The witch hunts against communists in the United States were used to silence socialists, anarchists, pacifists and all those who defied the abuses of capitalism. Those “anti-Red” actions were devastating blows to the political health of the country. The communists spoke the language of class war. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as British Petroleum, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision which allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the witch hunts for phantom communist agents, we were robbed of the ability to make sense of our struggle. We became fearful, timid and ineffectual. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling.
Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism will come with the return of the language of class conflict. It does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed. We have to grasp, as Marx did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, loot the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship only money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself. The nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is the same nightmare seen in postindustrial pockets from the old mill towns in New England to the abandoned steel mills in Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, mourning their dead, live each day.
Capitalism was once viewed in America as a system that had to be fought. But capitalism is no longer challenged. And so, even as Wall Street steals billions of taxpayer dollars and the Gulf of Mexico is turned into a toxic swamp, we do not know what to do or say. We decry the excesses of capitalism without demanding a dismantling of the corporate state. The liberal class has a misguided loyalty, illustrated by environmental groups that have refused to excoriate the Obama White House over the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Liberals bow before a Democratic Party that ignores them and does the bidding of corporations. The reflexive deference to the Democrats by the liberal class is the result of cowardice and fear. It is also the result of an infantile understanding of the mechanisms of power. The divide is not between Republican and Democrat. It is a divide between the corporate state and the citizen. It is a divide between capitalists and workers. And, for all the failings of the communists, they got it.
Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class warfare and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the 20th century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day and Social Security have been abandoned. Universities, especially in political science and economics departments, parrot the discredited ideology of unregulated capitalism and have no new ideas. Artistic expression, along with most religious worship, is largely self-absorbed narcissism. The Democratic Party and the press have become corporate servants. The loss of radicals within the labor movement, the Democratic Party, the arts, the church and the universities has obliterated one of the most important counterweights to the corporate state. And the purging of those radicals has left us unable to make sense of what is happening to us.
The fear of communism, like the fear of Islamic terrorism, has resulted in the steady suspension of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the right to organize, values the liberal class claims to support. It was the orchestration of fear that permitted the capitalist class to ram through the Taft-Hartley Act in 1948 in the name of anti-communism, the most destructive legislative blow to the working class until the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was fear that created the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, offshore penal colonies where we torture and the endless wars in the Middle East. And it was fear that was used to see us fleeced by Wall Street. If we do not stop being afraid and name our enemy we will continue toward a state of neofeudalism.
The robber barons of the late 19th century used goons and thugs to beat up workers and retain control. The corporations, employing the science of public relations, have used actors, artists, writers, scholars and filmmakers to manipulate and shape public opinion. Corporations employ the college-educated, liberal elite to saturate the culture with lies. The liberal class should have defied the emasculation of radical organizations, including the Communist Party. Instead, it was lured into the corporate embrace. It became a class of collaborators. National cohesion, because our intellectual life has become so impoverished, revolves around the empty pursuits of mass culture, brands, consumption, status and the bland uniformity of opinions disseminated by corporate-friendly courtiers. We speak and think in the empty slogans and clichés we are given. And they are given to us by the liberal class.
The “idea of the intellectual vocation,” as Irving Howe pointed out in his essay “The Age of Conformity,” “the idea of a life dedicated to values that cannot possibly be realized by a commercial civilization—has gradually lost its allure. And, it is this, rather than the abandonment of a particular program, which constitutes our rout.” The belief that capitalism is the unassailable engine of human progress, Howe added, “is trumpeted through every medium of communication: official propaganda, institutional advertising and scholarly writings of people who, until a few years ago, were its major opponents.”
“The truly powerless people are those intellectuals—the new realists—who attach themselves to the seats of power, where they surrender their freedom of expression without gaining any significance as political figures,” Howe wrote. “For it is crucial to the history of the American intellectuals in the past few decades—as well as to the relationship between ‘wealth’ and ‘intellect’—that whenever they become absorbed into the accredited institutions of society they not only lose their traditional rebelliousness but to one extent or another they cease to function as intellectuals. The institutional world needs intellectuals because they are intellectuals but it does not want them as intellectuals. It beckons to them because of what they are but it will not allow them, at least within its sphere of articulation, either to remain or entirely cease being what they are. It needs them for their knowledge, their talent, their inclinations and passions; it insists that they retain a measure of these endowments, which it means to employ for its own ends, and without which the intellectuals would be of no use to it whatever. A simplified but useful equation suggests itself: the relation of the institutional world to the intellectuals is as the relation of middlebrow culture to serious culture, the one battens on the other, absorbs and raids it with increasing frequency and skill, subsidizes and encourages it enough to make further raids possible—at times the parasite will support its victim. Surely this relationship must be one reason for the high incidence of neurosis that is supposed to prevail among intellectuals. A total estrangement from the sources of power and prestige, even a blind unreasoning rejection of every aspect of our culture, would be far healthier if only because it would permit a free discharge of aggression.”
