Imperial Death Spiral

Photo by katesheets | CC BY 2.0

In the midst of what is quickly becoming a political crisis, or rather a crisis for the political class, the stated and implied solution coming from establishment sources is to return to the pre-Trump era as if (1) this were possible and (2) there were no viable explanations for why the establishment candidates were rejected in the first place. The proximate cause of his election was the failure of the political class to adequately address the latest in a series of economic crises caused by collusion between it and a predatory and totalizing economic order*.

The greater cause is the nature of this economic order and the political economy it has crafted for the benefit of a small (and shrinking) plutocracy. In 1980 the (internal) working class was seeing its economic lot improve. This in the midst of what to the elites was crisis— falling profits and inflation that destroyed the value of loans on bank books. Since then there has been a singular direction toward greater economic extraction and concentration, privatization of the commons, more militarism, nuclear resurrection and seemingly unstoppable environmental degradation.

The distance between questions and answers presented itself in the streets of Charlottesville as newsreel footage recovered from a bygone era. By the standards of ordinary, everyday imperial carnage the skirmishes were benign, microscopic, not worthy of a page 80 mention by the news-aggregators of record. That they…

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