Volatility

June 2, 2010

Beyond the Freedom Flotilla: Neoliberal Assault (2 of 2)

 

Outside the US tabloid media zone the world remains transfixed by the horror of the Israeli government’s murderous act of piracy and its ongoing holding of the boats it hijacked and hundreds of hostages kidnapped on the high seas.
 
As I said in my previous two posts on this, I think this act had a dual purpose. Israel’s specific, proximate goal was of course to enforce its illegal blockade. But the lengths of aggression and piracy (even technically to acts of war) to which it was willing to go, and the nature of the blockade itself, which the Israelis have openly admitted is intended not to achieve practical security goals but to punish the people of Gaza, demonstrate that this government’s mindset goes beyond any reality-based goal, and is really trying to enforce total domination for its own sake wherever these criminals believe their power prerogative extends.
 
In the end, as always with totalitarians, the true crime isn’t the proximate allegation, which in this case the Israelis can’t even get straight. (That the humanitarianism of the mission was bogus? But they have all the cargo now; they’ve had it for two days. The fact that they can’t even plausibly try to plant contraband proves the complete innocence of the cargo.)
 
No, as always with such thugs, the true crime is defiance itself. Sure enough, the Israelis sound the most outraged when they simply sputter that the Flotilla was a “provocation”. Yes, indeed it was, and was meant to be. It was meant to challenge Israel’s illegal and illegitimate blockade as such. It was meant to challenge this tyrannical arrogation of power, an arrogation based not on authority or law, both of which on the contrary it flouts, but on brute force. The mission was the same as the eternal mission of all decent people who challenge tyranny. And just as they challenge tyranny on principle, so tyranny seeks to prop itself up on its own anti-principle, which is simply the lust for power and greed for phony wealth itself.
 
Which brings us to the larger significance of this act. On a global scale a great crime is progressing. The criminals seek to condemn ever more people to permanent impoverishment and servitude. The goal of the global finance elite and its flunkey governments is the restoration of feudalism itself, not only across the Global South but throughout the West itself.
 
I’ll give a quick recap.
 
1. As capitalism matured it should, according to reality and to its own textbooks, have seen profits fall to marginal levels. There should be very little profit left in the economy by now. Instead, the entire economy should have long since been functioning smoothly and efficiently, with sufficient goods and services in every sector, while government largely shrunk as it would have little role to play as economic arbiter. There would be rough equality of wealth and power distribution, little wealth and power concentration. Democracy would become steadily more healthy and strong.
 
This is how capitalism was supposed to function. This is what its promoters always promised. This is what would have happened, if every word hadn’t always been a lie.
 
2. In the reality of greed fundamentalism, elites were never textbook capitalists but always gangsters. No one ever wanted to be a capitalist. No one ever wanted to compete and innovate. They wanted to concentrate wealth and power, period.
 
As capitalism reached its terminal profit crisis in the latter 20th century, the power elites resolved to deploy an ever more aggressive command economy. They’d use the power of government to substitute extorted and stolen rents for their diminishing “capitalist” profits.
 
Globalization and financialization comprised the campaign of oligopoly capitalism to prop itself up while stringing along the Western middle classes. They substituted debt for production while obscuring the assault on all public amenities and power. Real wages have steadily eroded since the 70s while wealth concentration has exponentially risen. (That juxtaposition right there is a basic metric of robbery.) The system attacked unions on every political and “legal” level. Social Security has been steadily undermined via ploys like the rigging of inflation metrics (to fraudulently depress COLA increases). Other entitlements have been similarly eroded. Globalization’s open border for unskilled labor provides the basic force of gravitation for all wages, while outsourcing and offshoring destroyed many mid-level jobs completely, forcing and ever greater number  of workers into the undifferentiated unskilled mass. (The system did somewhat protect most kinds of professionals for a long time, but now that’s been eroding for many as well.) Walmartization provides a kind of linchpin, the direct conduit for addicting ex-citizens to cheap consumerism while directly destroying self-proprietors and middle class jobs in general, along with the communities anchored by the people who held such jobs.
 
