Sunday, September 12, 2021

Back to Black

 “The Melancholia of the Working-Class – A Manifesto for the Working Class” by Cynthia Cruz, 2021

This is not a ‘redneck’ manifesto or drunkard’s lament or a swear-fest indicting the boogee bastards. It is a somewhat sad meditation by Cruz about her own life growing up working-class, while being surrounded at all times by upper-class and middle class rebuke who saw her as ‘white trash.’ She had a proletarian Mexican father who eventually sold cars; a Euro-American mother, a straightened childhood and rough youth.  She eventually entered academe and the arts after finding out about college and discovering why she was so different and so unhappy.

Cruz points out that neo-liberalism erases the working-class.  It rose ascendant under Reagan/Thatcher and Clinton/Blair. Even as it describes Latinos or ‘African Americans’ or indigenous Americans or whatever ethnic or national grouping you can name – they never associate these same person’s with the working class.  And nearly all of them are!  She was told a number of times – by professors, by light-skinned managers – that the working-class doesn’t exist, much to her surprise and consternation. 

‘People of color’ have no class, just ethnicity, in the ruling classes’ political fairy-tale.  In a way, these color castes are really stand-ins for that ghost, that hidden Leviathan, that invisible beast, that powerful but powerless majority.  Cruz herself is an example, who only sometimes ‘passed’.  This book is in a way a work of felt sociology by her, describing the “living death” of being working class.  Then it morphs into a work of working-class culture analysis. 

WORKING-CLASS in CULTURE

Referencing social class, Cruz looks at various artifacts – mostly films and music groups – to explore the working-class in culture.  Among other films, she looks in detail at the film “Wanda” by director Barbara Loden, about a broken working class woman; and “Souvenir” by Joanna Hogg, about a doomed cross-class romance.  She closely dissects the music of her early British political punk faves ‘The Jam’ and Style Council, as well as Joy Division, Sparklehorse and early Cat Power.  Or the book Savage Messiah, which tracks the gentrification and destruction of working-class London.  She shows how these artists and writers represented the darkness of the working-class, left-behind history and how middle-class critics mishandled them. 

Amy Winehouse Shoots for the Past

Cruz covers the great working-class singer Amy Winehouse, who never left her roots. By turns powerful and shapely, then drunk and disheveled, Winehouse embodied the two turns of labor, dying eventually from alcohol poisoning, which the author thinks was caused by her eating disorder.  Bulimia also afflicted Cruz, which is how she sees proletarian female bodies sometimes handling stress.  She claims anorexia is the leading cause of death among those with mental illnesses.           

She quotes various intellectuals –Freud, Boudrieu, Lacan, Zizek, Marx, Benjamin, Fisher – in the process.  All of this shows Cruz’s suspension between 2 worlds – the one she ran away from in Santa Cruz of being a Woolworth’s waitress, receptionist or maid, drinking to excess on the weekends and having lots of babies – and writing 6 books of ‘perfect’ poetry among the precious confines of middle class aesthetes. The book reflects this ‘in-betweenness’ in an abstruse and obscure way, which is why working class people reading it might be put off.  In-betweenness naturally creates a ‘split personality’ for working class artists, who combat melancholia and depression in various ways. This book becomes a compendium of proletarian directors, musicians and writers who reflect this life, but nothing like a manifesto.   

Prior blog reviews on this topic, use blog search box, upper left to investigate our 14 year archive with these terms:  “Chavs – the Demonization of the Working Class,” “The Sinking Middle Class,” “Class Lives,” “Class – the New Critical Idiom,” “The Worker Elite,” “The Precariat,” “Understanding Class,” “No Longer Newsworthy,” “The Football Factory,” “White Trash,” Hillbilly Elegy,” “Factory Days.” 

And I bought it at May Day Books!

Red Frog

September 12, 2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Social Reproduction

 “Patriarchy of the Wage,” by Silvia Federici, 2021

These are left-feminist or anarcho-Marxist essays over a period of 30 years analyzing, supporting and criticizing Marxist views, based on the importance of women and social reproduction in the overall schema of capital.  While praising Marx for raising the issue of the reproduction of labor power, she maintains in these essays that he ignored women’s issues, color issues, environmental issues and praised capitalism, industry and technology.  She takes a swipe at Lenin for praising aspects of capitalism too.

Federici seems to understand that Marxism is a method, not a dogma.  Historical materialism is her method too.  Marx was writing at a certain time in history and this impacted his view of aspects of capitalism.  “Theorists” have screamed at Marx for not anticipating global warming.  They have said he didn’t anticipate fascism.  Or write about the overwhelming level of financialization that capital has reached, though he did describe its beginnings.  As capital develops and changes, later Marxists have described, expanded and incorporated each of these into the analysis – just as Federici did on the issue of unpaid house work carried out mostly by women, which Marx did not theorize. 

FEDERICI’s CRITICISMs of MARX

Federici does know that in Britain, France and other European countries there was no ‘home’ life for the working class in the middle 1800s, which spent nearly all of its time - men, women and children - at work, thus endangering ANY kind of home reproduction.  The European labor movement made limiting this work one of its main goals.  This might explain Marx’s absence on this issue.  On mechanization, it is hard to believe that Federici does not understand the crushing toil of peasants and workers that machines can lessen, something no less true today.  I doubt she has forgotten that Lenin was one of those who overthrew capital in Russia.  He was not a stagist Bernstein waiting for the capitalist stage to eventually prepare us for socialism.    

Federici opposes the goal of communism, where technology is used to ease toil, not to create useless commodities or destroy nature.  She supports ‘the commons’ instead, praising subsistence farming, urban gardens, free software (while condemning computers), subsistence women farmers, the Incan and Aztec empires and the Zapatistas, in the process rejecting what seems like all mechanization.  She knows that care-work cannot be mechanized, which is certainly true. Her position in these essays is somewhat like a deep Green, against all industrialization.  She is evidently unfamiliar with the extensive work done by Johan Bellamy Foster on Marx’s understanding of the metabolic links between humans and nature.  Marx’s view of communism was to live in harmony with nature in the use of machines and technology, not to be Promethean.

