Trump’s victory: Why it may be much worse than you think

Why did Trump win?

This is the question a number of writers from all points on the political spectrum have been trying to answer since the presidential election. Some have sought the answer in demographics. Others in issues peculiar to the rust belt regions of the United States. Still others in the language of identity politics; a triumph of racism, misogyny homophobia, etc. There are those who have even broached the long ignored problem of the criminal behavior of the Clinton Cartel and the tin-ear of corporate Democrats to the party’s base.

Each of these explanations has a certain ring of truth. All who hold to one or another of these explanations can point to valid empirical evidence (especially polling) to support their claims.

However, to really answer the question in any meaningful fashion requires something more than a list of real or imagined defects of the usual suspects involved. It requires a comprehensive hypothesis of the present moment: a task that is no easy undertaking.

A hypothesis is useful because it attempts to account for what we are observing and link our observations to forces we cannot observe. The best hypotheses reveal hidden connections between things we previously believed to be unrelated or demonstrate that things we previously believed were related are not related after all — although on the surface they appear to be the same.

1.

Take, for instance, the following hypothesis currently being flogged by a writer with an impeccable background — a British spy and diplomat — Allistair Crooke. His view relies mostly on extensive quotes from another writer by the name of Raul Ilargi Meijer. Meijer makes the argument that Trump’s election expresses the end of the era of growth, globalization and centralization:

“Tons of smart and less smart folks are breaking their heads over where Trump and Brexit and Le Pen and all these ‘new’ and scary things and people and parties originate, and they come up with little but shaky theories about how it’s all about older people, and poorer and racist and bigoted people, stupid people, people who never voted, you name it.

“But nobody seems to really know or understand. Which is odd, because it’s not that hard. That is, this all happens because growth is over. And if growth is over, so are expansion and centralization in all the myriad of shapes and forms they come in.”

Further, Meijer writes: “Global is gone as a main driving force, pan-European is gone, and whether the United States will stay united is far from a done deal. We are moving towards a mass movement of dozens of separate countries and states and societies looking inward. All of which are in some form of -impending- trouble or another.

“What makes the entire situation so hard to grasp for everyone is that nobody wants to acknowledge any of this. Even though tales of often bitter poverty emanate from all the exact same places that Trump and Brexit and Le Pen come from too.

“That the politico-econo-media machine churns out positive growth messages 24/7 goes some way towards explaining the lack of acknowledgement and self-reflection, but only some way. The rest is due to who we ourselves are. We think we deserve eternal growth.”

Meijer’s hypothesis likely can be restated the following way: The world economy is no longer growing. Capitalism, however, requires growth to prevent it being blown apart by the force of its inherent contradictions. If growth has halted, the expansion and centralization of the productive forces comes to an end. With the end of growth, the centrifugal forces of disintegration are freely expressed, leading to the collapse of global institutions and states. We are not yet aware that this new normal has emerged in large part because we have been deluding ourselves that economic growth is the natural state of society.

2.

Let me offer an alternative hypothesis to explain what we are witnessing in American politics. This hypothesis rests on three premises:

First, I want to propose that neoliberalism is the crisis of the fascist state. In my definition, the most important feature of fascism is bourgeois state management of the national economy to increase accumulation. The crisis of fascism, further defined here as neoliberalism, simply means the bourgeois state progressively loses its capacity to manage its national economy for the purpose of increasing the accumulation of its national capital.

Second, I also propose this crisis is not an accident, but the expression of the inherent dynamic of the capitalist mode of production, which results in ever increasing concentration and centralization of capital in fewer hands at one pole and the emergence of a surplus population of workers at the other pole.

Finally, I propose that the inherent dynamic of the mode of production toward ever greater concentration and centralization of capital does not halt at national frontiers. The dynamic is thus expressed within the world market as the concentration not just of capitalist wealth, but also political and economic power in the hands of a single state, side by side with the loss of sovereignty of many states.

3.

Of course, most people do not actually believe the state today is fascist. They think fascism was some aberrant European political movement that emerged out of the Great Depression and defeated by “the democracies” in the 1940s. I understand this view, but humor me for a minute.

Suppose fascism wasn’t just an aberration ‘the democracies’ killed off in the 1940s. Suppose, instead, just a variant of fascism — the Axis powers — were killed off by another variant of fascism,  which we euphemistically call ‘the democracies’. In this hypothesis, fascism triumphed everywhere in the world market during the Great Depression and one variety or flavor of fascism went to war with another, resulting in the deaths of 100 million people.

(Yes, I know this is not the history you learned in the university, and I know your professors would never lie to you, but still — humor me. I am only making a hypothetical argument.)

Fast forward to the end of the war and the US variety of fascism took all of the marbles on the table. The only real surviving fascist state was the US fascist state; all the rest were basically reduced to the status of client states. No matter what you think about the UK, Germany, France, etc., they are dependent client states of the US — and basically everyone knows this is true, although we prefer to pretend our ‘allies’ are equals.

In any case, only one real fascist state emerged from the catastrophe we call World War II — the US.

This implies the crisis of fascism, what we call neoliberalism, should be distinguished by whether we are examining events in the United States or in the UK, Brazil, Zimbabwe or Greece. The loss of capacity to manage the national economies of the UK, Brazil, Zimbabwe or Greece — a process we call neoliberalism — has, in the United States, an altogether different impact: the capacity of the US to control the world economy is enhanced.

Events in both the UK and US are indeed expressions of neoliberalism, but they are the opposite poles of the same process.

4.

Now, why might this be important?

It is important because it suggests what we call ‘neoliberalism’ doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. For example, in Greece neoliberalism means the loss of all capacity to manage Greece national capital through Keynesian economic policy. This loss of capacity appears to be the consequences of joining the euro in 2000. But is it? Does Nigeria or Brazil have any more control over their respective national capitals than Greece? What about Venezuela? Mozambique? Zimbabwe? If fact, the loss of control by states over their national economies is not just true for these third rate countries. It is also true for China, Russia, Germany, etc.

China for instance has more control over its national capital than Zimbabwe of course, but this is just a matter of degree. Moreover, the situation is not static: with each passing day every country but the United States loses a little more of its ability to control its economy. Over time national governments will have loss so much of their control over their national capitals that, eventually, they will have no more ability to control their economy than the government of a typical mid-size American city.

Imagine a country that doesn’t control its borders, banks, employment, wages, investment, interest rates, fiscal or monetary policy: This is already the reality for a large number of countries today and that number is increasing. And, mind you, this isn’t because these countries are in any sense colonies of the United States, as might have been the case in the late 19th century, but simply the result of the development of capitalist production.

Capital not only concentrates wealth, it concentrates the political power wealth implies; there is no law that states this concentration halts at national borders. People commonly assume it does but no one has ever demonstrated this to be true. Moreover, capital doesn’t just strip entire countries of their capacity to manage their own economies, it effectively concentrates this control in a single country, the US — the sovereignty of most countries is reduced to a mere formality on paper.

Thus while capitalism kills many fascist states, it actually intensifies and globalizes American fascism.

5.

So picture what this tells us about what we have been witnessing for the last 40 years: we have watched as states have increasingly lost the capacity to manage their economies at one pole of the world market, while the US has become increasingly powerful at the other pole — expressed, most evidently, in its sheer military might.

Let me argue that this is no accident, nor are we just imagining it. If Marx was correct in his analysis of the results of the development of the capitalist mode of production, it is possible the normal operation of the mode of production is concentrating world capital in Washington’s hands, and with this economic and military power. If capitalism requires growth even as it requires the nation state be stripped of its sovereignty, this implies the inevitable conversion of other nation states into mere instrument of US policy.

I think this should set off alarm bells among the working class everywhere, and in first place the working class of the United States.

This ‘hypothetical’ argument suggests that working people of the United States are not just fighting Washington; they are literally engaged in a political struggle against the entire world market. Our class enemy, headquartered in Washington, is effectively the concentrated expression of the entire mode of production bound up with the world market. We are fighting an enemy who, (if modern money theory is correct about how the American dollar system works), literally has no budgetary constraints; and who can, therefore, afford to throw almost unlimited resources into its class war against the working class.

Let that just sink in for a minute.

6.

This has consequences for political events in the US that may not at first be evident.

For one thing, the struggle in Brazil, Zimbabwe or Greece against the loss of national sovereignty and the loss of capacity of those countries to manage their national economies, finds its expression in the United States as well in the election of Donald Trump. This has caused some people to assert a connection between UKIP, FN, AfD — and, however tenuously, to SYRIZA and Podemos. It is said people everywhere are struggling against globalization and the loss of national sovereignty they are experiencing.

Indeed, these movements, whether on the Right or the Left, have in common that it involves masses of working class voters who are attempting to seal themselves off from the competitive pressures of the world market and the impact these pressures are having on wages and living conditions. However, these movements are doomed at the outset, a fact so obvious for labor theory I need not even demonstrate this. These working classes of the countries have no choice but to succumb to the world market precisely because the world market is the product of their own activity.

At the same time, I want to insist that what is true for Brazil, Zimbabwe or Greece does not hold for the United States; and what is true for UKIP, FN, AfD (and also SYRIZA and Podemos) is not true for Trump.

To give an extreme example: SYRIZA entered government last year to find it had absolutely no control over its economy. Trump, by contrast, enters government to find the United States remains firmly in control not only of its own national capital, but the economies of many other nations and all the strategically important positions of power in the world market.

Even if we completely disregarded the purely superficial differences in historical development and political views between SYRIZA and Trump, they could not be less similar. SYRIZA has far more in common with UKIP than UKIP has with Trump. Politically, people routinely classify UKIP with Trump and even UKIP and Trump call his election, “The American Brexit.” Don’t believe it. UKIP is a response to the UK’s loss of national sovereignty, much like SYRIZA is for Greece; no such loss of national sovereignty has occurred in the United States and each day its capacity to manage the world economy increases.

7.

If despite Washington’s obvious increasingly dominant position over the world economy for the last 40 years, the working class in the United States also senses a loss of control it tends to explain as a loss of national sovereignty – expressed most clearly in its hostility to free trade and to immigrants – this loss is not the expression of an actual loss of US sovereignty. Rather, it expresses the contradictory impact growing US dominance of the world market has had on the relations between the two classes domestically.

The American working class finds itself increasingly not only in direct confrontation with its ‘own’ capitalists, but also the capitalists of the entire world market.

The working class’s response to this is understandable: it seeks, like any other social group, to seal off its home market from its competitors within the world market. As in the long history of the United States working class, this has taken predictable forms of anti-black and anti-immigrant hostility. To protect its own economic position, a portion of the working class — especially the historically most well off section — wants to lock out competitors for the sale of labor power.

This divisions in the working class traces its roots back to the Civil War, the black codes and the founding of the GOP. The GOP was itself an amalgamation of reprehensible anti-Irish nativism, and the Democrats erected barriers to free black labor. These two strands of sentiments have been with the American working class from the beginning. It is no surprise they have grown alongside the crisis as the strength of the capitalists relative to the working class has increased.

This implies a very unsettling dynamic: as capital concentrates ever more wealth, economic and political might in Washington’s hands, the power of the capitalist class relative to the working class increases; and with this, the divisions within the working class become ever more pronounced.

8.

How do you fight a class enemy that is drawing on the surplus labor of billions of workers beyond the borders of the United States? Not only do we not have a plan for this sort of fight, most people are mercifully oblivious of the odds against them. The truth is most Bernie-bots would fold their tents and desert to the other side if they had even an inkling of the odds against us in this conflict. Fortunately for the rest of us, most self-identified radicals on the Left reject historical materialism and have never actually made this pessimistic analysis. But you folks who have made this sort of analysis probably realize we are in deep deep shit right now.

No working class in the history of capitalism faces the odds against it the US working class faces right now; they cannot win within the limits of American politics.

13 thoughts on “Trump’s victory: Why it may be much worse than you think”

  1. Insteresting. It is not clear to me if your argument takes into account that only a large minority of the US citizenry is a functional oppressed working class with any desire to be emancipated. US workers on average have much more money and free time, and therefore much more political power, than the working class of Sierra Leone, and as your argument beautifully points out, both nations’ workers are employed by US capitalists. The whole idea of the working class seems problematic in the US, since workers are increasingly either promoted to the middle class or made unemployed, and the children of the middle class are often failing to find employment too. Most Americans buy huge amounts of unnecessary status symbols, fetish products and drugs (including the legal ones) that require the use of huge amounts of foreign labour, animal parts, plants, water, rubber, oil, coal, gas, metal. That money is the political power to violently aquire that capital and protect it from from those who would have it for biological needs. The most obvious example is that huge amounts of healthy grain that could be fed to starving humans is instead forecfully hoarded and used to make small amounts of fetish products like meat and alcohol for the American middle class and workers, and of course enslaving the animals takes a lot of other labour and land too. US oil aquisition means the US middle class (and well paid workers) can eat fish and drive unnecesarily large cars. Rubber is also taken from working class tropical nations for the later purpose. Of course, billionaires and States consume the other half of the world’s resources, but the difference between US billionaires and the US middle class is merely a difference of degree. There is no class conflict percieved there because they only see the consumer “benefits”. Nor is a class conflict percieved between US capitalists and any reasonably well paid US worker who can afford to buy meat and fashion instead of rice and rent (unlike most workers in the world). Often workers are stupid enough to keep themselves in poverty and poor health by doing so, and participate in their own oppression, but overtly, knowingly oppressed workers with a desire to be liberated are not a majority of the US citizenry. Meanwhile, animal agriculture is responsible for about half of all global warming and more than half of all environemental destruction and pollution. There is a reason Jill Stein doesn’t talk about this much and isn’t even vegan herself. The kind of equality that the meat-eating covertly-nationalist US left say they want is impossible because they want to keep their supremecy.

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    1. I think Jehu is a proud steakl and jet plane lover who might be averse to specific causes like animal rights or fuel waste because a technological solution is always around the corner. Libertarian ideology.
      That said, this argument against consumption ties into luxury theory. I don’t know anything about luxury theory but it sounds immensely important.
      Jehu was having an “end of days” type of discussion on twitter, as a result of today’s essay, about how Trump and Bannon might sustain capitalism with Keynesian infrastructure spending on an unseen scale, if this administration embraces the limitless money printing and lending ability of the Fed. I would be interested to know how such spending makes sense if capitalism is so advanced at this point. Doesn’t this tie in to our conspicuous consumption? Why rebuild all the shipyards with U.S. Steel if protectionism will mean we don’t need to ship as much and if trade is already struggling so badly that oil costs nothing and we need crazy big free trade deals like TPP with a predicted net economic growth result of less than one percent, just to concentrate more weath?
      So the U.S. might create corporate welfare on the condition that corporations create huge numbers of jobs, while they outlaw all worker protections and unions. Workers won’t care about losing their legal rights because they won’t need them for a time, during the coming boom. The Trump/Bannon/Keynes revolution, supported by Democrats.
      Ok. Then what? They kick the can down the road? When the economy then collapses again in 20 years because everything is built and nobody is buying or selling, because nobody needs all these products, and the working class has to fight to have a job again and finds itself without even the minimal protections they have today? If this cycle can be repeated, is this proof that Marx was wrong? If we slash luxury spending, are we already free of money, since the essentials can be obtained with little wealth? If we live simply, does the system collapse because our convenience is predicated on a luxury industry of oversupply? Can Keynesian policy be sustained indefinitely, if only in the U.S.?
      Was Marx an optimistic pussy, and is Trump about to grab him?

      Marx is right that every member of the working class is forced into competition with every other. Marx is right that capital tends to concentrate until there is a surplus of workers. But Marx didn’t realize that the final hegemon in the global capitalist system does not need to collapse. The Communist Manifesto was wrong because no matter how automated society becomes, people will insist on not taking advantage of those conveniences and instead fetishize things they don’t need, like wasting land use, wasting food, wasting water, and wasting fuel.

      How else to explain that we could have vastly reduced hours of labor right now, improving our health and securing our wealth, but people instead want to embark on a Gargantuan infrastructure rebuild of America, because it will give them a stupid job paving a road, engineering that road, selling hot dogs to the engineers and pavers passing through, and teaching reading and math to the children of those workers for as long as they are working there, before the construction zone becomes a ghost town between cities which will be something we can’t imagine, but something related to the ghost town. We could have communism today without any revolution and instead the working class wants to jump headlong into another generation of superfluous labor and oppression.

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      1. Can I suggest that history only looks “inevitable” in the rear view mirror. What Marx posits as inevitable in Capital does not and cannot appear inevitable to us because it involves forces we cannot directly observe. What we observe instead are the superficial expressions — money, capital and politics, etc. — of the forces that must inevitably results in communism. These superficial expressions cannot be extrapolated to the poiint communism emerges. There is no way to extrapolate money, property and the state to the point where we end up at a moneyless, propertyless and stateless society; something else must be involved that has nothing to do with money, property or the state. That something must connect money, property and the state, yet itself be progressively abolished by the present trajectory of production.

        All too often folks look at present society and see nothing that necessarily results in communism. It never occurs to them they are looking at the wrong things.

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      2. Did Marx talk about environmental destruction? Did he predict that workers would continue consuming more and more of the shitty products that capitalism uses to sustain itself until they depelete the world’s resources starve themselves to death? Both he and Jehu seem to imagine the environment as an unlimited resource, a fallacy, and Marx’s prediction also relies on the fallacy that workers and communists won’t consume things in a way that works against their own interests. Meanwhile, Jehu’s obsession with the religion of inevitability makes him completely uninterested in the material specifics of how the workers and “Communists” are sabotaging their own interests through insane self-harming class-betraying consumption.

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      3. There is a tweet of Trump’s that goes something like,

        “land is the most important commodity. There is a finite supply of it and nobody is making any more.”

        Plagiarized from Gone With The WInd?

        I don’t know Marx well enough to say that he didn’t account for limited resources with all his talk of “false scarcity”. It boggles that mind that if you looked for his statements on this, you would come up empty handed. I doubt it.

        With the exception of the global warming crisis, which I don’t take seriously because I don’t think will have anything but local effects, I don’t think there is any danger of running out of earth any time soon. If animals go extinct, humans will just grow them in cage and pools exclusively, as they mostly do now. If we can’t eat them, they don’t matter anyway, from a consumer capitalist perspective. Lots of plants don’t rely on bees. We will, unfortunately, survive as a species to torture ourselves forever. I think Jehu is at an impasse and admitted that we may have to look for some factor we haven’t identified yet, like scientists.

        The fact that we’ve come to this absurd situation where a Republican party will stand behind a Democrat plant and his outsider Tea Party advisor turned Keynesian, FDR maniac of hyper stimulus with an admission that the US will default on its debt if it likes, or it will create as much debt as will pay its bills, as it pleases, should give any Marxist pause.

        Hillary could run again and win. They now know where they need to campaign to swing the votes their way. It seems like the end of capitalism may be a political decision after all. Would Hillary bring it sooner than Trump, just because she would push capitalism to its contradictions, whereas Trump-Bannon will take advantage of this endpoint exception to Marxist theory, where anything is possible for the last capital left standing.

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      4. Vommunist is right. Communism will never work because there is no inevitability to it and people will live lives that work against any chance of communism. That’s why Jehu is reaching for straws.

        Ha! Ha!
        Das Kapital always wins. Communism was just the fantasy happy ending tacked on to the whole theory.

        If you can’t get away from money by concentrating on money alone, but you also can’t change your diet and lifestyle habits at all, because that would be beta (read: horror of “poverty”) and everyone wants to be alpha, then that precludes “other factors”, doesn’t it?

        There may well be other factors at play, but the working class are sure to work extra hard to keep those factors irrelevant.

        What’s that old poem,
        “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” ?
        Yeah, I don’t recall a second verse.

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    2. How can any country get away from money when even revolutionary Cubans would sooner eat condom pizza and cat meat than change their diet? Any experience of veganism or even just vegetarianism is “the horror of poverty” for the worker, according to Jehu. Basically, everything and anything that is different from the homesteading American lifestyle is experienced as “the horror of poverty”. All the other cultures in the world are irrelevant. Communism is for modern America only. And when other economies are sufficiently developed, they too will live exactly like Americans, afraid of being as they were for centuries or millenia, primitive, living in “the horrors of poverty”. Inflation? Alienation? What is that? Suddenly, when there are real actions the working class could take to push communism closer, Marxists introduce quack psychologism to explain that the workers don’t do anything but work, “for psychological fear of the horrors of poverty”. Is that inevitability or not?

      The Marxist view in Jehu’s inevitability religion puts all the levers of change squarely on the intellectual, because under capitalism the workers only have a concern for money. It is up to the Marxist theorist, the parasitic intellectual, to find the other factors and movements that lead to the end of money. The intellectual is outside the capitalist system and therefore will not experience the worker’s lack of imagination, their retarded mind or their limited horizon.

      Communism as inevitable, except for the intellectual. Did I get that wrong? I meant communism as inevitable for everyone, and the intellectual can make it go faster, because they can design a system where money is rendered obsolete by increasing capacity of production.

      This entire communist destiny stream in Marxism shouldn’t even be possible, if capitalism is entirely deterministic. We can’t, we just can’t do anything against money, because we can’t even conceive a world without money, but apparently we have the ability to conceive the idea of a world without it. Aren’t we special.

      *um-um-yum, eso condom pizza tastes almost like the real cheese
      *I hope you hava dee kitten meat in may beeftek toodeh, Pedro, yumyumyum. We ar eatinga like dee rich Americanos, even wit their embargo. Ja! No horrors of pobreza por nosotros ! No revolting rice and vegetables like those pitiful Chinese ! We hava de good communism.

      http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/red-gold-0000472-v21n10
      Vice: “my long search for Cuban beef”

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  2. This entry brings to mind some great concepts put forth in “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

    “Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule.”

    “The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them.”

    Your entry here is a truly great analysis of the current political economy. I sincerely applaud your work.

    #selfeducate

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  3. Fascinating and provocative post! And a little bit terrifying…

    One question: How would you define or describe other, earlier existing state formations? Or, provide a clear example of states engaged in something other than “bourgeois state management of the national economy to increase accumulation”. I’m not rejecting your definition, but have difficulty in understanding, then, how to identify other states that might NOT have been neoliberal or fascist, either directly or indirectly. (Maybe not the most optimally formed question, but you probably get my meaning.)

    Also, I think it’s really interesting to compare your view of the US and its current conjunctural capabilities with the latest “commentary” post from Immanuel Wallerstein, who seems to think that the Trump administration will have a very difficult time in getting the world to march to its beat. I’ve had a lot of respect over the years for Wallerstein’s work, so maybe he’s on to something…or maybe he’s just really lost the plot. It’s also possible that I’m missing a key distinction or two. I’d love to hear your take.

    http://iwallerstein.com/the-u-s-election-its-over-at-last-or-is-it/

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  4. Only come here occasionally and have never commented here before but I like the provocativeness of the posts.

    Given, as you say, what little we can see directly, I think this post has lots of things right. That capitalist states primarily serve the capitalist class and that most people in most countries of the world have effectively no sovreignty. And that capitalist growth is in big trouble, which doesn’t bode well for humanity in the near term. (On the other hand, most of the impoverished world population is basically existing outside the capitalist world economy, as ever.) But I think you go too far when you say all sovereignty is concentrated in Washington.

    If you conceive of the capitalist state as an ad hoc creation that exists to serve the capitalist class but now has to give the appearance of a “democracy,” there is no reason why the capitalist class, which after all is clearly a global class, to restrict its focus to DC, or for DC to be the only sovereign state, even if it is clearly the most important. As long as the capitalist class finds existing nation-states adequate for managing/governing the capitalist apparatus, the present set-up will continue – mostly running the show from DC but calling on other states (UK, EU, “free trade” deals, etc.) to manage various regional issues as they arise – and crises of legitimacy will be dealt with in the ad hoc way of the last 40 years (mostly by the constant refrain of inevitability and TINA).

    I do think you have it right that populist nationalism is a rear-guard, losing proposition, even if national identity is still a powerful tool for encouraging local capital to, let’s say, humor the local working class rather than cut it loose entirely. (Thinking about places like Germany, Japan and China here). But the difficulty, as always, is in providing an alternative to begging for crumbs.

    I don’t claim to have any special insight but I do think the answer has to come from decoupling work from capitalist accumulation. If MMT means the US govt could pay people a salary to raise, teach and otherwise care for the young, elderly and needy (including family members) without the need to show a profit – which it might – then I could see that leading more people to question whether capitalist accumulation is really so essential to modern life.

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  5. I don’t necessarily disagree that there are material reasons for the primacy of the US in the world market but, at the same time, politics within the US has decisively turned against the post-war “international” institutions that have managed that primacy, and this goes back to the fall of the SU. The first and especially the second Iraq War are the most visible examples of this politics. You argue that this is capital destroying the “fascist state” but it remains to be seen that global capital flows can be managed without the post-WWII “Keynesian” institutions (Meijer’s globalization and centralization), while the US Treasury Department makes policy in direct response to political winds in the US. Trump’s attempts to dictate terms to Mexico or China are only the latest examples of this political trend, which works against the material forces propping up the US government.

    The US is like the classical Athenian Empire, on the verge of triumph, it’s powerful men believe they can abandon that structures that raised them up, while dictating terms to the nations from which that power derives…

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