Why is the global capitalist class refusing to give up neoliberalism, even as neoliberalism creates growing dissension among the lower classes and rising risk of proletarian revolution? Because in a paradigm where profits have overall been declining since the 1970s, neoliberalism serves as the way for the rich to push the costs of capitalism’s crises onto the backs of the poor. Neoliberalism was implemented because the 20th century model of social welfare states had become incompatible with the capitalist goal of endless growth.
Black Agenda Report Presents: The Left Lens on Nov 10, 2020
What does the presidential election say about the United States and its political and economic system? Left Lens Co-hosts Margaret Kimberley and Danny Haiphong react to the closing weeks of the 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
In Bolivia, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) – a major leftist political force – has returned to power following a thumping victory in the 2020 elections. The MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce obtained 55.09% of the votes, decisively ahead of the neoliberal candidate Carlos Mesa and the right-wing extremist Luis Fernando Camacho who garnered 28.83% and 14% of the votes, respectively. The triumph of MAS in Bolivia is highly significant since it follows hard on the heels of the 2019 US-backed coup which violently overthrew the MAS president Evo Morales and attempted to re-institute neoliberalism through blood and bullets. Headed by the de facto president Jeanine Áñez (a religious bigot), the fascist coup government genuflected to the American empire, joined the conservative Lima Bloc — a group of 12 Latin American nations determined to subvert the Bolivarian Revolution — exited leftist regional forums, kicked out Cuban doctors and re-established ties with Israel. With the re-election of the MAS, it has been demonstrably shown that Bolivians don’t have any liking for the barbaric blueprint of imperialism and socialism still throbs through the nation’s body.
In 1937, the storyteller H.P. Lovecraft wrote this about the direction that capitalism was taking:
“Capitalism is dying from internal as well as external causes, and its own leaders and beneficiaries are less and less able to kid themselves…The only avenue of survival for plutocracy is a military and emotional fascism whereby millions of persons will be withdrawn from the industrial arena and placed on a dole or in concentration camps with high sounding patriotic names. That or socialism—take your choice. In the long run it won’t be the New Deal but the mere facts of existence which will be recognized as the real and inevitable slayer of Hooverism.”
The Iraq invasion was a prelude to our current war run-up, the war run-up that the United States would experience when its global imperial hegemony came under threat during the 2020s. Like was the case in 2003, the empire’s propaganda machine has inculcated its narratives into the minds of a solid majority of the public. Like was the case in 2003, the main target of the empire’s violent rage is merely a scapegoat for the crises that the U.S. has been experiencing. The difference is that in 2020, America’s cultural psychosis is being directed towards preparing for a war far larger than the Iraq War, a war so destructive and costly that it could end up breaking U.S. hegemony for good.
If the capitalist ruling class get their way, the revolts that the U.S. and the other parts of the neoliberal world have been experiencing this last year will be only a blip in the march towards corporate domination. Their goal is to use militarism—both within the imperial core’s borders and abroad—to indefinitely keep the power structure reinforced.
The U.S. is Saving the Financial Sector, not the Economy
Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the coronavirus’ economic effects, I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in “the market,” meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers.
Throughout the established political structures within the United States, there has been an extensively documented amount of accounts concerning the particular activities of the state apparatus in terms of what transpires on the national borders between the two nations of Mexico and the United States. Within the course of current events, the considerable amount of discourse regarding what would constitute an appropriate reaction to the perpetuation of circumstances on the national border has exponentially increased in the course of years (given various electoral occurrences, socioeconomic degradation, cultural responses to societal denigration, and the political activities which originate because of these cultural responses in question). In terms of acceptable discourse, the political conflict that has emerged directly from the various policies of the United States on the national border, which included but is not limited to intensified national surveillance to familial separation to deportation to mass incarceration to stricter border security apparatuses, has seemingly been confined to whether or not the United States should be focused on inclusion or exclusion to integration or segregation to opportunities or the absence thereof.
In Mexico, the intensity of the Covid-19 pandemic is increasing. With more than 568,600 cases and 61,450 deaths (third largest number of Covid-19 deaths), the country is staggering under the Coronavirus pandemic. While the entire country is experiencing the impact, indigenous communities represent the hardest hit demographic. Data from Coneval, the national government’s social development agency, has shown that the Covid-19 fatality rate in Mexico’s poorest 427 municipalities is 14.1. On the other hand, the fatality rate in the country’s 54 wealthiest municipalities is 8.1, “meaning that people who live in impoverished parts of the country are almost twice as likely to die if they become sick with Covid-19 than those who live in affluent areas.”
“Not voting for Biden reveals your privilege.”
Only privileged people seem to believe the US possesses a viable democracy. The non-privileged live with the boot of the extant dictatorship of money/police state on their throats (of which, Biden has spent his life as an ardent operative). Withal, Biden has spent his political career in service to the profiteers of White privilege because, to quote the man himself, he did not “want his children to grow up in a racial jungle.”
Consumerism, and the capitalist mentality more broadly, are equivalent to nihilism. They strip the human experience of meaning beyond what serves the market. When a culture revolves around this monetary and commercialist view of the world, it ceases to bring true fulfillment.
On August 8th, Donald Trump took four executive actions on coronavirus relief. One was a memorandum deferring, to the end of the year, payment of the employee portion of the payroll tax for employees making less than $4000 biweekly. (Employer payments had already been deferred in the CARES act.)
As Washington’s global influence rapidly diminishes, I’m picking up on a trend in how the U.S. imperialists operate: sporadically attempting to snatch up resources from other countries in desperate efforts at regaining what the empire has lost. This contrasts with the way that the U.S.-centered corporatocracy very smoothly exploited other countries when the empire was at its peak around the mid-20th century. In many cases, it was as easy and concealable as pressuring a poor country into becoming part of the corporatocracy’s business circle through some aggressive business deals.
On 1 August, 2020, a group of civilians, in complicity with the Chilean national police force or the carabineros and right-wing hoodlums, violently attacked Mapuche community members who were on a hunger strike in front of the Municipality of Victoria, in Araucania. The attack was strategic, organized and preplanned with the occupied town halls of Ercilla and Traiguén also being attacked, Mapuche women and children being beaten and vehicles being set on fire.
The high-tech sector, along with the U.S. national security state that it partners with, have lately been pushing the idea of upgrading society into a futuristic technological structure that makes life far more convenient. Last year the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, an organization created in 2018 to further the partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and tech plutocrats, articulated this vision in a document. It called for a near future where the country’s “legacy systems” are replaced with a new paradigm of infrastructure, one that allows for self-driving cars, total home delivery in alternative to retail, and home appliances that can connect to an “internet of things.”