Monday, January 16, 2017

Even Cuter

Trump... even cuter than Obama and the "intelligence" community whining about Russian hacks,  is the spectacle of Trump complaining about the "fake news" that Vladimir & Co. own his sorry ass, having captured it on video or audio or Photoshop sploshing on a king size bed in a king size hotel with sex workers.

Right, the man whose public coming-out into politics was the assertion that Barack Obama lacked a US birth certificate;  the man who says multiple bankruptcies prove what a good businessman he is;  the man who is now the Swift Boater/Bed-Wetter-In-Chief, whose transition team included a person or persons, proclaiming that a pizza restaurant in DC was the front for a a ring of pedophiles made up, of course, of Democrats-- Republicans confining their perversions to men's restrooms and the opportunistic groping of unsuspecting women-- is complaining about "fake news."

You can't make this stuff up, literally.  Or you can. Ask Kellyanne Conway.  Channeling Joseph Goebbels, she makes this shit up all the time.  It's all fake news, all the fake time. But...  she looks the part, meaning she's white, with blonde hair, toned, an smiling.  She wouldn't say those things if they weren't true because, after all, she's white, blonde, a mother. toned, and smiling. She's snapshot America, the snapshot being a selfie, the selfie being air-brushed, cropped, edited.

That's what counts.  John Lewis?  He's black. You know you can't believe him.  Really, what has he ever done?  Oh, SNCC?  What's that?   Oh, Selma?  I knew a Selma once, wink wink nod nod.

Dissing John Lewis? Are you kidding me? Hey rich white boy-- while you were busy being a toy soldier spoiled brat, John Lewis risked his life battling the "alt-right" of  those years, which on occasion dressed up in bed sheets, but more often that not looked just like any other white racist. Like today.

If there was a shred of decency in any capitalist, any capitalism, anywhere.... forget it.  I know there's no such thing.

To all those who think/thought  Trump's victory wasn't a victory of reaction, of racism; to all those who thought that this vote represented a rejection of "establishment politics;" that this was the stirrings of populism; that this was the rebellion of  "poor whites"-- devastated by layoffs, outsourcing, Wal-Mart-ization; that they weren't casting their lot with reaction in voting for Trump-- you have no idea of how bad this shit really is, and how much worse it's going to get.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

S. Artesian
January 16, 2017






Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Worse than Imagined

Hulk Hogan in the White House, although it's not quite clear if Hogan is quite as malicious, petty, mean-spirited as Donald Trump.

After today's press conference, here's a (chilling) thought:  Team Trump-- Hulk Donald, son-in-law Thing Kushner, Spidey Reince Priebus, Rex the Wonder Dog Tillerson, Not Black Not Widow Ivanka--, an anti-brain trust for the ages, huddles around the office copy of the Erdogan Playbook For Dummies 

"Look at this," says Not Black Not Widow, pointing to the "How to Stage A Coup" chapter.

"That's what we need to do," says Spidey Priebus, "stage a coup."

"I don't get it," says Hulk, "we won the election.  We don't need to stage a coup."

"Not us," barks Rex, "we don't actually make a coup.  We stage a coup, against us, as if  there's a conspiracy in the "deep state" to overthrow the will of the people.  Then we get to purge the military of anyone a bit too concerned with the Atlantic Alliance, not up to speed on the glory of Putin-ism; we get to purge the intelligence agencies of the untrustworthy sorts--"

"Well, wouldn't that be all of them?" offers Hulk.  "Isn't 'untrustworthy' supposed to be what they do?'

"Point taken," woofs Rex. "We get rid of all of them and reach out to Murdoch and Bannon and Stormfront to build a reliable intelligence service."

"Right," says Not Black Not Widow.  "Then we can get rid of the judges; then the  professors we don't like. We can get rid of the congressional representatives not on board with our message and/or staying at the Sheraton chain; and that's just the beginning.  All with one little staged, and defeated special coup."

"Brilliant," says Thing, "that's my girl!"

"Uh...no," say Hulk, "that's my girl."


January 11, 2017

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Kinda Kute



Ya make a guy feel humble
I make a fool of myself again
Ya make me trip and stumble
Just go dance by yourself again....

And you're kinda kute baby, kinda kute baby
See you dance in your satin suit baby
When you move gotta sit right down
No competition with
This kinda kutie around

--Joe Jackson, "Kinda Kute" 1979, from the album I'm the Man

Kinda Kute, isn't it, watching the president of the United States whimper and moan about Russian "intervention" in the 2016 election?  Kinda precious, isn't it, watching the titular head of a government that has intervened before, during, and after elections, and with lawyers, guns, money, and drugs, in countries around the world and across decades,  whine about the treacherous, nefarious, outrageous actions of the Putin government which violated the gentleman's code of coup plotting....by hacking and releasing emails?  

