Coalition politics in America today

If you believe the election hype, either 1) Trump made America great, and if you re-elect him he'll keep making America great, or 2) America was great before Trump, who came out of nowhere to make America a bad thing, and America will be great once again when Joe Biden shows up in January to claim the White House.

The reality is that America was, is, and will be ruled through coalition politics, before, during, and after Trump. Now, of course, this wasn't a topic you could discuss on The Old Site -- the mods on that site would call it "conspiracy theory," as if all politics were conducted by individuals operating separately and without assistance and as if they never worked together on anything.

There's also an election run-up discussion of omigod Fascism, as if some sort of Fascism was going to spring up out of nowhere and rule America. In reality there are plenty of people who experience American politics as Fascist, once again before and during Trump, and who will continue to do so in the future, because of the way American politics is organized.

Now, I'm not an expert on any of these coalitions, but I'm not stupid like the mods at The Old Site, so I know they exist. And maybe I missed some coalitions that need explaining, in which case you can voice your objections in the comments section. For now, we have:

1) Police and militias -- this was a coalition that was broadly exposed by the Black Lives Matter uprisings of this year. When people saw the militia "counterprotesters," they were able to see in full daylight the police support for militia violence, the police acting as surrogate militias in committing violence against African-Americans (see e.g. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others too numerous to mention), and the acquiescence of numerous mayors afraid to challenge police unions on their connections to groups that would make the Ku Klux Klan look like the Wobblies by comparison. Some day, we can hope, people will look back at the police killings of more than 900 people each year throughout the last decade of American history and wonder why it had to be this way.

2) Donors and politicians -- this was of course the main avenue of political education offered by the Bernie Sanders campaign. In the early stretches of the primaries you had Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, and a couple dozen other candidates whose main interest in life was to get a lot of billionaire money and fool everyone into thinking that, if elected, they were going to do something other than what their billionaire donors wanted them to do. In reality, politics in America is a pay-to-play affair -- you donate to political candidates and their shadow organizations, or you put something into the great river of dark money that's out there, and the candidates do your bidding with the understanding that if they don't follow orders the great river will dry up for them.

Thus the main purpose of the American political class today is to further enrich the already-rich. Our country fights wars to prop up military corporations, funds oil companies in pretend "climate change" bills, grants the super-rich direct Federal Reserve "loans" (actually gifts), and so on.

3) Anti-homeless city councils and wealthy homeowners -- Some day, we can hope, it will be seen as ridiculous that a country with the resources ours has, also has more than 500,000 homeless people. Anyone can see why this number persists by observing what the cities do. Most every city in America, with a few shining exceptions, pushes its homeless populations away by creating extremely restrictive rules as regards "loitering" or "vagrancy" or whatever nice term can be conjured up to get rid of this population. Of course the problem is not solved at all this way.

Why do these non-solutions persist? American housing is based on a Ponzi scheme. In the American scheme, property buyers are obliged to borrow absurd amounts of money to buy properties. The properties must, over time, then accumulate value in order to allow said property buyers to sell their properties at a profit, thus to pay off the absurd loans. The American Ponzi scheme affects the homeless situation, and this is readily apparent in the municipal politics of states like California, which have absurd property values and enormous homeless populations.

The city councils of America's thusly-created dens of iniquity cities are beholden to these property owners, who think that the main way to maintain their high and ever-increasing property values is to scoot the homeless out of their towns. Building houses for the homeless, apparently, only further incites the paranoia of said property owners. Thus, as housing become less and less affordable, America accumulates an ever-larger population of persecuted individuals suffering from COVID-19, starvation, drug addiction, hypothermia, and other such hazards of year-round outdoor existence in polluted cities.

4) NGOs and political parties -- Onetime rabble-rouser Jane Hamsher publicized this connection back in 2009 in two brief posts on a blog which was once called Firedoglake: Rahm Goes Apeshit on Liberals in the Veal Pen, and Van Jones: A Moment of Truth for Liberal Institutions in the Veal Pen. The idea behind calling it the "Veal Pen" is to dramatize the notion that "public interest" organizations are more or less bound to endorse whatever it is that Democratic Party politicians want to do with their power, regardless of how bad said Democratic Party politicians actually are. If said organizations were to stop with the "Vote Blue No Matter Who" strategies, they'd lose their foundation money.

