By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
As a practice, I despise both major parties with a passion usually reserved for religious zealotry. But I’m not ashamed, even as a lifelong leftist, to admit that I hate the Democrats most of all. In fact, it’s precisely because I’m a leftist that I hate the Democrats most of all. The only thing worse than a racist horde of war hungry zillionaires is a racist horde of war hungry zillionaires who try to pass them selves off as the high handed voice of egalitarianism. It’s like having Strom Thurmond throw on a Rasta wig and wax poetic about how he understands why the n*ggers feel cold and the slum’s got so much soul (compliments to Jello Biafra). It doesn’t exactly make me feel better that I use to be a member of that limp-wristed blackface fraternity.
But it was 2008, the scoundrels of the Bush junta were on their way out the revolving door to cushy no-show jobs in the defense industry and there was one candidate left in that party that I still believed in, and I’m not talking about Joe Lieberman’s designated black dauphin. Dennis Kucinich was the last of a dying breed. He seemed to have stepped out from a different era, like the long lost munchkin lovechild of George McGovern and Joan Baez. He didn’t just want peace, he wanted revenge against the war machine; 50% cuts in defense spending, shuttering all foreign bases, Nuremberg Tribunals for the retreating Bush junta. He didn’t have a chance in hell and I didn’t give a shit. He was on a crusade that was bigger than any election, and I was willing to swallow my vomit and leave the Green Party to join him.
I look at the ten clown car pileup that is the 2020 Democratic primaries and there is no Dennis Kucinich to be found. Just a multicultural graveyard of hyper-statist partisan corpses. For five fucking minutes we had Mike Gravel’s beautiful crusty old ass, but the glorified carnies who rig the debates quickly erased all signs of his existence until his shallow well ran dry. What we have now is a contest largely between two separate but equally deceptive cliques of creeps. The “Moderates” or, as I call them, the Obama Revivalists, and the “Revolutionaries” who are really little more than blood and butter social democrats (to quote the late Dr. Thompson, “You people voted for Humphrey… and you killed Jesus!)
The Obama Revivalists have to be the most comically delusional conglomeration of convoluted cunts since Obama himself sold half my generation on an 8 year extension of the Bush regime with Hopelandic gobbledygook lifted straight from a Chicken Noodle Soup paperback he found at the airport. The basic pitch of these neoliberal imbeciles, who only the Clinton News Network would have the gal to call “Realists”, can be summed up by Cher’s tattooed ass on a battleship, ‘If we could just turn back time. If we could just find a way…’ They seem to all suffer under the grand-mal delusion that all of America’s woes began in February 2017, and just 8 more years of Obama (or 24 of Bush) can cure the American Empire of an authoritarian collapse that has been a longtime coming. Donald Trump is not the problem, he is the symptom. Voting for one of these mass media approved Obama Revivalists would be the equivalent of treating a brain tumor with a shotgun blow to the head.
This is the transcript of a talk I gave to the H.L. Mencken Club on November 9, 2019.
By Keith Preston
When it comes to questions of strategy, it is important to base one’s approach on a reasonable estimation of the probable circumstances one will be facing in the future.
I constantly hear claims that there will be a civil war at some point, or an apocalyptic revolution, or a coup, or the election of a populist leader that will set everything straight.
But the probable future of the United States will be something more like what is actually happening on the West Coast at present. In the future, the United States will increasingly start to resemble a Latin American nation in terms of demographics, socioeconomic class structures, and political characteristics.
Many people on the Right tend to focus on the demographic angle, and it is certainly true that the US is experiencing a demographic transformation in the sense that in the future there will be no ethnic majority, but merely a collection of minorities.
However, just as important is the fact that class divisions continue to widen in the US. The gap between rich and poor is the widest it has been since the 1920s, and there is no evidence this will change in the foreseeable future. I would argue that the widening class divisions probably have dozens of causes rather than any singular cause, but it is an issue that is just as important as the demographic issue.
At present, California is starting to look like what a traditional so-called “Third World” model society looks like. In Third World societies, and traditional societies generally, class structures are such that the very rich live in opulent luxury, with a relatively small middle class of ruling class functionaries, and masses of workers and poor people. That is the picture that is emerging in California.
Certain areas of California are among the wealthiest in the nation. There is also a middle class and upper middle class of professionals, tech workers, public sector workers, bureaucrats, and corporate managerial personnel, but what Americans traditionally think of as the conventional working to middle class is shrinking in size, and the ranks of the poor, including those experiencing Third World or Fourth World levels of poverty, are growing. For example, some areas of California have poverty levels that approximate those of the Congo. California cities have a massive homeless population of the kind normally associated with Latin America or South Asia. Certain medieval diseases like typhus and leprosy are making a comeback among the poor in California as well.
