Home Forum Political Economy The Need for Change

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    Our problems with the COVID-19 Emergency, the Climate Emergency and eight other enumerable global emergencies are all problems which have their proximal genesis in political economy: in “capital as power” and the misuse of capital, power, information, communication, technology and science. In a political economy run by and for the rich (the oligarchs and corporations), the politicians serve the rich and not the majority of the people as examined by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page in their paper “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” [1] Their analysis clearly shows how capital purchases power, although this analysis does not extend to an analysis of “capital as power”. To orient ourselves, it is also worth looking at a list of the ten catastrophic emergencies we face in the “Catastrophocene” according to Julian Cribb. [2]

    Only a socialist change, hopefully and presumably a democratic socialist revolution, can solve these crises in my view. Specifically, this revolution needs to occur in the USA. Without it, the rest of the capitalist world remains chained to capitalism – neoliberal, market fundamentalist capitalism – due to the USA’s economic and military hegemony over more than half the globe. Only China has the internal mass to create any separate, major centre of gravity which can exercise a potential orbital hold over near satellites and allies. We can note the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). USA-led capitalism has largely captured the rest of the world except for Russia which it has entangled in a “rope-a-dope” conflict with US/EU proxy, Ukraine. Putin and his supporters are still completely culpable for invading Ukraine and for the war crimes which followed. They were foolish: harbouring old-style imperialist and Czarist ambitions and over-reacting to provocations and non-provocations.

    The USA has a revolutionary history. The War of Independence is called the American Revolution for good reason. My analysis now is that only a democratic socialist revolution, first in the USA, can change our fate. Insofar as such a revolution is still likely or even possible, we have hope. If it is judged to be very unlikely or impossible, then we have no hope. The  American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution occurring in British America between 1765 and 1791. The American Revolution overthrew the power of the British Monarchy in the thirteen colonies and established Independence. However, a full revolution was never carried through, predictably enough in hindsight. Power was transferred from the British Monarchy to the American nouveau rich who became effectively a new aristocracy: the “Boston Brahmins” for example.

    Rich American merchants, land-owners and slave holders were the beneficiaries of the Revolution which they ran on their own behalf and for their own benefit. The Declaration of Independence was indeed a declaration of universal human rights. This promise of rights recruited foot soldiers who could later be sent north and west and south to shoot more British, French and the native Americans for land. The radical idea of univeral rights was firmly planted but never universally activated. It was not delivered to anyone outside the circle of settler-descendent “freedom” tradition, They were still excluded . The Civil War was the second American Revolution: a battle not only to abolish outright institutionalized slavery but also a battle of  northern industrial capitalists against southern landed gentry and slave-owning capitalists. Since then, the US has remained mired in this form of capitalism, albeit with an intensification of financial capitalism over industrial capitalism.

    Attempts were made for a socialist revolution in the USA mainly via the actions of the “Wobblies”. “The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the ‘Wobblies’, was a radical labor organization founded in the United States in 1905.” The New Deal in turn was a capitalist reorganization to overcome the Great Depression. The New Deal only became possible and necessary because the American capitalist and ruling classes feared a successful Communist revolution in the USA. Concessions were made to workers, wage rises and expansionary policies were put in place and capitalist wealth and profits were heavily taxed. The capitalists payed new taxes as the price to avoid a threatened revolution. Fear is very motivating. This inaugurated, along with the war-time command economy followed by the post-war period of Keynesian economic expansionism, the so-called “Golden Age” of US and world capitalism, lasting from 1945 until the early 1970s.

    Seemingly paradoxically, wartime command economics and post-war public spending funded, underwrote and launched the most successful phase of capitalism: a form of state-private capitalism but then private enterprise capitalism is really always state-private capitalism. The question is only about “Who is the state funding most?” Is it funding and developing the needy demographics or just the capitalists who are both needless and in reality un-needed. But reactionary forces set in again as they inevitably and repeatedly do under capitalism. The rich oligarchs and corporations wanted to reverse the trend. They wanted once again to take by far the greatest piece of the total pie and to again push workers back into complete wage slavery and even poverty. The rich fought tooth and nail against taxes on the rich. No doubt, this potted history and perhaps even  this interpretation, is quite familiar to most people who read this forum.

    According to the tenets of capitalism, minimal social spending and minimal taxation of the rich had to be re-established against any and all COVID-19 prevention measures and to make them as temporary as possible. We have seen the successful intensification of measures against the control of COVID-19 via a massive misinformation and disinformation campaign and the withdrawal of and refusal to use available resources including scientific and technical resources. This is capitalism destroying its base: both worker and expert parts of the base and middle. This is superstructure thinking it can exist without base or middle unless it plans an AI / drone run Techno-utopia much more likely to manfest as a dysfunctional hell on earth. Meanwhile, reactionary neo-fascism (under the MAGA banner of Trumpism) plans to execute a fascist takeover in the USA targeted for 2024. This is very clearly on their agenda. Matters are rapidly coming to a head. The USA is in imminent danger of becoming fascist. Biden-style Democrats (still capitalists) may kick the can down the road a little if they can see off MAGA Repubs but Democrat rule is scarcely more enlightened.

    The COVID-19 endless pandemic crisis (of unleashed punctuated equilibrium evolution of a still poorly understood new pathogen) and the “Catastrophocene” cannot be halted and reversed without a third US revolution, for democratic socialism, which hopefully would complete the revolutionary cycles necessary to abolish Western capitalism. This is not to say such a revolution is inevitable or even possible. I don’t think that. I am not a determinist nor a Marxist historicist. I have no idea what is going to happen except perhaps in broad physical and biological outline. See the “Catastrophene” Our current trajectory is unstable and unsustainable.

    Note 1: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

    Note 2: https://juliancribb.blog/2022/09/24/here-comes-the-catastrophocene/

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Rowan Pryor.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Rowan Pryor. Reason: Pruning
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