The liberal class prefers comfort to confrontation. It will not challenge the decaying structures of the corporate state. It is intolerant within its ranks of those who do. It clings pathetically to the carcass of the Obama presidency. It has been exposed as a dead force in American politics. We must find our way back to the old radicals, to the discredited Marxists, socialists and anarchists, including Dwight Macdonald and Dorothy Day. Language is our first step toward salvation. We cannot fight what we cannot describe.
Here is some interesting news: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5imNXpzGkU5rsB-aJjCQOzswp2d0wD9HCJ9GG0
I guess – “another unspecified source” – that has provided Iran with the two S300 has something to do with the Arctic Sea, since Israel was involved in the hi jack operation
@alibi – very interesting. Looks like Lukashenko wants to make some money LOL. Seriously, if this is true, I am quite delighted because even if this is not enough to really stop the USraelians, this will at least give them some pause.
And, I forgot, с прошедшим праздником, гвардии десантник!
I doubt that Lukashenko would sell S300 to Iran without Putin’s nod. Considering the Arctic Sea story we may assume that there might be more then 4 pieces in Iran. About the leaking – I don’t see the point. If there are just 4 unit’s the news will not make a difference and won’t scare the Jews off but the warning will let them to be ready. Is either a hint that there could be more then 4 or it was just a stupid thing to do. But then again it could be just bluff.
And thanks for warm words.
@alibi: I doubt that Lukashenko would sell S300 to Iran without Putin’s nod
And thanks for warm words.
Not at all, thanks to *you guys* for being there and for your role in the rebirth of Russia and for being a “force for good” protecting people against the Empire inside and even outside Russia!
Well, at least officially, Belarus denied this sale:
Anyway, one question: supposing the Arctic Sea was secretly delivering S-300 or other weapon systems to Iran, is it a good idea to send an ocean liner through many NATO-Israel controlled areas (Northern Atlantic and the Persian Gulf), where it could be easily intercepted? I think it would be much easier and safer to send it in smaller ships through the Caspian sea, as it is a much shorter and safer route – this sea is still controlled mostly by Russia and Iran, though the US already has a military presence in Azerbaijan.
Sorry if I annoy by asking personal questions, but are you a desantnik, Alibi? That is quite interesting! I join Saker in geetings and my greatest respect!
Thank you Carlo for the greetings I really appreciate that. The more I ponder on the news about the Belorussian involvement in the S300 affair the more I tend to think that something is wrong here. This leak is very strange if not to say bizarre. Who would reveal such an info just within a few days/weeks before a strike. That’s a treachery. You don’t let your enemy know that you’ve got a huge stick behind your back. The very mention of Belorussia as the source of the supply is even more suspicious. You don’t reveal your sources like that. You are gonna loose all your secret allies that way. I tend to think that the Russians may be behind the publication. Russia has delivered a few blows to Lukashenko recently and this one might be just an extra nail into his future coffin. I’m sure that the Yankees and the Jews have used a considerable amount of force to convince the Belorussian president that providing Iran with any sort of military supply will be a bad thing. A very bad thing indeed. Lukashenko have annoyed Putin for long enough to be considered an annoyance. Lukashenko is flirting with the West now just to let Putin know that he has options. By placing the guilt of the S300 delivery to Iran on Belorussia Putin is just putting Lukashenko in a position with no exit route.
About the Arctic Sea option of delivery military supply to Iran – I can only speculate, but I would assume that if say S300 were delivered to Iran a few various routs would have been used. No one would have sent them in one piece but sending bits and pieces through the sea and air would make it less vulnerable. So – the Arctic Sea might have had on board just some of the equipment and the events that followed the whole affair say a lot. But again – we can only speculate on that.