Are you putting me on?  The US which overthrows elected governments in Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile; invades Vietnam rather than abide by the terms of the 1954 Geneva accords; blockades Cuba and launches numerous assassination attempts against Fidel Castro; funds an army of death squads against the revolution in Nicaragua; that prepared the right wing forces in Italy for civil war, if and when the communists gained elected power; is complaining about the Russians exposing thousands of emails written by members of the Democratic Party National Committee, and the Clinton campaign?

For twelve years, various amalgams of the right-- Tea Parties, conservatives, racists, fascists neo and/or plain and simple-- have been working diligently to suppress voting in states throughout the union, and the chief executive makes a big deal out of hacked emails?  

Did the president demand an end to these attempts to restore Plessy v. Ferguson, making the public accommodation of voting separate and unequal?

Did the president make a big deal about the North Carolina election officials reducing polling places in counties where African-American turnout could prove critical?   Nope.   Did he make a big deal out of Wisconsin's voter ID requirements?  Nope.  

In 2013, did he introduce new legislation immediately after the US Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, in order to preserve Section 5 that was left without any statutory power?  Nope.  No legislation introduced. 

But Russia hacks the emails of the Clinton campaign chairperson and...?  It's sabotage?  An act of war?  Reason to expel 35 Russian government employees?  

What?  They're spying?  No shit, Sherlock/Barack, you should have been a detective.  That's what they're supposed to do.  That's what they all, meaning yours, theirs, every country's agents, do in each other countries.

It's like Obama saying Trump represents a vicious threat to immigrants-- not that Trump doesn't, but Obama saying it?  Obama who has deported more people in the last 8 years than any president in US history?  Just good at his job, you think? 

Calling this display of "outrage"  sanctimonious, self-righteous, noxious hypocrisy is a gross understatement.

This isn't sabotage; this isn't a scandal.  That the Congress of the United States wants to investigate this supposed intervention when it has supported lock, stock, and barrel disenfranchising voters throughout its own existence, save for the brief period of Congressional Reconstruction after the Civil War, tells us all what it really is: a circus.  The clowns have already assembled.

S.Artesian
January 1, 2017





Monday, December 19, 2016

Ringing out the neo, Ringing in the neo

1. It has been going on a long time, hasn't it? The bourgeoisie have been on an offensive; the offensive was triggered by a decline in the rate of profitability; the offensive has not been able to systematically overcome the decline in the rate of profit; the offensive was kick-started with the overthrow of Allende in Chile, and the OPEC price spike of 1973. Both represent the attack on labor, on the class of laborers; on the living and the living standards of the workers; one using the hammer of military force, the other using the anvil of market force.  Behind every free market, there stands a death squad. Said that 43 years ago; said it yesterday. Will say it tomorrow.  Maybe from a secure, undisclosed location.

Called it  "neo-liberalism," "deregulation," "privatization," "laissez-faire," call it anything.  It does not matter.  Not that free trade, open markets,  neo-liberalism, monetarism, deregulation-ism, Laffer-ism, are merely bullshit, but that all of the above are bullshit with a purpose; bullshit serving a specific class interest; bullshit designed to obscure, veil, misdirect.  All of the above are ideology, embodying denial, a disavowal of the reality of reducing living standards, driving down wages, increasing poverty, transferring wealth up the social ladder.

That disavowal is what ideology and pathology have in common; disavowal is the conjuncture, the secular trend, uniting capital with social psychosis, David Cameron with Ted Bundy, Donald Trump with Rupert Murdoch with  Steve Bannon with Jim Crow II with Richard Spencer with Newt Gingrich with the Cato Institute with the Koch Brothers with Goldman Sachs, a regular daisy chain, cluster-fuck, group grope of rippers and liquidators and oh yes, entrepreneurs.

That disavowal of reality makes it so easy for the bourgeoisie, and their smaller versions, the petty partisans of capital,  to  disavow those above iterations of ideology, of property over life, and adopt and adapt apparently contradicting ideologies, embracing punitive tariffs, border walls, government intervention, trade and currency wars, because like all of the above, they too are a disavowal of reality.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations?  That's so yesterday, so 20th century.  Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, that's the ticket, that's the guidebook to post-modern capitalism.

Wealth and poverty?  Wealth is the enhancement, development, embellishment of social time. Capital is the destruction, through expropriation, of the time belonging to others.  Value is poverty.  All economics, all "laws of economics" are "laws" of property. The law of value exists as a "law" only to the degree that the particular class relation of capital to labor, the particular classes of capital, bourgeois and proletariat, owners of the means of production and sellers of labor power as a commodity, exist.  Impaired accumulation precipitates more intense class struggle. Certainly on the part of the bourgeoisie.  On the part of the proletariat......answer the phone, would you?  Before it goes dead.

