Pity the Party Hacks
One of the many things that swing out of the mainstream from time to time to knock a bit of reality into my delightful pocket of anarchism is the political left’s inability to abandon, or even critisize, capitalism.
Capitalism, corporatism, crony/state capitalism, call it what you will–I’m referring to the economic system that has always obtained in these glorious united states. In this system, concentration of capital–purchasing power and means of production–use the legitimized violence of political institutions to increase their wealth in ways that would otherwise be impossible .
This, in turn allows capital to concentrate in greater amounts and at a greater rate providing additional resources to create favorable monopolies, governing/regulating bodies, tax structures, and foreign policy (i.e. war). Which, in turn results in further abnormal and absurd profits, and so on and so forth.
Eventually, the oligarchs of accumulated wealth in this country have even won control of the printing of money and the issuance of debt (at interest rates set by their own cartel!). They’ve been awarded mineral rights around the globe by puppet regimes–mineral rights protected by the largest and deadliest military the world has ever seen. Their property and means of production in the home country are protected by a legion of police only slightly less well armed than the hordes sent abroad.
The reason they can do this is that they get it all for free! Certainly they pay some taxes, but in return they have access to assets on the order of trillions of (public) dollars to protect “their” property, mineral rights, even the pictures, sounds, words, and ideas that their workers develop for them.
Their employees’ retirement pensions and eventual healthcare are paid for, not by them, but by the public. The people that work for them are educated by the public. Goods flow in and out of their warehouses on public roads. Their merchant fleets shuttle cheap goods from poor countries with brutal leaders installed with public dollars to keep their people poor and compliant and working for nothing. Those fleets are protected by an awe inspiring navy under the watch of thousands of navigation and communication satellites. None of which is purchased, built, or placed by the majority beneficiaries.
Capitalism is the way by which the wealth and well-being of the 99% are trapped, extracted, and collected to benefit the interest of the tiny remainder. The entire nation-state is bent toward taking money and labor stolen from the workers and building armies, police, infrastructure, and regulation that benefit the people who built the nation-state for just that purpose.
As the inestimable Dennis Perrin points out:
Liberal groups bemoan the class war, but do little to oppose it. For one thing, they’re not opposed to capitalism — though what we’re enduring is beyond supply-and-demand definitions. Modern capital has its own language, its own currency, its own country. Liberal commentary rarely touches on this. They believe that modern capital can be bent in a progressive direction. By who or how is fuzzy. But it can be done. First, we need to elect better Democrats; and then etc. etc.
The democrats, individually and as a party, benefit mightily from serving accumulated capital. They will not take actions that threaten their share of power; if that means supporting wars, prisons, torture, a police state, the slashing of social spending, so be it.
The hacks on the political left benefit from the trickle down from the democrats. They can make a living reading, writing, speaking, and anlyzing as long as their conclusion is that:
- The structure of capitalism must remain unchanged and unchecked.
- The democratic party, not a third party, and certainly not an alternative social structure is the means to social progress using the structures of capitalism; as Dennis says, “by who or how is fuzzy, first we need to elect democrats.”
This puts the party hacks in a weird and convoluted position. All of the traditional left-wing recommendations for real improvement in people’s lives and society at large–legalizing local organizations to compete with corporate monopolies, absolving bogus debt and laughable absentee property claims, the closing of prisons, the ending of wars, and the end of legal statute enforcing morality and social norms. . . the party hacks can’t really use any of it. They’re left cheering when the stock market goes up because maybe some of the newly appropriated corporate billions can be used to buy catfood for the elderly; or trap children in the mind-numbing prison camps of public education for 10 more days a year, or create jobs by increasing the ranks of homeland security.
It’s a testament to their intelligence that they can form a cohesive narrative and defend it at all.
-  After, if necessary, creating said institutions. ↩
-  If you’re unfamiliar with that what of I speak, I recommend Gabriel Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism, or anything by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky ↩
-  Other than, perhaps, regulation further insulating some corporations against competition from some others; enshrining political favorites as indefinite rulers of a sector of the economy. ↩