On Politics

~ my long, twisting stream-of-consciousness upon politics.

~ Ah, politics. For me, for the nation I live in, it has been top of mind for much of this year {truly, the last four…} Here in the United States, we have crossed the horizon of another presidential election. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. received more votes {popular and electoral} in the election, but incumbent Donald Trump, so far as of the time of this writing, has refused to concede. Citing widespread voter fraud, Trump has repeatedly proclaimed that instead it was he that won and will continue to be President into 2021 and beyond. Interestingly such “fake” votes were 1) mainly in the states he lost by close margins, the ones absolutely needed to win the electoral college {the swing states}, 2) only ever on votes for his opponent, and 3) disproportionately related to mail-in ballots {in a year with record voting turnout and record mail-ins, due to COVID}. Regarding that last factor, he actually set up that narrative for months in advance essentially calling them by-default fraudulent… for utterly unfounded, insubstantial reasons, himself knowing more Democrats would be voting by mail. {This is due to more Democratic voters likely to believe/fear the risks related to the COVID pandemic and thus mail their vote in rather than do it in-person on election day; less so Republicans, due to their more cavalier attitude toward COVID, and ironically, because of Trump’s own constant messaging that the mail-in process could not be trusted…}

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Mail-in ballots have an historically rare rate of fraud (.0025%) and millions of people have done it every election with no real issues raised before. Basically all of Trump’s legal challenges related to the vote counts in the major states have summarily failed thus far. Trump’s claims are baseless, produced out of thin air from the mouth of a pathological liar for the sake of muddying the waters of the election, and in especially bad faith knowing full well that the majority of his supporters would instantly believe it without question. Regardless, for all intents and purposes, Biden {who I cast my own vote for} will be the next president of the United States.

The President of the most powerful nation in the world refusing to concede the election, his admin and most of the major voices in the Republican party around him also abiding his obstinance and speaking openly of trying to manufacture some kind of coup via the delegitimization — if only verbally, in public opinion, among their now rankled and riled base of supporters— of wide swaths of the voting public’s civic voice {primarily people of color} and just throw out their say-so within this election to return power to an arrogant, ignorant, narcissistic, prejudiced and absolutely ill-equipped “leader” that has now handily lost the popular vote *twice*… is pretty fucked. It is infuriating. Dangerous. Ridiculous. You name it, all of the above.

American democracy has long been a strange beast, full of undemocratic contradictions, with slack responsiveness to the will of the actual majority of people living in it, but to see it rejected in this way, not only by one old man-child — but by an entire party wing of our government, the one currently in control of the Senate, gaining seats in the House … is justifiably terrifying. But it’s also just another brick in the {metaphorical} wall that’s been built since 2016 {and long before that…} The shredding of ‘norms’ in our government and the consistent skirting the ‘rule of law’, on foreign and domestic matters, from the so-called Commander-in-Chief over these last four years has been a wild ride of hypernormalising madness, an absolute jet stream of corruption and bullshit and horror that I can barely remember ten percent of, let alone discuss or analyze here at the moment of its {hopeful} ending… And man, am I glad it is over. {Oh, to be clear, not the ending of American corporatocratic x duopolistic political hegemony and its tyranny by the minority {read: the 1% ruling class}, but just the end of the Trumpster presidency.}

*naively* No more daily damage reports in 2021 pls 🥺
An illustration of the last four years in action…
~ Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. From left to right are Death, Famine, War, and Conquest

*sigh*

Nor do I wish to! {I will let every major journalistic outlet do the post-mortem on … all this. No doubt, they will overdo it for the next four years during a milquetoast Biden Presidency without unified control of Congress, while a Punished, vengeant Trump continues to screech on his very own propaganda-laden TV channel, broadcasting equal parts full-fledged QAnon “drops”, Two-Minutes Hate unto the vile Demonrats, and longform segments on how Cheryl Tiegs was “very unfair” to him. Think Fox News on steroids, half as coherent but with quadruple the boomer brain-rotting powers. (I just want to say, for the record, that I wish he had gone out like Stan Chera.)}

Alright that’s it! Fuck ’em. I am done with Donny.

I am getting away from the purpose of this writing. P O L I T I C S. Politics. Here, I wanted to document my own political beliefs — in terms of ideology, policies, potential activist action, and even advocacy for a candidate or two — in as concise {doubtful} and affecting {what do I mean by this?} terms as I can manage. With words, I will build out my train of thought. Over the last four years — but this year especially — my political beliefs have become quite clear to me. I can say I am now firm in my positions. This crystallization is less due to exogenous events {though they played their part}, and more so from my own learning upon matters of politics and power, of our resources, our history, and our potential futures, of what is right and just vs. what is expedient, and just “how it’s always been.”

Some of this learning was truly un-learning, as the American enterprise is quite effective at instilling its own perpetuating values into its citizenry. Well, mostly just its middle classes and above. And only if you can afford it and only if you are good enough at memorizing things and shaking the rights hands at the stuffy striver mixers to bag one of the pre-approved salaryman jobs once you escape its confines, and don’t hate that enough to instantly regret all your time, money, blood, sweat and tears expended to immediately renounce everything that came before… {Hint: it starts with the letter C and ends with ‘-ollege’}.

*sigh x2*

That is, of course, where the formation of my politics began — in college. At least, consciously; unconsciously, my political beliefs, as with anyone’s, were being generated all along the path since the very beginning…

I guess latter portions of that paragraph above make me sound jaded. Truly, I don’t regret my college experience, or my decision to go. I am grateful to my parents — and my own built-up socioeconomic status — and some scholarships for gaining me my advanced education {at Texas A&M University} without incurring any student debt at all. I am fully aware how fortunate and privileged I am in that regard especially. I somewhat regret my choice of major, and by that, choice of career path {Undergraduate: Accounting, Master’s: Finance}. But who is to say I would have made a *better* choice elsewhere? No one ever really knows how anything will turn out. Much of my regret has been built out after the fact of it all, through my experiences after college and at work, starting to reap the field I had sown.

Hindsight, 20/20, all that. The truth is that I lacked the conviction to “follow my dreams” out of high school because 1) I didn’t really know what they were {do I really want to be a writer? Is professional journalism still a thing? Am I even cut out for it??}, and 2) I saw college wholly as an ‘investment’ that required its eventual ‘return’. This reconfigured my thoughts entirely — college was an instrumental step in life, to gain the resources I would need to become useful in the modern world. And like many major decisions in this world, it was a financially-dominated one. I knew a hefty $X was going in to these four years in which I’d need to apply myself as never before — and so I knew $Y {$X+more than 1} was going to need to be coming out of it. Lest such time and money ended up wasted.

Those ponderances of “dreams” {what the fuck are those anyway? Can you eat them?} and the long-term outlook upon my life’s satisfactions and meaningfulness and … all that shit, were ill-formed and utterly unavailable to me then, 18 years old and at the brink of the choice of where to go for my “advanced” education, what to major in, what place in the world I might end up filling… I was just a dumb kid! An ignorant kid, working off the information — and, importantly, the incentives— before me. After researching career paths and their possible earnings potential {i.e. return on investment}, and inventorying my own abilities and potential proclivities {less my actual, current interests}, my calculating, logical choices compounded: to go to Texas A&M, a top flight public university in my state that I was automatically eligible for entrance into {via top 10% in HS} > major in business, to ensure a nice mix of job likelihood and earnings potential > in accounting, as the foundational, and generally most ‘valuable’, business degree > to enroll in the “Professional Program” wherein I could gain a Master’s of Science in my choice of accounting, finance, management, marketing, etc. > AND gain enough credit hours to eventually sit for the CPA {Certified Public Accountant} examination, a differentiating qualification in the jobs market > AAND via the inherent connections through such a prestigious program as this basically guarantee myself a solid internship at one of the Big Four accounting firms > and thereby in all likelihood an exit job to land at as well…

Well, that decision was easy. Easy af. That’s why, being someone who lacked intrinsic confidence in all things, I made them.

The point of my college story here — and how it relates to politics — has everything to do with that incentive I mentioned at the core of it all. Return. Less education. Less socialization. Less the building of my own self-awareness or a social consciousness of the interdependence among the people in the world around me. Even less ‘connection’-building {for me, at least, and my shy, ill-informed, aloofian ass}. College was entirely about the endgame monetary value of that degree {and the amount of hard work that was going to be required to attain it}. Or that is how it was sold to me, in media, culture, {*takes long drag of cigarette*} s o c i e t y. My mindset from the jump was all about the bare-bones instrumentality of what such a four year journey was supposed to be for: Getting a job. Making money. Making myself *useful* to society via my installment into an industry, into the start of Career™.

This was my laser-like focus for those four-turning-to-five years of advanced education. Additionally {if only unconsciously} college — in the business school at TAMU especially — certainly entailed the following loop of worldly reasoning: Learning the etiquette of how to be a moderately liberal {socially liberal-fiscally conservative} “professional”-class citizen, i.e. a good little capitalist lad > the *Free Market* is God and always will be >> without a good-paying job, not only are those cliche hopes and dreams impossible and unaffordable {marriage, kids, house, retirement — all poof}, but that lacking would also make you a failure, undeserving of American society’s respect or attention… {Again, all implicit, unconscious parts of the college journey — no professor said these words to our greasy little faces. Though I wish one would have, to have made it that simple to see…}

My college experience — the application process before it + my over-studying days during it + my time in a soul-destroying job just subsequent to it — also happens to be my most major interactive arc within society as of yet in my life. And the most consequential one in terms of resources {in and out} to and from me and my household. Which is what politics is really all about. Resources. And their allocation. {Nice segue back to the topic at hand, me🤝}.

Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), from a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics secured the two Greek philosophers as two of the most influential political philosophers.

~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics

~ Politics (from Greek: Πολιτικά, politiká, ‘affairs of the cities’) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The academic study of politics is referred to as political science.

~

I started paying sincere attention to politics in the 2016 election cycle, in both the Republican and Democratic primaries {one a carnival of horrors, a freakshow of apocalyptically depressing proportions, and the other… a cold cage match where one fighter had a concealed dagger and years of pathological duplicity under their belt and the other..was just an old, angry man.} It was my 5th year in college, my master’s year, more lax and full of hang time. So naturally, my roommates and I started watching the debates and discussing politics! The more I heard from the candidates and their party lines of rhetoric, and the more I read and learned about U.S. political history and the progression of public policies {or lack thereof} of each of the parties in recent years — now actively engaging The Discourse — the more I realized just how … bad it all was.

Just hearing Trump speak was both baffling and aggravating; he managed to come off as incoherently stupid and insanely arrogant and completely *authentic* all at the same time. “Authentic” not in the sense that he was telling the truth about any matter he raised — rarely was this the case — but authentic in just how brazenly egotistical and utterly prejudiced the man was against anything and everything that was not him. {Clearly, this kind of toxic authenticity resonated with many GOP voters… “He tells it like it is!” / “He’s just like us!!” } Regarding the other GOP candidates ~ Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Paul, Christy, Carson, Jeb!, whoever else the fuck else there was.. — as I said, freakshow, carnival of horror, corporate goons and xenophobes and fire-and-brimstone neoconservative fear mongers and warhawks. {I will say that Kasich was the only one of the bunch that resembled a human being in his rhetoric, ideology, personhood}. There was very little among the conservative candidates to like, let alone trust.

“Small government” and reduced taxes, eh… maybe? Increasing the military budget at all costs to defend against the ever present specter of ‘terrorism’ from brown people and perpetuate our overseas forever-wars, deregulating the financial industry and potentially allowing 2007-level predations and un-fiduciary financial fuckery once more, wishing to mass deport immigrants and generally speaking of them as less-than-human, decrying the lack of God in school, relentlessly defunding integral social programs and safety nets for the poorest people in this country like welfare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid… uhhh. No. That stuff sounds all pretty bad … and they ALL believe these are the things we should be doing? *checks notes* And they’ve ALL spent their entire careers upholding policies like this? Nah.

Republican presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Democratic presidential candidates U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton debate during the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Instantly averse to the black mass that was the modern conservative movement and its leaders, one naturally turns to the other wing of the political spectrum for inspection. Enter Hillary Clinton. And Bernie Sanders. Calmer and more professional than the discourse on the other end, the Democratic party of back-to-back ‘CEO of America’ Barack Obama was more subtle, and somehow less substantive {with one key exception..}, than their conservative counterparts. Clinton was also baffling and aggravating to listen to, but not in the same way as Trump {and no, not because she’s a woman}. It is because she, like many other “corporate” Democrats {including Obama, he was just much better at it than any other} spoke in platitudes, in a vague language meant to inspire and make the listener feel good, or feel as though the speaker is someone they can trust, or is a morally upright person. But then, when you look at their history, their campaign funders, their friends and colleagues, their time in office, their actions always end up countering those words. Empty promises.

Classic politician shit, I know. This is just to say that in 2016, when appraising Hillary – as the unquestionable face of the modern Democratic party, the one chosen rather unanimously by the establishment to run {to win} – it was more than painful watching her rarely speak to anything substantive, i.e. actual policy proposals, a platform of ideas and programs, a vision for the future founded upon actual governance toward *materially* positive differences in American citizen’s lives (You know, what politics actually is). Instead, one was forced to stomach all her two-faced, Wall Street-backed rhetoric, small time substance on ‘means-testedtax credits and insincere maybe‘s, basically entirely reliant on the bare fact that she *wasn’t Trump*, urging everyone to Pokemon GO to the polls! … good god, there was just nothing there.

Left vs. Right political beliefs ~ a solid visualization of their respective principles

Reading up on Obama’s presidency in action from 2008–2016 {sum: his admin/The Dems didn’t do much!} compared to my memories of his persona as a liberal-progressive icon, of some of his more profound speeches during his campaigns and the glowing promises therein {and seeing a cringe-worthy recurrence of such tactics in 2020 from candidates like Pete Buttigeg and Beto O’Rourke}, one comes to find that these chestnuts are never actually meant to outline a true belief in an ideology of resource allocation or socioeconomic rights to the citizenry, i.e. actual politics. But instead, they are designed to simply…sound good. It is rhetoric, purposefully uncommitted to any actual policy {why be on the hook for something you may not be able to deliver on once you are in office? More importantly, why defy your biggest donors, corporations and the lobbyists representing them, that do not want such policy, or any allocations away from their own flows and coffers}. The dominant Democratic platform, it became clear to my eye, believed in nothing. {Why believe in anything if you don’t have to?} Whereas the Republican party , firmly in control of American political discourse and actual governance since the 1980s , believed in definite policies  —  {“Strong borders!” x “Law and order!” x “I believe in small government!” = deport the brown people x fund the military and cops exorbitantly, creating a military-x-prison-industrial complex to span generations x defund social programs to the bone and cut taxes on the wealthiest ✔️, ✔️, ✔️}.