It has been said in the past that California is the bellwether of the nation, and I suspect that will prove to be true in this scenario as well. Increasingly, US politics is starting to resemble Third World politics with openly demagogic figures on both the left and right beginning to appear. In Third World politics, it is not uncommon for open socialists and communists as well as right-wing extremists to get elected to parliaments. Corruption, nepotism, ethnic spoils systems, institutionalized bribery, and flagrant incompetence are not exceptions but the expected norm. We see plenty of examples of this happening in the United States as well.
-North, Central, and South America will become increasingly integrated into a Schengen-like borderless trade zone.
-US international hegemony will begin to recede due to imperial overstretch with international power increasingly being ceded to transnational institutions.
-Class relations in the US will increasingly resemble the “Third World” (traditional) model, highly stratified and polarized with a small middle class.
-The US will become an ever more diverse society but at the cost of increased domestic conflict.
-Civil unrest caused by increased political, class, and demographic conflict will lead to increased state repression.
-The police state apparatus that was created in the 70s and 80s with the “war on drugs,” the 90s war on crime, and the 2000 war on terrorism, combined with surveillance technology, will be increasingly used for political repression.
-Political divisions will make democratic government virtually impossible leading to de fact executive/administrative dictatorship.
-The emerging ruling class of tech-oligarchs, Wall Street financiers, the “newly rich,” bourgeois bohemians, and “woke capitalism” will increasingly adopt the multicultural/rainbow/diversity framework as its self-legitimating ideology, with a parallel eradication of the cultural framework of the historic WASP culture, e.g. replacing Washington/Jefferson commemorations with icons of civil rights, feminism, gay rights, etc.
-Technological developments will cause further socioeconomic dislocations leading to even wider class divisions.
-Increased incidents of extreme weather will cause additional dislocations and civil unrest leading to further state repression.
This seems to be the way trends are pointing.
by Susie Neilson
Researchers compared Americans’ health status today with that of 25 years ago and found that health is worsening among lower-income Americans.
Income inequality in the U.S. has grown over the past several decades. And as the gap between rich and poor yawns, so does the gap in their health, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open Friday. More…
An economist and a business advisor discuss what might happen if the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.
Inequality is on the rise in the United States. Stanford experts discuss possible solutions. | Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
The U.S. economy hit a historic high in 2018, and today unemployment is at its lowest rate in five decades. Yet wage growth for the vast majority of Americans has stalled, and more people are struggling to afford housing, health care, education, and other basics.
A fan created a montage of audio clips from Kick the Puppy Season One showing how we are moving towards a third world model class system.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will-Antonio Gramsci
When the individual’s behavior and consciousness get hooked to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, and it is time for him to die and be reborn. Time to “drop out”, “turn on”, and “tune in.”-Timothy Leary
America, the indispensable nation. That old jingoistic canard gets tossed around like confetti in this country, while the rest of the world rolls their collective eyes and crack their collective knuckles. According to patriotic lore, America is some beige, color-blind, miracle designed by the greatest white philosophers since Socrates to free the world from its backwards indigenous ways with the magic of global capitalism. Naturally, this is all bullshit. The kind of sad pep-talk a date-rapist gives himself in the mirror before showering his glamour muscles in Axe body spray. There is absolutely nothing miraculous about America but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t exceptional.
America is an exceptionally cruel experiment in the outer reaches of colonial social engineering. We are a nation defined by the two greatest holocausts in recorded history, spanning three continents and an entire hemisphere. America as we know it was founded by an ambitious collection of European super-colonialists who found themselves and their nations increasingly depleted of the wealth they accumulated from the Crusades. So they traveled the seas in search of greener pastures to irrigate with more dark-skinned blood. They found their sainted killing fields of Shangri-La in the New World and with the superiority of their steel, they decided to take the Americas by force and slaughter anyone who stood in their way. But with an entire hemisphere half empty of its indigenous inhabitants, these European overlords found themselves with too much work for their feeble bourgeois fingers to handle, so they filled their new colonies with shiploads of slaves pilfered from the jungles of Africa to build a nation on their scarred shoulders, murdering millions more in the process and permanently hobbling another entire continent.
This piece by Lind could almost be a left-libertarian or left-anarchist analysis EXCEPT the cultural divide is so vast as to be unbridgeable.