In this way the temporary “middle class”, fueled by debt and cheap oil, had the carpet slowly pulled out from under it. Meanwhile the basic unproductivity of the Western system was covered up by bubbles, culminating in the housing bubble (itself fueled propagandistically by the Big Lie that you should rely on your house to provide for your retirement, not any other pension; this nicely provided cover while public entitlements and private pensions were gradually being subverted).
 
3. The crash of 2007-8 was the beginning of the collapse of this final bubble. No bubble could any longer be sustained on just propaganda. Now the command economy had to take a direct, very heavy hand. Thus we’ve had the advent of the Bailout and a new level of the disaster capitalist rampage, since the global economy is now nothing but an ongoing disaster, and the criminals have no outlets left but to drive disaster ever harder in order to extract profits from it.
 
In the new regimes, Bailout America and the Bailout Eurozone, all government policy (not just monetary, not just fiscal, but all policy) is now predicated on massive redistribution of public wealth to the banksters. The mechanisms have been too many and varied for me to recapitulate them here, but I and many others have written about them many times.
 
But this Bailout can’t be propped up forever. How long will anyone keep buying dollars? The bonds of indebted countries? Everyone knows these are all ponzi schemes. So in the end the Bailout itself must succumb to the same diminishing returns on “confidence” which did in the “regular” debt economy. Again the bubble must collapse. Reality wants to deflate.
 
4. So the next step is liquidation. It’s the good old “structural adjustment”. The old odious debt which the criminal West used to inflict such suffering on non-industrialized economies is now being brought home to the Western middle classes themselves. Today the term of art is “austerity”.
 
The fact that the “conventional wisdom” (to paraphrase Voltaire, it’s neither “conventional” nor “wise”, but manufactured propaganda intended to whitewash crime) is now that of the deficit terrorists, that the message is “the markets don’t really fear inflation now but might fear it in the future, so governments should act in obedience to this hypothetical future fear”, means the finance vanguard thinks the end is in sight for what free money can do for them, and that in order to continue their extractions they’ll have to move into more direct class warfare. It’ll no longer be sufficient to simply gut the interest returns for savers on pensions; now the pensions themselves must be directly stolen.
 
In the Baltics, in Eastern Europe, now intended for Greece,  now intended for Iceland, and next up Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and soon after the UK, and soon after that the US itself, the non-rich will have their wages, salaries, and pensions liquidated (i.e. stolen) while all public property is privatized (i.e. stolen).
 
Even as you take home ever less in pay and see all prospects for paying for any kind of emergency, illness, or retirement become hopeless, at the same moment you’ll find yourself having to pay ever more extortionate tolls for anything and everything which used to be provided by the fabric of society itself. Driving on any road, receiving any government service, police, fire, calling 911 itself, are just examples of everyday critical extortions we’ll face.
 
Even basic health care will become completely unaffordable (and this at the same time that the system intends to collect Obama’s fascist insurance mandate for a worthless piece of paper), all public parks will be fee-generating private parks, libraries will cease to exist altogether, all environmental, health, consumer, and safety regulations will be removed. Access to the courts themselves will be restricted to the rich. Even the poll tax may be reinstated (although by now at least at the federal level the vote is so meaningless they might not bother with that one).
 
Anyone who doubts the malevolent intentions of Obama and the US kleptocracy on this score needs to learn about Obama’s “deficit commission”. This Star Chamber is dedicated to achieving what Bush failed to do, privatize Social Security. (Thus Obama hopes to outdo his predecessor in consummating the heritage of their shared hero, Reagan.) Pete Peterson and the Washington Post have led the call to bring the full force of “austerity” to America. Obama is simpatico with this goal. With his extralegal and anti-democratic commission he hopes to achieve this and far more. The ultimate goal is to strip all government spending except on corporate welfare, war, and the police state. (Although both war and the police state are being privatized as well.)
 