For a really good, and darkly entertaining, primer on the trajectory of the modern Conservative in America, please watch Vice (2018) directed by Adam McKay and starring Christian Bale as Dick Cheney. An absolutely riveting/terrifying tale of power and its many pathologies. ^ My short review of the film.

The Democratic party, on the other hand  —  the supposed left wing of our discourse {ha!}  —  offered more of a controlled opposition, with the same general neoliberal pro-war, pro-austerity, pro-business-at-all-costs governmental priorities, than a true alternative. The anti-substantive rhetoric of politicians like Obama and Hillary was purposeful, strategic even, in that it was meant to evade the rather obvious contradictions of their inevitable actions once in office versus their more ill-defined and broadly popular speeches and campaigns designed to appeal for votes before such decisions would ever come to pass. Clear voiced on the “dreams” and “opportunities” and “ambitions” of this “great nation” of America {and, not to be overlooked, on the slam dunk social issues that do not involve any fundamental economic reform, wealth redistribution, or resource allocation reprioritizations — such as LGBTQ+ rights and pro-choice law }, their language suddenly becomes at best, means-tested bs’ing and at worst, nil or conciliatory toward the Republicans on fundamental issues of economic, regulatory, criminal, or militaristic change of any kind. {This is, one comes to find out, because our two parties are really one party — the business party. And conversations of fundamental changes from out of the pillars of either node is far astray of the overton window of the modern political procession in this country. But I only fully ascertained this later, in the past few years of sincere attention paid upon politics and its many maddening strains of distracting discourse…}

America’s two-party corporate duopoly ~ Second Thought

Those holding political power — whether Clinton or his Republican predecessors — had something in common. They sought to keep their power by diverting the anger of citizens to groups without the resources to defend themselves. As H. L. Mencken, the acerbic social critic of the 1920s, put it: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Criminals were among these hobgoblins. Also immigrants, people on “welfare,” and certain governments — Iraq, North Korea, Cuba. By turning attention to them, by inventing or exaggerating their dangers, the failures of the American system could be concealed.

~ The People’s History of the United States (2003) ~ Howard Zinn

👑

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, presented a vision that was … for lack of a better expression, built differently. And hearing him speak his platform in his 2016 campaign for the Presidency, researching his more humanistic policy proposals, learning of the core ideological socioeconomic directives within “Democratic Socialism”, the true leftward political philosophy to which Bernie self-proclaimed to be a part of, this was the beginning of my political awakening. Mostly in the sense that Bernie — vs. — Hillary and the corporate platitude elitist Dems — vs. — Trump and the xenophobic x psychopathic x scorched-earth rhetoric of the GOP — he was the lone figure of real political renown that presented a positive vision of the future. For the nation. For the world. For people in general, if not myself as well. To begin with, it was really that simple. His message resonated because it was both substantive {unlike Dems} and constructive {unlike GOP}.

My sincere engagement with politics {by this I mean listening, reading and learning about it} outside of Bernie was purely negative during this time {like many I would imagine}, an aversion to one party’s nightmarish plan of reactionary xenophobia, accelerationist corporatism, a worshipping of greed above all else vs. the other’s invertebrate conformist corruptions to essentially the same wayward deities, the classic choice of lesser evils that so many other American voters have decried since time immemorial. {Even many hardcore Trump supporters voted for him simply because he would make the right people 😡mad🤬 — in short, out of spite against their purported foes in “the libs” — and less so because he offered any holistic set of governmental actions for their own life’s improvement… This brand of resentment politics, “culture war” politics, whatever you call it, is another issue entirely, prominent and growing cancerously within the American discourse, probably the main issue actually…}

In a wide-ranging discussion, Bernie Sanders discusses his views on socialism, single payer, open borders, Zionism, and more with Vox Editor-in-chief Ezra Klein.
Bernie Sanders, then mayor of Burlington, Vt., in 1981. | Bernie Sanders Has Stuck To The Same Message For 40 Years – NPR

Bernie, senior Senator from Vermont and the longest serving independent in US political history, ran under the wing of the Democratic party in 2016 out of necessity, to vie for real legitimacy {third party candidates are hopeless within our firmly established two-party system, but can play spoiler}. Here was a man who had spent his whole life, both in and out of politics, fighting for positive social change, for civil and economic rights for the working class, championing progressive policies and decrying the increasingly mainstream reactionary, big business, anti-union, pro-war, pro-austerity ones. On essentially every major issue he’d ever established a position for, he never changed, never flip-flopped, never altered his ideology for the sake of expediency, money, power. His campaign was competitive with Hillary – surprising at the time in 2016 – and was built out of grassroots organization around the country, from small-dollar donations accumulating to figures that rivaled her Wall St. Super PACs. As many voters on both sides of the aisle attested in polls and interviews – though one may not totally agree with Bernie’s platform, or even his sometimes combative, sometimes grumpy affectations, you have to respect the guy for his convictions, for his authenticity.

For those paying sincere attention, for those organizing within the political coalition he was trying to build, Bernie Sander’s campaign was a shining light for what might be possible within the darkness of our political discourse. {Though not enough were paying attention, not enough were willing to take a chance on him, to deliver him to victory over Hillary, and the rest is history…}

And I get it. For most people, the idea of politics sucks. Especially insofar that we associate politics with political candidates, political personalities. Even charismatic Obama, in consideration of his inactions, his promised but stymied changes for his 8 years  in power —  and especially with toxic, purposefully divisive Trump, in his xenophobic rhetoric — as with basically every politician that has gained national prominence before them, in both words and actions… politics generally sucks ass. These people are mostly liars, sociopathic, elitists committed pathologically to pursuing and maintaining power for its own sake. Anyone that pays attention to all this shit long enough gets burned, angry, sad; modern politics especially breeds nihilism and cynicism to their hilts {“nothing gets done!”} To disengage from it, ignore it, is rational. And thus, by that same token, to be drawn to a supposedly fringe candidate like Bernie Sanders and the ideas of *chilled, spooky voice* socialism! because of the material inadequacies around you, because of the utter deficiencies of the alternative candidates or ideologies, and because his voice and his policy proposals resonated with you and people like you, is rational too. {Honestly for most people, they don’t have the time or energy, due to their position in society, and on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, to even consider engaging in politics. Why do you think more than a third of the country doesn’t bother voting?… For generation after generation in this country, with neither major political party or their elected representatives serving their interests, their non-voting and utter political apathy is ALSO rational. Bernie Sanders understood this; Hillary and the Dems willfully refuse to remedy such apathy, while Trump and the GOP just do not give a fuck.}

I think many modern American citizens, rational and quite aware of their own spheres of influence, believe politics is not really something to be engaged with, to be intellectualized about or involved in direct action with, either because:

  • one believes there is nothing to be fundamentally done concerning this status quo that has been built out for years and years in this country, i.e. change is not possible [Unadulterated pure-form neoliberal capitalism x forever-war imperialism x endless accelerationist austerity = sum: “In America, you are on your fuckin’ own!”] … {many people believe this, for good reason, and short of real revolutionary political movements of protests and striking and democratic negotiations with these two parties (i.e. withholding your vote until your demands are met)… yeah, that may remain true!}
  • one believes the corrupt elites are in control & we have no power! {former certainly true, latter true but only insofar that such a thing has been beaten into us and has become a self-fulfilling prophecy — “just vote!”}
  • one believes there is no better system or social contract we could move toward anyway, they’ve all been tried, socialism fails every time! Might as well just double-down and hit the gas on all this!! {*metaphysical mechanic voice, flicking the brim of my hat* now that there is a volatile mix of capitalist realism and accelerationism. You’re gonna wanna get that checked out, chief!}
  • one believes ‘politics’ has just turned into an insubstantial and toxic “culture war” ~ shrieking blue-haired “social justice warrior” vs. anti-SJW twitter discourse threads, identity politics, grievance politics, tone-policing, cancel culture, neonazi & antifa fear mongering, attacks and counterattacks on “safe spaces” and toxic masculinity and all the many potential ‘threats’ toward free speech and gay frogs, etc., blah blah blah {certainly, some swaths of political discourse have turned into all this. But why do you think that is? A pair of hypotheses: 1) Powers-that-be certainly favor and motivate such ‘hobgoblin’ discourse whenever they can, because it necessarily serves their interest via the creation of a most salacious set of distractions currently at play within [online] society; 2) Aren’t these sorts of inane, immaterial conversations about ‘culture’ (insofar that they don’t *need* to be had, annoying as they may be to certain privileged classes..) inevitable among a disaffected citizenry, raised up in a world where their circle of influence has been reduced to such screaming Internet discourse, where materialist considerations and direct action and the possibility of fundamental shifts in society via a politics of protest, of real influence and power and progress, have all been long disintegrated by a variety of complex factors, including and especially constant efforts by a consent-manufacturing class of plutocrats with vast networks of power and wealth that have every intention of keeping things the way they are in this country, without even any force of arms {for most} and without having to make every bit of the system-perpetuating propaganda themselves… Maybe just maybe the annoying “culture war” you keep seeing referenced by online commentators that are being paid by right-wing think tanks to make sure you notice all its worst excesses and silly trifles is related to..^all that.^ Oh and the whole unmitigated hyper-capitalism thing, where *everything* is commodified, to be packaged, sanitized, dehumanized, bought and sold, made for profit and nothing else. Yeah. That might be part of all this, too. {p.s. these are not conspiracies, these are the cursory yet apt descriptions of the media systems we have built working as intended, and the culture we have created as a byproduct of those systems doing the best job it can to simultaneously sustain such systems and provide pressure valve outlets for our discontent to keep us all from going fuckin’ insane.}

*sigh x3*

American politics makes nihilism quite rational.
“I don’t have to tell you things are bad, everyone knows things are bad…” ~ Network (1976)

In a welcomed defiance of such lesser-evilism and doomerpill cynicism and distracting culture war hobgoblin bs, I couldn’t help but wholeheartedly support Bernie’s advocating for actual policy proposals… to, you know, help people. You know, the real shit! His campaign, unlike every other Dem I’d yet seen, presented an actual belief in something. A belief in material betterments to society. Unconditional betterments afforded to every person within it {even the chuds!}, from their implicit undergirding acknowledgements of society’s structural interdependencies. Bernie’s campaign posited fundamental shifts {not so original in nature} in how we think about — and treat — the needless inequities and necessary interdependencies of modern society and about economic justice and what kinds of responsibilities we have toward one another as a nation, what kind of rights — civil and *economic* in nature — we have as beings born within this modern time and place. The real stuff of politics!

Bernie, his supporters, others on the leftist political spectrum, necessarily see healthcare, housing and education as human rights — ones that a nation as wealthy as ours could and *should* easily secure for its entire populace. Not as a government “handout” destined to promote laziness, curbing our precious ‘individualistic’ entrepreneurial ambitions, or to take precious tax dollars from other “hard-working” {the 1%, generationally-wealthy, money-managing, more-than-they-will-ever-know-what-to-do-with} Americans as a punishment for their ascent within the economic hierarchy — but instead as a basic, unconditional foundation of security and dignity for the citizens of an advanced, hyper-wealthy nation {the wealthiest in the world!} more than capable of building {see: funding} such an essential foundation.

A foundation of security and health and education reserved for ALL people is the starting point from which all other principles that a society tries to build into its populace must launch from. An impoverished, hungry, homeless and uneducated citizen cannot “pull themselves up from their bootstraps,” they cannot “pursue happiness.” This should be evident to anyone aware of America’s core problems. As long as there is mass poverty, mass homelessness, mass incarceration, mass student indebtedness, mass health precarities, physical, mental, and *financial* in nature, the original promise of America {i.e. a true equality of opportunity} is impossible.

Even more imperatively, I supported Bernie’s championing of small modicums of power and wealth returned to the people {i.e. the 99% of the country, the working class} via unions and wage increases and general labor and collective bargaining rights, and away from the elite institutions responsible for dissolving such labor organization in eras past and away from the *impassioned Bernie Sanders’ voice* the-millionaire-and-billionaire-class that have long hoarded such wealth and power to few ends beyond their own perpetuating benefits. {Trickle down economics is a myth, folks!; There is such a thing as a living wage, and it must be mandated as a minimum, profits and free market incentives be damned.}

These are the issues that have come to now define the “progressive” ideology in United States politics, increasing in popularity and power over these last four years — mostly due to the momentum and traction of Bernie’s movement.

Bernie unleashing a battle cry ~ https://berniesanders.com/about/
https://berniesanders.com/issues/
Bernie Sanders in 1988 on then Presidential Candidate Jesse Jackson

Bernie Sanders Was Right — New York Times

Back then in 2016, mostly uneducated on matters of politics beyond what I was just then hearing and reading, I felt as though things like “universal healthcare” and “taxing billionaires” and “doing something about college loan debt” were all… pretty good things to do. Back then, I was only tacitly in support of Bernie at least bringing them into the discourse — I held no illusions about either this old man’s ability to defeat Hillary and actually get the nomination {btw, Bernie would have won}, or that Bernie’s “radical” policies favoring normal people over corporations was ever going to get passed as proposed, with a Republican-controlled Congress and more generally, a corporate-owned Congress.

However, over the course of the last four years, learning more comprehensively of politics and history, mired constantly within the wretched Discourse, I have come to wholeheartedly believe such initiatives that Bernie advocated for are absolutely necessary progressions in public policy in this country. This foundation of basic economic rights afforded to every citizen — free market be damned, health insurance companies be damned, slightly less wealthy billionaires be damned {billionaires shouldn’t exist, btw | we don’t actually have the mental capacity to understand what a *billion* is}, the profit motive sometimes be fuckin’ damned — must be delivered sooner rather than later, one way or another. If we are to continue to call ourselves an advanced, democratic nation, where “all men are created equal” and afforded that right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit,” these foundations must be built.