Thus one of the main hurdles for any new political party trying to make it in America is to be able to pry away membership from the NGOs -- the Sierra Club, NARAL, and so on -- given that all of the money and effort that goes into these NGOs goes into propping up neoliberal Democrats. As Hamsher pointed out, under the Obama administration:

The truth is — they’ve all been sucked into insulating the White House from liberal critique, and protecting the administration’s ability to carry out a neoliberal agenda that does not serve the interests of their members. They spend their time calculating how to do the absolute minimum to retain their progressive street cred and still walk the line of never criticizing the White House.

We can expect the Obama ties to the Veal Pen to re-establish themselves with a vengeance when Biden re-takes the White House.


Okay, now we proceed to the problem of what to do about coalition politics in America. The situation is such that a revolution will be necessary. Richard Wolff explains, below, what has to happen. The material on transitions begins at 15:00:

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

...here's an interesting, almost hope-providing article I chanced upon the other day about why that particular terror is erroneous, and just how erroneous it is: https://gen.medium.com/i-lived-through-collapse-america-is-already-there...

If this is really rock-bottom, at least that means we can start climbing back up.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

ppnortney's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

...that page is blocked for me though I turned off my ad killers, etc. Fortunately, found it archived here: https://archive.is/Ily9Z

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The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. --Aesop

travelerxxx's picture

@ppnortney

Thanks for the link – it worked. I'm always hesitant to follow untitled medium.com links as some are paywall articles. I get three free per month and I like to know ahead of time if they are going to count toward my freeloader allotment. In fact, I wish they'd just completely block me on the paywall stuff and let me decide whether I want to burn one of my few free passes.

A subscriber may not realize the article is not a freebie. Once I click on it, it counts all the same. For instance, all Caity Johnstone articles at medium.com are free. None of Umair Haque's are free. This is one reason he is a master of clickbait headlines. For me, his articles seldom match the lead-in ...although sometimes they do.

I don't know whether Indi Samarajiva is free at medium.com or not.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@travelerxxx I'm not a subscriber; I just found it.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

polkageist's picture

Thank you Cassiodorus for a well-written and organized essay; but I especially want to thank you for including Richard Wolff's talk. He provides a roadmap that is too often lacking in discussions of what is next.

I also want to thank the Liberal Moonbat for the link to the essay on societal collapse. It is most informative and comforting in an odd way. It is also an excellent follow-up to Wolff.

All I can hope is that the change won't be too bloody and that the elites suffer the most pain. Unfortunately, history does not point to such a good conclusion. But the lower orders have always had hope if nothing else.

I am very glad to have C99 in my life. Thank you all.

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-Greed is not a virtue.
-Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.
-Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy, In a speech at the White House, 1962

magiamma's picture

He really points to the only sane way out. Sending it out to folks. Thanks for it and your essay.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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Capitalism seems to cover a lot of ground. Was 18th century capitalism the same as 19th century capitalism? Same as 20th or 21st century capitalism? Does China have a capitalist system? Right now it seems we have "bankster-ism" as an economic and governmental system in the U.S. Our currency should have the motto "Avaritia bona est".

P.S. Watching Prof. Wolff, you can change the speed you watch up to 1.5 under settings without losing anything, and he seems more energetic. Just sayin'.

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magiamma's picture

@Snode
really get impatient with him. heh

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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travelerxxx's picture

Finally got around to the Richard Wolff video last night. It's very good. I hadn't heard him go into the feudalism/capitalism thing before. At least not in such detail.

Interestingly enough, while I expect younger folks to be more open to the worker-owned/cooperative idea, my father (in his 90's now) thinks the world of them. He often brags how the grocery he frequents is worker-owned. This happens to be in Kansas. He always mentions how the service and product quality is better there than the larger chains. Prices are on par with the larger chains, also. Sorry, I can't remember the name.

Further, in my youth, a cooperative was not an unknown thing to us. "The CO-OP" was farmer owned and was massive. We dealt with them all the time. They weren't the only business organized in the cooperative mold in our area.

I've seen lists of cooperatives in the US. Here's one list I just quickly drug up – and I know they missed many. I think they're simply showing the larger ones. It does give you an idea of just how many there already are.

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