By William S. Lind
The Left has adopted the word “woke” to describe people who have accepted the ideology of cultural Marxism and are willing to act on it. The equivalent I hear most often for the Right is “getting it”. What does it mean to “get it”?
Apparently, Bill Lind has become an anarcho-Monarchist in the tradition of Tolkien, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, or Hans Hermann Hoppe.
By William S. Lind
As Great Britain moves towards its independence day, i.e., Brexit, a false god is failing: the god named “democracy”. Prime Minister Theresa May, who should have gone back to her kitchen long ago, has made such a bloody mess of it that Britons are questioning the system that put her in office. The March 31 New York Times says it bluntly:
It has amounted to a hollowing out of confidence in democracy itself.
“I don’t think the central institutions of government have been discredited like this in the postwar period,” said William Davies, who teaches political economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. . . “the political elites–people just want them to get off the stage. I don’t know who they want to replace them. But there’s a sense a reboot would be something people would be in favor of. . .”
“I think people have totally lost confidence in democracy, in British democracy and the way it’s run,” said Tommy Turner, 32, a firefighter.
Fortunately for Britain, democracy, in the form of the House of Commons, does not rule at all. There is still the House of Lords, which is usually more sensible than Commons, and there is the real sovereign, Queen Elizabeth. If all else fails, the Queen can rule as well as reign. Evelyn Waugh put British democracy in its place; when asked why he did not vote, he replied, “I do not aspire to advise my Sovereign on her choice of servants.”
A great takedown of victimology and the oppression olympics, Left and Right.
By Luke Kemp
19 February 2019
Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.
Great civilisations are not murdered. Instead, they take their own lives.
This article is part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time. Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.
That’s why the Deep Civilisation season will explore what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.
So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations. More…
The future infrastructure of pan-anarchism? The city-states should only be the meta-structures for thousands of local communities, intentional communites, neighborhoods, districts, and autonomous zones. And why only 100? Ancient Greece was comprised of nearly 1100 autonomous cities. The Holy Roman Empire included hundreds of kingdoms intersecting with many more free cities and territories.
By Nolan Gray
From ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy to the Four Asian Tigers, city-states have always punched above their weight. They’ve driven culture forward, facilitated global commerce, and charged ahead of their nation-bound peers.
Indeed, cities — and the metropolitan regions that orbit around them — make sense as a political and economic unit. The key services we depend on government to do, from building infrastructure to ensuring public safety, are mostly handled by cities. And contrary to earlier predictions, the forces of globalization and the rise of the information economy have only made cities more important as economic engines and innovation hubs. It’s no surprise, then, that cities — and their mayors — are increasingly finding their voices in a world previously dominated by nations and international entities.
Unfortunately, the way the United States is structured today undermines this trend by privileging states as the key political entity. State boundaries in these modern times are typically arbitrary and often no longer reflect any meaningful political, cultural, or economic reality. Some U.S. cities, both big and small, manage to straddle state borders (think Texarkana or Bristol) while others run right up to the state edge but sharply hug the border (think Cincinnati or St. Louis). And a number of states are inexplicably fragmented because their seat of government is very different from their most populous town (think New York City/Albany and Chicago/Springfield). This often results in excessive fragmentation, unproductive competition, and a near total lack of regional land-use and transportation planning. We all suffer as a result.
A writer at The Nation points out how more than 200 empires have risen and fallen in world history, and the US empire will eventually fall as well. I think this author likely overstates the prospects for future Chinese dominance, and his environmental alarmism may be overstated as well. Most likely what will replace US hegemony is the system that the author describes the US as having a pivotal role in creating, i.e. the system of global capitalism. As the US recedes, international organizations will increasingly come to dominate, e.g. the UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO, G20, transnational corporations, NGOs, foundations, international media conglomerates, etc. US military power will likely retreat as various European and Asia powers come to dominate their particular regions, but within the wide framework of global capitalism.
By Alfred McCoy
Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not US global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-controversial comment that’s commonplace today. Under President Donald Trump, the once “indispensable nation” that won World War II and built a new world order has become dispensable indeed.
The decline and fall of American global power is, of course, nothing special in the great sweep of history. After all, in the 4,000 years since humanity’s first empire formed in the Fertile Crescent, at least 200 empires have risen, collided with other imperial powers, and in time collapsed. In the past century alone, two dozen modern imperial states have fallen and the world has managed just fine in the wake of their demise.
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.
“It’s interesting how figures like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are labelled as “communists” for wanting the economic policies of the 1950s (when a third of the US labor force was unionized and the top income tax bracket was 91%), and the Trumpians/MAGA hats are considered “fascists” for wanting immigration policies that are to the left of Eisenhower’s in the 1950s. Whatever the USA was in the 1950s, it was hardly fascist or communist.