Let’s see, to put it in Obama or Hillary or Beto or Mayo Pete’s golden-sounding platitude-speak — *clears throat*:

In order for the true promise that is America to come to fruition, we must adopt a new way of thinking about the role of our institutions in this country. Our government and our public servants as well as our corporations and our private enterprises, their powers must be returned to the people! These relations must match up with the reality of our interdependent responsibility unto one another as people of this great nation… In order for that original, inciting vision of “the land of the free and home of brave” to ever be realized — we must adopt a new social contract, abiding unconditional rights that fit to today’s possibilities, civil and economic in nature, for the wealthiest, most powerful nation that this world has ever seen. We must adopt … a New-er Deal. We must seek to establish… something like Democratic Socialism.” 😆

Bernie’s policies and their relative public polling %’s ~ sources: https://medium.com/@Ole/polls-with-citations-americans-want-bernies-new-deal-for-all-3902db7e6fa4
{Yes, I am well aware that such programs as Medicare-for-all, public housing, free college, the Green New Deal would require sweeping changes in the structure of our institutions, considerable tax increases {mostly on the wealthy}, and fundamental reallocations of governmental actions and revenues — i.e. mass redistributions of wealth from out the upper classes and into indefinitely-lived public institutions functioning mostly for the benefit of ordinary people… not unlike that of Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid, infrastructural projects like roads and bridges, systemically non-profit oriented organizations like libraries or the fire department, you know all the shit that is available for free and open and meant to just help people before all else… Yep. I am aware. And so should everyone be aware. This is the new deal we must make between government and citizenry, between corporations and workers, between the powerful x wealthy and the working class. Something along these lines must be done eventually, sooner rather than later, lest we accelerate continuously into immiseration and extinction…} ~ graphic source
Top donors to Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders by profession
FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, circa 1944: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bill_of_Rights ~
The Second Bill of Rights was proposed by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 11, 1944. In his address, Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognise and should now implement, a second “bill of rights“. Roosevelt argued that the “political rights” guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had “proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness“. His remedy was to declare an “economic bill of rights” to guarantee these specific rights … These rights have come to be known as economic rights. Roosevelt stated that having such rights would guarantee American security and that the United States‘ place in the world depended upon how far the rights had been carried into practice. … The propositions made by Roosevelt have gone largely unfulfilled. An article featured in the Democratic Left academic journal titled “Corporations Are Destroying Our Economy, Our Environment, and Our Children’s Future” provides insight onto how the significance of the bill is largely selective, and has been reduced through “unbridled capitalism”. The commodification of education, health care and other areas fundamental to the realisation of Roosevelt’s goals is described as being responsible for maintaining vast inequality pervasive within the U.S. This commodification could be representative of the prevalence of libertarianism as an ideology within the U.S. Prominent figures such as Friederich Hayek and Milton Friedman have become renowned for their aversion to increased government spending on social reform.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign circa 1968, with seed ideas for an “Economic Bill of Rights
yo wtf! 😮
yo wtf… 😞

Concerning my own burgeoning idealism of what politics ought to be about in the end — doing the most good for the most people, for the long-term future of humanity and the planet as a whole beyond any single nation, regardless of taxes or corporate profits or even the temporary loss of all-important jobs in toxic or unsustainable industries — this vision of the Sanders’ campaign and his millions of supporters obviously became something I could proudly claim as just. Not just acceptable, not just ‘preferable’ to Trump and Hillary and all the other aberrant, inhuman freaks making up the vast majority of our political leadership — but truly righteous. Even exciting. Hopeful. It was the only political project I could fully back in good faith, the only one that — thinking in terms of the political ideology I have somewhat jauntily laid out here thus far — that felt even moderately sane to me. {The fact that Bernie is widely considered to be extreme (really only here in America, elsewhere he is a center-left labor politician) only goes to show the stunted political spectrum within American politics.}

There’s Nothing ‘Radical’ About Bernie’s Agenda
America’s Stunted Political Spectrum ~ Second Thought

Oh and on that note, I have for some reason neglected to specifically mention climate change up to this point and both party’s stances upon it — Conservatives, using motivated reasoning related entirely to money, willfully refuse to believe it either exists, or will ever end up being a serious problem {it already is!}, whereas Dems tow the line between 1) “believing in science” {ok, give ’em one clap} and then 2) advocating for few fundamental changes to our energy infrastructure or systems of production currently blasting carbon into the atmosphere at unsustainable rates and destabilizing the planet’s conditions for human inhabitability. They, of course, behave this way for the very same reasons that Republicans don’t even pay it lip service. {Greed! Remember, they are truly one party, the business party.} No one wants to stop the buck and hold it, bearing the brunt of the near-term stock market losses likely to occur during such a transition, ultimately taking responsibility for the fundamental shifts that need to occur, and soon.

Climate change, as an existential threat to the future of human existence {to the neolibs and chuds alike: and also corporate profits and “school choice” and gun ownership and brand name cereals, and the future of all life on the planet, including every fetus and the endangered animals you hunt, idiots!} must necessarily become the most important issue of all of them… No collective political project can move forward from here without a plan for it. This should go without saying.

The Green New Deal, explained

~

But alas, Bernie lost {and for the most part, the ideology of democratic socialism/social democracy/progressive movement as a whole did too}. We lost. To Hillary in 2016. And to Biden in 2020. FeelsBadMan.jpeg.

Every Bernie Sanders Speech but it’s Lofi

The purpose of this writing, as I said, is to document my own political beliefs, and to lay out everything I have learned these last four years concerning political priorities, political policies, political possibilities, and political ideology. And not necessarily to lament Biden and Hillary and the core democratic party platform relative to Bernie’s or, more easily, to decry the psycho GOP {though I think I have done a bit of that already, as was inevitable, and will probably do more of it later…} I also generally have minimal interest in talking about the possibilities, good or bad, of the upcoming Biden presidency for now.

I will say for the honest sake of personal posterity – concerning the last three Presidential elections for which I was eligible to vote, 2012, 2016, and 2020 – in Texas, mind you – who I voted for:

  • I did not vote (2012). I was not at all paying real attention to politics yet. I liked Obama better than Romney, but did not feel informed or motivated to actually consider my nearest polling location and head out on the day of, especially in Texas, firmly red…
  • Wrote-in “Stephen Colbert” (2016), which I do regret!, despite my vote, again, not actually meaning much in the end because it was cast in Texas {electoral college!}… At the time, if I had been voting in a swing state, I obviously would’ve voted for Hillary Clinton in defiance of Trump taking office
  • Joe Biden (2020), very easily, given Trump needed to go for any political progressions to occur at all in the near future. Though I still have daydreams about Bernie defeating Joe him in the primary… Sadge.

As a related side note on the current moment however, the victories and vehemently progressive advocacy from “The Squad” {Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib} in 2018 and the triumphs of Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Marie Newman, and Mondaire Jones in 2020 certainly signal a rising coalition of progressive, socially democratic leaders within Congress. Which is great! It is they and the organizers of leftist grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion and others that will carry the baton of Bernie’s momentum, coming to potentially {hopefully} shape the future of working class, people-first, direct action politics in this country. I certainly will do my best to play my part in championing and aiding such movements however I can. The show must go on!

https://jacobinmag.com/2020/03/noam-chomsky-bernie-sanders-reform-labor

~

{now, warping back to before, to my college days}

Now, I was not completely liquid in my political beliefs up to this point through college. One could say I was certainly liberal when it came to the social sphere (easily pro LGBTQ+ rights, pro choice, more secular, less religious, etc.), and then more neutral or conservative-leaning regarding economic issues. Seeing how I just went through college and got my Master’s in Finance, and was now ready to enter the workforce machine and take part in the conservative status quo of the modern American business world. My economic beliefs, though not firm, were unchallenged as of yet:

The free market is the best tool we have for solving widespread societal problems, free markets are certainly the best tool historically for creating wealth, spurring innovation; big government intervention and regulation and taxation is toxic to such ends; corporations ARE, in fact, becoming increasingly beholden to all stakeholders and are the best institutions we have for technological innovation, for creating all-important economies of scale, and for helping people with jobs, products, services.

The corporation was the integral institutional node within our American mega economy, one with the most robust and consistent worldwide GDP performance since WWII. The corporation was the very thing I was set to pledge my life to in coming years, helping to ready the runways for their continued domination within the economic sphere, aiding in their efficient functioning and ensuring their designated operational and financial objectives were completed without fail, quarter after quarter, year after year.

This was to be my role, as a fresh, college-educated soon-to-be peon at a professional services firm. The corporation, in terms of American higher education’s connection to them and their vitally prized role within society, was inviolate, sacred even. The ultimate life form.

Just a man and his corporate spire…
“The world is a corporation.” ~ Network (1976)

Now if you want to know — concisely as I can possibly manage — what truly ‘radicalized’ me away from the status quo, purely free market, neoliberally capitalistic, managerial-class politics of that which I absorbed in college {by way of mostly a lack of diversity of any other vision presented}, and had to un-learn in my own time, if only because I became interested in the spheres of politics and economics and their alternative possibilities given certain changes, and what maybe ought to be done with the institutions of modern government — I will show you. In five bullet points, driven by discrete, explicit economic problems and their potential policy remedies, interspersing them with links to data, facts & logic 🤓 & some feelings, too … *pushes up glasses* After all, it’s actually quite simple:

  • Medicare-for-all. Basically every other “advanced” nation in the modern world already provides a form of universal healthcare to their citizenry — that is, “No networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills.” Healthcare, free of charge — full stop — paid for by the governmental entity of a country; healthcare, offered as a human right. If there is anything that should not be dominated by the profit motive it is healthcare; if there is anything that should never financially ruin — or even seriously stress— a person or their family, it is going to the doctor. Healthcare is life-or-death, it is a basic need that everyone has at some point or another — this is both what makes a for-profit healthcare so fucking abhorrent and the concept of universal coverage so necessary. Modern healthcare here in America has certainly advanced to the point where universal coverage is entirely possible. This one is pretty simple. It is arguably the foundation of everything else, regarding leftist political belief. It is the base case for the idea that there are industries which should be de-commodified, which should not be dominated by the free market, which should not seek profit before human well-being. When it comes to fundamental reformations to America’s socioeconomic relationship to its citizenry, where else do you start than here? *Bernie’s mantra* “We are the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right.” This is the start, square one.
  • Wages. 80% of American workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. America has only 10% union membership. Since the 1970s, average wages have stagnated while the stock market has compounded continuously, far outpacing {realize that the vast majority of Americans build all their wealth from their wages — meaning, really only the top 1% investor class has truly participated in the majority of the growth and “prosperity” of American industry over that time}. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, hasn’t budged in 30 years. 59% of Americans would be unable to cover a $1,000 emergency. If these simple facts don’t indicate something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system, with “the American dream,” then I don’t know what else to tell you… {Honestly, these facts should radicalize anyone. This isn’t luck, it’s not “how the cookie crumbles”, it is a gross and inhumane injustice for the vast majority of a population to live in such precarity. And it is dangerous to everyone in society, not just those stuck in its underclasses. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better… These facts and figures around wages, how most Americans make their livelihood, indicate nothing less than that something is terribly wrong with this country.}
  • Wealth inequality. Half of America does not own any stock at all; roughly 80% of the stock market is owned by the top 10% wealthiest households. As mentioned in the previous bullet, this obviously means that the cyclically “booming economy” —almost always meaning a booming *stock market*, our simplest metric {and most preferred by the elite class} for measuring economic performance over time— does not really benefit most working people. According to the latest Fed data (Oct 2020), the top 1% of Americans have a combined net worth of $34.2 trillion (or 30.4% of all household wealth in the U.S.), while the bottom 50% of the population holds just $2.1 trillion combined (or 1.9% of all wealth). This kind of rampant inequality, only compounding more every year, the lion’s share of economic gains in wealth going disproportionately to the 1%, is an obviously unsustainable, eventually terminal, condition for a society. America has a long and storied history of inevitable wealth accumulation along hierarchical bounding, including the saga of corporations moving compulsorily toward monopolization and more recently, oligopolization. The top .01% investors / corporate executives / hedge funders / political elites, oligarchs, plutocrats — what one may call the “Dracula” class — own the whole fucking world! In terms of wealth, these Draculas hoard an outsized lion’s share, insanely disproportionate to their number; in terms of power, they wield authoritarian-esque influence over democracies, multinational banks, and all kinds of non-governmental entities via shadowy investments, lobbying, and silent advocacy. Regardless of how you feel about the capitalism vs. communism spectrum, the nature of the government’s role in one’s life and the civil liberties afforded the modern man, what is acceptable levels of taxation, or what kind of economic actions the law should be outlawing or incentivizing —SOME some level of wealth redistribution is going to need to happen eventually!! *gasp* This should be clear to everyone at this point. Fundamental changes in how we invest our money as a global population need to be executed. Money, for as long as it dominates all forms of socioeconomic movements and allocations and incentives, needs to be reconfigured to the ends of helping people, and not just to perpetuate returns. Simply, all this hoarded money needs to be reinvested in the people— to provide a steady foundation to a withering underclass. Sooner rather than later… for an American society growing increasingly agitated at the disparity of such wealth inequality, suffering under austerity measures while the super rich buy yachts and apocalypse bunkers instead of paying their fair share, hiding themselves from a people altogether becoming less healthy, more prone to suicide, losing hope for the future of their families, social cohesions fraying more every year, preyed upon incessantly by technology designed to extract their attention, just as all these systemic economic factors simultaneously prey upon their labor, their souls. To provide that populace-wide foundation of security and public health  —  eventually, we as a society wielding its institutions, laws and public resources, and organizations of labor, are going to need to bear our claws, break the skin, crack the bones, suck out the blood and the marrow of all this hoarded Draculaic wealth in the form of solid and liquid capital currently idling in offshore tax havens, accumulating without any discernible end or unto any objective outside of MORE, estranging the Draculas further and further from their humanity, and immiserating the vast majority of the world’s population… for what? Where does it end? What is all this money being hoarded for? What is the alternative to wealth redistribution? What is the eventual answer to all this inequality without eventually forcefully reallocating it via laws for it to be used elsewhere? Something has to be done, resources have to be reallocated, economic incentives need to be reconfigured, population-wide humane conditions need to be prioritized above all else. Sooner rather than later, these changes must come. Something must be done. {“Something” = wealth redistribution via mandated investment {using the government and its ability to make LAWS} into indefinitely-lived national and global public health institutions and technologies. Boom, simple.} Enough repeating myself, though I felt it bore such repetitions…
  • Education. Maybe the most salient issue, in the long run, given that it influences and ends up affecting all the others… and every single other thing in society. All the best-faith boons of our current capitalistic economic order: innovation, individualism, freedom, resource efficiency, the entrepreneurial spirit, the steady improvements in standards of living, the slow build of social and economic progress, the *purported* eventual eradication of poverty, etc. ALL require education as part of their implied foundation. Knowledge is power, and so on. So even if you are a member of the elite plutocrat “Dracula” class under the current status quo, who wishes for no real change within the fundamental economic order out of self-interest, even for you universal higher education is immensely valuable and necessary. In order for the engines of industrial and technological progress to continue, you absolutely need an educated populace, an educated workforce. In order for progress to continue, every generation must build on the progressions of the last. And a good education, increasingly an advanced — and *expensive* — one, is necessary to be able to contribute to the grand machines of progress and innovation and capitalism. Education, more than anything else, is an integral part of this continuous outcome of social and economic amelioration over time that capitalism has long promised as its primary boon. Thusly, education should be available to everyone, as a necessary foundation undergirding our modern society; increasingly, a college degree makes or breaks ones upward mobility within society, and the prospects of life more generally. I keep using that word “foundation” to describe this Democratic Socialist / Socially Democratic vision that Bernie and others of his lefty ilk around the world champion in their judgment of what should constitute public or private enterprises, or alternatively, which modern industries should wield the profit motive, and which should not. In this view, which I adopt, it is easy to see why things like healthcare and education should be basic rights afforded to all people, universalized and without a profit motivation clouding their availability or effectiveness {other for-profit aspects of modern society that would also fall into this bucket are housing and food— which also lay at the base, foundational, layer of Maslow’s hierarchy} On education, much the same as healthcare, the bottom line is clear: in order for us to come close to that dream of “equality of opportunity” that America promises its proud populace of young, ambitious strivers, rife with the entrepreneurial spirit that has made this nation “great”, everyone should be afforded the right to get an education for free {whether that be college, trade school or something else}, so that they may advance themselves, have a chance to get their foot in the door of their chosen industry, and enter the workforce ready to contribute to society in the best way they can. Easy.
  • Climate. Climate change is real. We have to do something about it. We might be too late. We do know that mega-corporations like Exxon are largely responsible for suppressing the truth about climate change for their own benefits; we know they and other major oil & gas multinationals are continuously responsible for the vast majority of emissions, and it is they — not individual consumers like us — that must alter their behaviors if there is to be long-term progress upon this front. This issue is crystal clear to me at this point, as it is to the scientific community. Ultimately, climate change leading on to ecological collapse will very likely become an extinctive level threat to human life on the planet. Long before then, the relentless effects of climate change —more chaotic weather phenomena, decreasing biodiversity, out of control fires, rising sea levels, etc.— will radically change the structure of life on the planet, causing forced shifts in how we live, what is necessary to sustain life, and the quality of that life. And most dire of all, much of these effects and changes will become irreversible! The facts are what they are. We have to move on this. Greed, entrenched wealth, and lack of conviction in either these facts and/or the necessary changes that must take place to mitigate the coming harm, are the only barriers to such preventative, necessary actions {actions, such as are outlined, for example, in the Green New Deal. And that is just the beginning…} Thusly, every collective choice we make as a nation, as a human society on this planet, from here on out MUST take climate change into account. To ignore this problem is to damn all future generations. It’s that simple 🤗.

