Of course. The coronavirus has provided cover for a power grab by the state, a looting spree by the ruling class, and escalated attacks on rebellious provinces the empire.
Max Blumenthal, Aaron Maté, Anya Parampil, and Ben Norton discuss how the US empire and billionaire oligarchs are weaponizing the Covid-19 pandemic to push regime-change schemes, suffocating sanctions, and disaster capitalist reforms — advancing aggressive geopolitical interests and making huge profits while people are dying.
India outperforms the USA.
It’s good to see Jimmie taking on the progressives/social democrats over their weak-kneed response to the neoliberals/plutocrats.
This video is over a year old, but it’s a good description of the neoliberal vs. populist division that is growing on the US right, just like there is a growing division between neoliberals and social democrats on the US left. The consequences of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberal paradigm are now obvious enough and have been since at least 2008, which is why populist-reformist movements have developed since then, e.g. Tea Party, Occupy, Sandernistas, Trumpians, AOC’s social democracy, Carlson’s “national conservatism,” etc. Regrettably, none of these movements have been able to get past the fixation on electoralism, reformism, statism, the capitalism/socialism false dichotomy, and culture war tribalism.
Some commentators, like the folks at Rising, keep calling for a realignment pitting left/right populists against left/right neoliberals, but that ain’t happening. Too much cultural tribal conflict is in the way. Instead, as the Democratic neoliberals and Republican neoliberals continue to try to out-scumbag each other, and left/right populists continue to fail, more extreme movements from the left and right will likely develop (for which creepy groups like the Antifa and Proud Boys are prototypes). I don’t think it will become a Weimar-like scenario with the liberal-capitalist center being threatened with outright communism from the left and fascism from the right. It will probably be more like Latin America or South Asia where the entrenched oligarchy holds its position against the impoverished masses, with left and right extremists engaging in terrorism on the margins. In other words, the US is becoming less of a modern post-scarcity middle-class oriented bourgeois society (as Sanders and Carlson are constantly lamenting), and more of a traditional society with a traditional class hierarchy in terms of wealth distribution. The good news is that it will largely be the end of the US international empire in the long run as multipolarity continues to develop.
As lame as Krystal’s Bernie-sis social democracy and Saager’s Ross Douthat neoconservatism (puke) actually are, they’ve been on top of it on this latest wave of ruling class looting.
Like many people, Styx is confused about what “leftist” economics actually is. As Murray Rothbard demonstrated, state-socialism was a reactionary effort that had its intellectual roots in Counter-Enlightenment thinkers like Jean Jacques Rousseau and G.W.F. Hegel. What Americans think of as “socialism” is really progressivism, i.e. the deification of the public administration state that was developed in Prussia in the 19th century, and imported into the US by intellectuals educated in German universities in opposition to America’s classical liberal tradition. English Fabianism is a comparable tradition, one based on the furtherance of supposed social reform through the enlightened management of the educated classes. As Noam Chomsky and Larry Gambone have argued, the central thrust of historic socialism was always something more like anarchism. It was in the 20th century that socialism came to be identified with statism due to its cooptation by progressives and Fabians (“social democrats”) in the Western countries, and its subversion by Bolshevism in the Eastern countries.
And not to sound like Dinesh D’souza here, but it could be argued that between the 1860s and 1960s, the Republicans were the more left-wing party in the US. Certainly, that was true in the Civil War era when the Republicans were the party of the liberal-capitalist industrial bourgeoisie with the Democrats being the party of the agrarian gentry and semi-feudal slavery. Beginning in the Progressive Era, the Democrats were a coalition of Southern agrarian racialists and Northern progressives who admired the Prussian model, with the Republicans being a liberal bourgeois party that was often to the left of the Democrats on black civil rights issues, and that’s more or less how it was until the 1960s when the Democrats did an about-face on civil rights, and the Nixon Republicans brought the segregationists into their camp.
In the end, social democrats always fail. This principle was originally demonstrated in 1914 when the parliamentary deputies of the German Social Democratic Party voted to grant war credits to the regime of Kaiser Wilhelm II (read the story here). To the degree that the state ever does anything good, it happens only as a result of massive external pressure from the outside. Electoralism is a complete waste of time unless it is done solely for propaganda purposes. Even if one sees value in electoral participation, it should never be anything other than an afterthought. The do-gooders who have spent countless energy and money promoting figures like Bernie Sanders would have done much better to develop dual power systems that are external to the state.