2. The alliances, networks, arrangements  administering to the accumulation of capital are brittle amalgams, some more brittle than others.  Any one or all of them can only stand so much pressure, that pressure being the result of impaired accumulation.  A lot more pressure has been applied since 2008.  It takes a toll, doesn't it?  Rebellions are launched and suppressed, governments get dismissed; presidents impeached; parties collapsed.  Some amalgams are more brittle than other, and some tolls taken are more severe than others. Italy-- the government resigns; Europe--Britain votes out;  Brazil--a president falls; Venezuela--food disappears; Syria--cities and populations are uprooted, destroyed, dispersed.

The whole world, more or less, more and less, become itinerant-- migratory.  Camps, camp followers; the drowned, and the burned-- that's the price exacted by impaired accumulation.  That's the price rung up in the defeat of........the striking workers in Madison, Wisconsin in 2011; by the capitulation of Syriza; by the monstrosity called the "war on drugs;" in the failure of workers' organizations to oppose voter suppression in the United States; hell, in the failure of the UAW at the Flint truck assembly plant to take direct action against the poisoning of the population of Flint, Michigan by the government of the state of Michigan.

(Somebody tell me again how the 2016 election results, the election of Donald Trump, represent some sort of proto-class consciousness on the part of "working class whites"?  On the part of the small town "working class whites" "left-behind" by the non-recovery?  Somebody tell me again how those results are a repudiation, a "gigantic middle finger" flipped at the "elites," when the same counties that voted for Snyder in 2014 voted for Trump in 2016?)

One amalgam breaks, another amalgam is formed. Place your neo here, and voila, we have a new amalgam.

The bourgeoisie have been on the offensive.  The bourgeoisie remain on the offensive.  Let's not pretend that there is even a shred of class consciousness in the supposed "flipping" of working class whites to Trump; no more than there was a bit of class consciousness in the previous flip to Obama.

The defeats of the working class have to be acknowledged as defeats before they can be reversed.

Oh yeah, and before I forget, Happy New Year.

S. Artesian
December 19, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Nach Trump, ________________(Uns, Sie, Jeder, Niemand)

So it turns out, the total votes cast in 2016 exceeded the number cast in 2012 and 2008.  It turns out the election wasn't "boycotted" by those who voted in the previous two presidential elections, at least no more, and somewhat less, than elections have been "boycotted" or ignored in the past.

Trump received about one million more votes than Romney received in 2012, losing the popular vote by over 2 million to Hillary Clinton, whose own vote total was about 1.5 million less than that Obama received in 2012, which in turn was 2 million less than he himself received in 2008.

Now shock and awe have given rise, as shock and awe always do, to "stories," to creation myths, attempting to explain exactly how the world, this world, has come into being.  They're called "narratives," as if the material substance is the "story,"  is the "tell," like the "waiting ones" in Beyond Thunderdome do a telling, repeat the telling, and the telling is the material of history, even if, even when, but most of all, because it isn't.

"We ain't been slack, Captain."

"We kept it straight, you'll see.  Everything marked, everything 'membered."

"Alienated, disaffected, angry white working class... Living in Pox-Eclipse; in a world of pain, mediated by vicodin and oxycontin and suicide."

"Workers, Captain Walker, voted twice for  O-o-o-o-bama.  Post-race America of thee we sing. Kept it straight, see.  Marked and 'membered.  Then voted for the big Orange. See, Captain? Not race, class.  They waz angry workers. Fed up with the way of it all, the liberal-ing, the elit-ing of it all.  The big orange man, he spoke to those that waz angry.  He told them he knew everything about deals and they had gotten a raw one.  He promised to bring them back to the future, a morrow-morrow land of  home made air conditioners, and bright shining coal mines-- coal mines as far as the eye could see, and millions of them going to work everyday in the mines and coming home every night and nothing to stand in the way of  them and their happiness except maybe black lung (a hoax perpetrated by China to undercut red white and blue, said the big Orange).  Them that waz angry believed the big Orange because he said he was angry too.  It was class, not race, because they were workers, and white had almost nothing to do with it even if the big Orange was also promising to build walls, to keep out, throw out, force out, those from southern countries with browner skins, darker hairs, and different language."

That's one story.  It even comes with maps, showing the states going to the big Orange, and those that flipped from the Democrat side to the Republican.

But here are a couple of other maps:  First up,  a map of states (in blue) with anti-union "right-to-work" laws.  Looks kind of like the presidential vote by states, doesn't it?  Except for Pennsylvania, Montana, Kentucky,  Missouri, and Ohio-- and Ohio isn't from a lack of effort by its "reasonable Republican" governor, Kasich.

And next up a map of states requiring voter ID for registration and voting, ranging from "strict photo ID required"(red); "non-strict photo ID" (gold);   "strict non- photo ID" (royal blue); "non-strict, non-photo ID" (turquoise).  Note, North Carolina is not included because its law had been declared unconstitutional, which motivated the state to find other interesting ways to suppress voting, like reducing by half the number of polling places available in certain counties, specifically, certain counties where specifically African-Americans voters depended on easier access to polling places. Does this map bear a resemblance to the "final" tally of states?







