Monday, June 13, 2016

The inevitable rise of fascism

What we currently have is often called "neoliberalism": the second Gilded Age with fiat money instead of a gold standard; government of the bourgeoisie, by the bourgeoisie, for the bourgeoisie; as little as possible thrown to the proletariat to keep them from revolting, and always by charity, not by right or merit.

Neoliberalism has given us almost a decade of economic depression, economic insecurity, mass incarceration, police murder, wars of aggression, assassination and torture.

Clinton is not just a neoliberal, she is one of the architects of neoliberalism.

The problem with neoliberalism is that if you're not a tenured professor at Rutgers, it has been "incrementally" sucking harder every year since 1980, and by now it sucks pretty damn hard.

Neoliberalism has managed to alienate the vast majority of the population, and neoliberals no longer seek anything but the barest veneer of popular legitimacy.

The best argument the neoliberals can come up with is that There Is No Alternative.

But of course there are alternatives.

There's socialism and communism, of course. Y'all know how I feel about that. (If you're new, I'm all for it.)

Another alternative is "progressivism." Keep the system of private property and the private ownership of the means of production, but use state power not as an organ of the bourgeoisie, but as a counterpoise to its power.

Progressivism is not logically impossible: the welfare state capitalism of the United States from 1945 to 1980, and of Europe, which has not yet completely unravelled, show that it can happen.

Bernie Sanders is a progressive. Elizabeth Warren is a progressive. I would have counted Paul Krugman as a progressive, but his full-throated support for Clinton shows he's just another neoliberal. Sad. But that's where his paycheck comes from, so whaddya expect?

The problem with progressivism, as Marx could have pointed out in his sleep, is that it does not emerge from capitalist relations of production. Progressivism is unstable, and a few missteps — a war in Vietnam here, stagflation there — and the whole thing collapses like a Jenga tower.

Other than socialism and communism, I have sympathy for and common cause with progressives. As noted above, I think they are mistaken, but I would be happy to be proven wrong. And no only are they just the enemy of my enemy, but they also share substantive goals with socialists like me, the welfare of the people.

Yet another alternative is fascism. The strong man (and it's always a man). The subsumption of the the individual to the Glory of the State. The absolute polarization of Us versus Them. Force as the highest good.

Fascism is popular. It requires no theory, no thought. We are good! We are strong! We will crush our enemies, drive them before us, and hear the lamentations of their women! That is best!

Yes, fascism is worse than neoliberalism, despite the neoliberals' efforts to give the fascists a good fight in the evil department. At least neoliberals have the decency to be hypocritical about their evil.

I don't think the bourgeoisie created fascism, but they certainly have seen its uses. Tolerate a little fascism but brutally suppress even a hint of socialism, and The Only Alternative to neoliberalism is fascism. Thus, when black people exercise their Second Amendment rights — and read Mao, and hang out with Bob Avakian — the neoliberals (and "progressives") murder them, imprison them, and utterly break them. When white supremacists and Christian fascists exercise their Second Amendment rights, the neoliberals keep an eye on them, but mostly leave them alone.

It's a good plan. Millions of people who hate neoliberalism are going to vote for Clinton, because Trump really is worse: at best he's a buffoon; at worst he's a fascist or a harbinger of fascism.

I don't blame them. Progressivism is a nice idea, but it failed almost forty years ago. It's a dead end.

Socialism has been utterly destroyed. There are no functioning, effective socialist institutions left in the world. The Soviet Union fell to the mafia; the People's Republic of China fell to the capitalists. The socialist parties and organizations in the West have devolved into squabbling mutual masturbation societies. Marx remains as relevant as ever, but the bourgeoisie have read Marx too, and will not again be caught napping as they were in 1929.

As the neoliberal bourgeoisie becomes more and more divorced from the common good, as the population becomes economically, politically, and socially alienated alienated, people will search for an alternative, any alternative. The only space they have allowed for opposition is fascism, so that's what people will find. Because the fascists are not (yet) in power, they can make no mistakes, and they can attribute every social problem (even in themselves) to the corruption and decadence of the neoliberals. (Meanwhile making common cause with the bourgeoisie behind closed doors for the extirpation of their common enemy, the socialists.)

The fascists are not stupid: unlike the socialists, who really will eliminate (in a political sense) the bourgeoisie, the fascists will allow the bourgeoisie to retain considerable power. Neither are the bourgeoisie stupid: if the fascists allow the bourgeoisie any power, the bourgeoisie will — with the weight of economics on their side — eventually regain absolute power.

For the bourgeoisie, socialism is doom, but fascism is just a strategic retreat.

Clinton will win, Trump will lose. Neoliberalism will limp on for another eight years. The locus of neoliberal power will move to the Democratic party, and the Sanders/Warren "progressives" will be bought off and their supporters suppressed. Any "left" alternative will be fragmented and factionalized into competing identity-politics groups fighting each other for the bourgeoisie's scraps.

The Republican party will continue to move towards fascism. As the neoliberals continue to make the world worse, they will eventually gain power. It's just a matter of time.

Hopefully, I'll be dead by then. As for y'all, good luck.

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