by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog
Since the West’s Great Lockdown started I’ve been warning the West that they can’t do it – a capitalist-imperialist system cannot do an immediate 180 and copy China, Iran, Vietnam and others. I gave so many reasons why that was a catastrophically bad idea:
The “sports-journalisation” of their media, the unbloody flag of Y2K, counting on Germany as “reliable partners”, the perilous idea that social media users should constitute a vanguard party, a corona response shaped by middle-class mediocrity would have been acceptable if there was any middle class left in the West, only Black Nationalists picked up on my phrase “the Great Segregation”, a gratuitous use of the word “Michigander”, a polite suggestion that widespread American matriarchy may promote the hysterical acceptance of any idea that springs to mind, the fact that if the Western 1% would collude to start World War One isn’t it possible they would conspire to create a Great Lockdown, and a couple dozen others.
I certainly persuaded myself the Great lockdown should end, at least!
However, it turns out I’m a really bad revolutionary: Instead of gleefully putting my boot heel on the forehead of the corona-felled West and calling for immediate and violent revolution I kept giving them ideas which were aimed to help them avoid pushing their society into Great Depression II-levels of joblessness, starvation and stagflation.
In essence I was yelling, “Stagflation is not some word that I made up! You should really reconsider trying to be like China overnight because there is no Mandarin for ‘Great Recession’!”
Listen to me… giving fair warning to the capitalist-imperialist enemy. What a softie I am! What a phony!
If there’s one thing the last 20 years of Western history has taught me it’s this – blaming Islam is always an acceptable explanation for mistakes: I have taken to heart too much that a Muslim’s duty is only to warn others (this is why Islam has no missionaries).
Well, it’s time for forcible conversion! Unveil the American Cultural Revolution!
Corona will unveil the American Cultural Revolution
Look: I was wrong – it’s all over for the West now.
It was over before it even started because capitalism-imperialism is no way to run a cultural bloc, but I gave enough fair warning in May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops.
The US, the leader of the West, has 43 million unemployed, which is undercounting, around 42% of whom aren’t going to be rehired for years, who already had lousy jobs which were underemployment and not full employment, which provided lousy and stagnant wages, which is hardest on a youth class who can no longer be distracted by taking pictures of and dissecting the different flavours of their avocado toasts because the avocados are all being dumped into a ravine to keep prices down by a farmer who is only a few months from suicide.
Hertz, JC Penny, Pier 1 many other top retailers and countless restaurants already have something in common with the lilies in the field described in Matthew 6:28 – Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not. Who can toil for not just bread but the credit card interest charged for that bread when bankruptcies of Biblical proportions have only just begun?
Bankruptcies lead to job loss; job loss leads to hunger and foreclosure; hunger and foreclosure leads to asking for government handouts; Anglo-American liberal economics’ refusal to give government handouts leads to endemic poverty and suffering; endemic poverty and suffering is proof that your favourite sociopolitical system sucks.
Stop pretending that the capitalists of any school have solutions to this – “letting capitalism run its course” via non-interventions is not just immoral and heartless but unpatriotic treachery: you prefer to maintain the fiction that your favourite sociopolitical system doesn’t suck rather than feeding your neighbor?! I am no promoter of “culture with American characteristics”, but at least I tried to warn them to avoid starvation, murder and chaos.
The US is, without the slightest exaggeration, now encountered with a fatal paradox: The only way to save “capitalism with US characteristics” is to immediately take public action to save it, but the actions required to save “capitalism with US characteristics” would destroy the system of “capitalism with US characteristics” beyond recognition.
The leftist opportunity provided by corona lockdowns – you’ll HAVE TO talk politics now
What we have now is a situation where people have the time to complete the single-most necessary task which precedes revolutionary change: talking seriously to each other about politics, and demanding the other person either admit to hard choices or get out of the way.
Since 1980 the hyperfinancialisation of the US economy enabled credit-based materialism on an incredible scale, and this mad scramble of work-buy-sleep-repeat has come to a temporary end – this is a great boon. This forced break is the greatest gift coronavirus is giving the US – it’s like a Ramadan they never had.
