American Decline

Slavoj Žižek: Trump’s rise is a symptom of a dark and subtle force

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.


23 replies »

  1. ” The US has killed millions of people in …the past 20 years with wars of aggression.”

    Can we estimate how many million?

    In the 20th century, about 250 million people were killed by government. See “Democide”. (some users of that term, oddly, do not count people killed in wars. Why, I don’t know.

    ” Class divisions are the widest they have been in a century

    Let’s get a quantification on that claim. No doubt the biased MSM media TALKS ABOUT “class divisions” more, today, than any other time I’m aware of. But that doesn’t make reality that way.

    ,” and incarceration rates are setting world records.”

    Yes, but in America, it’s mostly due to laws against illegal drugs. Which, of course, I consider a major mistake.

    ” 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.”

    Yes, and that is an amazing fact.

    • From my perspective here in the south-central US, the biggest divide I see is between the middle class and lower class. All these politicians talk about “helping the middle class” as if the lower class simply doesn’t exist. Likewise, most of the loony liberals who push the welfare state are middle-class urbanites who never struggled a day in their goddamn lives.

      During the midterm elections last year, a local congresswomen known for supporting a certain prohibitive tax sent out a petition AGAINST that tax. If that wasn’t amusing enough, her reason for “opposing” this tax she certainly seemed to support? It would hurt the middle class. Bear in mind that almost everyone I know lives below the poverty line, and this congresswomen often boasts about being familiar with her local community.

      • Most of liberal and left opinion is worthless on class issues. To the degree they have any interest in class issues at all, it’s almost always about expanding the welfare state which will in turn be managed by middle class college graduates like themselves, not removing barriers to working class/poor self-determination (like abolishing zoning laws, for example, or other policies that constrict the supply of housing). And any actual class struggle (like a syndicalist-model general strike) is completely outside their universe.

      • Okay, but the article above stated:
        “” The US has killed millions of people in …the past 20 years with wars of aggression.””
        The past 20 years would be 1999 through 2019. I find that hard to believe.
        OTOH, the article you just cited,
        sound far more believable, since it includes the years 1945 through 2019, or 74 years.
        However, a look at that article says:
        “This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.”

        Uh, that sounds a bit stilted. Did the US actually CAUSE the Korean war? Or the Vietnam war? Sure, we (America) were there are willing to fight those wars, but…
        Put simply, who “aggressed”?
        Also, Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait in 1991. Their war. America drove Iraq out, but I wonder how much it could be said to be “directly responsible” in that case.
        Gulf War II was foolish, of course. It didn’t have to be fought

        • The Lucas article covers the entire postwar period. But I would estimate that US-initiated wars or wars fueled and inflamed by US involvement on various levels, have likely killed millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere, in the past two decades.

      • The article above attributes virtually every dispute that the U.S. has been involved in to the U.S. I am far from a general defender of American policy, but that seems way to extensive a complaint.

        This is Wikipedia’s take on the Korean War:

        “As a product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, Korea had been split into two sovereign states. Both governments of the two new Korean states claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent. A socialist state was established in the north under the communist leadership of Kim Il Sung and a capitalist state in the south under the anti-communist leadership of Syngman Rhee. The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces—supported by the Soviet Union and China—moved into the south on 25 June 1950.[45] The United Nations Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea[46] to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion.[47][48] Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing around 90% of the military personnel.[49]”

        Can it really be said that America “started” the Korean war?

        As for Vietnam: It sure seems suspicious that despite the fact that there were two countries, North Vietnam and South Vietnam, the vast majority of the fighting occurred…in South Vietnam?

        I realize that these issues are complex, but I think the bias of the person who wrote the article above is rather clear!

  2. One degree more radical and extreme on the establishment left and they will be performing lynchings with judicial cover. The right is hilariously powerless and, frankly, does not understand a thing about the current paradigm shift. They might as well be putting political time on hold until 2020, at which point they will cease to exist on the national stage and the realignment can truly begin.

    • I think in the future of the US, “conservatism” will look like the Clinton Democrats and “liberalism” will look like the “progressive” Democrats. I don’t get how the GOP is even going to be a competitive national party in the future as their constituency keeps shrinking and dying off.

  3. Have The Juggalos taken over The White House ? You could raise the Black Skull and Bones Flag over The Stars and Stripes on the dome, and no one would be any the wiser.
    The show is over folks, go home…..

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