~

Simple, right?

*sigh x4*

That is my big five. The factors of my political awakening, my “radicalization”, my proverbial “Road to Damascus” moment(s) in the form of a big board full of coffee-stained sticky notes, facts and figures, manifold red strings strung over the many-faced injustices of *another long drag on the cig that never left my mouth* s o c i e t y.

A couple of additional notes on these points and policies, which further solidify my stance on all this:

1) ALL THESE THINGS ARE NOT ONLY REASONABLE, BUT POPULAR: Currently in America, Medicare-For-All is broadly popular, across party lines, saves money in the long run, and obviously, will save lives from day one {and yet, there is very little Congressional legislative movement on it… I wonder why 🤔}. Many of these progressive-type policies do enjoy broad popular support of the general American public {generally moreso among Dems than GOP voters, but often it is bipartisan such as with the minimum wage increase… or the legalization of marijuana}. It is clear why — they are populist policies, ones meant to unconditionally benefit everyone, i.e. the 99% working class. Who doesn’t want wage increases? Free education? Cancellation of student debt? Healthcare that doesn’t bankrupt you? Who does not want unconditional benefits, free access to necessary and life-changing services and universal programs — especially concerning food, shelter, healthcare, jobs with livable wages? And primarily at the expense of corporations and the hyper-wealthy alone, who already harvested such things on the back of their workers and society more generally?

Yeah, Good, Okay. This is why all these things are considered economic justice. Needless to say, supporting each of these policies, and their potential institution within modern society, is quite clearly within the average person’s self-interest. {Aside from just being the right thing to do, the thing we should have been doing since around the 1950s or so when we started to exist in such material abundance as a society…} Their popularity relies upon their material impacts to the well-being of people and that of their children, instantly and efficaciously. {And I could spend a lot more words explaining how such policies are also in the long-term interest and benefit of the upper classes, and EVEN the Dracula class… but I won’t for now. They don’t deserve it. (It has to do with positive externalities, the existence and necessary upholding of something called a ‘public good‘) (Oh, and the fact that they will still be obscenely wealthy even after they pay their fair share!} The glaring {and undemocratic} contradiction of these progressive policies’ long-time collective popularity among the American populace, paired with their lack of implementation through administration after administration, has everything to do with the obstinate duopolistic structure of our political system, as well as who is paying the lavish bills of nearly every one of our so-called public servants {that’s right, you guessed it}.

Bernie on wage growth vs. the top 1% wealth growth
Bill Hicks on the problem…

2) THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OPPOSES ALL OF THIS WITH EVERY OUNCE OF THEIR BEING, BECAUSE OF GREED: The Republican party, for all its talk of freedom and justice and being the party of “traditional family values”, “life, liberty, and the pursuit,” “fighting for the working class”, blah blah — and I want this to be very clear to anyone that might be confused — absolutely opposes! each of the above policy ideas: M4A, minimum wage increase / increased union membership and worker rights, the reduction of rampant inequality, the introduction of wealth taxes or any increase in taxes on the wealthy, advanced education as a human right, moving *at all* on climate change, modernizing our energy industry toward renewables — No, no, no. Oppose. Deny. Veto. Block. There is practically zero support for any of these things within the current Republican party {and there is even a minority of support for many of these things in the old-ass, dinosaur-laden centrist Democratic party establishment as well, for reasons which I have already repeated myself on… This is why Bernie and The Squad of progressives are considered radical, “extremists” in this country btw}. In fact, Republican politicians and governors and judges are more likely to increase the privatization of the healthcare industry, more likely to bust unionization efforts and more generally side with corporations than with workers on every major issue, more likely to cut taxes {read: use the government to redistribute wealth upward from the underclass to the richest 1% of taxpayers}, more likely to deregulate the fossil fuel industry and legislatively incentivize increases in the extraction industry’s carbon emissions via fracking, etc.

The Republican party — it is clear to my eyes at this point — is an enemy to all such progressions, to any change AT ALL in the wildly exploding inequalities and precarities of modern America, to every single form of public “social welfare” programs that require public funding and public usage and decommodification and non-privatized, non-profit-oriented functionality. {“Conservatism” means to conserve, as in conserve the status quo, i.e. “this is it! We have reached the best possible world and we can stop progressing now!”} Conservatives have and always will side with big business and with millionaires and billionaires over anything else, without fail, every single time. They do not give a shit about the working class. And this has everything to do with who funds them.

But then why, you may ask, do they still enjoy ~50% support from the voting public? Their supporters, obviously very few of which are actually millionaires or corporate executives {i.e. the types of persons slated to benefit from the vast majority of their legislative decrees} are instead taken in by such things as their aligning religious identity {W.A.S.P. Christianity}, their anti-abortion stance, the NRA-backed fight for gun ownership rights, and all manner of anti-SJW, white grievance politics and culture war bullshit and hobgoblin propaganda that conservative pundits gin up… that is, the distractions of modern “politics” as a team sport and as a spectacle with zero material possibility for potential positive changes in the citizenry’s actual life.

I think many Republican voters do not believe “the gubment” *CAN* actually do anything materially good or beneficial for their lives, like provide healthcare or free education {what historical real world examples of ‘good government’ can they reflect on today, from the near-term?}; additionally, many probably believe, ideologically speaking, that the government *should not* even do those things if it effectively could… {“Free healthcare is socialism!”} Republican politicians, as well as Rupert Murdoch’s vast right-wing media empire, are quite aware of this — insofar that they are not straight up responsible for instilling such beliefs! — and thus use culture to control the conversation, keeping it on their terms . It is the right-wing politician’s and pundit-class’ job to constantly highlight the supposed excesses of modern liberalism and the boogeys of “woke” culture and its anti-nationalist, anti-capitalist, “anti-white/pro-black” strains of discourse. While at the same time they remain silent, or just straight up lie, about the efficacy of things like Medicare-for-all and the threat of climate change and the prospect of wage growth being “bad, actually”, relentlessly stamping down the foolish idea that the upper class may have too much of society’s wealth. All policies and realities that their supporters absolutely must remain unconscious of, for they are unconscionable to their corporate donors and billionaire benefactors.

It is really simple: Any material betterments from the apparatus of government — that is, nationalized and unconditionally delivered unto all citizens within the nation — must remain outside the realm of possibility, at all costs… lest their voters begin to realistically demand such things from their government, and away from market-based {read: profit-based, corporate-based} alternatives in industries that have long had them, but perhaps, maybe *should not* — such as health and education.

Oh yeah, and working class people, who are without a doubt voting against their own self-interest every single time they pull the lever for the big red elephant, are ALSO drawn into the folds of the Republican party in large part because the Democratic party is just so fucking awful…

The paragon modern American conservative in the wild
John Carpenter, Apocalyptic Filmmaker ~ by Eileen Jones ~ John Carpenter’s movies provide visions of societies falling apart. No wonder his work is resonating now more than ever.

3) THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS ALSO UNWILLING TO CONCEDE ON MUCH OF THIS, NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEIR OWN BASE OF SUPPORT DEMANDS IT, ALSO BECAUSE OF GREED: The Democratic Party’s core failure, in its utterly neoliberal turn with Bill Clinton in the early 90s and then on to the Obama-era in 2008 and beyond, is that of its failure to support unconditionally beneficial and widely popular social programs {which have been widely popular among voters going back to the 1920s…} — as I have outlined above — in favor of “means-tested”, Republican-lite, corporatist x imperialist initiatives, ever designed to cater to big business, to the military, to their donor classes — and always at the expense of the working class. As I said long before, the Democratic party is truly one that believes in nothing; they *can’t* support such popular and unconditionally beneficial programs, for they are handcuffed by their owners, by the Dracula class. The difference is they have to present as if they care {you know, the whole “controlled opposition” thing I mentioned earlier}. Thus, they do not govern like Republicans, with ruthless and impassioned fervor to bring their will to bear through the levers of power {no matter how despicable that shit may end up being, even to their own voters}… they do not govern at all.

They exist as paltry opposition to the Republicans. Often, they appear as though they do not even want to win… {And why should they? Upon taking power, they’ll just end up getting yelled at by their own constituencies for failing to deliver any results —ones they never planned on fighting for that hard anyway. Whereas if they exist as minority opposition, displaced from power but active as rhetorical critics  of Republican governments, then they can reap the advantages of outrage from their base as Republicans gut the programs they were supposed to buffer, as they start the wars they wouldn’t have, cuts taxes they theoretically wouldn’t have as well, etc. all the while drumming up those outrage votes to take power in the returning backlash… and then do nothing with it. The cycle continues, rinse and repeat.}

And this *in an utterly undead, zombified half-hearted voice* again goes back to that whole idea of there really being one party in this country, a corporate duopoly, a business party, dominated by the military-industrial complex and pharmaceutical companies and the extraction industry and every other goddamn goliath corpoctopus and ivory tower and cackling Dracula atop it, all of them with the most powerful and complex and far-reaching institution in the world — the U.S. government — at their utter beck and call, designed to do their bidding

Larry Summers, resident Renfield to the Dracula class, speaking the quiet part out loud concerning his elitist thoughts on the underlying reason for inequality within society…
HyperNormalisation (2016) ~ “Adam Curtis explains how, at a time of confusing and inexplicable world events, politicians and the people they represent have retreated into a damaging over-simplified version of what is happening.” — My sum of this documentary: Basically, after the 1970s, politics went from a real battle of wills over the distribution of resources — like whether or not kids will go hungry or not — and shifted to culture and the conflicts of aesthetics. The resource distribution became fixed, across party lines; corporate profits and their growth became the crux of all decisions. No longer were Americans picking between horror or its solution; horror became the base condition. It just became a matter of what your mind state will be during the horror.

^ Everyone should find the time to watch this documentaryHyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis, as well as his other documentaries, to help you understand just exactly what is going on within our modern era, on a global scale, and how we got here… Unconsciously so, I have actually just spent many paragraphs outlining the telos of “hypernormalization” — that is, the complete, clear-eyed understanding of the problems of today AND even some of their potential solutions — with the simultaneous, automatic acceptance that, as our powers-that-be currently stand — absolutely nothing is going to change about any of it. A kind of cyclical, doompilled Doublethink.

You watching HyperNormalisation, based and doompilled

Ronald Reagan, our first{?} and definitely most prolific *hypernormalization* president:

Life Expectancy vs. Healthcare Spending over time, 1970-2014
% increase in college cost vs. median household income – Illinois – over time, 1970-2014
Top 1% vs. Bottom 50% national income shares in the US and Western Europe over time, 1980-2015
US government spending on cash welfare vs. public order, 1970-2020

https://twitter.com/capittalism/status/1341467052872220683?s=20

US military spending relative to the rest of the world ~ Why Does The US Spend So Much On The Military?
The Democratic and Republican parties, in a nutshell via The Simpsons

*sigh x5*

Alright, that’s enough. I laid out my five bullets, why those issues are both clearly imperative and mostly uninitiated upon as of our current political moment. But damn… speaking of American politics in terms of its historical and structural failings is incredibly wearying. The limits to progress are and long have been the fact that every foundational issue and potential systemic change is influenced first and foremost by a hyper-wealth plutocracy with their hands around the throat of our legislative and media apparatuses. As a republic-style democracy, our government is hardwired to prevent radical changes of all kinds, and by the same token, then designed to perpetuate the same systemic factors that have been around since its inception. I understand all this. And again, not the point here. I am merely aiming to document my beliefs and learnings about what ought to be done in terms of politics in this country. Less so, do I want {or fully know how to} engage in a complex discourse about how such policy objectives and power/wealth reversals and redistributions may end up getting done given the long-time conditions of our government and politics, entirely hypernormalised, capitalist-realism’ed, “End of History”ed, and seemingly immutable. Arghh… and I haven’t even discussed the long-time tradition of anti-democratic initiatives from the Republican party, how they suppress voting and actively discourage political engagement in areas of this country where they do not want it {hint: non-whites}. OH! And what about the fact that if you just took money out of politics it would probably solve a vast majority of the problems with our broken system… Right, yeah.