Twenty-one states introduced voter suppression measures since 2010.  2016 was the first general election since the US Supreme Court disallowed the Voting Rights Act despite that the Voting Rights Act reauthorization bills invariably garnered massive, if not unanimous, support in the Congress.

But... we're supposed to believe that the anti-worker legislation; the voter suppression laws did not determine the outcome of this election?  We're supposed to believe that workers flipped a gigantic middle-finger at the status quo?  That years and years of Fox News, of Murdoch,  of Scott Walker, of Kasich, of the Koch Brothers, of police shootings, of non-police shootings, didn't mobilize racism in the service of capital?  We're supposed to believe that when the household median income of Trump voters is above the national median?

That's a narrative all right, but it misses a critical component of the class struggle .   It misses the real history of the bourgeoisie's struggle against the meager gains in equality; the relentless attempts to rollback racial and social equality; that that rollback was intrinsic, and essential to, the transfer of wealth "up" the social ladder; the aggrandizement of more by fewer.  Never have so many paid so much to so few.

The weapons used against the working class as a whole since 1973 were tempered, tested, blooded, in the attacks on black labor, in the opposition to the emancipation of black labor.   The weapons that will be used against the class as a whole for the next unknown years have been tempered, tested, and blooded in the attacks on migrant labor.  That's no narrative.  The history, such that it is, of impaired capitalism is the history of the attack on the condition of labor.

 "Who runs Bartertown?"  Aunty Entity or MasterBlaster?  It's still shit, and you're still shoveling.


S.Artesian
November 25, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Anxiety of Typos

I think we need to really move to some programmatic [NOTE: I originally typed "pogrommatic"(!)] points for class based opposition.

The next moment of this big-ass recession is about to hit-- profits in the US S&P 500 have been down for 5 successive, if not already the 6th, quarters. Overproduction of oil, steel, etc. shipbuilding has driven the markets into near paralysis.

So I offer a couple, just a couple of points, to get the discussion started.

So first point: NO LAYOFFS
Second point: NO ICE WORKPLACE RAIDS


S.Artesian
November 13, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What's Important and What's Really Imporant



1. See this article in the NYT   It is an important article

2.  It is important to note that the article confirms Insurgent Notes' argument that the turn to Trump was a measure of desperation by workers, and that neither racism, nor anti-immigration were the selling points to the Carrier workers.

3.  It is important that none of the African-American workers interviewed could bring themselves to vote for Trump.

4.  It is important to note that "holding Trump to his promises"  is where you get the full measure of the desperation-- that despite the actual record of Trump as a businessman, where breaking agreements, contractual obligations, promises of payment to suppliers, vendors, and workers was his default procedure-- there is the "wish to believe."

5. It's important to grasp that the reduction in manufacturing jobs with a higher wage rate, the increase in service jobs with a lower wage rate; the increase in part-time and temporary employment; the destruction of benefits, is not the result of globalization or "open borders" or NAFTA, or the WTO or free trade agreements, but is inherent in the "productivity of labor"-- the substitution of machinery for living labor that capitalism demands of, by, and for the capitalists.  The incessant substitution drives down the profitability of production, leads to overproduction, precipitates the attacks on wages and benefits, is the source of the demands for "give backs" and further "productivity gains" leading to successive drops in profitability and attacks on wages.

6.  It's important to note that this death spiral is not intrinsic to technological advance.  It is intrinsic to the advance of capitalism.  It is intrinsic to technology deployed and constrained in and only in the service of profit.  We are not Luddites.  Not even the Luddites were Luddites. Technology, when attacked, is attacked as the embodiment of capital, as the property of oppression and oppressors

7. It's really important to note that the African-American workers smelled a rat in the  "program" of Trump. The rat is that big capital uses attacks on the the poor, on the marginalized, on the undocumented,  by both the "centrists" and  the "alt-right" not as a "social medium" but as a street force in a mobilization exercise, an organizing principle to be used against  all workers regardless of what promises are made, what promises are broken.  The Clinton attacks on black youth as "super-predators" and the Trump full page-ads calling for execution of the Central Park Five were siblings in the same litter. 

8. It's important to note that in the 2Q 2016, profits for the S&P 500 declined approximately 3 percent on a year-over-year basis.  This is the fifth consecutive quarterly decline. The last time the S&P 500 experienced five straight quarters of decline was 2008-2009.  Carrier intends to begin layoffs at the Indiana plant this summer.  The workers don't have that long. The layoffs will begin before that whether or not production is transferred to Mexico.

9. Against all promises.  Against all layoffs.

S.Artesian
November 12, 2016