FEDERICI’s POINTS

“Waged work” leads to surplus value, while unpaid social reproduction prepares for this exploitation, and becomes another type of oppression.  Federici wants to completely ‘center’ unpaid home-work – mostly carried out by women - as key to capitalism instead.  This ignores the key role of the commodity under capital. Social reproduction goes on under every economic system. She alleges that Marx thought ‘primitive accumulation’ ended long ago.  Yet modern Marxists continue to discuss present ‘primitive accumulation’ without quibbling with Marx.  Modern slavery is also well-known to leftists. Nor did Marx maintain that only large agriculture was the road to socialism.

Federici seems to oppose or under-estimate socialization of family tasks, which is already taking place under capital.  In fully capitalist societies, eating out or getting takeout food; hiring cleaners, plumbers, electricians, construction workers, lawn services and car mechanics; using day care centers, health clinics and nursing homes, even ordering groceries - all ‘outsource’ this work from the home, but on a capitalist basis.  Of course, the more money someone has, the more they outsource.  The middle-class are the biggest 'outsourcers.'  Renters already have some of these services – or should have - as part of a rental contract. At some point, socialism could almost completely socialize maintenance, cooking, cleaning, aged, child and sick care and make it available for everyone on a collective basis, not just those with more money, or just relying on unpaid women care-givers.  There are many ways to do this.

Working women then and now - the past is prologue.

The KEY SECTION

The book contains a concise section on Marx’s limitations regarding care-work and women’s role in social reproduction.  This is where the title “Patriarchy of the Wage” comes from, as Federici maintains that a male-dominated proletarian family was constructed by capital in the late 1800s and many women were relegated to wageless work in the home.  Federici seems to have missed the fact that that family has also been superseded by another ‘new’ model of the proletarian family in core capitalist countries, where women have returned to the workforce while working a second shift at home.  (Which explains why the term ‘second shift’ is not used in this book.)  Women have also become wage workers in China, Latin America and India in increasing numbers. The majority of women now work outside the home in the core countries, so Federici’s main point has been superseded in the areas where capital is most developed.  The 'wage' is now evenly spread. Marx predicted capital would turn women into wage workers too and he has been right twice.  55.4% of the workforce is female in the U.S. in 2019.  In a way, Federici is living in the past.

On a personal note, from my experience working-class men in advanced capitalist societies also play a role in the home, though perhaps not as great as women when it comes to ‘traditional’ tasks.  However, tasks like lawn care, snow removal, house, bicycle and auto maintenance, computer work, doing taxes and tracking finances are among the things that many times get delegated to men.  Younger men have taken up cooking, baby care and laundry. The definition of ‘housework’ needs to be expanded from its somewhat original feminist definition in the 1950s.

Humanity may go back to a small-holder agrarian life in the death holocaust that is to come if the working-classes do not take power.  Even a micro-level farming or hunting life will be a stretch.  But wishing for it is as anti-proletarian as you can get, including hostile to modern women.  Federici is an anarcho-communist who trumpets the second coming of utopian socialism – without a transitional state, through local counter-culturalism, absent all modern technology – but I expect she might moderate her stance when the reality hits.

In these essays she fails in trying to create a ‘new reconstructed’ leftism.  Her vague criticisms of a present abstract “Left” ignores the many variations of Marxist thought, though she is correct in looking at some of their failures.  She seems to think that Marxism starts and ends with factory workers, even in the present, while ignoring many Marxist analyses of service, farm, precariat, unemployed, lumpen, care-workers and white collar workers.

Federici and her cohort in the 1970s made great theoretical breakthroughs on the oppression of women, especially in home-life. These essays reference that.  Her proposal of a ‘wage for housework’ starts to deal with this issue, as she knows.  The cutting edge of class struggle for Federici began in the home, with the retrograde husband, and it still seems to reside there.  In her materialist and historical analysis of women’s free care-work, she recognizes her debt to Marx, but then discharges that debt and takes on her own.

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left, to investigate the 14 year archive:  “20th Century Luxury Communism,”  “Feminists and Feminists,” “Socialist Feminism and the New Women’s Movement,” “Fortunes of Feminism,” “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again,” “Marxism and the Oppression of Women,” “The Testaments,” “The Old is Dying,” "Women From the North Country" or the word “Marxism.”  

And I bought it in May Day’s excellent Feminist Section!

Red Frog

September 7, 2021

Friday, September 3, 2021

Onward Christian Soldiers

 “The Great Evil – Christianity, the Bible and the Native American Genocide,” by Chris Mato Nunpa, 2020

Nunpa, a local author, spent time in “Indian” schools in the 1940s and 1950s, having religion shoved down his throat.  He learned it well, to the point where he saw all the bloody, vicious and colonial implications of the Bible and the missionaries who mobbed his reservation in western Minnesota.  Intent on obliterating native religion, which is actually far more progressive than Christianity, they trained their charge well, to the point where he rejected it all.

Every ‘movement’ needs an ideology.  Colonialism, Manifest Destiny, Euro-American supremacy and private property needed justifications.  They found it in Catholic logic and Protestant moralism, Bible quotes and a cruel God, Papal Bulls and preachers’ sermons, backed by guns and genocide. This was their approach to the indigenous over the world, in U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, the edges of Europe and Africa.  The cultural side in North America involved “Indian” schools where children were separated from their parents, their hair cut, their clothes changed, their former religion and language suppressed and as we know now, some buried behind school by the Catholic nuns.

In 2016 the U.N. charged the Catholic Church with enabling this indigenous holocaust.  No word from the Vatican yet, which is still a respected and integral part of capitalism, even though it is presided over by the hippie Pope.  In this book, Nunpa gathers innumerable quotes from the Bible’s books, mostly from the Old Testament, about slaughtering or converting multiple ‘heathen’ tribes, the non-Israelites, the non-believers in God and Christ.  He shows how this was extended into an ideological motivation behind Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and the deaths of 16 million native peoples (“heathens!”) in the U.S., leaving about a quarter of a million left in 1900.  Of course the benefit to ranchers, farmers, railroad barons and mining concerns was more concrete than that delivered to missionaries and churches, but the latter also gained in materiel ways.  Nunpa does not focus on the material benefits of genocide to the ‘winners,’ but this issue is essential for Marxists.

CHURCH and STATE

Nunpa identifies the Catholic edicts of the 1400s and 1500s as instrumental in setting the ‘legal’ stage for colonization, slavery, conversion and extermination – the Romanus Pontifex of 1455; Inter Caetera of 1493; the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas; the Requirimento of 1513 and Sublimus Dei of 1537.  The U.S. Supreme Court used some of these edicts in legal decisions; one made native Americans ‘wards’ of the U.S. government.