5. So that sums it up, where we are today. The gangster elite intends to reinstate feudalism, with all of us reduced to the literal serfdom of debt. As our debts become utterly impossible to ever pay, we’ll be indentured in various ways, become sharecroppers at every kind of job, and debt prison under hideous chain gang conditions will be applied as a constant threat to anyone who doesn’t meekly comply with his servitude, since we’ll all be convicts anyway in one big country-wide debtor prison.
 
But there’s an obvious alternative to all this. We debtors and cash cows can simply overthrow the debt at will. We can impose the debt jubilee from the bottom up. (That’s the same debt liquidation “our” governments would have allowed to naturally transpire in 2008 the way the real market wanted it to, if these really were our governments and not irrevocably rogue kleptocracies.)
 
The kleptocracy must expect real resistance at some point. This isn’t like the 60s, which was basically political protest against political crime on the part of the system. It was epiphenomenal. Today the struggle is far more elemental. It’s a zero sum fight to the death at the socioeconomic core. This is end game for neoliberalism and corporatism – totalitarianism of total collapse of their wealth and power. Liquidation of the people, or liquidation of their own power.      
 
So however repulsively meek the American people have been so far and perhaps will be in the future, the elites don’t expect things to be so easy everywhere else. In Iceland and Greece especially we’re seeing some will to resist the gangsters. We can expect protest and resistance of many sorts to become stronger and to see people fight back with ever greater resolve, if the people can ever develop a real consciousness of the crimes which afflict them, and the morale of the struggle which feeds on struggle itself.
 
Conversely, the criminals must want to strangle the very thought of resistance in its cradle. A few well-placed blows could sufficiently demoralize people that they’d more pliantly submit to their fate. This is part of the classical shock doctrine. It’s worked before in specific countries like Chile. Today it has to work on a global scale.
 
If we put the murderous assault on the Flotilla in that context, it looks like a rather clumsy attempt to provide such an object lesson. It’s clumsy because Israel’s so hated that outrage over its crimes seems to be one of the few things that can reconcile many peoples and governments. Indeed it’s consistently been used as a divide-and-conquer astroturfing tactic by every Arab government. It’s also clumsy because much like the Wall Street banks, Israel itself can exist in this form only through welfare handed out by the US government. Israel’s gratuitous crimes, which the despicable Obama must now stand isolated to defend, add yet another burden to the already absurdly overextended US government commitment. Once again we see how the best thing we have going for us is the tactical incompetence of the system thugs.
 
So we’ll have to expect the gangsters to become ever more violent and tyrannical as they try to tighten their feudal grip. Throughout history it’s always been this way, and the end of the oil age, the end of the exponential debt age, portend the most vicious reaction yet. The restoration of feudal organization in the form of debt slavery can only be accomplished through a combination of extreme violence and extreme slavishness on the part of the victims. Shock treatment means, among other things, applying the former to enforce the latter.
 
So the Israeli pirates weren’t just firing literal shots into the boats, but a far more profound metaphorical shot across the bow of the much larger Freedom Flotilla in prospect, all over the world. The killers hope that if they demoralize us pre-emptively, they won’t have to board us on the high seas of history at all. They’ll board us in our docile ports, at our jobs, in our unemployment, in our homes, in our thoughts.
 
So that’s the way we need to see this, and this is the propaganda and action of terrorism we must never allow to defeat us. Another flotilla has already embarked for Gaza. Everywhere, let’s put our own ships to sea.
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12 Comments

  1. Another home run! Seeing the macro orchestration is what it is all about!

    See my comments at NC and consider ‘shunning’ as another tool of non violence, especially the troops and military, our supposed ‘friends and neighbors’. Along with boycotting the crooked electoral process I shun cops and city officials in my community – it is a problem for them as it always makes them uncomfortable and causes them to defend their gross corruption and thereby work their consciences a bit.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    Comment by i on the ball patriot — June 2, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    • Thanks again, i ball.

