Friday, October 14, 2016

Quo Vadis II: Desperation Boogaloo

So yesterday I posted my thoughts on the GOP. Trump or no Trump, that sonofabitch is trouble and the short answer is, simply; needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot in the head.

But...

Here's my concern.

The problems inherent in a post-industrial economy are genuine. Forget that the idiot Trumpeters are responding with the Wrong Rage, baying for a moronic pussy-grabbing caudillo whose very stupidity will ensure that he will be a tethered balloon for the oligarch-pandering wealth-whores that run the rest of the GOP and, thus, end up doing nothing or worse for the poor meatheads who pine for him. Concentrate on the economic cause of that rage.

The last time the United States was run as an open oligarchy it was a complete shitshow for everyone else, and it was turbulent in a way we've completely forgotten in our cushy era of labor-management peace and relatively level inequity. Outside the people who didn't count - the wommens and the darkies of whatever complexion (the red, yellow, and brown were included in the outcastes) - the period between the 1870s and the 1930s were distinguished by a welter of riots and strikes and the every-present threat of "anarchy" in the form of scary bearded anarchists (definitely foreign, probably Jewish, suspiciously dirty in some vaguely Slavic or Latin sort of way...) lurking under the tablecloth with smouldering bomb in hand.

And this didn't even count the ACTUAL scary foreigners in places like Communist Russia and Fascist Italy or Germany. Until the recent mania for "Islamic terror" we've seen nothing like the sort of social panic that "anarchy" caused and the resulting Red scares and things like bloody strikebreaking and police spying and ethnic hatreds and lynchings and...well, you get the idea. It was a bad time not to be a Rockefeller or a Carmody and let's not return there.

It seems to me that there needs to be some sort of political alternative for the sort of people who broke for Trump this election, one with less open racism and xenophobia.
And there is, by the way; Sanders Progressiveism, featuring all the nutritious populism and economic egalitarianism without the toxic racism, sexism, and xenophobia! But the Trumpenproletariat won't take it because, well, eeeeew, Dhimmicrats and Defeatocrats and Feminazis, oh my!
So even if the Sanders progressives were to capture the Democratic Party as the teabaggers captured the GOP there's no way forward there.

What else?

Libertarians are, frankly, nuts. Anyone whose party platform calls for abolition of both the income tax AND all federal firearms regulations shouldn't be allowed to play with cutlery, much less the national debt. The simple notion of these libertarian idiots (but I repeat myself) trying to fund enough law enforcement to round up the sorts of people who would go out and buy an M240 Bravo to put behind the razor wire next to the fucking mailbox makes my head hurt.

Greens? Perhaps when they cut their ties with antivaccination goofballs.

And there the realistic political options end, at least for now.

I find all of this very depressing. I can see the problems, and I can see solutions...but not a viable way to get the U.S. public from here to there.

WASF.

Fortunately it's almost 5:00pm, so I can begin to start drinking heavily.

8 comments:

Ael said...

You are looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

The way to solve social anarchy isn't through a kinder gentler replacement for the GOP. You need to *frighten* the oligarchs. Look at what ended the last gilded age: national economic meltdown with the example of successful communist revolution on the horizon.

You need repackaged bolshevism. Billionaires must choose between being taxed into the middle class or being sent to an American jail in the southern states! Your birthright was stolen by the billionaires and it is time you need to reclaim it! Yada, yada, yada.

FDChief said...

The problem with that is that you're using dynamite to fix the leaky roof, and if you get the mix or the placement wrong you blow the walls out.

The New Deal was the result of a peculiar set of circumstances in a world that doesn't exist anymore AND in a world where outright Bolshie means and methods had yet to be thoroughly discredited by people like Stalin and Mao. I agree that there needs to be a stick to beat the plutocrats, but outright socialism has never flown in the US - even back in the Debs era and I'm skeptical that it'll work now.

But...short of that I don't see a hope of rolling back the New Gilded Age, and that's what's so depressing. We the People need an adult conversation about where we as a nation are going...and the failure of most of us to think and argue rationally means that without the sort of circumstances that led to the upheaval of 1932 that can't and won't happen.

Like I said; depressing...

Ael said...

The big difference between American then and now is the loss of intergenerational social mobility. Back at the turn of the last century, there was a higher proportion of immigrants coming to the country, and while the immigrants themselves might be destined to live poor, at least they could hope to propel their kids into the middle class (or better).

Today, there is a permanent underclass and there is effectively no way out. This leads to multigenerational despair and desperation. You and yours are stuck in their social class forever.

Don't believe me? Look at the Donald who has conclusively demonstrated:
a) adult conversations have no role in politics.
b) Americans will support a bellowing orange buffoon, if the buffoon is the one at the head of the class.

American politics is now an identity game
Your class determines who you support. Issue politics are a thing of the past.

FDChief said...

And you can't run an industrial democracy like that.

Problem I see is not so much that there's an "underclass" - there was in the 1890s and the 1930s, too - but that the underclass is so divided, in particular by the white proles who see the hispanic and black sections of the proletariat as much an enemy as the plutocrats; more, because the dumb fuckers think the plutocrats really, really like them because they're white. We had the same problem then, too, which is why the New Deal was targeted towards whites only, more or less. Now the whole boys are being asked to share and they're grumpy as hell about it.