Nunpa’s point here is the intimate connection between religion and extermination; church and state.  He chronicles Columbus’s destruction of perhaps 8 million indigenous people in the Caribbean over 21 years – Caribs, Arawak, etc. - under the illusion he was one of the ‘chosen people’ in the ‘promised land,’ a ‘new Israelite’ dealing with new Hittites. He discusses the killing of a Roanacs leader in North Carolina who refused to convert, even with the entreaties of a St. Francis of Assisi monk.  Or the 1637 murder and burning of 900 Pequot natives in their village in Connecticut, celebrated by Protestant leaders as a fire sacrifice to God. Mysterious plagues killing the indigenous were celebrated as an instrument of the Lord, something that also 'smote' the heathens of the Bible.

Idyllic picture of Sand Creek Massacre

KILL EVERTHING THAT MOVES

Andrew Jackson massacring 800 Muskogee; Sheridan saying the only ‘good’ Indian was one that was dead; Chivington, of Sand Creek infamy, comparing native Americans to lice and nits.  The mass hanging of 38 Dakota in Mankato in 1863 after they rebelled against starvation. Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, the Humbolt County, California massacre, the Trail of Tears, the Bad Axe Massacre in Illinois, Texas indigenous scalp bounties and on and on.  Even the cuddly Frank L. Baum, writer of the Wizard of Oz, recommended extermination.   

All of this is a familiar story.  Nunpa looks at the ‘4th’ level of genocide too, which is to ‘impose an ideology’ on the conquered.  Indian ceremonies were deemed ‘offensive.’  Boarding schools were built.  Native religious and cultural symbols were burnt by Protestant leaders.  He concentrates on the barbaric treatment of the Dakota people in and around Minnesota by the government and church, as he is Dakota.  Scalp bounties, a concentration camp, hangings, starvation, a forced march, ethnic cleansing by forced removal – all in Minnesota, another ‘land of milk and honey.’  Nunpa shows how many acts were inspired by Christian ideology, giving a Biblical base to Manifest Destiny, ‘killing everything that moves’ of those who stand in the way of the ‘chosen people.’

This book will deepen your understanding of the religious connections to ethnic warfare and extermination, which is still going on across the world – not just through Christianity, but every religion.  Theocracy and fundamentalist religion pose a bulwark for reactionary ruling elites, which they use to increase their power, profits and wealth.               

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left to investigate our 14-year archive: “Deadwood,” “Lewis and Clark,” “Indigenous People’s History,” “Loaded,” (both by Dunbar-Ortiz); “Indian Country Noir,” “There There,” “The Heart of Everything There Is,” “Empire of the Summer Moon.”

And I bought it from May Day’s excellent indigenous section!

Red Frog

September 3,2021

Monday, August 30, 2021

Down the Upstairs...

 “The White Lotus,” Season 1, directed by Mike White, 2021

A newly-wed couple, a CEO’s family and friend and a sad, lonely woman holiday in Hawaii, at the very upscale White Lotus resort.  They are nearly all light-skinned and wealthy.  As their transport boat arrives, they are greeted by the resort’s employees, led by its perpetually-grinning Australian resort manager.  One is a young Hawaiian woman on her first day at work; one is a dark-skinned spa manager; the others are light-skinned, a young man working a porter job and a masseuse.  A handsome Hawaiian entertainer and porter plays a role later.  We find out that even the overly-pleasing ‘white’ Australian resort manager is a peon too.

Aloha Rich People!

The show is set up as a U.S. Upstairs/Downstairs for modern times, a Downton Abbey that does not historicize ‘servantry.’ The manager instructs the new woman that she has to always smile and treat the guests like giant babies.  What he doesn’t realize is that she is pregnant and about to give birth, but is too afraid to tell anyone on her first day. Eventually her water breaks, a doctor is called and she gives birth in the manager’s office.  The manager is ashamed of himself for not noticing – and that is the last we hear of her!

After the first episode, the focus is increasingly on the wealthy guests and their conflicts or engagement with the workers, but mostly among themselves.  This approach is the standard one, relegating workers to a side-show, now just an 'upstairs.'  The needy, out of control woman is going to scatter her hated mother’s ashes in the ocean.  She demands immediate massage services and ultimately ‘befriends’ the spa manager, who she lures into being a friend with the offer of funding her own business.  She later dumps her for a skinny “BLM” boyfriend, and no funds are forthcoming.

The newly-weds slowly come apart, as the rich, mamas’ boy husband is miffed that he did not get the exact suite he booked on-line, and got another quite beautiful one instead.  He becomes obsessed with ruining the resort manager behind the mistake, and his new wife notices how boorish he has become.  His mother shows up to further embarrass the poor, cute bride, who thought she was on a honeymoon, not locked in a room with an entitled frat-boy moron who is only interested in sex.

The female CEO’s family – her oversharing and neurotic husband, their ‘on-the-spectrum’ son, her obnoxiously politically-correct daughter and her darker-skinned friend who is no better - crack apart, then come together, then crack apart, then …  The CEO is working on holiday, making sure her Zoom sessions feature the correct furniture backgrounds.  She is the competent one in the bunch.  The husband decides to get to know his withdrawn son, who loses his iPad, iPhone and laptop in the surf by accident and has to go ‘cold turkey’ in the real world.  They sit in the pool to learn to scuba, while the husband talks to his son about his infidelity.  Yikes!  The kid is the only likable character in this bunch after he sleeps on the beach and meets a group of islanders paddling their out-rigger ocean canoe.

No matter what we read ... we learn nothing.

Books play a role in defining the characters.  At first we see the girls reading Nietzsche and Freud; then a day later left feminist Camille Paglia and Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, all the while lying in their swimsuits by the pool. Oh so intellectual and radical.  This reminds one of the comedy scene in Goodbye Columbus where a bikini-clad girl barely reads War and Peace on the beach.  The newly-wed husband is always reading the noxious Malcolm Gladwell book Blink, about how instant decisions are the best. The newly-wed wife is reading some sappy romance, which figures. 

Ultimately, through a stupid attempt at ‘getting back at whitey,’ the friend unintentionally gets a Hawaiian entertainer arrested for burglary and assault.  It must have been all that Frantz Fanon!  She had been meeting up with the young man late at night for sex and found out he had financial problems.  This was her dumb-ass solution.  Her girl friend figures it out but doesn’t turn her in.