      I’d still take servicemen as individuals, although I agree that it gets harder to picture how one still joins an obviously corrupted and anti-constitutional force unless one supports the system.

      I guess if it’s true that on the whole the people are mostly miguided, the victims of deception as you point out, the same is likely to be true of most lower-level members of cadres.

      That’s why I almost always focus my counterattacks on the elites.

      Comment by Russ — June 2, 2010 @ 10:55 am

      • “anti-constitutional force.” Russ, the military does what it is told. It may be fair to call the institution anti-constitutional, but I can’t see applying that to each member (and I take note of your “I’d still take servicemen as individuals,” statement).

        I went in because I didn’t know what else to do with my life. You can call that whatever you want – a leadership failure by my parents, a personal failing on my part, whatever – but it was hardly with any sort of bent towards destroying the constitution. In fact, I took taking the oath to protect and defend the constitution very seriously. Still do, but as I’ve aged, I think understand what that oath really means – or should mean.

        The military is run by civilians subject to an oath upholding the constitution. As noted by my personal experience above, when sworn in, military members take an oath with similar words, but they do work for their civilian masters. Would you be satisfied if the military took over by coup and declared the current government illegitimate and anti-constitutional? What exactly would the military have to do to convince you or anyone that it is not an anti-constitutional force? Just curious.

        It seems i-ball has thrown a blanket condemnation over every person in the military, police, city employ, elected official, etc. I can’t abide that. Most of those folks are decent people just trying to make a living. It’s the 20% or so (just guessing – and I suppose we could argue percentages all day long) that are corrupt assholes that have effed everything up so bad.

        Anyway, I really just wanted to say that I really like this post. I’ve noted it before, and I just can’t help myself here, but you are at your absolute best (IMO) when you take on the “gangster elite” and the “kleptocracy.” I’m gonna put it how I’d put it if we were face to face and talking – “you just ran it up their asses like a Sidewinder guiding on a hot afterburner.”

        Comment by Bloodgroove — June 5, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

      • Thanks, Bloodgroove.

        I don’t mean the military is existentially unconstitutional or anti-constitutional (though I think some kinds of “public” and privatized police forces are). That’s clearly not true.

        (Although, I’d say having a standing army at this level of magnitude is definitely contrary to American revolutionary principles, where George’s attempts to build up a standing army in the colonies was one of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence.

        So while the Constitution does provide for a professional military, it’s clear that in its normal state this military is supposed to be small, not a power player on its own, and definitely mustn’t be domestically deployed.

        In all three of these ways, the existing system is anti-constitutional.

        This is one of many areas where the “tea partiers” violate their alleged principles.)

        I mean that just as the current government is a kleptocracy which has run rogue of the constitution and become anti-constitutional, so that’s true of the kleptocratic military establishment, which by now exists only to aggrandize itself and the weapons rackets and to join the civilian government in seeking tyranny.

        As you noted, I disagreed with i ball that that’s necessarily true of rank and file servicemen.

        (Anywhere there’s an elite and a rank and file, I focus on the elite. The only place I don’t recognize the existence of a rank and file is Wall Street.)

        Comment by Russ — June 6, 2010 @ 5:21 am

  2. Although, I’d say having a standing army at this level of magnitude is definitely contrary to American revolutionary principles, where George’s attempts to build up a standing army in the colonies was one of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence.

    So while the Constitution does provide for a professional military, it’s clear that in its normal state this military is supposed to be small, not a power player on its own, and definitely mustn’t be domestically deployed. [end quote]

    I think we’ve established in our past conversations that we’re in total agreement on the above. I’m fairly certain the Navy is to be the only standing, professional military sanctioned within the constitution.

    For a long, long time my opinion has been that we need to cut our carrier battle groups down to seven or eight, and never deploy them past 200 miles – unless our shipping and trade with other countries is threatened.