Let’s assume there’s a second wave, and a Great Lockdown II, or at least many other hysterical shutterings of auto plants and schools after one new corona case is found, and a real stop-and-start quality to life for the next 12 months or so. This should require more “People’s QE”, but it definitely means that Americans will be forced to often stay at home and really talk – via Zoom or the telephone or in person while being masked – about how outdated and aristocratically-rigged the Western liberal system is and how it needs to be changed, to modernise, to progress for the better.
Basically, the short- and medium-term conditions are spectacularly ripe for Cultural Revolution across the West.
There is no V-shaped recovery – they actually did this stupid thing I warned them not to – and you can reliably count on there being favourable conditions for fomenting leftist dissent until at least 2023.
Beyond the certainty of slow-drip economic disaster – corona is the pin which has popped the West’s Everything Bubble II economy – what’s so unique about this era is that we all have so much more time at home to stew about bad politics. So very many will be doing this without any stew, or only on barebones government-provided stew, but that is precisely what a Cultural Revolution is: stewing and arguing over what form our obviously-broken society must take from now on.
This is what happened in a China where revolutionary spirit was dwindling and mutating into a city-based elitism, as well as in an Iran which had declared non-allegiance to both the East and West despite having no modern Muslim political-cultural example to model themselves on.
Corona is doing what the Yellow Vests did – forcing open a space for honest political dialogue, finally
The simplest way to explain it is to put it in Western cultural terms: what France’s Yellow Vests are demanding is a French Cultural Revolution in order to expand democracy’s reach into the lower classes, something aristocratic Western liberal democracy has never achieved, nor even aimed to. – the parallel with 1960s China and 1980s Iran could not be more clear… if the West wasn’t so hell-bent on distorting those two eras, as well as distorting the Yellow Vests, too.
The Yellow Vests aren’t going to get revolution – such is the power of the modern aristocratic forces arrayed against them. Similarly, despite all the guns in private hands, the US is even less ripe for a modern revolution due to the 40 years of enforced political ignorance and political apathy that I described.
However, just as the Yellow Vests forced open a new space for honest political talk in France, the consequences of the Great Lockdown will create the space for honest political talk in the US.
The fall of the dollar, ‘Liberty or Boogaloo’, true cultural revolution – these things appear far-fetched to honestly expect (at least in late May 2020), but we can realistically expect that corona’s popping of Everything Bubble II will dramatically change the US political dialogue, like the Yellow Vests certainly did in France.
I have obviously reassessed my editorial line – no more warning, because the fight is over: the corona overreaction has knocked Western capitalism-imperialism to the canvas and it will remain floored for at least 2-3 years.
So if there was ever a time where an American could say openly, “You know, I’m not sure if those socialists ever had a single good idea, but I do know our system has definitely lost its way,” and not worry about being all alone in saying that – it is today and during the now-certain era of economic hardship.
“Our system has lost its way” is the ubiquitous, mantric phrase which always indicates the coming of revolution.
However, I’m certain that if Lenin was around in May 2020 he would do what he did between the twin revolutions of February and October 1917 – he would have forbidden the Bolshevik Party to take power because cultural conditions were not yet ripe. The capitalist-imperialist Americans (and French) are so very impressed with their own cultures that true revolution is not yet possible.
It’s fun and interesting to read a journalist write that revolutionary changes are on our doorstep already – I don’t think such journalists are personally familiar with revolution. We can’t even know just how bad it’s going to be until the West actually opens up, but after all this Great Lockdown we do know this: it’s going to be quite, quite bad for them.
Would Americans fiscally blow up America rather than go somewhat socialist for the benefit of their own 99%? This is more than just the topic for an upcoming column – it’s the question of the corona-crisis/Great Depression II era.
In whatever sense this means to you: corona is not going away. Its presence will be viscerally felt for the coming months and few years – now is the time, finally, when Americans will be receptive to the case made by true leftism.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.