We have to watch these people eat, eat, eat at the all-inclusive resort; suck on champagne; go on boat-rides; have their emotional tantrums and catty comments; and try to argue politics.  The CEO’s daughter attempts to guilt-trip her wealthy parents over and over, but as they point out – “Look at you…”  The spa manager eventually gets wise with caretaking the guest's emotions.  When the crying newly-wed seeks her empathetic counsel, she says she’s done with that and leaves.  They don’t pay me enough … to listen to YOUR problems, she's thinking.

At the end the needy woman gets a new but sick boyfriend and the family makes up.  The mixed-ethnicity friend escapes scot-free from aiding a robbery and destroying the life of a young Hawaiian man.  The newly-wed husband somehow escapes some criminal charges and might even be reconciled with his new wife.  They all fly away while the 16-year old boy runs out of the airport to live in Hawaii for a bit.   Only the staff takes the damages.  This is almost like some weird version of the dopey TV classic Love Boat. The last scene of this season is the remaining staff waving in greeting to a new boatload of rich, pampered assholes. 

If this film had been made for a period after CoVid 19, the guests would be even more obnoxious.  Witness the present vile treatment of flight attendants, waiters and waitresses, hotel staff and anyone in the service economy taking care of these overgrown babies.  The Chicago Tribune recommends the 2019 Mexican film, ‘The Chambermaid,” about a woman who has to clean-up after wealthy guests in a Mexican hotel, as an antidote to the flaws of this film.  I've seen 'The Chambermaid" and it is a small but human picture of a tough life.

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left, to investigate our 14 year archive:  “Manny’s Steakhouse,” “The Servant Economy,” “Class – the New Critical Idiom,” “White Tiger,” “Far From the Madding Crowd,” “The Potlikker Papers,” “The Permanent Guillotine” “To Serve God and Wal-mart,” “Parasite,” “The Assistant,” “Caste,” “Richistan,” “Rich People Things.”

The Cultural Marxist

August 30, 2021
 

Friday, August 27, 2021

A Broken System Beyond Repair

 Rally Against Enbridge and Line 3 - St. Paul, Minnesota State Capitol, August 25, 2021

In 80-something hot sunlight, more than 2,000 people rallied against the further construction of Line 3 across northern Minnesota on Wednesday.  However, the line is already 90% completed.  Clouds of smoke darken the Arrowhead from the growing Greenwood fire, while smoke from fires in Manitoba slant across Minnesota too.  Minnesota itself has been in a severe drought for months.  As climate change happens, the State regulators in the Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Natural Resources and MPCA, the courts, the Democratic Party establishment and the Republican Party in toto have all supported the large Line 3 pipeline from the Canadian Alberta tar sands to Superior, Wisconsin.  Yet 80% of Minnesotans oppose the line in survey after survey.

This line is 337 miles long in Minnesota.  It is close to or crosses several native reservations – Red Lake and White Earth.  It crosses the watersheds of the St. Louis River, which flows into Lake Superior, and the watershed of the Mississippi River, along with ricing areas and many lakes and streams.  Enbridge, the piratical pipeline oil firm from Canada, pays the overtime and extra costs of guarding the pipeline for hundreds of local police, sheriffs, Fond du Lac reservation cops, helicopter pilots and assorted private contractors. Millions of gallons of water have been stolen from small cities, lakes and water-tables in northern Minnesota to service the project, enabled by local mayors.  Enbridge has already been cited by the MPCA for 28 drilling fluid spills.  Most of the temporary jobs are sourced out of a hiring-hall in Superior mostly to Wisconsinites, not Minnesotans.

SPEAKERS

The state capitol grounds were dotted with teepees and booths.  A fence had been set up (once again) between the crowd and the Capitol by Democratic Governor Walz.  A crowd of mostly young people, indigenous activists and older ex-hippies – the usual suspects – filled the grassy area in front of the steps, with many coming or going.  Brown-shirted, Yogi-Bear hatted state troopers patrolled on the edges of the crowd.  An indigenous Anishinabe Ojibwe speaker, who had come down from northern Minnesota, focused on how Line 3 breaks treaties again.  A Tibetan SEIU officer spoke, denouncing the line, who eventually talked about Tibet and China.  Several state representatives spoke in support, while still being members of the Democratic Party. Winona LaDuke, the leader of the protest from the White Earth Reservation, spoke, aiming most of her anger at Walz. She decried the fact that the whole bi-partisan power system in the State had become a handmaiden to a foreign Canadian corporation, whose ultimate aim is to destroy the environment for profit.

LaDuke pointed out that Line 3 will carry enough heavy tar sands to equal 50 coal-burning power plants.  As such, Line 3 is a large threat in climate change.  It is also a direct threat to the precious waters of Minnesota which flow east and south.  The operational point of the rally was to pressure Biden and Walz to cancel Line 3’s permit to operate.

The problem is all pretty obvious.  The real problem is that even with 800 arrests for civil disobedience, construction has moved along.  At most perhaps several hundred people have attempted to flood construction, which only slowed things down for a time.  Right now there has not been enough ‘people’ power to shut down this monstrosity.  Some are frustrated with this and are dreaming of sabotage.  Others, socialism.

What is clear is that corporate rights trump the ‘democratic’ opinion of the majority of Minnesotans, including the majority of unions, who do oppose Line 3.  The capitalist system is hell-bent on heating the world, and no overly-obvious issue like Line 3 will stop them from driving us over a cliff.  The criminals in the board-room of Enbridge are funded by the banking industry, including banks like Royal Bank of Canada, which claims to care about ‘blue water.’  Or Wells Fargo, the leader in evictions in the city as well.  Several unions like the Laborers or Teamsters would build gas-chambers if it got their members jobs, and in a way, Line 3 will help produce a world-wide 'gas' chamber.  The Democratic Party power centers, funded by capital, are a cabal of dangerous hypocrites, while the Republicans are pure vipers.  The bourgeois ‘regulators’ and the ‘law’ are in bed with the corporations – figuratively ‘bought and paid for.’

The PUC - Suits in League With Enbridge

It is enough to make one cry.  It is clear appeals to Joe Biden or morality or common sense are inadequate.  Laughingly so. So is the effectiveness of civil disobedience in this situation.  Even lawsuits are a bust. The system is broken beyond repair.  That is the stark truth the rally in St. Paul yesterday proved.   

