Sunday, May 22, 2016

Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-Wing Government

Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-Wing Government

There are actually more than seven rules:

  1. It’s Not You, It’s China (or, the World System)
  2. Don’t Run Your Economy on Resources
  3. Your First Act Must Be a Media Law
  4. Take Control of the Banking Sector
  5. Who Is Your Administrative Class?
  6. Take Control of Distribution and Utilities
  7. Reduce Your Vulnerability to the World Trade System
  8. Be Satisfied with What You Can Grow and Make
  9. Obey the Laws of Purges

The last is the most important. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie will do anything to maintain or regain power: murder, torture, slavery, rape: no atrocity is beyond them. This utter amorality is not license for revolutionaries to emulate it: brutality cannot be defeated by brutality. However, the power of the bourgeoisie can be utterly broken without atrocity, in part by simply making their atrocities clear. For example,

Assume Obama was really a left-winger. He gets into power in 2009, and he really wants to change things. He needs to take out the financial elite: Wall Street and the Big Banks.

They’ve handed him the opportunity. Here’s part of how he does it: He declares all banks involved in the sub-prime fraud racket (all of the big ones most of the small ones) conspiracies under RICO.

He then says that all the individual executives’ money are proceeds from crime and confiscates it. (This is 100 percent legal under laws as they exist). He charges them, and they are forced to use public defenders.

They are now powerless. This is the second law of purges: Anyone you damage, you must destroy utterly. If you take away half their power, and leave them half, they will hate you forever and use their remaining power to destroy you.

Destroy them utterly, but with justice. No murder, no torture, not even show trials. One critical weakness of the bourgeoisie is that they depend on popular legitimacy, so the letter of the their own law, interpreted reasonably, can be used against them. Were the bourgeoisie were to write their interests explicitly and directly into law, they would compromise their legitimacy. They must depend on extra-legal measures to maintain their power under their own legal system.

(Note that the bourgeoisie is actually working to make the law more explicitly in line with their own interests, and they are making substantial progress: the Trans Pacific Partnership is a notable example. But this project is self-defeating: as the law becomes more explicitly protective of bourgeois power, the bourgeoisie, and the concept of law itself, loses popular legitimacy.)

The first law of purges is to do it all at once and then stop; otherwise, you risk creating a climate of fear and paranoia, which will undermine your project. Hard to do. You have to get it almost exactly right the first time. Still, it's doable: the first purge is basically political; any subsequent adjustments can be traditionally legal.

All of this will make many readers uneasy. It seems “mean.”

Get out of the game. You aren’t fit for it. This is all mean. Millions of people die every year and millions more are ruined by the current system. If you’re in this game to win it, rather than feel good about yourself, you will have to play real power politics by the actual rules of the game.

Too many left-wingers try to play by what they think the rules are. “We have a fair election every X years and the losers accept the result and don’t sabotage the winner (or do a coup).”

Those aren’t the real rules. If the right is really losing, they will cheat and cheat massively. They will think nothing of running death squads, making a deal with the US to support guerrillas, and so on.

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