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

Friday, April 28, 2017

The U.S. Political Scene: Whiteness and the Legitimacy Crisis of Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by Salvador Rangel and Jeb Sprague-Silgado from TeleSur. (There is one obvious error in the article: Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders is referred to as Delaware's senator.)

The two sociology professors from the University of California clarify the methods that our masters in the capitalist ruling class have used in recent decades to fool the people into supporting the ruling class's global agendas. 
Within the U.S. political scene into [In the political scene of] the 1990s conservative and liberal establishments together developed new mechanisms of capital accumulation while chipping away at the power of labor, such as NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). On the conservative side: xenophobic candidates like Pat Buchanan and anti-NAFTA business leaders such as Ross Perot were sidelined. On the liberal side, the remnants of strong labor voices were silenced. A grand bargain was struck between a conservative militaristic establishment and a liberal establishment espousing a sort of anti-worker multiculturalism (with its growing identitarian acceptance of peoples from different ethnicities and sexual orientations, alongside viewing workers as cogs to be seamlessly integrated into a new globalized economy). Under these circumstances, profits grew tremendously for transnational capital (aided especially by new-fangled financial mechanisms). Meanwhile, workers faced stagnation, dispossession, and heightened job insecurity. [my suggested editing]
The sociology professors also recognize that Trump was not the first choice of the ruling class, but they have managed to turn him to support their neoliberal and imperial agendas.
Relying upon recycled mantras of xenophobia and nationalism, the Trumpian right seeks to head off the legitimacy crisis of transnational capital. However rather than propose an alternative to transnational capital, they propose an alternative strategy for reproducing it. Also disconcerting are the growing threats of war, as neo-conservative groups (so heavily involved in the U.S. war crimes of recent decades) appear to have reasserted their influence over the white house. 
Their last languid paragraph, I think, is illustrative of a desire to preserve their careers at the university. (Who can blame them?)
Progressive, left, and social movement forces in the U.S. need to build on successes of the past as well as move beyond them, taking on, for instance, a more pro-active position against militarism and a deeper critique of capitalism.
What we really need is a dedicated revolutionary movement to overturn the ruling capitalist class and its system; and not only to replace it with a sustainable system that serves the vast majority, but to enable humans as a species to survive.

3 comments:

  1. Hi, Ron,
    You often write, "Who can blame" them/him/her for hedging their position in order to retain their job. Time for me to answer, "I can!" Life on this planet is over except for the tears and screaming - due to far too many far too privileged people not speaking up. Throughout my career(s) I repeatedly paid the price for speaking up, but I spoke up anyway. Alone. Once I left all that behind I learned an amazing lesson: We don't need jobs. We need water, food, shelter, clothing and other living beings with whom we share love and cooperation.

    Back in the Midwest where I grew up in the 50s, people cooperated - even people who didn't particularly like each other. People shared water, food, shelter and clothing with others who needed/could use it. We didn't throw things away; we gave them away. We didn't buy (all) our food in the "super" market but got it from farmers and our own backyards.

    I'm not saying the 6th Extinction is "all our own fault". Our capitalist masters engineered it for profit. The amazing thing is that we could have - and can - say No to them. We have to summon Neo's courage, speak up, and help each other rather than further serving our capitalist masters. Independence is scary and certainly not as comfortable as the trappings of our servitude (while we're allowed to keep them), but it feels incredibly good.

    I write this at the end of time not because it will save our lives, but it might help us salvage our self-respect.

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  2. From the very beginning of my website in December of 2009 I have concentrated my efforts at selecting articles and framing my comments to shed some light on the system of capitalism and how it is ruining our lives. Thus my focus on change has been decidedly systemic. I don't believe that morally condemning individuals will accomplish any change whatsoever. I especially don't like to morally judge people that I don't know well.

    I believe that a moralistic individual approach changes nothing that is wrong with our nation and the world. In fact I believe that it encourages people to turn against each other by setting up a kind of contest to see who can be holier than others, and that encourages blaming others, which in turn provokes hostile responses. Our masters in the self-serving ruling class love this to happen--they even encourage it.

    We may very well be "at the end of time", but we really don't know that. I am convinced that the odds of our survival is slim, by it is human nature (and that of our fellow animals) to fight to survive.

    My website aims to encourage people to look at and understand the system that I believe drives people to do so much of what they do. I have started encouraging people who follow my website to think about changing the system and to think about what a sustainable, socially just system might look like. Soon I will be offering more definite ideas about how we might proceed to overthrow the capitalist system and the tiny ruling class that benefits from it at the expense of our lives and habitat that can sustain humans.

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    Replies
    1. Correction: the sentence in the third paragraph beginning with "I am convinced...." should read "I am convinced that the odds of our survival is slim, but it is human nature (and that of our fellow animals) to fight to survive.

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