No socialist spoke from the platform.  No revolutionary.  Not a red flag was seen. This is unfortunate, as things have clearly gone beyond civil disobedience or lawsuits.  The Democratic leadership think that anyone who can’t stomach Republican reaction HAS to vote for them, so they don’t really care.  Protest all you want!  Individuals in the audience may move a bit more to the left, in anger at this travesty, but right now that does not threaten Democratic Party or corporate hegemony.  But perhaps in the future…

Walz, in a later interview on MPR, said the only way to stop pipelines was to "change the permitting process" through the legislature.  As if the state legislature will change anything that dramatic.

As our food gets impacted, our air and water quality, our health, our dwellings, our lives – there will come a time when arresting the leadership of the criminal corporations responsible for this fiasco; removing the ‘leaders’ who don’t lead; changing the rhetoric from hypocritical to confrontational; building organizations that understand the endpoint of this corporate system - will seem necessary and obvious, not the rantings of those on the edge.

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left: "Stop Tar Sands Oil "Straw" From Going Through Minnesota," "Klobuchar A Hot Dish Neo-Liberal," "AntiTrust" (Klobuchar), "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers Again," "Climate Emergency," "Sulfuric Acid and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area," "This Changes Everything" (Klein).

The Ranter, Red Frog

August 27, 2021        

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Contradictions Unbound

 New Cold War on China, Monthly Review, Vol. 73, No. 3

This is a very useful, contradictory compilation of articles on China, part of an annual review.  It will give pause to both China cheerleaders and China haters, as China is not an issue for rote thinkers.  Of most interest are the introduction on the new Cold War against China, written by the editor, J.B. Foster; discussions of Chinese political economy and the Belt & Road initiative; an analysis of China’s international economic role by Minqi Li; another on tech competition between the U.S. and China by J. Zhao and lastly, one on the contradictions between Chinese environmentalism and neo-liberal growth. 

I will highlight the significant points.

NEW COLD WAR

Foster defines China as “neither capitalist nor socialist,” but a ‘post-revolutionary’ state pursuing a ‘sovereign project.’  MR’s history regarding China has vacillated as it deals with the varying periods of “China’s complex reality.”  Here Foster quotes Xi Jinping profusely.  Foster describes the recent bi-partisan hostile moves by the U.S. and its allies against China – Trump’s trade war, which has been continued by Biden; an encirclement military strategy; sanctions, especially on technology companies like Huawei; pressure on China’s exposed points as a method to split up the country – Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Uighurs and Tibet; and the final goal of bringing down the CCP. 

He calls this the New Cold War, which has certainly been going on since Obama.  Most of the writers discount the possibility of actual widespread military conflict, but a new cold war does not necessarily involve that.  The point of this war is to keep China as a ‘low value’ labor provider to imperial capital.  Key here is that the U.S. and its allies do not see the U.N. and national sovereignty as relevant, though China does.  They advocate ‘a rules-based order’ run by the U.S. instead.

BELT AND ROAD

A group of professors from France and Beijing argue that the Chinese policy is of ‘co-development’ for countries in the periphery and semi-periphery.  In their definition this includes some European countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal… so the ‘peripheries’ are getting wider and wider.  Co-development involves financing and investment, and building infrastructure for the New Silk Road’s land and sea routes, with financing far less odious than the IMF. They describe it as a ‘win-win’ program. However some countries have taken on too much debt, like Sri Lanka; some projects have defaulted; while these routes provide raw materials for China and export/import lanes.  China has constructed a free trade agreement in Asia, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, but not dominated in dollars.  The authors describe China’s ‘market socialism’ as similar to the USSR’s NEP during the Civil War.  The NEP ended in 1928 during the primacy of the Stalin faction.  You could make a claim that this 'NEP' has been going on since 1978 and the victory of the Deng faction in the CCP - 44 years.  It is a permanent NEP.

FINANCIALIZATION

Three Chinese professors from Hong Kong and Beijing discuss a sort of ‘definancialization’ in China.  At present China has allowed over 100 foreign banking and insurance entities to set up shop in China, including Blackrock, Allianz and Credit Agricole.  But foreign capital is not yet dominant in China, as the top 4 Chinese state-owned banks are among the top 10 worldwide.  State bank profits are plowed back into ‘the real sector’ according to them – infrastructure, jobs, social utilities and regional development.  They describe these banks as social enterprises.  

Foreign direct investment in China – FDI – was $212.5B in 2020.  China’s currency has been anchored to the U.S. dollar since the 1990s. China does have capital controls and the authors advocate these be extended.  Internally land has become financialized, used as collateral or ‘leased.’  They describe large financial bubbles in China – in real estate, debt and investment – which the central government has been unable to quell.

Their main focus is on the growth of the private Ant Group, whose IPO was shut-down in November 2020 by the central government.  Ant is the biggest loan, credit card and microfinance group in China, partly because they privatized a public money fund.  According to stats, 86.6% of Chinese young people use credit cards and only 42% pay off their debt each month.  Many of these are cards from Ant or other lenders. 

State financial institutions have invested heavily in Ant, which also runs the Alibaba© e-Commerce platform – China’s Amazon©.  Alibaba is actually headquartered in the Cayman Islands.  Ant’s shareholders include many Chinese public entities, along with foreign firms. On the other hand, the central government, like regulators in the EU and even in the U.S., are trying to strengthen ‘anti-monopoly’ measures and so have come after Ant, fining Alibaba and stopping the IPO.  Given state support for Ant, this involves a real ‘contradiction.’  The authors conclude that financial containment ended when China followed neo-liberal globalism in the 1990s and this will continue if financialization is allowed to continue or expand.

I Phone, U Phone, We All Work for Their Phone

IMPERIALISM or SEMI-PERIPHERY?   

Minqi Li looks at the issue of whether China is an imperialist in the classical sense, and if China can still be said to be in the periphery.  Li says no to both.  He contends that China exploits other countries in the extraction of raw materials and labor time, but China still exports more labor hours and material to the core imperialist countries than the reverse.  He concludes that China has moved from a peripheral to a semi-peripheral status.  Given the vast size of the Chinese economy, this is quite a ‘semi-periphery!’