I think a big part of the reason that issue politics are so difficult is that the goddamn public has been stuffed to the earholes with mindless political fluff. Political ads, horserace journalism, idiot hee-haw over stuff like Trump's vodka and fake Clinton "scandals"...

As much as people are voting with their guts their heads have been deliberately neglected. It gets viewers and sells boner pills but it's bad for the republic. Not that I expect the news media to care...

Barry said...

Ael: "The big difference between American then and now is the loss of intergenerational social mobility. Back at the turn of the last century, there was a higher proportion of immigrants coming to the country, and while the immigrants themselves might be destined to live poor, at least they could hope to propel their kids into the middle class (or better)."

I think that that's more of a post-WWII phenomenon; back in The Day it'd have been more like the kids of immigrants are accepted as legitimate 'white' working class Americans.

Barry said...

FDChief,

What we're really doing is stuggling on, while a bunch of these f*ckheads die off. It's not as fast as we'd like, since some of their kids become new f*ckheads, and a chunk of the elites will subsidize f*ckheads, but it's happening.

FDChief said...

Barry: I think the crucial difference is ethnicity. Italian? Jew? Irish? Enough money and losing the European clothes and native language and you look and sound (at least...) pretty much like that Mayflower Descendant. But brown and surnamed Lopez? Or black? Not gonna happen. The poor whites problem is more complex, and probably has a lot to do with the cost of elite education combined with the bizarre celebration of white-trashiness all over pop culture.

My concern is that the GOP survives by infecting whites with this toxin of fear, resentment, and victimization. I fear that they will always have about a third of the citizenry willing to vote for Gilded Age economics and authoritarian imperial "Greater America" (in the "GroBdeutschland" sense) provided they are assured that their place at the bottom will be one branch above the niggers and spics.

Bill James wrote once about one of the baseball strikes that the problem that made a solution impossible was that the negotiations were fundamentally misaligned. It was "owners vs players" where it should have been "Small-market owners and players vs Large-market owners". The small owners were getting screwed on television revenue but couldn't see that because their identity (see Ael's comment above...) was so wrapped up in being an "owner" that they couldn't see that they had more in common economically and in the outcome of the bargaining with the players than the guys who owned the Yankees, Cubs, or Giants.

I think this is killing "us" in the "we the non-plutocrats us". There's no reason for a white working stiff to vote Republican. Period. Take one example; NAFTA. The Sanders movement shows that there's at least the possibility of moving the Dems to the left on "free trade". Where's the "Sanders Republicans" and, no, Drumpf doesn't count; for all his bullshit his economic platform is sold plutocrat-friendly and his people are all wild-eyed free marketers. Sure, he makes mouth-farts about offshoring and "creating jobs" but who honestly believes that a lightweight bunco artist and fraudster will actually bother to fight the free traders in Congress?

But try telling that to a Trumpeter. The Donald will save us! It's pure nonsense and kick-the-lib'ruls.

In the words of Robert Graves, this election has let all the poisons that lurk in the wingnut mud hatch out.

FDChief said...

Here's a piece at Vox that sums up this Drumpf scum pretty well: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/15/13286498/donald-trump-voters-race-economic-anxiety

These people really are C.H.U.D.s. But the problem with that is, as the piece ends:

"Any solution has to begin with a correct diagnosis of the problem. If Trump’s supporters are not, in fact, motivated by economic marginalization, then even full Bernie Sanders–style social democracy is not going to prevent a Trump recurrence. Nor are GOP-style tax cuts, and liberal pundits aggressively signaling virtue to each other by writing ad nauseam about the need to empathize with the Trump Voter aren’t doing anyone any good.

What’s needed is an honest reckoning with what it means that a large segment of the US population, large enough to capture one of the two major political parties, is motivated primarily by white nationalism and an anxiety over the fast-changing demographics of the country. Maybe the GOP will find a way to control and contain this part of its base. Maybe the racist faction of the party will dissipate over time, especially as Obama’s presidency recedes into memory. Maybe it took Trump’s celebrity to mobilize them at all, and future attempts will fail.

But Donald Trump’s supporters’ concerns are heavily about race. Taking them seriously means, first and foremost, acknowledging that, and dealing with it honestly."


To which my thought would be "How the FUCK do you "deal with that honestly"? Tell the racist gomers "too bad for you, fuck off and die in a hole"? The LAST time this happened the Democratic Party bent over and let them have what they wanted, and that cowardice (or "realism", if you will) helped continue the racial and social problems started with slavery, perpetuated by Jim Crow, and continuing today.

The last time this happened in Europe it took a global catastrophe and a merciless ruin of the nation that the white nationalists had driven to war...and you'll note as does the article that the same sort of scum that were shot and hung in 1945 are rising again as immigration becomes a hugely divisive issue in modern Europe.

So I don't know how you "deal with" the problem of irredentist racism and hate "honestly" and I'm not sure that our political system is designed to deal with it, either.