Capitalism is the Problem (Beating the Dead Horse, part XLVI)

Good friend and longtime comrade Woody Woodruff posted an article today on FB about a group of protestors who were planning to confront an Alt-Right/White Supremacy meeting.  The numbers expected for the demo were small, but that’s not a problem.  The election is barely a week old and the inauguration is still over two months off . . . and there have already been myriad acts of resistance and more planned. anti-trump-protests-in-los-angeles_4561397_ver1-0_640_360

This is good. Immediate resistance not only complicates Trump’s life, but puts pressure on the “opposition” (I’m not sure who that is really) to do some serious self-reflection, and best of all, unlike a quadrennial quixotic presidential campaign, could lead to real organizing. I study the history of protest–a lot. I’ve written about and taught classes on it. Today’s GOP and right-wing movement has various venues where it can organize and mobilize people: gun clubs, churches, certain media, county fairs, etc.

The other side, I dare not call it the Left, used to rely on labor, but that meant unions, and today about 11 percent of workers are unionized and about 7 percent in private sector jobs. They have no natural outlet for organizing outset of the Greenbelt, Maryland Labor Day Festival, the organic farmer’s market, and openings at the local art gallery (where the wine and cheese, not political solidarity, is the draw).

Liberals are gonna actually have to get their hands dirty and start talking to the deplorables, find out why they blamed the Dems for their woes (maybe because the Clintons/DLC shift actually did cause their woes initially), and figure out how to break the long-term marriage (since the days of Thomas , Woodrow Wilson) between the Dems and Finance Capital, and actually, shocking as it is, practice a real politics of class.

I can’t remember the specifics but someone surveyed the use of certain keywords in the campaign–Clinton spoke of the “middle class” almost exclusively while Trump made frequent reference to the “working class” and “the poor.” The Dems current water carriers, Schumer and Pelosi, are the Ken and Barbie of the Wall Street set. At some point, if liberals or whatever they call themselves these days want to actually create a sustainable society, they’re gonna have to try to talk to the people of Youngstown and places like that and explain to them that they didn’t lose their jobs because of the Chinese or Mexicans or Blacks or Gays.   (A good article expressing some of these ideas in detail by Christian Parenti should be read.  I think some of it is off, but overall it’s as good as any of the many dozens of post-mortems I’ve read so far).

Trump’s Lizard King and White Supremacist, Steve Bannon, actually understood and explained this as well as anyone, with an analysis that wasn’t entirely accurate, but surely resonated with large segments of workers

“The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If (the Trump White House delivers), we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.” (My emphasis).

Along those lines, Clinton received about $50 million campaign money from hedge funds, and Trump, a month before the election, had gotten about $19 thousand from those groups . . .

The American working class lost  jobs because the corporations and banks which have subsidized the Democratic Party for a century could make more money and find cheaper labor in Dixie and then across the border.  Indeed, a huge consideration in the discussion of job losses that’s mostly ignored is the shift in manufacturing jobs from northern to southern U.S. states.  When deindustrialization hit northern areas like a hurricane in the post-Vietnam/Oil Shocks era, China was still putting the Gang of Four on trial, Mexico was not an economic rival in the least, the WTO didn’t exist, and no one had conceived of NAFTA or the FTAAP. 

Jobs moved south to places like  Texas and other southern areas, which historically had been hostile to unions and thus had the lure of lower wages, more restrictive labor laws, looser or no environmental regulation, and, of course, the far greater likelihood of being a “Right to Work” state.  Today, a similar dynamic is at work.  Since 2010, more than a million new manufacturing jobs exist, and most of them are in the south, especially North and South Carolina and Tennessee.  In South Carolina alone, BMW, Honda, Mercedes, and Michelin have opened factories, and Southern political leaders are aggressively luring businesses from the north to move to a more corporate-friendly region.

American capitalists–white American corporate owners and bankers–destroyed communities, often white communities, and shattered lives, often white lives, in order to transfer operations to areas where they could exploit their workers even more.  Of course, anytime there’s an immense economic shift, and dislocation–and the late 1960s-onward wave of globalization surely was a huge blow, those who are already poor will suffer the most.  African-American and female workers, for instance, had been prevented from getting many factory jobs due to racist and sexist exclusionary practices–by both management and the unions.  So they were the first to go and still today unemployment and wage rates for minority groups are lower than for whites.  But then even white workers who had bought in to the sanctity of seniority lost their jobs, and their union bosses did little more than say “yes” to any demands for concessions.  Capitalists offered no “white privilege” as they sacked and pillaged their way through America’s industrial workforce.

America surely has serious schisms due to racism and sexism–only and idiot would deny that–but the only way, I’d submit, to confront and maybe fix them would be through an effort to create a collective political ideology based on the idea that Black, White, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Urban, Rural, and on and on, people have way, way more in common with each other than with the people who run the country.

Resistance–now, tomorrow, and forever, to steal the other guy’s line, is imperative.  And in fact, those who resist have a strategic model they can use to examine how to successfully attack the ruling class . . . it’s called the Trump for President campaign.

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About buzzanco

Historian, Agitator, Sicilian
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