China uses very large amounts of raw materials – in 2016-2017 over 50% of the world’s cement, nickel, coal, copper, steel and high quantities of pork, rice and cotton – and is the world’s largest importer of oil, natural gas and coal. Li focuses on Lenin’s description of imperialism needing super profits, not merely the export of capital.  In the latter, while China has $7.32T in overseas investments, they are mostly in reserves (for instance, U.S. govt. bonds), loans, trade credits, portfolios.  26% is in FDI – which is a marker of financial power over labor. The U.S. can buy Chinese goods by issuing dollars, while China has to export labor time.  Li calls this the U.S.’s “seigniorage privilege.”

Li looks at the concept of unequal exchange – specifically labor time or “labor terms of trade.”  His conclusion is that “in the neo-liberal era, Chinese capitalism has functioned as a crucial pillar for the global capitalist economy by transferring surplus value produced by tens of millions of workers to the imperialist countries.”  Li’s figures show that China has now established exploitative relations with 45% of the world population.  1 unit of Chinese labor can be exchanged for 2 units of labor from sub-Saharan Africa or 4 units of labor from South Asia.  1 unit of Chinese labor is roughly equal to low/middle-income countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. This contrasts with its labor relation with the U.S. or other core countries.

As part of this, Li points out that Xi Jinping’s family has real estate in Hong Kong worth £35M, while his brother had 2 shell companies in the British Virgin Islands.  This off-shoring behavior is similar to billionaires the world over and funds the international financial system.  The claim that China reduced poverty is true - 'absolute poverty.'  However, China still has plenty of relative poverty.  The terms are not equal.

Li finishes by looking at the environmental cost of bringing China even with the U.S. in every production and commodity metric, starting with cars – a world-crushing impossibility. Another article in the collection highlights various useful environmental mitigation plans in China – the Green Wall for one – as well as failures.  Those authors also conclude that complete ‘modernization’ would be impossible and fatal to the world environment.

TECHNOLOGY WAR

Junfo Zhao discusses the political economy of the key integrated circuit industry (IC), which is dominated by the U.S. Integrated circuits are the heart of the computer industry.  He puts it in the context of “intercapitalist and interstate competition.” China has run a trade deficit in ICs – as imports in 2020 were $350.9B while exports were $117.1B.  The U.S. uses export controls, intellectual property rules and opposition to technology transfers to blunt progress by China.  However other capitalists still want access to China’s large market and cheap, quality labor, so there is no solid consensus, though the politicians have reached one on high-tech.  China leads in low-value production and packaging of ICs, but the U.S. leads in engineering design – a high value-added labor input. The U.S. wants China to stay that way, at a disadvantage in the international labor exchange.  Yet as David Harvey noted in "The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles" (reviewed below) China is catching up in technology across the board.

Zhao concludes that comparisons with U.S. and Chinese GDP and PPP indicate a U.S.-China 'hegemony contest' is flawed concept, as China is still behind.  Zhao indicates that Chinese profit rates have declined since 2010, from 20% to 12.4%.  Zhao also uses a version of Li’s labor time analysis to evaluate unequal relations.  Many Chinese workers work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, in order to produce goods – a situation described by Zhao in which the U.S. and “China’s ruling elites” in the “coastal provincial governments, export manufacturers and their lobbyists” want to continue.  

The MR articles are all over the map, as China’s hybrid political and economic system obscures a clear view of the class character of the Chinese state.  I don’t think it is fully capitalist nor socialist, but closest to a ‘deformed workers’ state,’ led by a bureaucratic Communist Party which still partially represents the interests of Chinese workers but has also made a pact with capital. In a way it is bureaucratic Social Democracy.

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left, to investigate our 14 year archive:  The Musings of the Professors,” “China 2020,” “The Cultural Apparatus of Monopoly Capital,” “The Fall of Bo Xilai,” (all 4 Monthly Review articles); “Two Sea Changes in World Political Economy,” “Is the East Still Red?” “China – the Bubble That Never Pops,” “From Commune to Capitalism,” “The End of the Revolution,” “Jasic Factory Struggle,” “China’s New Red Guards,” “The Rise of China…” (Li); “Hard Like Water,” “Striking to Survive,” “China on Strike,” “Maoism and the Chinese Revolution.”

And I bought it at May Day Books!

Red Frog

August 24, 2021

 

 

 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Academics in Dystopia

 “Furious Feminisms – Alternate Routes on Mad Max: Fury Road,” by A Boylan / AM Duane / M Gill / B Gurr, 2020

2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road is the 4th in the Road Warrior series, which takes place in a scenic battlespace in the Australian (Namibian) desert after a probable nuclear apocalypse.  In Fury Road, various war lords have seized water, guzzoline and bullets, using barbaric methods to enforce their control.  What they eat is anyone’s guess, except ‘mothers milk’ in the Citadel, a drink only for the elite.  Most who saw this film enjoyed the violent spectacle of a group of women and two men taking on the gear-head baddies and probably saving a crowd of helpless losers back at the water-storage mountain, the Citadel.

Into this bar walk 4 academics who look at the film as a middle-class feminist, an anti-slaver, a disability activist and an aesthete.  Oddly, they have very few negative things to say about the film – not even complaining about the violence – though they think they took an ‘alternate route.’  They didn’t - perhaps just a sidetrack or two.

THE FEMINIST

The feminist claims that Fury Road shows that “men killed the world.”  This contention is based on Max, a lost loner and failed savior; Immortan Joe, the cyborgian boss of the Citadel; and the dying War Boys, who need blood infusions to survive.  They are all men!  Yet even the feminist does not know how the world ended, as the series has never made this clear.  Maybe there were some women involved in that nuclear program or the gas supply.  Given present politics, there absolutely WERE. 

Middle-class feminism ignores economics, ignores class, ignores politics and only focuses on gender.  The fascistic barbarism of these warlords is hyper-masculine and violent; white supremacist and male-dominated.  But that is not all it is.  As the academics here recognize, one of the delights of the film is seeing how the fragile Wives, the lost man Max, the tough female leader Furioso, the elder Vuvalini women and one War Boy, Nux, use violence to defeat the barbarians who dominate the desert.  This does not fit into that feminist idea.

The question a socialist may ask is – where were these people before the apocalypse?  In other words, how come their unity is only possible after that shit-show?  The Mad Max series never explains. Instead the majority of humans in this film are pathetic and need heroines to save them – a typical Hollywood trope.