*sigh x6* There are so many more problems than reasons to even begin the conversation for why things like socialism is good, actually {this is coming up, folks!} —  or beyond that, what the “good” world, the one we can make if only we came together as a people, could be like in futures near or far, the one with poverty eradicated, the world fed and homed, robots and A.I. automating grunt work so everyone can write books and paint pictures. Such conversations feel privileged, obviously utopian, and altogether insulting to young people of color that are still living in a different country — truly, a different reality — than me and people like me. And are still being discriminated against, jailed, and killed at disproportionate and unconscionable rates in this country. An optimistic view of politics often feels out of reach; a sanguine view of modern politics — in passionately advocating for such fundamental reforms to how we structure our world, how we care for people at the bottom of society — can feel abstract, like moving the cart before the horse, a non-sequitur and pie-in-the-sky rhetorical strategy — of the same ilk that I denounce standard issue corporate Dems for doing.

~ Rod Serling in 1970

But you have to start somewhere.

{Preferably, from an objectively informed, non-cynical foundation of dialectical materialism— from an understanding of what politics is for, how resources are currently being allocated, what has happened historically, and what the vast majority of the real people and real workers on the ground are concerned about within their everyday lives — all the while formulating how you may be able to eventually activate them within your political coalition.}

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx presumably discussing Dialectical Materialism ~ the foundation of any informed, sincere / non-cynical political philosophy, one way or another, a system of thought designed to navigate a constantly changing world :: Thesis / Antithesis / Synthesis + systems thinking x historical-mindedness ~ The thesis is an intellectual proposition > The antithesis is a critical perspective on the thesis >> The synthesis solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths, and forming a new proposition from their resolution.

This is what I believe makes leftist politics so important — it starts to strike at the roots of all these problems. A focus upon power relationships and material conditions provides critical insight into the toxins of inequality, ultimately spurred the far-reaching, vital, and inevitable 20th century movements integral to our modern society today such as: the civil rights movement, feminist movement, LGBT rights movement, anti-war movement and environmental movement. Left-wing political analysis — call it Marxian, call it dialectics, call it egalitarianism, call it “working class”, call it socialism, communism, anarcho-syndicalist populism, even call it “social justice warrior” politics idgaf — this stuff truly begins to pierce the veil. For me, as for many others just trying to build an honest understanding of everything going on in our world…

And I think is what makes Bernie Sanders so important — forever important — to me and I’m sure to many others in this country. “Not me, us.” Bernie’s campaign brought leftist thought to the forefront, a socially democratic perspective afforded from the highest stage of our country upon the problems of our day, bringing universalized, common sense, easy-to-understand solutions to bear for them. There is no telling how many eyes he opened, how many future political actors, current working class persons, young or old, and formerly apathetic, non-voting citizens now engaged for life in direct political action, he radicalized with his platform. And his persona. Fighting his entire life for “a society of hope and compassion, and not one of hate and vengeance,” for a politics of morality, Bernie Sanders represents something special in politics, or just modern American life: true authenticity. Honesty. Compassion. Hope. His campaign built a coalition of people across generations and culture, that stand together almost like a spiritual congregation — their collective belief laying within something far greater than anyone one of them… His vision of something more is powerful enough to consciously break one out of their cynical, doompilled, existentially despairing mindset upon modern politics, upon the future of America, the world.

How many other modern politicians have rallied such fervent and passionate support for their political movement, on the basis of such positive messaging of compassion and solidarity? {2008 Obama comes to mind, yes, but is unfortunately soured by the eventualities of his time in office.} Bernie’s advocacy for everyday material betterments, among a “rainbow”-esque coalition of working class peoples from all cultures and creeds and walks of life around the country, coming together in an intrinsically-motivated, grassroots way to fight for what they believe is right… well, it’s damn near powerful enough to bring a tear to my eye just thinking about it. {I’m lying. I’m crying right now.}

“Let us create a society of hope and compassion, not one of hate and vengeance.”
“This movement isn’t going anywhere.”

And that is what makes me writing all this out so important to me. Philosophically speaking, it feels necessary; to utterly clarify my actual political beliefs , based on absolutely everything I have learned in recent years —  regardless of their popularity or their eventual possibility within the grinding gears of real political power in this country. And that is so I may live by them. In whatever way I can. Advocating for them to my peers — sure. Voting toward their actualization at the ballot box, in local and national elections {as close as I can manage it} — absolutely. In my own sphere of influence, fighting for more worker power and more democratization at my future places of work — you bet. I will certainly try to do all this. But the core purpose of adopting my politics, this mix of reason, ideology, and belief — partially self-crafted, partially adopted from my reading of history and theory, from the life and campaign of politicians like Bernie — is not instrumental. I am not taking these positions as a means to any end, so that I can benefit from any special privilege in the afterscape wherein we eventually do get that world of “fully-automated luxury space communism“… No. That’s not the point. It doesn’t matter whether progressivism or Democratic Socialism, or the construction of some kind of communally-owned resource-based economy working for all at some point in the future, near or far, is actually achievable; it does not really matter whether the twin evils of the Republican and Democratic parties will ever be overcome, superseded by real coalitions of worthy philosophical and dialectical opposition, fighting ultimately for widespread human well-being and not crowing for their Dracula patrons at all costs. It matters because this is what I believe is right. Knowing my politics in this way, regardless of whether I ever get to see something like its fruition within my lifetime, helps me to forge my worldview more generally, and betters my chances of building these kinds of dialectical, logical, humane, communal, interdependent, long-term future-based principles into my own life and how I choose to live it in the day-to-day. This is all very important to me.

Simply put, I guess I am saying that my politics is part of my morality. And because of its adoption along these philosophical lines as I have been ranting about for long now — having little to do with my own actual self-interest or my own identity {cis white male} or socioeconomic position within society {born middle class} — my politics has little to do with actual “politics.” At least, in regard to how most people today have come to treat it — as a loop unto their own monetary self-interest alone, communal interdependencies or long-term outlooks be damned, or as a valve to vent cultural resentments and identitarian manifestos, as a forever-fight in the Blood War that is anonymous Internet engagement, freed of all material considerations regarding one’s actual life, liberty, pursuit or even property, steeped entirely in rhetoric, in infinite abysses of the The Discourse… Or for the Draculas and the politically active ruling classers, who have been fighting their one-sided, shadow-Class War since the dawn of modern civilization — politics is simply a giant machine they can efficiently bribe unto their moment-to-moment, near-term, one-lifespan luxuries… This is the difference between politics as a libidinal {pain and pleasure-based, self-interested, present-based} tool or as a spiritual {well-being-based, communal, future-based} belief. I must always subscribe to the latter, lest I one day find myself lost to the psychosis that is reactionaryism for some reason I cannot yet fathom.


Politics and philosophy are closely intertwined. I can say that my interest in politics necessarily stems from my love of philosophy. In any political position, just as in a philosophical one, decisions dictated from that position *ought* to be made always with the foremost objective being that of decreasing suffering and increasing flourishing, within humanity, the environment around us, among all life. Seems obvious, but I accept that may just be another belief of mine. There will always be contradictions, compromises, the pathological deployment of power to bend things one way or another, toward one group’s favor and away from the other. I am idealistic, but no naive. That is politics, too — a game of power, between classes, majorities and minorities. My assertion, concerning my own experiences at the very least, is that there must always be a baseline objective that is humane and attached to life, both its existence and its quality, above all else. Afore profit, afore the “righteous traditions of individualism and American exceptionalism”, afore GDP and inflation and unemployment %’s and the all-powerful force that is The S&P 500, even across national boundaries…

Most people can agree on the problems of society at any given time {outside of those willfully ignorant, residing in their own reality, either from propaganda poisoning or of their own free will, estranged from the people, i.e. the Draculas and their sycophantic Renfields}; much of politics then comes down to drawing together on the method of a solution to those problems — how you reallocate resources, how you redistribute and reinvest wealth and power and energy to try to fix the problem. Until you can materialize an effective solution using laws and incentives and the institutions available, with all the nuances of navigating the established conditions and the potential harms that change may bring accounted for as best as you can, nailing down the necessary sacrifices you are willing to make to execute such solutions, etc., etc., the problem persists. The problem or solution, insofar that they affect life and liberty, necessarily complexifies the calculus required to reach a resolution, which must then be executed efficiently, with results observed and recontextualized over time, as other problems and solutions arise and intervene. And so on, and so on.

This is the concise math of politics and its cyclical operation. This is its constant dilemma, its constant flow of problems and solutions, solutions and problems, the decisions and programs of sacrifice and reinvestment and reorganization being worked out all the time. And I believe this is how it must be considered, as a full-fledged politician or as a citizen. It all comes back to resource allocation and human well-being. That’s it. Most political discourse, the media, the various mouthpieces of the Dracula owners and executives, certainly politicians themselves, are always going to try to make it more complicated than it is {this is already pretty complicated!}. But remember what the objectives are: life. Human well-being. Human dignity. Human freedom {insofar that it doesn’t conflict with the planet melting or the same freedoms within other peoples}. The core objective, always: Humanity.

I believe the foundation of all political belief should wield a vision of the long-term future. Easier said than done, of course. But it must be the aspiration. The Native American Iroquois peoples were believed to have subscribed their own decision-making processes to a “Seven Generation” rule, in that they made their choices today based on how they might help or harm their children seven generations on (or 140 years) in the future. In a near perfect world, this is how every political leader on the globe would be making their decisions {in a perfect world, they’d be thinking of every future generation of every person on the planet}. But this is also how I would try to build my politics, with a holistic vision of the future in mind, with a long, long-term strategy.

This mindset would tap every facet of life within a community — culture, ecology, economic systems, technology, and all their collective consequences. Thinking in this way — beyond your own life and its singular span — forces one to consider politics as a collective project of material evaluations, progressions, and betterments that you are building and working toward, one that *should* outlive you. Step by step, action by action, generation after generation, politics builds upon every previous discovery and error and long-lived institution developed. This all may be utopian, privileged and pie-in-the-sky as I said before — but why would we not be thinking in those terms eventually? Should we not move toward such a world? It all starts with you; and so, this is how I build my beliefs, my philosophy, my politics.

Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism”
~ “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” ~ Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
A pair of Iroquois natives {a different kind of red and blue}

Put another way {the shadow-side, relative to the Iroquoin light that I have just painted with…} — the only question anyone should ever be asking of politics and of society and how it is all structured:

Do the current set of worldly conditions, the current system and what it incentivizes and perpetuates — allow for us to be able to build a future?

As for our own world today — the answer is a definitive no. Even ignoring the markedly declining birth rates in places like Japan {and now in the US, too}, the compounding effects of climate change, the rampancy of economic inequality, the mental health crisis / opioid epidemic / mass incarceration in the United States especially — all these conditions are unsustainable, and expressly disallow us to build a future. In the case of climate change, it promises a sixth extinction; in the case of inequality, an eventual revolution or mass death event or both, seems likely, even inevitable. As activist Peter Joseph would put it, “all the trajectories are bad and getting worse.” The current conditions of our world constitute — met with protest and revolt and even rebellion as they may constantly be — taken to their logical endpoints, without any change from those that could do it but have yet to, a guaranteed apocalypse of one flavor or another. It will be an apocalypse that none of us will see, perhaps just a dragging, irreversible dissolution that future generations will have to suffer through and try to survive within. But it will be one we will be at least partially responsible for in the end {along with the generations before us, each taking some non-arbitrary slice of the blame…(I wonder who currently has the most?)}

Put in terms again of our modern politics: such a reality, as I see it, absolutely means “conservatism” is baseless; if the status quo is at best, endlessly immiserating inequality, and at worst, extinction, then one cannot in good faith fight to uphold it with their politics. If the current and past traditions, principles, beliefs, socioeconomic incentives and conditions – the ones that Conservatives wish so desperately to grasp onto, to ‘conserve’, to return to – brought us to this point of terminus, then of what use were they really? {Unless… modern day conservatism has become utterly disingenuous, and *is* truly a death cult…}

The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, 1822 painting by English artist John Martin.

ALL this – everything I have been discussing about so far in this long stream-of-consciousness screed – is why I have become so intentionally anti-capitalist in my writings and philosophy and politics, continuously critical of its systemic ‘working-as-intended’ production of such unchecked inequality and its often life-destroying, ecological-collapsing compulsion to seek profits afore all else. The more I become aware of the modern world and its problems, the more I learn of the past — the more anti-capitalist and leftist I become. This isn’t to say capitalism is ALL bad. It has its undeniable benefits, certainly. Capitalism, first and foremost, is a system designed to perpetuate itself — as any good, long-lasting systems are wont to do. The problem comes with what that perpetuation costs the world and its peoples, what it overlooks, and what it will inevitably mean for the future as long as it remains unchecked, invariably inhumane.

^😂a💯mega❗️cache🤩of😸political🤡memes🤭for your😈health😇^

Capitalism, as a widespread {now globalized} economic system, is based in competition, and freedom of investment, and property rights, and all manner of so-called ‘voluntary’ participation and “may the best man win” free market equilibriums and accumulations of capital, cycling via continuous capital owner reinvestment choices, growing {theoretically} without any end ever in sight. It has been, throughout human history, very likely the most effective force for industrial and technological innovation and for the efficient development of economies of scale in organizing and utilizing the means of production collectively available to society. With that mass production has come a consistent increase in standards of living over time, and a wide array of freedoms concerning consumer choice in terms of goods and services. Along with this looping economic arrangement, comes a complex and combative hierarchy comprised of the vast 99% proletariat class {wage workers}, with certain gradations, vs. the 1% capitalist class {capital owners} – each constantly vying for more power, control and wealth within a conflicted dichotomy between such laborers and owners {one that ends up being rather one-sided, obviously ever in favor of the one that owns the capital}. Put rather simplistically {but no less true}, capitalism as a system is, in the end, dependent upon continuous, infinite growth. {Something that we know to be impossible…} And yet this strive into the abyss is something we see time and time again with its in-system actors willing to seek this infinite growth at the expense of everything else {first and foremost, the poorest, most easily exploitable classes of society, on an international scale, any exploitive common goods, every exploitative facet of the environment, etc.} – {yes, I just used the ‘exploit’ root three different ways, each grammatically correct.}

Bernie on the Chaos-Year 2020 and capitalism

Important to note in all critiques of capitalism is the fact that Karl Marx, the king critic, noted that the rise of a system like capitalism seemed not only inevitable but necessary, in order to industrialize and mobilize society’s resources efficiently — up to a point, when humanity would inevitably develop the next system, a theoretically better system. Marxist analysis then becomes the basic acknowledgement — try as he did to develop one himself in Communism — that while a necessary form of economic organization encountered along our path, capitalism will not be the final system for collective human animation. Complex and far-ranging, Marx’s writings are useful and clarifying — no matter your ideological position — in that they present a critical progression of both capitalism’s rise to dominance AND the laborer’s resistance, and constant stream of righteous protestation and negotiation for rights, wages, and power within their increasingly raw deal. Marx’s perspective on the progression of history had everything to do with the class struggle for power, the invaluable significance of social relations and everyday life conditions in all outcomes, and how the present productive forces are always used to build out the next generation’s paradigm, materially, but also philosophically, in the form of a series of revolutions brought about by the collective and self-directed action of the previous one’s ‘material conditions.’