A great an-cap libertarian vs. left-civil libertarian discussion.
A timely video from the great Carey Wedler.
I generally agree with Kyle’s criticisms of the Republicans and neoliberal Democrats, but this Berniebro ode to statism is a bit difficult to watch. No, Kyle, we don’t need more central planning in response to coronavirus. Actually, the trend has been that decentralized decision-making processes have been more effective than centralized ones. Individual countries have been more effective at controlling the virus than global or transnational institutions. Individual states have often been ahead of the feds, and some localities have been ahead of the states. The private sector has frequently been ahead of the government, and labor unions have often been ahead of both the private and public sectors. Non-state and non-commercial activist organizations have frequently been ahead of everyone. Quarantines and social distancing are largely being enforced through voluntary means or social pressures. Meanwhile, the central government has primarily responded by facilitating a ruling looting spree while throwing a few crumbs to the peasants.
Don’t vote for any of these creeps. Boycott the ruling class parties. If you must vote, then vote for a fringe party (Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, Constitutionalists, Transhumanists, whomever).
By Olivia Harden
I am an avid Bernie Sanders fan, but after the results of Super Tuesday and the primaries on March 10, I am becoming increasingly nervous about his chances. I can’t say for sure that Biden will win the nomination, and I have not entirely lost hope. But as things stand now, the math is not in Sanders’ favor. I’ve started to prepare myself for the increasingly high possibility that Biden will be the Democratic nominee.
My first election year was in 2016, and I was inspired by Sanders, who favored radical policies that I didn’t even know were possible. I had long accepted my fate as someone on the cusp of being a millennial or Gen-Zer and existing as a Black, queer woman who was going to drown in student debt. The job market is a mess. Climate change will kill us all. Racism in America will continue to thrive. At 18 years old, I didn’t know I could ask for much better. But Sanders has been fighting for America to be better his entire political career.
A dream fulfilled for the Red Tribers.
President Donald Trump said he’s considering an enforced quarantine for parts of New York and New Jersey to curb the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.
Trump told reporters he had spoken with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday morning before departing the White House to send off a Navy hospital ship bound for New York City from Norfolk, Virginia.
The president said he’d rather not impose a quarantine on the region, but that the country may need it. Asked about his ambition to urge many Americans to return to work by the U.S. Easter holiday on April 12, Trump said “we’ll see what happens.”
Crises usually produce a wave of idiocy, from the bottom to the top.
New York Post
President Trump on Friday signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package as the pandemic devastates the nation’s economy, sickens more than 103,000 Americans and killed nearly 1,700 others.
“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses and that’s what this is all about,” Trump said as he signed the largest stimulus deal in U.S. history.
Here is a breakdown of this historic bailout:
Not a penny for the money-changers. Mutualize the banksters.
By Zachary Warmbrot
Tucked inside Congress’ $2 trillion economic rescue package for America is sweeping authority for the government to come to the aid of the one industry that has insisted it doesn’t need a bailout: the big banks.
Lenders that the government saved in the 2008 financial crisis have been touting the strength of their balance sheets heading into the coronavirus pandemic. But Congress is backstopping them anyway with a provision in the bill that would give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. power to guarantee checking accounts beyond the $250,000 in deposit insurance that it now offers bank customers.
It’s time to syndicalize the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
By Jessica Corbett
As the number of global COVID-19 cases soared past 254,000 and the death toll topped 10,000 on Friday, concerns persisted—particularly in the United States—about healthcare costs related to the ongoing outbreak, limited testing and protective medical supplies, and how corporations may try to cash in on the public health crisis.
The Intercept‘s Naomi Klein, author of the 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, warned earlier this week in a video about “coronavirus capitalism” that the U.S. and other governments are “exploiting” the COVID-19 pandemic “to push for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts and regulatory rollbacks.”
Klein took to Twitter Friday to highlight a New York Times report about how—although President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation that orders free testing for COVID-19—even people with health insurance could face high medical bills, which experts worry will deterring people from seeking treatment.