The feminist correctly points out that, except for one competent Wife played by Zoe Kravitz, everyone surviving in Australia in Mad Max is very light-skinned.  No Asians, no Aborigines, no Indians, no mixed ethnicity, no one but pale ex-Brits.  This is improbable in a dystopian Australia except as ethnic exclusion.  The wives even look like gauzy white-clothed super models. She identifies the stereotypes being employed as “Just Warrior” and “Beautiful Soul” – you can guess who is who.   But actually Furioso and her posse become the ‘just warriors’ – breaking sex stereotypes, as so many movies and series now do.  Here Max has become somewhat of a sad side-kick, no longer the ‘star’ in this saga.  Modern capitalist culture at this point is just fine with a certain level of ‘empowered’ women toting guns.

THE ANTI-SLAVERY ANGLE

Slavery is an obvious issue in the film.  Women are hooked up to milking machines; children are forced to walk on treadmills; Max is masked in an iron cage; the Wives are held under literal lock and key, including chastity belts; blood is taken from prisoners like Max; some War Boys are chained to their vehicles. Even the horde of the thirsty and downtrodden probably wouldn’t get far in this desert – they are trapped too.  Dystopian barbarism includes slavery – just as modern capitalism benefits from slavery all over the world. 

DISABILITIES

Vicious capitalism produces injuries – war and job injuries, missing health-care, hidden mines from past wars, domestic violence, crime, traffic accidents, alcohol and drug damage, toxic food and environmental diseases, etc.  In this film Furioso has a prosthetic arm and needs a blood infusion from Max to continue.  Immortan Joe wears a shell over his destroyed skin, while needing a breathing machine to survive.  Immortan Joe’s sons are damaged as well.  The War Boys have cancer and need consistent blood infusions and spritz's of silvered cocaine.   Many of the destitute ‘rabble’ at the base of the Citadel have crutches or amputations.  It is a broken bunch much like Game of Thrones, but they continue with injuries that have become normalized. 

THE AESTHETE

Mad Max: Fury Road, like the other films, is a visual feast of desert landscapes, brutal weather, isolated life forms, dust clouds, ruination, broken vehicles, tire tracks, explosions, cliffs and gorges.  Many other films play on the image of the desert – Lawrence of Arabia, Red Desert, Zabriskie Point, Two-Lane Blacktop, Badlands, Blade Runner 2049 and here it is even more central.  Muted colors play a role in these films – white, brown, beige, grey, silver, metal - while dialog is sparse.  Furioso attempts to lead the fleeing Wives, Max and Nux to the “Green Land” – an Eden where trees still bloom, flowers play and grass is alive.  The old crones of the Vuvalini have to inform her that it no longer exists.  This seems to be the most important part of the film.  Deep Green ecologists or survivalists think that our heating world can become an Eden again, as do Christians and all those religious folks dreaming of Heaven. ‘Escape’ is still a possibility. The film shuts the door on that fantasy, leaving only one choice – to fight the bastards and try to take back ‘the Citadel.’  The message could not be clearer.

What is missing from the aesthete’s somewhat lame angle (post post Beauty?) is any consideration of the vehicles or oil involved.  Watching this film, the welded-together motorcycles, trucks, cars and ‘war wagons’ are the visual stars of the show.   Gussoline is needed to keep them on the war roads.  The film’s crew had to build every one of these vehicles from scratch, making the film a gear-head’s optic and mechanical delight.  The guy playing a double-necked fire guitar backed by a wall of speakers mounted on a speeding truck – a real steam-punk aesthetic, that.  Not sure how he could miss this.

CONCLUSIONS

The writers draw the odd conclusion that because Max disappears into the crowd at the end means he is not redeemed, and so the film sends a bad message.  Yet it really shows that some people cannot be resuscitated, even if for a time they help others. That is actually somewhat realistic.  They also complain about Furioso’s return to the Citadel, claiming she is wasting all the water by turning on the taps for the thirsty.  Yet these academics have no knowledge of how much water there is.  Perhaps irrigated agriculture will restart, as people have to eat.  (Food is a factual problem for all the films … hunting seems not to be sufficient, as the thin meal of a two-headed lizard shows.)

This little book makes conscious issues a viewer will notice subliminally, as part of the woodwork – slavery, male supremacy, whiteness, body damage, false hopes.  The film was attacked by insecure fan-boys as a feminist screed, but consider the source of that complaint.

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left, to investigate our 14 year archive:  “Blade Runner,” “Game of Thrones,” “American War” (Akkad); “Hunger Games,” “The Matrix,” “The Road” (McCarthy); “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (Dick) “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “The Heart Goes Last” and “Handmaid’s Tale,” (both by Atwood); “Good News” (Abbey); “World War Z,” “Cloud Atlas,” “Maze Runner,” “Divergent – Insurgent,” “Children of Men”(James).

And I bought it at May Day Books’ feminist section!

Red Frog

August 20, 2021

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Global BattleSpace

 “The Global Police State,” by William I Robinson, 2020

The key thesis of this book is that the transnational capitalist class has over-accumulated assets and cash. They no longer put it into low-earning production facilities or the industrial economy – they use it in other, less useful ways.  Gambling on the stock markets, mergers, buying real estate, stock buybacks - and investing in the military-industrial-security complex.  Robinson’s definition of this expands beyond Eisenhower’s limited conception – it includes the massive privatized security guard businesses, the growing mercenary sector, public and private prisons, the migrant detention camps, outsourced intelligence tasks, Silicon Valley data and surveillance technologies.  These forms of privatized and sub-contracted capitalist assets join standard U.S. war industries – the massive arms industry led by Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin and Northrup-Grumman; the large military construction contractors like the Carlyle Group, CACI International and Haliburton; the nuclear weapons’ manufacturers; private equity firms like KKR.

Robinson’s beginning touchstones are Peter Phillip’s work on global elites, (‘Giants’ – reviewed below) which identified the individuals, finance firms, corporations and non-governmental policy groups that constitute the transnational capitalist class (TCC) as the ultimate power center in the world.  Secondarily, Robinson draws from Baran and Sweezey’s work on ‘overaccumulation.’  Overaccumulation is the result of falling profits in the industrial sector, which lead capitalists to invest in non-productive sectors, including the military and policing segments of the economy.  This has been christened ‘military Keynesianism’ and has been active since WWII, but has grown exponentially.  And yes, that means the biggest capitalists now have a large financial interest in promoting war overseas and security services at home and worldwide. 