CIRCA 1865: Karl Marx (1818-1883), philosopher and German politician. (Photo by Roger Viollet Collection/Getty Images)

“Not criticism but revolution is the driving force of history, also of religion, of philosophy and all other types of theory. It shows that history does not end by being resolved into ‘self-consciousness as spirit of the spirit,’ but that in it at each stage there is found a material result: a sum of productive forces, an historically created relation of individuals to nature and to one another, which is handed down to each generation from its predecessor; a mass of productive forces, capital funds and conditions, which, on the one hand, is indeed modified by the new generation, but also on the other prescribes for it its conditions of life and gives it a definite development, a special character. It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances.”
~ Karl Marx

Needless to say, the modern worker within our hyper-capitalistic world order is alienated from their labor like never before; like a ‘cog in the machine’, the worker not only is unable to express themselves in any creative capacity in most jobs {many might see this as a privilege anyhow, capitalist realism and all that…}, but they also do not get to participate in the fruits of their labor to the extent that they participate in the production of such fruits {this is Marx’s definition of ‘exploitation’}. Concerning what ‘alienation’ actually looks like, one can reasonably see how such a lacking of personal investment in their endgame workplace product {as the vast majority of working class employees do not see; how many members of the average U.S. company can even come to sniff something like stock options, let alone board seats?}, necessarily influences motivation, loyalty, and personal agency in an intrinsic, often soul-crushing way. This is purposeful in the capitalist system, i.e. the system working-as-intended; these glaring alienations are mere byproducts unto the larger goals at play.

The Modern {salary}Man

As one understands, capitalism relies absolutely on profit — the harvesting of the labor force’s excess value — in order to perpetuate itself. This is how returns on capital are developed, observed and then shifted into the next capital investment — all by the owners, on the backs of the workers who do not fully participate in its R.O.I. successes {given their class position, legalized in corporate structures and employment contracts, and the lack of average power or profit-sharing afforded therein, then or now – remember that half of America does not own any stock}, though they certainly possess ownership over its losses & failures {workers get laid off, or worse, sick, injured or killed on the job; capitalism’s classic “my profits, our losses” self-contradiction}. Even proponents of capitalism acknowledge that this exploitation is built into the system, but would likely argue that while it is regrettable, it is a necessary component of the system’s best features — profit returns signifying the most efficient allocations of capital resources. Under these conditions, as long the worker has a living wage {ha!}, they get their nights and weekends of leisure, and their grand consumer economy full of trifles, their “bread and games” — then the blow of their inherent exploitation is softened, if not forgotten entirely, right? {Right?? pls}

Labor theory of value ~  is a theory of value that argues that the economic value of a good or service is determined by the total amount of “socially necessary labor” required to produce it.

Generally unspoken but I would hazard a guess is normalized for most ardent capitalists {certainly every Dracula, else how could they sleep at night? (oh, right)}, is the prospect that the working class simply does not deserve more – more wages, more power, more say-so within their workplaces. Their position within society, within their workplace, is deserved just as it is — or rather, is “efficient” — given the supposed free market equilibrium that placed them there, and given that their choice of employment is “voluntary” {but what does one eat if they don’t work? what of the fallacy that wage laws and corporate structures being codified as such automatically meaning they are absolutely “just”? What of the structural, contractual coercions and information asymmetries and desperation asymmetries that exist between employers and employees?}. Additionally, you find arguments that the workers’ wage and power deserts are just because “hierarchies are natural.” Alternatively, “power and wealth consolidation are the natural order.” How about “workers just don’t understand what decisions need to be made, due to their more limited perspective“; or more explicitly, “workers are not as smart as owners.” Obviously, one will find no lacking in the amount of arguments and assurances for our currently existing status quo, from out of pundits, “public intellectuals”, think tanks, especially economists, but even scientists and sociologists as well. And certainly not ALL of them are acting in bad faith, funded by cynical Dracula-class plutocrats; the culture of capitalism is as ingrained within us as apple pie.

But none of this means that these conditions are right; something can be legal and not be right, something can be a long-time tradition and be unjust. {READ AMERICAN HISTORY!} The status quo — even if it is working for you personally — should not just be accepted as natural law out of hand. I believe to think in such ways is cynical and expedient unto your own self-interests, even solipsistic. {The fact that American culture reinforces each of the above memes as metaphysical truths — law = moral, traditions = moral, self-interest x personal prosperity x individualism x “get yours!” = moral… makes all of this way, way harder to take hold in the average person uninitiated from the ideas of capitalist realism, socialism, collectivism, human interdependence and cooperation as master values to be adopted, etc.}

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System ~ The picture shows a literal “social pyramid” or hierarchy, with the wealthy few on the top, and the impoverished masses at the bottom. Crowned with a money bag representing capitalism, the top layer, “we rule you”, is occupied by the royalty and state leaders. Underneath them are the clergy (“we fool you”), followed by the military (“we shoot at you”), and the bourgeoisie (“we eat for you”). The bottom of the pyramid is held by the workers and the peasants (“we work for all… we feed all”)

It will always be important to note that capitalism, the globalized market-based economy that the United States has spent all these decades building and dominating, has not persisted as long as it has on its own, without its loyal dogs in the marketplace of ideas, at universities first and foremost, but also foundations and think tanks outfitted with an artificially-widened reach… as well as elsewhere, in international lands, doing the imperial dirty work, our state-sanctioned killer rogues doing their damndest to delegitimize, damage and destroy communists and socialists and anyone else opposed to American hegemony anywhere they could find them in the 20th century… Such effects and outcomes can never be overlooked today when appraising our current conditions and our current dominant cultural ideals.

Is there a secret police of American capitalism? | New York Times, 1975 ~ Agee, however, wants his book to be more than just an exposé for his readers. He wants to convince them that “the C.I.A., after all, is nothing more than the secret police of American capitalism, plugging up leaks in the political dam, night and day, so that shareholders of United States companies operating in poor countries can continue enjoying the rip‐off.” To support this thesis, the book is weighed down with polemics which Agee thinks of as “the more difficult political and economic realities that give the [covert C.I.A.] operations meaning.”

Industrial Espionage: How the CIA got the world to buy American during the Cold War | Slate, 2010 ~ In years the CIA was active in a country, the United States enjoyed a boost in exports to that country of about 13 percent. Over a few years, this adds up to a lot of extra business for U.S. companies. For example, the authors estimate that the multi-year commitment of Helms and his successor to support Pinochet may have translated into a doubling of exports to that country by 1988, relative to what they would have been in the absence of CIA involvement.

NYT’s 1977 article: “The CIA’s 3-Decade Effort to Mold the World’s Views

United States involvement in regime change in Latin America ~ please, god, just read this… // related: The CIA is a Terrorist Organization | Second Thought video

COINTELPRO ~ (syllabic abbreviation derived from COunter INTELligence PROgram) (1956–present) is a series of covert and illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting American political organizations. FBI records show COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USAanti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left and unrelated groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Operation Condor (Spanish: Operación Cóndor, also known as Plan CóndorPortugueseOperação Condor) was a United States-backed campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents, officially and formally implemented in November 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America.
Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of deaths directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. Some estimates are that at least 60,000 deaths can be attributed to Condor, roughly 30,000 of these in Argentina, and the Archives of Terror list 50,000 killed, 30,000 disappeared and 400,000 imprisoned.

related: Why We Should Teach About the FBI’s War on the Civil Rights Movement | CommonDreams | …Delivered to the press, these documents revealed an FBI conspiracy—known as COINTELPRO—to disrupt and destroy a wide range of protest groups, including the Black freedom movement. The break-in, and the government treachery it revealed, is a chapter of our not-so-distant past that all high school students—and all the rest of us—should learn, yet one that history textbooks continue to ignore. ~ https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/03/01/why-we-should-teach-about-fbis-war-civil-rights-movement

related: The FBI’s Secret War | Jacobin | Sixty years ago, the FBI launched COINTELPRO. Its mission was simple: destroy the Left. ~ https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/fbi-cointelpro-new-left-panthers-muslim-surveillance

related: Operation Condor: the cold war conspiracy that terrorised South America | The Guardian | During the 1970s and 80s, eight US-backed military dictatorships jointly plotted the cross-border kidnap, torture, rape and murder of hundreds of their political opponents. Now some of the perpetrators are finally facing justice. ~ https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/sep/03/operation-condor-the-illegal-state-network-that-terrorised-south-america

~


Democratic Socialism, on the other hand, is built differently. For it, as well as socialism and communism proper as well — all long-standing misconceptions and propagandized corporate media, CIA inceptions aside — the core idea is this: collective worker ownership and control over the means of production. Socialism, ultimately, means more democracy; more democracy at the workplace, more democracy within the economic arena. It does not mean big government, authoritarianism, or just “free stuff” or “everyone will be the same!”, etc. Socialism means more collective ownership over society’s governmental institutions and enterprises — both civically and within the business world — by ALL its people, and not just a few Draculas at the top of society. In effect, it is about more freedom. In a world under something like socialism, every citizen is given a more equal say in democracy, and every worker within a company is afforded a voice and a % share of the enterprise’s performance within the marketplace — a share of the profits they helped to produce, i.e. the fruits of their labors. Not an absolutely equal share, as socialism and communism do not propose {contrary to bad faith critics} to eliminate hierarchy entirely, but a share based on each worker’s relative contribution within the enterprise.

Such a cooperative arrangement, wherein the core, controlling ‘shareholders’ of a company are those with a direct stake within, and closest experiential knowledge of, the enterprise of which they play a part, resembles the aspirational communistic mantra for all eventual economic institutions, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

What is democratic socialism? ~ https://www.dsausa.org/about-us/what-is-democratic-socialism/ ~

Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.

Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well—everywhere but in the United States. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the US.

Collective ownership and self-management by the workers, for the workers – that is the primary goal of socialism, in its many, many theoretical forms. That’s it. {All the problems and wayward paths of previous regimes through the 20th century – namely the Soviet Union and Maoist China – came in the all-important transition period to a system such as was originally proposed by Marx and Engels, wherein democracy died and State totality began…And which obviously deserve every possible critique!}

Now, one should not be so naive as to think that America is ready for or amenable to true socialism right now, an abandonment of the vast global free market x pure privatization x shareholder interest matrix we are currently at the epicenter of and have built our entire patchwork of legislation to protect at all costs. And there is a stark separation between the kinds of socially democratic reforms that the Bernie campaign proposed, building this New Deal-esque foundation of public health institutions via wealth taxes to reduce general inequality in society {though also including increased union power} – versus – that of a truly, directly democratic, more egalitarian, more cooperative-esque workplace paradigm as Democratic Socialism’s letter of the law posits as an ideal endgame for a society’s economic organization. I am, at heart, a realist and a skeptic; I understand we have to work in real terms, progressing as we can at each turn in the game, if only incrementally, focusing and pursuing what is really possible at each contingent moment of history as we try to navigate it.

Yeah, I get it. The point of all this — the advocacy for such general, “radical” policies as labor rights and more democratization at the workplace, from Bernie, and from leftist orgs like DSA — is as a necessary counter-action to the current paradigm, extremified at every turn in favor of absolute corporate power. The near-term goal in America is to resist such continuous movements toward corporatism, and the totality of owner control over the levers of power and means of production of practically every major industry and enterprise.

The goal, for the time being {even if it feels too late}, is to fight back.

Are You Really “Free” Under Capitalism? ~ Second Thought

At this point, corporations are effectively authoritarian in nature, with the lion’s share of power, wealth, and legal coercion on their side and brought to bear upon their employees, years and years of anti-labor practices and neoliberal deregulations solidifying a near totality of control over worker wages and rights. In the late 1970s and 80s especially, from a combination of globalizing economic forces, such as outsourcing, and political inaction to protect labor rights, workers from fewer and fewer industries and firms were any longer able to collectively bargain on their own behalf, to potentially reduce such growing inequities between worker and owner from equivalent positions at the negotiating table.

The pendulum has swung so far that the modern employer-employee relationship cannot really be seen as free and equal any longer; think of the rise of the ‘gig economy’, and the recent passing of Prop 22 in California, effectively allowing these companies to continuously slash pay and never promise benefits to their constantly “part-time” workers, due to their now codified classification as contractors {all brought about by massive lobbying and advertising efforts to influence just such an outcome btw}. This lack of modern labor organization effort, due to these compounding legal restrictions upon such potential unionizing activity, corporate at-will employment laws {they can just fire you and say it was for any other reason}, and a decided lack of social consciousness concerning the real history of such rights to bargain for power from the working class in this country, has created the current conditions, wretched as they are: wherein wages have long stagnated, corporate owner and investor-classes exploit their laborers worse than ever, inequality continues to explode without a discernible backstop to it all.

It is important to note in all this discussion of leftist politics and labor power — that it was exactly those forces and painstaking fights throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries in America that were able to secure labor policy mainstays that we now take for granted in the modern day:

  • 40-hour work week
  • No more child labor
  • Minimum wage laws
  • Workplace safety laws
  • The beginnings of civil rights freedoms and gender equality in the workplace

~ Labor history of the United States – worth a read!

