Friday, January 20, 2017

The US Upheaval Begins

The US is in the early days of a long social upheaval. The working class collapse has reached politics and some of the rules have been suspended.

The system almost snapped left but Sanders fell short and now it has snapped right with Trump.

The oligarchic Republicans of the radical right could not have won an election on their own but now the collapse and Trump have given them their break and they come into office prepared.

They want to eliminate programs that serve the poor and expand subsidies for the rich.  They want to place public assets in private hands and give corporations state-like powers.

They want to further skew an already skewed system and make voting them out all but impossible.  They want to lift regulations on business excess and impose them on public resistance.  

They want to kill off the US public school and cripple the labor union. They want the corporation to inhabit the state and the state to break and tame the public.

But at the same time they need a public base. They can’t impose their program alone.  

Trump offers that with his simultaneous appeals to fear, hatred, pride and material justice.  

He rallies people against the other - whoever the convenient other may be - and most importantly he rallies them against the rich elites he defends and in so doing in effect rallies them against themselves since he calls on people to save their jobs by further empowering the rich elites who’ve destroyed them.

Its a complex but classic ploy for elites: attack yourself to expand your powers. 

Mao’s communists pulled it off with the Cultural Revolution, Wall Street’s capitalists did it with the Tea Party.

It’s effective when done right but also destabilizing.  Mobilization can get dangerous.

Trump is not what the oligarchs had in mind.  He dragged them to power kicking and screaming.

He self-exposed himself and them for the racists they are.  He pulled the riggers and murderers into the White House but at the price of confiding to the public that the system was rigged and murderous.  This telling of uncomfortable truths in the service of the big lie was not the oligarchs’ cup of tea, but it got them inside the palace.

The result is dramatic.  The consequence is that many extra thousands will die and that institutions will be altered to make dislodging these new rulers difficult.

Yet its now at their moment of triumph that they are also most vulnerable.

They’ve seized power but have not yet consolidated it and with full power they stand exposed, in the spotlight.

The same country and system that elevated them could just as well have gone for Clinton or Sanders, and could just as well, with organizing and persistence, go for something deeper still.

The fight is ancient and recurring, developing. 

This new phase has just begun.

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