Domestically this leads to efforts at criminalizing the population in various ways, or segments of it, gaining intelligence on the population through digitalization and manipulating the population through culture.  Right now many countries have more private guards than members of their own armed forces.  The incarceration state in the U.S. is famous, but it is spreading to other countries.  The privatization of the war in Afghanistan is another example.  These are all forms of unproductive investment.

A third leg of this police state stool is the accelerated functioning of the world capitalist economy.  Continuing enclosures of rural land and ‘primitive accumulation’ have forced millions into the cities, as well as industrialization in China and India.  At the same time AI, robotization, mechanization and digitalization are being pursued, meaning that many humans are no longer needed for work as more money is put into fixed capital to get rid of labor.  Robinson calls this ‘surplus’ population the ‘lumpen-precariat,’ which I think is an inaccurate name, but it means those multi-millions who are left out of capitalist modernism.  Marx talked about the ‘lumpen-proletariat’ as poverty-stricken Europeans living off various forms of grifts and crimes. Presently it is taken to mean people who actually live off and prey on the proletariat through crime. 

All these ‘excess’ humans have to be controlled – by force or propaganda or persuasion or debt.  This results in states and the large capitalist and imperialist concerns wedded at the hip on a global scale, for this one goal, led by the U.S.  As part of this fusion governments are privatizing many police and military responsibilities, or off-loading public roles to private entities. Technology is their hand-maiden - able to span the world’s supply chains, move money instantaneously, communicate immediately, provide data constantly, create military efficiency and new robotic weapons – supporting the TCC as no other technology has done before.  This is all somewhat new, based on the development of neo-liberalism in the late 1970s and the computer revolution.

Global Battlespace for the TCC

So Robinson argues, the economic, technical and political basis has been laid for a ‘global police state’ in reality – neo-liberal capitalist authoritarianism so to speak.  Not far off from some high-tech dystopia. 

The above-outline of militarized accumulation is general and theoretical, and Robinson discusses how it affects nearly everything:  the bail-bond industry; private contractors on the Mexican border dealing with migrants and refugees; the endless wars; the vast military budget; Julian Assange and other whistle-blowers; CIA and military involvement in Hollywood; the drug war and criminalization; militarized policing; unemployment and precarity; NSA spying with Silicon Valley; financialization;  privatization of public work.  There is no end to it. 

Some random facts on internal security or as he calls it, “accumulation by repression”:

·        Israel is one of the leading military and police software contractors in the world, where the Gaza Strip is used as a test ground. (NSO Group / Pegasus!)

·        In 2011 China spent more on internal security than defense, with a projected increase to 626 million security cameras in 2020.

·        The DAPL pipeline was protected by Tiger Swan, a Pentagon contractor in Iraq bankrolled by Wall Street.

·        The southern U.S. border is one of the most highly militarized borders in the world, with drones, planes and technology supplied by U.S. firms.  Even the rendition flights back to some countries are carried out by charter carriers.

·        The U.S. military and intelligence services were involved in 1,000 television programs and 800 movies between 2005 and 2016.

*    Nearly all of the firms involved in war and security are listed on one of the securities Exchanges.  You too can invest!

All of this suggests capital is expecting a general breakdown of its rule.  Rising authoritarian governments and fascist groupings illustrate this. Based on the insights of Antonio Gramsci, Robinson’s sees the TCC is making a ‘preemptive strike’ on a global scale against the left and labor, given the latter’s present weakness. He thinks that privileged workers in the global ‘North’ are now a mass base for neo-fascism, not just the petit-bourgeois, and he thinks this is being organized internationally by trans-national capital, not nationally, as in the 20th Century.  The TCC attempts to use the nationalist/ ethnic/ racist verbiage of the authoritarian right while still pursuing a global project, so there is a contradiction presently.  Robinson quotes Trump as saying at Davos:  “America is Open for Business” in this context.  

In the process Robinson explains the distinction between the authoritarian right (Trump) and the truly fascist right, (Nazis, Proud Boys, etc.) who sometimes work together but think separately.  As Gramsci pointed out, when the state and the fascist movements ‘fuse’ that is true fascism, whether of the 20th or 21st Century variety. A ‘global police state’ reflects the rightist authoritarian response, with, at present, political and street support from local fascist sympathizers as a prop.

Robinson discusses a ‘reform’ faction within the ICC camp, like George Soros, who coined the phrase ‘market fundamentalism.’ They seek to preserve the overall stability of the capitalist system by mitigating the lust for profits a bit, to buy off some of the population.  Lawrence Summers, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, Robert Reich and others are also in this faction. Another factional issue within the capitalists is the attitude towards promoting ‘green capitalism’ as opposed to continued carbon capitalism, with the ‘reform’ group supporting the former.   

Robinson comes out against a continued ‘popular front’ approach that allies with the ‘reform’ bourgeoisie, instead supporting a united front against the police state and neo-fascism.  He supports eco-socialism and notes the weakness of the ‘pink tide’ in Latin America, as it was blunted by the continual power of the TCC and their state and non-state actors. He hints that the problem with parts of the left in some countries is either collaboration with capital, transient anarchism or how ‘capitalism’ became just another identity issue. He urges a revitalization of the Marxist critique, which is enhanced by the global scope of nearly all problems.   He suggests a new International based on world social movements and world parties with a minimum program of eco-socialism, as the caricature of ‘vanguardism’ has failed.  He supports electoralism, but an ‘electoralism’ that merely puts the ‘left’ in charge of capitalist functioning won’t work anymore. Instead a revolutionary tack has to be taken during the next global breakdown, to win over working-class elements that might be tempted to join with neo-fascism. 

Prior blog reviews on this subject, use blog search box, upper left to investigate our 14 year archive:  “Giants – The Global Power Elite,” “Monopoly Capital” (Baran and Sweezy); “Capital in the 21st Century” (Piketty); "Value Chains," "The Necessity of Social Control" (Mezaros); "The Long Revolution of the Global South" (Amin); "Southern Insurgency," "New Dark Age," "Fully Automated Luxury Communism," "Bit Tyrants," "The New Jim Crow" (Alexander); "Rise of the Warrior Cop" "Saudi Arabia Uncovered" or the word 'fascism.'  

And I bought it at May Day Books!

Red Frog

August 17, 2021