Norway Democratic Socialism vs. United States Unfettered Capitalism
Worker Cooperatives: Expanding Democracy In The Workplace ~ Second Thought

Socialism and communism obviously have a long, complex, fraught and flawed history, from Marx and Engels, to Trotsky and Lenin, to Mao, to Castro and Guevara, to Ho Chi Minh — to the powerful socialist activism of figures like Eugene Debs, John Reed, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others in the United States. Each person historically involved in such socialistic workers’ movements responded to the contingent historical moment of which they found themselves a part of, often in direct opposition to the global powers-that-be, such as the American empire. Their respectively complex stories and histories are worth reading, evaluating the good with the bad, without buying wholesale the simplifications that American education and media have long sold {as sworn, clear-eyed ideological enemies to our own glorious ideology in capitalism}. Presumably, each of these regimes entered their respective fights still with that core socialistic principle intact: fighting against oppression and exploitation, for the sake of the worker, always the vast majority of the population, their eventual social and economic liberation in mind. My argument would be that such a fight is still a noble cause.

I am not convinced that Democratic Socialism is the absolute best way forward for our country’s political and economic organizing; though I am certain that the unequal paradigm we currently live under absolutely needs to shift, concerning some kind of organizing from the ground up, from the collective consciousness of the people working there and facing the dire challenges that they do. Some level of labor organizing — an institution of more democratic willpower at the workplace, to fight for what the workers of any given enterprise feel they need to — has become absolutely necessary within the modern conditions we find ourselves operating in. Collective bargaining via unions, strategic negotiations and labor striking for better wages and conditions, advocacy to restructure predatory employment and inequitable profit-sharing laws — all these must be a priority going forward politically, at the ballot box and especially in terms of direct action. Eventually, as with any grassroots organization effort, an ideology becomes necessary. This is where Democratic Socialism, while yet as imperfect as any system will be and still largely misunderstood by much of the American populace given that it includes that scary “S” word, becomes an ideal banner to fly under. Through it — and the ideologies like it uniting — there must be a countering ideal, to try to begin to quell, and indeed, reverse such rampant inequalities within our time, spawning continuously from out of those corporate spires that definitively make up the primary nodes of power and animus within our society.

Democratic socialism involves the entire population controlling the economy through some type of democratic system, with the idea that the means of production are owned and managed by the working class as a whole. The interrelationship between democracy and socialism extends far back into the socialist movement to The Communist Manifestos emphasis on winning as a first step the “battle of democracy”, with Karl Marx writing that democracy is “the road to socialism.”

“OK, *clears throat* queue the inspiring music here”

Concerning the spirit of such a system of Democratic Socialism and its underlying goals {and why they are good! Even to individualist, entrepreneurial creator x innovator x founder-types – you know, the type that every American considers themselves to be…} — What is ultimately more intrinsically motivating to a worker, to any creator, than working with the notion firmly in hand that you have true agency over your work, over the enterprise of which you are an integral part, small or large as that part may be, helping to direct its course and reaping unto its harvests, both to the aptly commensurate degree that you are helping to ply those very endeavors? Such a notion is enough to invigorate practically any demoralization, maybe even that of the estranged modern American wage-slave or salaryman, trapped in the loop of utter alienation from their labor, not even their bread and games to any longer placate them to anything but a numbing despair throughout the 9-to-5+, desperately looking to weekend after weekend, with no real hope of an awaiting egalitarian actualization unto their workplace and their own role within its fruits…

Even if wealth and power accumulation is truly inevitable, is “natural“, such as the Renfield’s parrot to the underclasses hoping to soothe their only half-aware exploitations into some kind of inner, silent rationalization to give up their hunt for Drac and his overflowing hoards of blood up in his castle.. even if such unfettered corporatism, such late-capitalistic financialized profiteering and labor-destroying, working class brutalizations are necessary to uphold this dying American empire — even then, that to my eyes simply does not mean that these conditions should NOT be met with anything but the most fervent and continuous resistance via organization and direct political action and protestation, striking, revolt. On the contrary, such rebellion is thus necessitated by those very means through which this corrupt game must be played on — for ‘unjust means signify unjust ends.’ Every single time.

“The very core of [Marx’s] theory was that work is profoundly dignified and unjustly despised. He rebelled against the degradation of work to the level of a commodity and of the worker to the level of an object. He reminded the privileged that their privileges were not divine and that property was not an eternal right. He gave a bad conscience to those who had no right to a clear conscience, and denounced with unparalleled profundity a class whose crime is not so much having had power as having used it to advance the ends of a mediocre society deprived of any real nobility. To him we owe the idea which is the despair of our times — but here despair is worth more than any hope — that when work is a degradation, it is not life, even though it occupies every moment of a life. Who, despite the pretensions of this society, can sleep in it in peace when they know that it derives its mediocre pleasures from the work of millions of dead souls? By demanding for the worker real riches, which are not the riches of money but of leisure and creation, he has reclaimed, despite all appearance to the contrary, the dignity of man. In doing so, and this can be said with conviction, he never wanted the additional degradation that has been imposed on man in his name. One of his phrases, which for once is clear and trenchant, forever withholds from his triumphant disciples the greatness and the humanity which once were his: “An end that requires unjust means is not a just end.”

~ Albert Camus on Marx, “The Rebel” (1951)

*end the inspiring music, but keep it on standby*

Returning to modern day conditions as we have described them {to reality😔}, the modern American labor movement as weak {non-existent} as it is, concerning ideas of reform to the unfettered capitalism from the top down {i.e. governmentally} and not necessarily from the workers, one must turn to capitalism’s many core contradictions and their eventual self-revealing, self-defeating potentialities. When taking an honest appraisal of its principles, it is my honest belief {as anti-capitalist as I have seemingly become} that it is not capitalism’s core ideas that become repulsive  —  no, instead they are innate human yearnings or compulsions: general freedoms with regard to choices of consumption, work, and investment; a maximal embrace of the spirit of individualized entrepreneurship, with a prized focus on the ability to pursue your dreams and your fortunes without limitation; a well-organized set of mechanisms to ensure the “best” idea usually wins out in the freely competitive marketplace, etc. These things are good, you could say they are the reason why capitalism has triumphed thus far in history —  why, as Marx said, capitalism was at some point necessary in order to marshal humanity’s economic forces into industry, into faster and better technological advancement. So it is not all of capitalism’s base ideals that need to be critiqued and reformed and reconfigured via new laws and new incentives for the modern world. Indeed, we need to think of the time—

*music returns!* {—When capitalism is inevitably crushed by the workers of the world rising up everywhere in solidarity to overthrow their masters and seize the means of production in the Proletariat Revolution of Marx’s dreams’ dreams! Wherein full, actually-existing Communism is established and an egalitarian utopian new world order is returned to an especially chaotic universe, justice finally done unto all the injustice, exploitation, and immiserating estrangements heretofore perpetuated by the Dracula class!}

*sigh x7*

… No.

{unless…}

I don’t know what this says but I think we can all agree it looks pretty neat!!

No. For real. First, capitalism’s excesses that must be dealt with. The core duo of problems for capitalism —  with corporations and Draculas as the Dragons of its abstract and automated will  —  is its unbounded and pathological compulsion to dig away and erode and disrespect and destroy, slowly but surely, eventually, inevitably, ALL semblance of ~ both 1) worker power/wages/dignity/free time/agency as individuals in possession of souls {as we’ve discussed} AND 2) all stakeholder concerns outside of the owners {shareholders} themselves. As “The capitalist, by definition, will always pay the worker the lowest wage” ~ just the same  —  the capitalist, by definition, will blast carbon into the atmosphere without end, until the sky is on fire and the seas are boiling. Without protest, without laborer resistance, without some sort of governmental legal counter-incentive implemented — corporations will never give any ground, they will never change voluntarily {until it is too late}.

We already know that capitalism will kill people as long as it doesn’t cost that much, capitalism will kill people as long as they are actively defying the ideological will of the free market and its masters, capitalism will certainly kill the planet, as long as it is profitable. Nothing is off the table, because nothing matters except for one thing: profit. Like a demon of sorts, any entity under the absolute will of capitalism — a corporation, a billionaire Dracula-class owner and investor — will only ever do that which is most advantageous to its core, systemic coding, its inner telos, and that will always be profit. Until there is some systemic shift in how we define capitalism, in how we organize our competing corporations and our financial system and our investor and owner class who wield the powers of politics and of the means of production — this will be the case. This is the problem of excess. This is the problem of the profit motive. {And in fact, like a trapped beast desperate to be away, to escape, to continue its endless hunt for more, capitalism might deal with its own self, doing its own self in via its inherent instincts, pathologies, self-contradictions…}

The worse problems arrive when capitalism remains unchecked decade after decade, when the forces of society, beholden to long-standing capitalist incentives, begin to promote austerity in place of innovation {the cutting of Social Security and Medicare, using tax-cut savings to fund stock buybacks instead of R&D investments, we get the same tech products grifted to us every year, planned obsolescence on everything, art becomes a mandated engine of commerce, no instrumental public health-serving tech is any longer developed or made available without price gouging, etc.} Major problems arrive when capitalism becomes late-capitalism, the stage where capitalism’s boons recede and its curses arise to take center stage.

So we keep the all-consuming compulsion for infinite growth, but without the self-driving starships… This is when capitalism begins to eat itself. {Some degree of this certainly seems to be where we are now…}

Excerpt from Jacobin article by Peter Frase titled ‘Four Futures’: On ‘Exterminism — the (potential) final stage of capitalism: https://jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures ~ If buying off the angry mob isn’t a sustainable strategy, another option is simply to run away and hide from them. This is the trajectory of what the sociologist Bryan Turner calls “enclave society”, an order in which “governments and other agencies seek to regulate spaces and, where necessary, to immobilize flows of people, goods and services” by means of “enclosure, bureaucratic barriers, legal exclusions and registrations.” Gated communities, private islands, ghettos, prisons, terrorism paranoia, biological quarantines; together, these amount to an inverted global gulag, where the rich live in tiny islands of wealth strewn around an ocean of misery. In Tropic of Chaos, Christian Parenti makes the case that we are already constructing this new order, as climate change brings about what he calls the “catastrophic convergence” of ecological disruption, economic inequality, and state failure. The legacy of colonialism and neoliberalism is that the rich countries, along with the elites of the poorer ones, have facilitated a disintegration into anarchic violence, as various tribal and political factions fight over the diminishing bounty of damaged ecosystems. Faced with this bleak reality, many of the rich — which, in global terms, includes many workers in the rich countries as well — have resigned themselves to barricading themselves into their fortresses, to be protected by unmanned drones and private military contractors. Guard labor, which we encountered in the rentist society, reappears in an even more malevolent form, as a lucky few are employed as enforcers and protectors for the rich.

*one last long drag on my candy cigarette* So to review: Capitalism is a system designed to perpetuate itself without regard to anything beyond profit as the sole signifier of its own{er} success, beyond its exploited workers, all indirect yet relevant stakeholders, the environment, the long-term future, the people of the world in general, etc. It must continuously grow new limbs or perish. This growth ends up necessarily coming at a human cost, eventually. It thusly devours its own self {i.e. the people and the environment} in order to continue functioning, seeking growth in toxic industries {fossil fuels, social media} and by further exploiting its workers {reaping 3rd world countries, the absolute destruction of unions and worker power, continuously slashing benefits and pay while increasing hours, degrading conditions} in order to squeeze out the last drops of productivity and profit from a dying world. Capitalism goes mask off. Its freedom dies as labor and consumption under its wings becomes utterly coercive; its efficiency inevitably becomes dehumanizing, life-destroying; its wealths lay entirely within the hands of the Dracs now escaping into bunkers or space. All the while, a desacralizing culture builds around it, where anything and everything is a commodity, especially health and art and your attention — and nothing outside of its confines can be a part of the worldly conversation nor is safe from the eventual reach of its immiserating tentacles. Late-capitalism becomes this “exterminism”, or necro-capitalism

“In their account of capitalism, surely the most impressive since Marx’s, Deleuze and Guattari describe capitalism as a kind of dark potentiality which haunted all previous social systems. Capital, they argue, is the ‘unnamable Thing’, the abomination, which primitive and feudal societies ‘warded off in advance’. When it actually arrives, capitalism brings with it a massive desacralization of culture. It is a system which is no longer governed by any transcendent Law; on the contrary, it dismantles all such codes, only to re-install them on an ad hoc basis. The limits of capitalism are not fixed by fiat, but defined (and redefined) pragmatically and improvisationally. This makes capitalism very much like the Thing in John Carpenter’s film of the same name: a monstrous, infinitely plastic entity, capable of metabolizing and absorbing anything with which it comes into contact.

“Capitalist ideology in general, Žižek maintains, consists precisely in the overvaluing of belief — in the sense of inner subjective attitude — at the expense of the beliefs we exhibit and externalize in our behavior. So long as we believe (in our hearts) that capitalism is bad, we are free to continue to participate in capitalist exchange. According to Žižek, capitalism in general relies on this structure of disavowal. We believe that money is only a meaningless token of no intrinsic worth, yet we act as if it has a holy value. Moreover, this behavior precisely depends upon the prior disavowal — we are able to fetishize money in our actions only because we have already taken an ironic distance towards money in our heads. ~ What needs to be kept in mind is both that capitalism is a hyper-abstract impersonal structure and that it would be nothing without our co-operation. The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie-maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us. There is a sense in which it simply is the case that the political elite are our servants; the miserable service they provide from us is to launder our libidos, to obligingly re-present for us our disavowed desires as if they had nothing to do with us.”

~ Mark Fisher, Capitalism Realism: Is There No Alternative? (2009)

And so on, and so on. You know where I am going with this… {👁We are already HERE👁}

“Can’t deny it, it’s all true.”

Back to politics and summarily how it relates to all this!

