For 25-30 years, I have said that the main political issues in the USA are imperialism, widening class divisions, and use of the wars on drugs, crime, and (later) terrorism to create a domestic police state. Regrettably, most of liberal and left opinion during this time has been more focused on “identity” issues and (to a lesser degree) environmentalism or expanding the welfare state instead.
We are seeing the consequences of that now. The US has killed millions of people in …the past 20 years with wars of aggression. Class divisions are the widest they have been in a century, and incarceration rates are setting world records. In fact, it’s often been the far right (paleocons, libertarians, sovereign citizens, isolationist xenophobes) who are more in tune on many of these issues than liberal and left opinion.
Yet these issues have become so serious that we are starting to see presidential candidates that at least give lip service to them. This time around we have Biden representing the dinosaur wing of the Democrats and Kamala Harris representing the Clintonesque psychopath wing. But we also have Tulsi offering a very mild, moderate critique of the neocon/neoliberal foreign policy paradigm. We have Sanders and Warren at least giving lip service to class issues, although their specific ideas are very retrograde and reactionary. They want to “go back to the 1950s” on economic policies the same way the religious right wants to do the same on social policies. And Booker, corporate stooge that he is, gives lip service to “criminal justice reform.” Tulsi is the one that’s hated the most by elite opinion because anti-imperialism threatens the empire while modest welfare state and mild criminal justice reforms can be more easily accommodated. As Mao said, imperialism is the first contradiction. And Tulsi is not really an anti-imperialist as much as an anti-neocon, which is good enough for now.
What I hope happens is that some of these folks may open the door to far, far, far, more radical and extreme figures in the future.
p>I’m loving all of this “divisiveness” that’s happening nowadays.
In an ideal world, the federal, state, and local governments would be dominated not by two parties but by 200 parties representing every kind of freakazoid quack ideology, and every scumbag special interest group imaginable, and with offices being held by everyone from rappers speaking in beats and rhymes to true believers in the lizard people conspiracy to self-proclaimed UFO abductees to exorcists to MS-13 members to “otherkin” types who think they are really a dog or a vampire. Diversity is our strength, and all that.
By Stephen Johnson
The Big Think
Slavoj Žižek and British political writer Owen Jones recently spoke about American politics, the left and global capitalism.
Žižek sees the success of President Donald Trump as proof that the left needs a major overhaul.
Žižek said one positive aspect of Trump’s presidency could be the rise of a new movement on the left.