In most countries with a democratically elected government (roughly 60 to 75 percent of the world’s nations), open socialists, communists, fascists, nationalists, fundamentalists, Greens, quasi-anarchists, animal rightsers, populists, and all kinds of assorted weirdos regularly run for and get elected to all kinds of stuff. That’s how “democracy” is theoretically supposed to function.
The USA has one of the most tightly controlled and narrowly constrained electoral systems in the world. Some of the most retrograde Latin American nations have a similar system. The different factions of the oligarchy (mostly the traditional Chamber of Commerce types vs the newer techno-oligarchs and urban professional class) put forward their bought candidates as quasi-celebrities, and the role of the media is that of a pro-wrestling announcer, i.e. to pretend like it’s all a real contest as opposed to a staged theatrical production.” – Keith Preston
“Its a rigged game and a charade, and people are starting to see it, even if they cannot describe it in the political language that you just did. Parliamentary systems are better because even outsider candidates can pick up a few seats. The US is actually a Plutocratic, Quasi Totalitarian State with Democratic façades. The electoral system and the liberal and conservative wings in the US are totally bought off, and the corporate and national security state elements actually run the country, with the political class being basically their employees from the President on down. Freedom of Speech is no threat, the US population is so brain benumbed and ignorant, repeating all the nonsense they hear from Fox News and MSNBC that nothing they think, say, or do can pose any kind of challenge to the system. OTOH people are disgusted with government, corporations, banks, the government, and the establishment parties, they no they are getting screwed and the system is scared. So there is tactic of inculcating strife between various groups in society over race, political views, sexism, LGBT, etc. Cultural Liberalism as a divide and conquer strategy. Economic misery us breaking down American society, the fissures are everywhere. It will get so bad with drug use, suicide, nihilism, mass killings, mental illness, that society will no longer function normally anymore, and it will collapse.”-David Alexander
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Washington is a fucking zoo. The entire town seems to be teeming with an almost demonic energy that’s usually reserved for Third World capitals hours before the fall of some CIA funded cannibal despot. We have had fucked up presidencies before, about 44 of them if memory serves correctly, and the temptation is always rich to proclaim the current bastard the worst, but the Donald is a very special flavor of fucked up and his ADHD appears to be contagious. For the first time in centuries, the crumbling ghettos surrounding the District of Colombia look downright pristine compared to the cracked ivory white domes that have long cast shadows across their project courtyards. If you look real carefully through the purple haze of the Sour Diesel and Sherman Hemsley of Potomac Gardens you can just barely see a teary eyed Mike Pence in a West Wing window, dreaming of some place that’s green.
All across the vast expanse of Trump’s America this chaos is spreading like lice. Peep through the blinds of any given ranch-style rambler from Pittsburgh to Peoria and you’ll witness tableaus straight out of a Flannery O’Connor novel. Grotesque creatures ranting and raving across the dinner table at one another over their supposed loved ones’ refusal to despise the right villain in this sick Southern Gothic horror story of a country. Brothers at war with brothers over two sides of the same foul oligarchy. Republicrats or Dempublicans? Crips or Bloods? Kind of grants the concept of ‘White People Problems’ a sick new irony. How much for a room at the Gardens again? I desperately need some sleep and even gunshots beat the sound of gnashing teeth and cable news.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his Botox poisoned limousine liberal nemesis, Nancy Pelosi, continue to play one side of the country off the other, shutting down our crooked federal government over some fictional crisis manufactured in the middle of the fucking desert. Prison guards and TSA gropers are expected to sexually violate the public without a paycheck while Trump bets his staffers $6 billion that he can piss over that 12 foot wall.
By Greg Grandin
I find it fascinating that Donald Trump, a man who personifies the perfect hybrid of 1960s/70s hedonism and 1980s/90s greed and materialism, would emerge as a conservative hero, with the religious right and social conservatives being his biggest backers. If there are any snowflakes left who still think some right-wing Christian theocracy is on the horizon, they need not worry. Trumpism represents the Latin Americanization of US politics (a high stratified class system where open corruption is the norm in politics) rather than “A Handmaid’s Tale.”
By Rod Dreher
The American Conservative
Ross Douthat has a good column today, about how Trump’s grift has been paradoxically cleansing. He argues that Trump’s claim that he would go to Washington and “drain the swamp,” while only ever plausible to those eager to be a mark, is now impossible for anyone to take seriously: