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Dead Souls. Debt, the Environment, and the end of Capitalism.*

“That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.”

— John Angelos, commenting after the death of Freddy Gray

“We’re capitalists, get used to it.”
— Nancy Pelosi

“The problem with liberals is that they go through life being terrified somone will accuse them of being a leftist.”
— Norman Mailer

 

America is a corporate dictatorship.

Corporate dictatorship is a form of fascism.

This fascism takes many forms but all of these forms return to the same purpose which is the enforced existence of a permeant underclass of wage slaves whose poverty is a key component in generating wealth for the ruling class.

Allowing debt to be sold transforms it into a type of currency. Allowing unregulated sales of insurence on debt transforms debt into both a financial toxin and an instrument of oppression.

Debt cannot exist without wage slaves and wage slaves are transformed from citizens to a form of currency chattel.

Since debt is “valuable” and the sale of debt is essentially unregulated and ranges in “value” from 25 to over 60 trillion dollars it is the equivalent of juggling nuclear warheads.

“Too big to fail” is Orwellian doublespeak designed to obscure the blunt reality of the dictatorship and the blunt trauma of being a wage slave.

Since debt is traded, bought and sold, and because it is “valuable” it creates an incentive for banks, hedge funds, and governments, to maintain a vast permanent underclass of wage slaves who can never be freed from debt bondage.

No amount of work, and no increase in the minimum wage will be sufficient to remove debt because to remove or cancel debt would be to rip a massive multi trillion dollar hole in the economy as it exists for the ruling class.

As a result all so called Progressive arguments about social, political and economic reform, are fated to be failures because they refuse to acknowledge that their opponent is not this or that piece of morally bankrupt legislation, like the odious and obscene Citizen’s United decision but, capitalism.

When a Progressive suggests canceling student loan debt, which stands at roughly 1.5 trillion dollars, it is a miniscule percentage of total debt but more importantly, if the debt was canceled, the debt sellers and buyers would have to be compensated or there would be a run on the rest of the debt network as “investors” (which is a euphemism for gamblers) raced for the exit.

To prevent a run on debt-currency, the banks, hedge funds and concerned (i.e., involved) governments would have to announce an inflationary spiral “caused” the sudden influx of millions of debt-free individuals into the economy with increased cash flow and purchasing power.

Since that would create a corresponding decrease in debt-currency-value, the gamblers would raise prices, and interest rates, which would create a one step forward two steps back dynamic for the working poor.

If that were not sufficient to maintain the underclass of wage slaves the debt-currency gamblers and profiteers would sell off “assets” including large scale lay-offs in an effort to increase the number of impoverished which would create a stagnant base of future wage slaves desperate to return to employment.

Increases in interest rates, stagnation of wages (due to the “slow down” in the economy) and decreases in available jobs, would force wage slaves to recreate their debt which in turn would be sold and used to rebuild portfolios that would in turn be used as collateral for loans that would be leveraged against the wage slaves who would be forced into a repetition of the previous cycle of servitude.

With the dismantling of the industrial manufacturing infrastructure, it is no accident that Credit Default Swaps, Subprime Loans, and the “Student Loan Crisis” and ratios of greater debt to household saving, emerged in the 1990s and reached a razor’s edge in 2008.

It is no accident that there was also a corresponding rise in the prison industrial complex, the myth of (Black) “super Predators” (which was in turn an echo of every other previous effort to gin up the mob against some other vulnerable minority like the Yellow Journalism scares about the Chinese and opium dens) or the rise of para-military police forces and the stripping away of the limited civil liberties that offered a thin veneer of protection of the individual against the state.

The “Housing Crisis” or “Bubble” was in fact a fire sale.

Obama’s true legacy (along with helping to shred the Bill of Rights by claiming he could use “secret evidence” to justify the murder of a US citizen) is that he saved Post Industrial Capitalism from a revolution. Unlike FDR, who saved capitalism while creating a socialist infrastructure, Obama did not reform the system but instead patched the holes, and gave it a trillion dollar blow job.

Had he not been a bourgeois liberal he would have used the crash of 2008 as an opportunity to nationalize the banks and assert control of the pirates on Wall Street but instead, determined to prove he belonged, he said, I am all that stands between you (the ruling class) and the mob with pitch forks and torches.

An echo of that is found when well intentioned Progressives and “Democratic Socialists” point rightly, to the urgent need to provide universal healthcare, reform of the banking industry, the infrastructure, and the need to save the environment.

What is missing in every one of their plans is the elephant in the room – capitalism succeeds when it uses debt as a form of currency. The use of debt as currency creates a system in which the poor are themselves transformed into a type of currency.

What is missing is a direct statement that capitalism is slavery.

What is missing is a direct statement that in order to reform healthcare, capitalism has to be ended.

What is missing is a direct statement that in order to end poverty, save the environment and save what we charitably call, civilization, capitalism has to be eliminated.

In order for debt to succeed as currency, it must have value.

In order for debt to have value there must be debt-holders.

In order for that to work for the ruling class, poverty becomes essential.

If you eliminate poverty, you not only free people from wage slavery, but as a corollary, you eliminate the oppressing class who profit from the existence of wage slaves and poverty.

If the healthcare system were nationalized the people who profit from poverty stricken people who can’t afford insurance, would run for the exit and demand the creation of a compensatory financial scheme.

If private health insurance were eliminated the banks, credit card industry, the debt-sellers, the debt insurance hedge funds, the pharmaceutical conglomerates and their investors, and the entire parasitical infrastructure of the black market for drugs, including dealers, and their corollaries, would demand the creation of an alternative system that returned the provisionally liberated post-debt citizens to a condition of debt-slavery.

Class warfare is always framed by the ruling class as being aimed at them when the truth is, they are engaged in asymmetrical warfare against the underclass of wage slaves.

The only way to effectively break the cycle is to seize control of all financial industries at the same time.

That of course is a revolution and for lack of a better definition, means the dictatorship of the proletariat and the criminalization of the Old Regime.

Holy Dialectical clusterfuck Batman.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the rest are well intentioned.

Good intentions are the doorbell chime on the doorstep to hell.

Not because they’re wrong, per se, but because an authentic revolution will be crushed; violently.

A piecemeal and thus half-assed soft revolution will result first in a political stalemate, and then secondly, a concerted deliberate effort to block any and all efforts at authentic reform, leaving instead half-assed partial reforms that do nothing to address the underlying systemic abuse.

No candidate currently running will receive a historical generational mandate akin to that won by FDR – who, even with a clear super majority and confronting a national crisis, was blocked at every turn by the tools of the ruling class.

Short of a 1929 size collapse neither Sanders nor Warren or any one of the other liberals, Progressives or “Democratic Socialists” will be able to overcome the entrenched corporate fascists and their allies including the reactionary, neo-fascist, crypto-confederates led by Mitch McConnell, or their allies among the militant evangelical fascists rallying around Mike Pence.

While it is crucial to stack the Supreme Court to roll back the colonization of the court by corporate and religious ideologues, the fact remains that control of both houses and the White house by “Progressives” or an alliance of “Progressives” and liberals (beholden to Wall street) is unlikely at best and hopeless at worst.

When Nancy Pelosi said, we’re capitalists get used to it, she revealed that she is not only a cynical creature of the system but that she’s a world class moron.

Not only did the statement reveal a tone deaf sense of politics more importantly it revealed the truth – as Lilly Tomlin used to say about the phone company when it was a monopoly – we’re the phone company, we don’t have to care.

In other words, Pelosi is the mouthpiece for the corporate monopoly which is the federal mafia.

Her disdain, and contempt, are based on her faith in a ruling class which every so often allows a few peasants to rise up the ladder and to be marketed as symbols of how hard work and tenacity and hustle can pay off.

But the truth is, even if you explained to her that the transformation of debt into a form of money forces the system to maintain a permanent underclass of wage slaves to ensure its survival, she either wouldn’t care or wouldn’t understand.

Of course that’s true for a lot of other people and also true for the tens of millions of fools who keep buying tickets to the rigged national lotto.

The result of this is a system that is cannibalizing itself.

As Gore Vidal said: There is one political party in America. It is the property party and it has two wings – the liberal wing and the conservative wing.

That must be amended now to recognize that the party has two wings – the conservative wing, represented by Pelosi, and the fascist wing, represented by what used to be the Republicans.

The refusal to define the government as a corporate dictatorship is down two fundamental truths.

First, the liberals are both terrified of being called leftists and because they are terrified of the fascists, and because the system that is the dictatorship controls the establishment media and the establishment media keeps repeating propaganda about the government.

Desperate to maintain power in the face of a demographic transformation, and the rising cost of oppressing tens of millions, the fascist wing of the Republican party seized power and the liberal wing of the Republican party surrendered.

The liberals, as antagonistic as the Republicans towards reform, as it would require their political and social suicide, are offering capitalism with a smiley face and a fresh coat of paint while trying to beat the demographic surge – represented by AOC and her cult – into either submission or political irrelevancy.

Simultaneously, the fascists and their allies are ginning up Freikorps-esque gangs, and individual mass shooting terrorists, destroying what little remains of the legal infrastructure, that held “civil society” together, and also either doing nothing to save the environment or are actively working to destroy it.

Taken altogether these efforts are aimed at creating an emergency which, like a series of Reichstag fires will allow for an expansion of power at the expense of civil liberties.

Make no mistake, the refusal to enforce reasonable control of guns, is intended to revitalize the Confederacy by creating a perpetual state of terror in which the Commons ceases to be of use because it is fundamentally not safe to participate.

The recommendation from neo-fascists and their allies, to arm teachers and places of worship is a covert plan to transform the country into a series of militarized bunkers which amounts to an end run around the Bill of Rights.

And armed, terrified and terrifying society is not a free society.

Unable to defeat demographics by offering more persuasive and better arguments they have resorted to gerrymandering, stacking the courts, and creating a perpetual state of war and rolling crisis in which the dreary but stable business of a functioning bureaucracy cannot survive.

Trump emerges then as a symptom of a systemic failure.

The liberals and the “Progressives” refusal to define Trump as a symptom of a sick oppressive system is itself a symptom of a sick oppressive system.

Having dismantled the industrial base in order to crush the unions (America’s version of Thatcherism) the ruling financial class had to invent a new form of currency.

Debt as currency added a new layer of destruction to the post industrial post union landscape which in turn generates higher levels of black market or alternative economies including drug dealing, which ironically mirrors the official economy by utilizing debt as a form of cash and the sale/purchase of “collateral” as alternative forms of commerce.

The absurd, Orwellian War on Drugs occurs simultaneously with the economic con resulting in a socio-economic yin and yang of state oppression, corruption, and at the same time exploitation resembling a post modern gladiatorial thunder dome.

As an example consider how one consistently reads about the theft and subsequent “discovery” of rare thus valuable works of art – stolen, traded, and resold – as insurance or Credit Default Swap Instruments to facilitate the sale of drugs.

This model is used for large scale black market transactions and for smaller ones with the black market Credit Default Swap Instrument changing from a priceless antique to whatever has been “valued” relative to the standards of the community.

It is no accident that the opioid crisis coincided with the inability of millions of people to obtain health insurance.

It is no coincidence that both the legal and black market sale of opioids exploded as the economy (for wage slaves) collapsed, the jobs were disappeared (by corporate design), imperial adventures failed (or succeeded if you were an imperial investor) and the stock market “soared.”

It soared of course because as debt expanded, the number of debt-slaves expanded, which reduced the amount of money in circulation, which in turn, makes commodities harder to acquire. As they become harder to acquire their “value” as a reflection of artificial scarcity increases which fuels the stock boom.

The stock boom in turn requires an ever increasing expansion of artificial scarcity and the cycle repeats.

In an all too brief moment of lucidity and genius, surveying Russia and the world near the middle of the 19th century, Nikolai Gogol created Dead Souls in which the protagonist purchases a vast list of the dead and creates a fabricated list of “living” serfs.

Planning to sell the list and pocket the insurance his scheme falls apart and he has to get out of Dodge.

Of course no one in the establishment is going to look at a crazy genius Russian novelist and say, his book sounds uncomfortably like a gloss of contemporary debt slavery in America.

Instead we get the dead on arrival paint by numbers arguments.

The wage slaves demand an increase to the minimum wage and the powers that be and their media flaks say, but that will cause an inflationary spiral and layoffs.

At the same time corporations announce IPOs and the creation of a new wave of stock based millionaires which in turn generates a spiral in housing and rent costs, and corresponding increases in ancillary industries like construction.

The prices for homes and apartments skyrocket, family businesses crash, communities lose their souls, and we’re told, it’s not inflation but the sign of a booming economy in rude health.

As a sign of the success of this scam (and by success we mean the cost and resulting social friction) the environmental movement is leaping into an Occupy phase.

Large disruptive protests occurred around the world with several areas of London being taken hostage in large scale acts of civil disobedience.

Ironically the police, crippled by years of budgetary “austerity” were and are relatively ill equipped to respond.

As the demonstrations expand – and they will – and as the environmental crisis expands – and it will – the establishment – both in its liberal collaborationist-reactionary Pelosi and fascist Trump forms – will authorize the police and if need be National Guard to crush the protests before they can become a rebellion.

Occupy failed because of a lack of discipline but crucially also because the government suspended civil liberties and using the infrastructure put in place by the Patriot Act, cut off the head of the movement and watched the body die.

The same tactics will be employed against the environmentalists.

The difference is that the environment’s collapse will impact the police and the National Guard as much as everyone else.

A spokesman at the London demonstration made a telling point. He said that the key to their success will ultimately be the refusal of the police to stop them.

Admitting it sounded grandiose, and no doubt reflecting recent semi successful episodes in Africa in which the army and police either did nothing or were sympathetic, his comments reflect a potential emergent paradigm shift.

Police officers and National Guardsman are no more able to breath underwater than anyone else.

They know that.

It does not mean transformative victory is at hand but it does mean that, however slim, there is a window through which victory might arrive.

As always though, History is a Trickster, and while it never takes prisoners, it holds the world hostage.

Decide on which side of the barricade you will stand.

Listen

 

*This is an updated version of a previous post.

In a lovely example of synchronicity, AOC and Bernie Sanders made the following proposal today (from The Guardian):

“The plan proposed today by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would cap credit card interest rates at 15%, Bloomberg News reports.
The legislation would also let post offices offer low-cost basic financial services, such as checking and savings accounts and loans.

“Today’s loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates,” the pair said in a statement outlining the plan.”

A perfectly reasonable, accurate and moral proposal doomed to failure because it is incremental and falls short of what is essential: proposing the nationalization of all key industries the elimination of debt-slavery and all of its corollaries and of course a refusal to admit their opponents are corporate fascists.

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