Bottom lines:

  • Workers {i.e. the PEOPLE} {short of the institution of real and existing 🌹Democratic Socialism🌹} must be afforded more rights, more control and power — and all importantly, more wages , more of the value of their labor— if capitalism is to remain humane {was it ever?}, or to survive {Workers of the world, unite!} for much longer.
  • Corporations — with the workers in cooperative control of their means! or not 😦 — absolutely must come to adhere to the limitations of ecology and climate, all the while empowering rather than denying human rights and human lives from those within or without the organization. Through collective, democratic efforts upon these mechanisms of our industry, capitalism must be compelled to curb its compulsion for infinite growth and rampant inequality by way of its array of readily-apparent negative consequences, and all manner of externalized life-destroying effects. Should be obvious, but such changes must initially be implemented via laws, i.e. government intervention, as that is the only way, currently, to reliably produce system-wide changes in behavior.
  • Ultimately, Class Consciousness is an absolutely necessary factor in all this, in everything I have been talking about, in building popular political support, forging coalitions and movements and striking and effective protests of true democratic willpower upon the powers-that-be of our world. Class consciousness is practically spiritual in its imperativeness, in that it unifies the relative reality for the working class across cultural lines, apprising the people of their vital yet exploited role within the economic structure. Its realization of true agency within the people is the beginning of any cooperative remedy related to the long-standing problems and structural excesses and inherent injustices of capitalism. We are ALL proletariats.
A very good, very simple visual representation of class consciousness

And yet, would not such collective social and economic changes — to the degree that they need to be implemented — newly fashioned into the social contract of global capitalism alter the fundamental nature of capitalism as a system? “Capitalism-curbed”, *Mitigated* Capitalism, Stakeholder Capitalism, Conscious Capitalism, Cooperative Capitalism, Punished Capitalism, a capitalism flicked back a little, further along the spectrum back toward socialism/communism {call this the “Nordic Model”}. My purpose in writing of capitalism, its problems, inherent contradictions, and potential solutions here, is primarily to bring focus onto the fact that it as the dominating, status quo system of our reality is largely responsible for many of today’s problems — basically all of the major political issues of our day are either tangentially related to capitalism’s dominion over our lives, or are literally directly caused by its systemic incentives, exploitations, alienations, injustices, negative externalities, etc.

I — {as I think most people would attest to if you pressed them} — do not believe that capitalism is the final system for organizing human civilization. Whether one is averse to socialism or not, you must acknowledge the possibility of a system that transcends these currently existing superstructures we have lived under, or melds them to a degree that it must be named as something entirely new. I think we as humanity are more than capable of developing something else; and as current conditions play out, it is becoming clear that we will have to. We must be thinking of the next way, the next system, the next core incentive for how to organize ourselves, build our societies and allocate our resources {how about, in place of profit, umm… human well-being!} We need to be thinking of it right now, yesterday… Whether we collectively overthrow capitalism any time soon, we absolutely must be progressing inexorably toward better socioeconomic and environmental outcomes than we currently preside over. For — as we have established time and time again — our lives, and the lives of future generations, depend on it. In the future, somewhere along our inevitable progression, it seems more than likely that capitalism will arrive at its end; it stands to reason, from where we are right now, that we better have an idea for what to do next.

“As Badiou has forcefully insisted, an effective anti-capitalism must be a rival to Capital, not a reaction to it; there can be no return to pre-capitalist territorialities. Anti-capitalism must oppose Capital’s globalism with its own, authentic, universality.”

~ Mark Fisher, Capitalism Realism: Is There No Alternative? (2009)
http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/

Perhaps in such theorizations, while reviewing the merits and demerits of systems past (such as socialism and communism), we could return our view to nature as well {but not all the way…} in that the natural world is the best possible model we have for homeostasis ~ that is, equilibrium, a kind of tranquility ~ as a worthy new meme to adopt and merge into our next way of life. {Every wise man worth his salt watches nature for all his best ideas… I made this quote up, I think, but it sounds correct and real and good.} In the natural world, every animal must live in homeostasis within its environment, knowing via inborn instincts {ones we still carry as well, try as we might to silence and eradicate them with culture and technology} of its own limitations, respecting itself, its community, and its environment simultaneously with every move it makes. Looking back to the dawn of Man and his evolution over time, one begins to see substantial evidence in the way of cooperation trumping competition as our master value, and as the prime source of all evolutionary progress. Perhaps we are ever on a conflicted equilibrium between the dyad of competition and cooperation, like good/evil, order/chaos — and as Marx resolved {him again!}, whether it be property {capitalism} or social relations {communism} that come dominate our future basis for civilization, ultimately it will be our choice, dependent upon the conscious animation and material revolutionary power of the collective will toward one path or the other.

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.

It is clear here that individuals certainly make one another, physically and mentally, but do not make themselves.

~ Karl Marx
~ Humanity, in order to curb our most pressing problems — inequality, corruption, climate change — we must seek disciplined homeostasis in place of unfettered growth. By this I mean that we must self-regulate, and limit our most excessive desires — for foods, products, money. ~ Peter Joseph

*sigh x8*

Well, I think that’s it. That is everything I wanted to say {though I definitely ended up saying more, and going more in depth that I ever planned to… whew, that was fun, necessary, cathartic}. Concerning my politics — Democratic Socialism, more generally leftism, “progressivism”, social liberalism — I think I have the who, what, when, where and why nailed down.

That last one is a bit harder to answer… And again, not the purpose of this writing. But let’s see, here are some things you and I can do, in ascending order of effort: Educate yourself & vote > Talk to people >> Get involved in local organizations >>> Advocate and organize for your politics in your workplace >>>> Join a political campaign >>>>> Become a politician! >>>>>> Organize mass labor strikes! >>>>>>> Become Van Helsing!! {hey, the Draculas won’t kill themselves! Just like Epstein didn’t!! 👏OH!!!👏}

Anyhow, that’s some politics folks! This is the worldview I have forged. I believe this brand of politics — prioritizing the needs of the many ahead of the few, incentivizing human well-being afore profit — is the best way forward. Because, c’mon! Of course it is. However it can eventually be actualized in our country, our government, our workplaces, upon our means of production, throughout our population  —  class conscious and recognizing of the necessary interdependencies of modern civilization —  the problems we face absolutely demand its eventual materialization, one way or another. These are my beliefs and I will speak them, defend them. Indeed, I feel compelled to do so.

To end, I wanted to present an excerpt from a profound and powerful book — A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn — the closing words from its closing chapter, which is titled: “The Coming Revolt of the Guards

“…All this takes us far from American history, into the realm of imagination. But not totally removed from history. There are at least glimpses in the past of such a possibility. In the sixties and seventies, for the first time, the Establishment failed to produce national unity and patriotic fervor in a war. There was a flood of cultural changes such as the country had never seen — in sex, family, personal relations — exactly those situations most difficult to control from the ordinary centers of power. And never before was there such a general withdrawal of confidence from so many elements of the political and economic system. In every period of history, people have found ways to help one another — even in the midst of a culture of competition and violence — if only for brief periods, to find joy in work, struggle, companionship, nature.

“The prospect is for times of turmoil, struggle, but also inspiration. There is a chance that such a movement could succeed in doing what the system itself has never done — bring about great change with little violence. This is possible because the more of the 99 percent that begin to see themselves as sharing needs, the more the guards and the prisoners see their common interest, the more the Establishment becomes isolated, ineffectual. The elite’s weapons, money, control of information would be useless in the face of a determined population. The servants of the system would refuse to work to continue the old, deadly order, and would begin using their time, their space — the very things given them by the system to keep them quiet — to dismantle that system while creating a new one.

“The prisoners of the system will continue to rebel, as before, in ways that cannot be foreseen, at times that cannot be predicted. The new fact of our era is the chance that they may be joined by the guards. We readers and writers of books have been, for the most part, among the guards. If we understand that, and act on it, not only will life be more satisfying, right off, but our grandchildren, or our great grandchildren, might possibly see a different and marvelous world.” ~

Fin.


My answers to the political compass test  ~ https://www.politicalcompass.org/test

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SOME Recommended READINGS! ~

Bernie Sanders’ policy positions: https://berniesanders.com/issues/ | https://www.politico.com/2020-election/candidates-views-on-the-issues/bernie-sanders/

Capitalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
Socialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism
Communism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism
Anarcho-Syndicalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism
Democratic Socialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism
Social Democracy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy
Barbarism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarian

Reality has Endorsed Bernie Sanders —  NEw Yorker

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor ~ https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/reality-has-endorsed-bernie-sanders

When Bernie Sanders’s critics mocked his platform as just a bunch of “free stuff,” they were drawing on the past forty years of bipartisan consensus about social-welfare benefits and entitlements. They have argued, instead, that competition organized through the market insures more choices and better quality. In fact, the surreality of market logic was on clear display when, on March 13th, Donald Trump held a press conference to discuss the COVID-19 crisis with executives from Walgreens, Target, Walmart, and CVS, and a host of laboratory, research, and medical-device corporations. There were no social-service providers or educators there to discuss the immediate, overwhelming needs of the public.

The crisis is laying bare the brutality of an economy organized around production for the sake of profit and not human need. The logic that the free market knows best can be seen in the prioritization of affordability in health care as millions careen toward economic ruin. It is seen in the ways that states have been thrown into frantic competition with one another for personal protective equipment and ventilators—the equipment goes to whichever state can pay the most. It can be seen in the still criminally slow and inefficient and inconsistent testing for the virus. It is found in the multi-billion-dollar bailout of the airline industry, alongside nickel-and-dime means tests to determine which people might be eligible to receive ridiculously inadequate public assistance.

We Lost the Battle, but We’ll Win the War —  JACOBIN

~ by Connor Kilpatrickhttps://jacobinmag.com/2020/04/bernie-sanders-presidential-campaign-democratic-socialism

In the Democratic primary, Sanders is unquestionably the majority preference of everyone under forty-five — not twenty-five. That’s not some novelty. Even George McGovern, supposedly the candidate of young boomers (and nobody else), only won that demographic by 52-46.

To believe that Millennials and Zoomers will suddenly drastically change their ideology is to ignore decades of social science which clearly suggests that political ideology hardens in early adulthood and stays that way for life. The only possibility for a mass Millennial and Zoomer defection would be a sudden new economic boom akin to the postwar golden age.

But that looks unlikely — the future of capitalism in America is almost certainly low growth and rising inequality. In other words, a continuation of the same circumstances that molded this new coalition in the first place. Their demands, unlike the 1960s rights revolutions, are almost entirely structural. So unless these structures change for the better — universal health care, full employment, and a mass economic leveling — their commitments are likely to remain rock solid.

Bernie Sanders’s Five-Year War —  Jacobin

~ by Matt Karp ~ https://jacobinmag.com/2020/08/bernie-sanders-five-year-war?utm_source=Jacobin&utm_campaign=68467460a0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_10_01_07_50_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_be8b1b2846-68467460a0-85600794&mc_cid=68467460a0&mc_eid=06efb8ea45

Sanders lost, and both his fair-weather friends and his permanent enemies are now eager to consign him to the grave. But neither a defeat at the polls nor a shift in the discourse is reason to abandon the essence of Bernie’s struggle. Mass protests against police violence and racism can only begin to realize their aims if joined to a broader, Sanders-style democratic movement — large enough to shape national politics and determined enough to challenge capital — capable of winning the material concessions necessary for a truly free and equal society.

An accurate balance sheet for the Sanders campaigns must have at least two columns: first, an accounting of achievement, substantial on its own terms and unprecedented in more than fifty years of US political history; and second, a reckoning with limits, which now, in the aftermath of 2020, appear both larger and more intractable than at almost any point since 2016.

To this accounting we can add a third column, on the prospects for future struggle — foreshortened in the present, blurry in the near future, but possibly brighter in the decades ahead.

A Possible Majority —  Dissent

~ A political history of the present moment. | Jedediah Britton-Purdy ▪ October 27, 2020

~ https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/a-possible-majority

The American present regularly inspires the feeling that it is totally, horribly new. Just as often, it seems to give evidence that it is just the latest recrudescence of perennial American curses. In fact, our moment is deeply continuous with and shaped by something more specific: the collapse and revival of political possibility in roughly the last thirty years, from the end of the Cold War to today.

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems —  The Guardian

The Cults of Capital ~ “What happens when an apocalyptic pandemic meets the apocalyptic death-cult of neoliberalism?” ~ Current Affairs

Private gain must no longer be allowed to elbow out the public goodAeon

https://aeon.co/ ~ Since 2012, Aeon has established itself as a unique digital magazine, publishing some of the most profound and provocative thinking on the web. We ask the big questions and find the freshest, most original answers, provided by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts.

Noam Chomsky wants you to vote for Joe Biden and then haunt his dreamsThe.Ink, Anand Giridharadas

https://the.ink/p/noam-chomsky-wants-you-to-vote-for ~ Interview between ANAND GIRIDHARADAS and NOAM CHOMSKY

Well, there is a traditional left position, which has been pretty much forgotten, unfortunately, but it’s the one I think we should adhere to. That’s the position that real politics is constant activism. It’s quite different from the establishment position, which says politics means focus, laser-like, on the quadrennial extravaganza, then go home and let your superiors take over.

The left position has always been: You’re working all the time, and every once in a while there’s an event called an election. This should take you away from real politics for 10 or 15 minutes. Then you go back to work.

At this moment, the difference between the candidates is a chasm. There has never been a greater difference. It should be obvious to anyone who’s not living under a rock. So the traditional left position says, “Take the 15 minutes, push the lever, go back to work.”

Now, the activist left has not been making the choice that you mentioned. It’s been doing both.

The Data Show That Socialism Works  —  Current Affairs

~ by Nick Warinohttps://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/12/the-data-show-that-socialism-works

Socialists believe that society’s means of production should serve everyone. To get there, socialists advocate for state-owned firms and funds, public goods and universal welfare programs, democracy in government and at the worksite, and labor unions and other forms of worker power. Capitalists and their ideological allies argue all these institutions impede the freedom of owners of private property — who are the true engines of prosperity. Through their investments and ingenuity, capitalists produce so much wealth that even when they hoard most of it, everyone else is ultimately richer, healthier, and happier. Societies that get in the way of capitalists, even for noble purposes, are doomed to fail and be miserable. And yet, when we look at the countries that have most impeded the freedom of capitalists, we find the opposite: People living under socialism are the ones most likely to be living the good life.

People’s Policy Project

~ https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/category/posts/

People’s Policy Project (3P) is a think tank founded in 2017. The primary mission of 3P is to publish ideas and analysis that assist in the development of an economic system that serves the many, not the few.

Unlike most think tanks, which are financed by large corporations and foundations, 3P is funded by small donors pledging $5 to $15 per month on the Patreon and ActBlue platforms. This unique funding source enables us to publish policy insights untainted by the compromises typically demanded by monied interests. We are, as the name suggests, the People’s Policy Project, not Walmart’s Policy Project and not the Gates Foundation’s Policy Project.

The work of 3P aims to fill the holes left by the current think tank landscape with a special focus on socialist and social democratic economic ideas. We produce detailed reports, short posts, and explanatory videos to promote our own policy proposals while also working with sympathetic legislators and media publications to provide data and analysis for other stories and initiatives.

Matt Bruenig is currently the president of 3P. Bruenig previously worked as a lawyer at the National Labor Relations Board and as a policy analyst at the Demos Think Tank. His prior work primarily focused on inequality, poverty, and welfare systems.

Requiem for the American Dream ~ Noam Chomsky interview x documentary – required watch!!

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