their own interests. Unless the Democratic party becomes once again the party of working Americans, the political realignment of the US seems to favor Trump and right-wing conservatives, as this year’s CPAC has shown.

image: wolff responds


Right-Wing Extremism And The Wealth Gap
How the wealth gap sends people into the open arms of right-wing extremism.

By Ken Crossland
Curious Civilian
July 21, 2016
Reposted March 4, 2021

In a decision so staggering that the world is still processing the ramifications, citizens of the United Kingdom voted this past June to LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION, a concept that at one point seemed totally far-fetched, but is now an UNEASY REALITY.

In brief summary, a small majority (roughly 52%) of British people decided they wanted to leave the European Union, a 28 nation economic and political group they’ve been a part of since 1975. A faction of Tory radicals, calling themselves the UK Independence Party, was able to convince enough people that, yes, now was the time to separate from the EU and strike out on their own, regardless of the practical ramifications.

Let’s not downplay what really happened. A majority of UK citizens chose independence from quite a bit more than the European Union. Their angry voices were directed at something a little more primal - protection from immigration, and more bluntly, THE NON-WHITES OF THE NATION. By veering hard right, they hoped to isolate themselves from a threat, they were told, that was stealing away their livelihoods.

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s the siren call of fascism, which has slowly crept back into the global political landscape, especially among first-world nations. While many of us with a foggy recollection of high school social studies think of fascism is a relic of the early 20th century, IT’S COMING ROARING BACK since the end of the GREAT RECESSION.

Why on earth would people still toy with fascism?

OH, RIGHT, the economy.

FASCISM appears when we’re at our most DESPERATE, and its message sings the loudest to people who are at the END OF THE ROPES. It scratches the itch of nationalism and isolationism, an evolutionary response when we feel like WE’RE LOOSING SOMETHING. It’s a retreat into the past, and a regression into what we think is familiar and, quite possibly safer. In the heat of the moment, the main appeal of fascism is that it’s comforting. It gives us a reason for why things went wrong, and offers a solution - and a culprit - regardless of how dangerous its conclusions could be.

Let’s do a visualization exercise: If you’re struggling right now, and FINDING WORK UNDER PRESIDENT BARAK OBAMA HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT, the promise of modest social improvement (like the kind Hillary Clinton espouses) won’t dampen your fears. It’s stuff that looks sensible on paper, but your needs are much more immediate, and patience won’t save your house from foreclosure, or pay off that massive credit card bill. With these optics in mind, WHICH CANDIDATES’ sales pitch sounds better?

Candidate A: “I want to keep moving forward, gradually shifting our country to a more level playing field where everyone gets a fair shake. Its going to be very difficult, and will take many years, but it’s the only reasonable path to equality in our nation.”

Candidate B: “Let’s burn this motherfucker to the ground! I’ve got a truck full of kerosine!”

When the deck is stacked against you, which do you think you would choose?

People think the deck is STACKED AGAINST THEM because IT IS.

So let’s return to the 2016 Democratic primary. An obscure, 74-year-old senator from Vermont got crowds of 10,000-plus people to attend his rallies as he improbably ran for president, seriously challenging Hillary Clinton, a well-financed, and incredibly well-known political figure for the party’s nomination.

His message?

The system is completely against you, and we need to do something about it, NOW. Well start a goddamn political revolution if we have to.

The reason Sanders’s message hit so hard with people? Because he was right. INCOME INEQUALITY is by far THE LARGEST PROBLEM the world is facing, and it either causes or augments many other issues that loom heavily on the global stage.

Racism? One racial/ethnic group has vastly more money and resources than another. Might that financial disparity create a skewed perception of worth along racial lines?

Sexism? Historically, women have had little opportunity for ownership, and despite recent progress, they still make 77-cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. How can women be thought of as true equals, when society places such a low market value on their abilities?

Environmental protection? Why do you think elected officials vote against reversing global warming, dooming 99% of the world’s population. Because people with a lot of money tell them to.

War? Do you think people followed Adolph Hitler into battle because things were spiffy in Germany, or because it cost a wheelbarrow full of marks to buy a loaf of bread?

Healthcare? As you might expect, people with more money and easier access to medical care live a heck of a lot longer than those who dont. How much money you have directly influences your quality - and length - of health.

Education? Wealthy citizens have easier roads to quality education, and are rarely saddled with any post-graduation debt, giving them a leg up once they hit the real world. NOT ONLY that, but it’s been proven time and time again that better education directly correlates with future financial success.

Eliminating income inequality? Try controlling how wide it is, first.

In order to have a functioning capitalist system, wealth gaps are inevitable. Capitalism, by its very definition, is an economic system that relies on private ownership and exists to generate profit. As the world contains a finite amount of resources, there will always be individuals who end up acquiring more of it, whether it be land, oil, or any other sellable commodity. What makes our society stable is when the illusion of income inequality starts to disappear. LET’S BE BLUNT - most people won’t and can’t be rich. What truly matters to most people is something a little different: Standard of living.

Income inequality is strange - people are more than willing to overlook it as long as their quality of life remains unchanged. When your rent/mortgage is paid on a decent house or apartment, your retirement is funded, your kids are able to go to college, you can afford to take vacations, or you just happen to have a little extra spending cash, you’ll look the other way while wealthy raiders are trying to buy and sell anything that isnt nailed down. You can rationalize their greediness, because it doesnҒt, in your view, effect your day-to-day life.

It’s people running up the score in a game you’re not playing.

This ultimately becomes the main problem. Enough is never really enough for various rich individuals. Unless the government steps in and hits the pause button, wealthy people will keep working the system until it completely breaks down. This is why we face such catastrophes when business is de-regulated. It becomes a spiraling death cycle:

Lots of money is made in a capitalist nation.

The rich get richer.

The lower classes get a little more comfortable.

The rich want to get vastly richer, and use their influence to de-regulate the economy, saying, “Hey man, if we make more, the lower classes will get some, too.”

The lower class don’t really get a raise, as de-regulation allows the rich to overreach, squeezing the lower classes with no one to stop them.

The economy collapses.

The rich remain rich, the lower class gets poorer.

The lower class gets furious, and vote heavily AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT because they rightfully blame the government for selling them out.

The anti-establishment is incompetent and ruins things further for the POOR.

Lower class people turn on each other, causing political chaos, rampant racism, and nationalism.

The rich fear the uprising, so they allow themselves to be regulated again, lest revolution hurts their profits.

The nation returns to prosperity.

Rinse, repeat.

Go left, progressive!

Luckily for us, the tide might be turning. Regardless of what you thought of Senator BERNIE SANDERS (and those who follow me know I’ve had sharp criticisms of him), he had the fortitude to make income inequality the biggest issue of his campaign, and to his credit, he never went off-message. He put a specific, damning label on the creeping dread many Americans have been feeling for decades, and he was able to turn that discontent into something more tangible - votes. He got millions of Americans to use their voices at the ballot box to reject income inequality, and to outright question if there was something deeply wrong with how America was doing business. His messaging was so effective that he got Hillary Clinton to basically move her entire platform (and consequentially, the entire Democratic Party) farther left, getting her to agree that, yeah, the issue of wealth distribution was no fad, and it desperately needs to be addressed.

Here’s what his campaign helped change:

Income inequality is now a permanent plank of the Democratic and progressive agenda.

The rhetoric of OCCUPY WALL STREET worked. One-percent is now officially part of the American lexicon, and people are demanding, more and more, that the rich pay up.

People are starting to ask questions about how their representatives are financially backed.

The vote has become increasingly more powerful. Hillary Clinton was seriously challenged by an unknown socialist, who got a whopping 13 million votes - the same as Donald Trump, who won his nomination.

And yes, that brings us to The Donald.

Like any serious problem facing a nation (and in this case, the world at large), there are usually two prevailing thoughts on what to do about it. The first? Genuinely trying to tackle the problem either through legislation or grassroots activism. The other?

Totally exploiting it.

DONALD TRUMP, like Bernie Sanders, understands very well that there’s a lot of anger and resentment coming from people who were left behind in the changing economy. To his credit, Sanders was looking to convert that ire into a political revolution - or at least get people started in the right direction. Trump, well, Trump doesn’t have any real plans beyond obtaining the presidency.

But TRUMP IS NO DUMMY. If he has one skill that’s better than almost anyone on the planet, its his ability to read a room. While the news media blanches over a Trump speech littered with lies and overt racism, the people at his rallies feel like he’s speaking their language. They feel truly heard and valued. Think about this for a moment:

Donald Trump is the son of a rich guy.

He’s always been rich.

He literally has no idea what its like to be poor.

He’s actively hurt the poor with his businesses.

Yet hes beloved by the oppressed.


Trump is fluent in the language of dumb, unfiltered anger. He personifies all of our worst, irrational thinking, especially the garbage that runs through out heads when we think no one is around. We’ve all done it. You’re irritated, don’t quite have all the facts, and you want to blame something or someone to mitigate the pain. That’s Trump. He’s digging right into everyone’s LIZARD BRAIN with sentiments that feel true in the moment to anyone who’s been severely pissed off. And boy does he know it. Like aspiring despots of years past, hes doing it because it works. To many of his supporters, it makes him authentic.

Two choices

America only really has two options this November, and itגs not even between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Its between doing something marginally constructive with the system we have, or setting everything on fire.

Donald Trump offers very little to American progress. HeҒs angry. Youre angry. But what has anger, when acted upon, ever gotten you? A moment of sweet relief followed by what? Almost always, regret.

Let’s not, however, marginalize whats going on in the United States. WE’VE BLOWN THE SOCIAL CONTRACT APART, and its caused a pair of deadly consequences: intense anxiety from economic insecurity, and poverty that engulfs a worrisome percentage of our citizens. This is unconscionable when you realize there’s no actual reason this needed to happen. Humanity has gotten to a point where we’ve somehow allowed the bounties of the planet to be hoarded by a small cadre WEALTHY PEOPLE when in reality, all of us need a piece for our survival. That’s really the operative word here - survival. Arriving at tomorrow with a feeling of stability, to many, is a reasonable measure of success and it’s barely a lot to ask. But when every activity of your day is a constant reminder of your financial peril, isn’t it natural that you’d freak out?

This isnt radical thinking, either. It makes sense on a practical level. The United States has the highest GDP in the world. Why on earth are we on the edge of electing a fascist when we have so many resources available to alleviate poverty?

That’s the hard question we need to be asking. The United States is in dire need of self-reflection. How can we really continue a path where only some people control the wealth, and the rest are left twisting in the wind? At what point do we decide that a common standard living is more than just a nice idea, that its integral to having a stable, peaceful society? Everything hinges on it:

Our relationships to each other across race, gender, class.

The strength of our communities.

Whether or not we engage in war.

Our public safety (crime, police relations, etc.).

The mental well-being of our citizens.

This is why fascism is banging down our door. We’ve lost our understanding of what, exactly, needs to happen at the base level of a functioning society that everyone needs at least some reasonable shot at having a normal life. We’re watching a generally sensible population become angry, violent, and wilfully ignorant. Were witnessing a deep class separation in our republic, and it’s grown so large that were seriously considering an authoritarian to be our next leader.

Something has to give. The only question, is what.



Posted by Elvis on 03/05/21 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Fascism
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