I don’t miss W.

 

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said: I Miss W. The car was festooned with other stickers that led me to believe that the owner was a liberal.

Oh, great, another liberal who mistakes Trump for the cause of our disease when he’s just  one of the more ghastly symptoms.

In my opinion, we have a buffoon like Trump as President precisely because we never held W. and all the neoconservative minions who made up his administration responsible for the war crimes and torture they committed.

We also have a buffoon for a President because Obama and his neoliberal minions bailed out the bankers who were responsible for the Wall Street crash instead of the millions of Americans who were thrown out of their houses.

Indeed, the neoconservatives and the neoliberals of the last two administrations have demonstrated not only their intellectual bankruptcy, but their raw savagery.

For example, in the wake of Charlottesville, the entire political class is united in decrying neo-Nazis, but under Obama, the neoconservatives, led by Victoria Nuland, used neo-Nazi’s as stormtroopers to overthrow the Ukraine government and wage a savage civil war, all in an epic campaign to jump-start a second Cold War against Russia.

It should be obvious but crimes committed on the periphery of the empire always return to sender.

Then there’s the economic system-neoliberalism-that’s impoverished the vast majority of Americans while enriching the 1% and their professional hangers-on. Although, I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

In the Supermanagerial Reich, Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Raphaële Chappe examine the political/economy of Germany under Hitler and the Nazis and connect the violence of Charlottesville with neoliberalism.

“The parallel between the Nazi “revolution” in the 1930s and the neoliberal “revolution” in the 1980s and ’90s goes much further. The Nazis were also pioneers in what was then the uncharted economic waters of “privatization.” In the face of the Great Depression, states across the world — including the Social Democratic led Weimar Republic — nationalized key industries and, in some cases, like Germany, nearly the entirety of the financial sector. The Nazis — despite early propaganda indicating otherwise — were the unique exception. Not only did they avoid further nationalization but they innovated a process so idiosyncratic at the time that it required coining a German neologism: Reprivatisierung.”

Much of the problems we face as a country can be traced to these economic policies pursued by both political parties. We wonder why Americans are turning to violence or opioids, when it should be obvious that neoliberalism has created a vast underclass of precarious Americans.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism has come to regiment our lives to a startling degree with the idea that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity. Neoliberalism, despite misperceptions, doesn’t actually seek to abolish the state and create an organic market. Rather, it captures and transforms the state by reducing its power to regulate the wealthy and corporations they control, while radically expanding its co-ersive powers over American citizens.

In the process we’ve created our very own all-American, Supermanagerial Reich.

“While there is much gnashing of teeth over our own, cartoonish Hitler wannabe, too many political actors seem more than willing to turn their heads away from our own Supermanagerial Reich. Like mid-1930s Germans, too many are quite simply comfortable with the rolling slow-motion horror that has been neoliberalism. They view the Trumps and the Le Pens and the Erdoğans, and so forth as a new crisis, a sudden shock to the system. Many in the United States fear a Trump election because there might be an explosion of state repression against the vulnerable, particularly against specific racial and ethnic minorities. And yet, the neoliberal state has already created a penal system to rival the world’s most authoritarian dictatorships. The United States imprisons more citizens (total and per capita) than any other country on Earth, and African Americans and Latinos at a vastly over-represented rate. Many fear Trump would bring massive deportations of undocumented immigrants. And yet, the neoliberal state already engages in mass deportations, at the level of millions during the current administration, with countless more waiting in dire conditions in the world’s largest network of immigrant detention camps. Many fear a Trump election would bring mass persecution, surveillance, and restrictions for American Muslims. And yet, the neoliberal state already spies on Muslims, administers religious tests at borders, and polices Muslims for nothing more than their religious practices. Many fear a Trump election might bring economic ruin, and yet, for most Americans, wealth is vanishing, wages stagnant, real unemployment steady.”

As political philosopher, Antonio Gramsci, noted–“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

Presently, we are living through a variety of morbid symptoms.

Update: As someone who grew up in the south, with many southern relatives and friends, I sympathize with the idea of the Lost Cause, that animates many of these folks, while accepting the reality that the Confederates rebelled against the Union as a way to preserve slavery.

The US history of slavery is incredibly complicated and ultimately tragic. Many northerners, especially the ship owners and bankers, created vast fortunes from the slave trade. Our hero’s, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners. To be perfectly honest, our country was founded on slavery and genocide. If you want to discuss this history it’s well past time.

That being said, while I respect the freedom of speech of even the most loathsome neo-Nazis, showing up heavily armed with assault weapons  is hardly freedom of speech. As a thought experiment imagine the response from the NYPD if Occupy Wall Street activists had brandished weapons.

 

 

 

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