    Our Army should be a militia with a cadre of professionals that are full-time and in place to train the called-up militia – should the need arise. Same with the Air Force.

    None of this is hard. It seems a “no-brainer” to me, but I’m not greedy. I’m not a liar (before I tap myself with sainthood, let me pass on the obligatory “I’m far from perfect”). I have no desire to conquer and subjugate other people while we strip-mine their land of oil and gas and minerals.

    And if I may, once again, get on my own hobby-horse, we are in our current state of affairs as a nation because there are no real, honest, caring, intelligent leaders. There is no more “country first.” It’s all “me first” now, and it’s all about amassing riches and sucking corporate cock while in public service (“Listen, you don’t get reelected, we’ll take care of you. Just pass that bill we wrote for you”).

    LEADERSHIP. Real, genuine, honest LEADERSHIP. We have it, we just refuse to put those people in power. And the “system” is so corrupt now, that if that person did come along and begin to make headway into the halls of power, he’d be eaten alive by the sharks. They’d find something from his past, or just make up lies and manipulate photographs – whatever. Goddammit, now I’m pissed off.

    Comment by Bloodgroove — June 6, 2010 @ 9:56 am

    • Hmmm, that’s weird. Even though I placed the at the end of your quote (just went back and looked to be sure) it still didn’t italicize your entire quote. Wonder why? Sorry about the confusion. Your quote ends with the word “deployed.”

      Comment by Bloodgroove — June 6, 2010 @ 9:59 am

      • Wow, I didn’t leave a word out above, I put the actual format tag in their for ending italics, and it didn’t show up. I wonder if just the ? Sorry, I’m a bit fascinated by this, but I’ll move along smartly now.

        Comment by Bloodgroove — June 6, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  3. Wow! You put that greater than or less than sign in there and whatever is between it is gonna get eaten. Again, sorry. I’m not an html guy, so as I learn this stuff, please bear with me.

    Comment by Bloodgroove — June 6, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  4. I tried fixing the italics myself and I can’t get it to work either. Some kind of glitch. Oh well, it does get those.

    I agree completely on the decentralized militia as replacement for the monster standing army and federal police forces. It’s an integral part of relocalization.

    Lest people think that sounds quaint and obsolete, I think it would be sufficient on a practical level for the post-Peak Oil world, where the slight possibility of foreign invasion from overseas will no longer exist, and where it’s doubtful the existing paradigm for the centralized instruments of violence will be sustainable.

    Besides, those instruments are by now a clear and present danger to American values.

    Relocalized politics and government will be a necessary supercession if these instruments aren’t to become purely tyrannical.

    Perhaps a steady shift of weight down the federalist ladder from the bloated federal government to the states (in many cases just as a transitional stage) to more rationally defined regions and localities. (For example, John Wesley Powell wanted the American West to be politically organized into watershed districts. This of course didn’t happen, instead we got the idiotic corporate-friendly layout we have today. But the principle still makes much better sense in every way, and rational resource-based organization will become ever more imperative in the age of resource depletion.)

    You’re right about the exile of leadership. That’s one of the abdications of kleptocracy.

    I have this notion that there has to be a pent up appetite and need for leadership and true positive democracy among the people, both to exercise it and to affirm it, among the people who want to recover our lost citizenship.

    In that case, movement-building would be able to draw upon a long-untapped reserve of democratic spirit and will.

    Oh well, maybe we’ll find out. I hope that’s not just a mirage.

    Comment by Russ — June 6, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  5. […] […]

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  6. […] complete, what’s left is more or less pointless tinkering, and the sector is mature.   In a previous post I summarized what happens next, and rather than reinvent the wheel I’ll just present it again […]

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  7. […]   Part 2: The Bailout   Part 3: ”Austerity”   Part 4: The Intended End State   Beyond the Freedom Flotilla   So the only question left is What to Do? And the only action left is to do it.   Nothing is […]

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