We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chosen Leaders, Proven Failures and Political Debacles

Click here to access article by retired American professor of sociology James Petras posted on Global Research (based in Canada).

Since the Vietnam War when the feminist movement and gay movements became so prominent, our capitalist ruling class, ever keen to find new methods to dupe the 99%, promoted identity politics as a diversion from the reality of class politics and class war that became much too influential for our masters' comfort during the Vietnam War. Since then they have used such politics to deceive people in supporting capitalist agendas by frequently co-opting and then using people of color and women to advance their interests at the expense and lives of ordinary Americans. In this article Petras explains how they do this and challenges us to sharpen are critical thinking skills to see through their many ruses.
Often media moguls, publicists and corporate leaders laud the ‘social background’ of a candidate.  They use such criteria to groom and coopt upwardly mobile workers, trade union officials and community militants.  ‘Chosen leaders’ from minority or oppressed backgrounds are put in charge of discipline, work-place speed-ups and lay-offs.  They sometimes adopt ‘workers’ language, splicing rough anti-establishment curses with their abuses as they fire workers and cut wages.  One’s past social background is a far less useful criterion than current social commitments.  As Karl Marx long ago noted, the ruling class is not a closed caste: It is always open to co-opting bright and influential new members among upwardly mobile labor leaders and activists.
Because Trump issued so many bigoted statements against minorities during his political campaign, the great mass of people oriented to identity politics were shocked by his victory and remain in a state of fear. However, I maintain my position that I argued some time ago that little of significant substance will change. We will continue to experience never-ending wars, austerity policies at home, the loss of American jobs due to corporations seeking cheaper labor and lax environmental regulations abroad, the unleashing of militarized police forces to contain activist dissent, periodic economic crises, and increasing climate destabilization. The recent promotion of anti-Russian propaganda was well underway before the election of Trump. And I doubt that much will change regarding minority or disadvantaged populations in the US. 

What we need to worry about is what we are now seeing: an accelerated effort to contain dissent by attacks on alternative media and independent journalists. However, I think this is a result, not of Trump's election, but of the setbacks our ruling masters have experienced in their elaborate effort to destabilize Syria, their lack of success in promoting the Transpacific Partnership agreement, President Duterte's (Philippines) turn to China, and in general the powerful challenges to their power coming from China and Russia. This general view is now being reinforced with the kind of people backing Trump as reflected in his cabinet appointments and nominations. One should not be distracted by the internecine battles of the various factions in the ruling capitalist class simply because they will always serve their tiny class at the expense of the vast majority of Americans.

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