The Great Unravelling
By Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ January 11, 2021
It is suddenly being discovered that America is not just polarized but exploding into fragments. This has seemed inevitable to me from early in Trump’s regime, but polarization was the official problem. With a two-part divide, the answer was simply to reach out to the other group. Pundits and commentators stated this as the answer while normalizing Trump’s fascist nature and avoiding recognizing the disintegration of the Republican Party.
The language of polarization used the old capitalist versus socialist markers simplified as red and blue making reconciliation seem reachable. Of course, this was natural as there can be only two political parties in the US,, both built on the European liberal economic tradition. The only real difference was social issues tied to archaic racist reaction or educational diversity, with the only options greater or lesser authoritarianism producing greater or lesser human suffering.
Neoliberalism was the tool used to destroy public control of the economy ending the growth of the middle class created by the New Deal and constant expansion by the functionally nationalized military industries. The second party's shift to racism and reaction allowed the emerging plutocracy to redirect income growth to themselves slowly sinking the middle class.
The national commons needed to be destroyed to ensure the non-white population did not benefit from financial rewards they did not deserve. This was disguised further by endless claims for trickle-down economics that meant the true, white Americans would continue to succeed. God would guarantee it.
This relabeling of laissez-faire capitalism became predatory capitalism over the last twenty years of the 20th century eliminating all economic differences between the two official political parties. The Republican Party steadily lost any policy distinction other than racism and bigotry. The Democratic Party assumed the traditional European conservative party model supporting the oligarchy leading to kleptocracy.
With the rise of information technology, eliminating jobs that did not require high-level technical skills, the political debate became one limited to advocating bigotry or the elimination of bigotry. While most would not accept bigotry and racism, the refusal to offer any economic alternatives left the mass population with no choice but to fight racism and bigotry or ignore politics and hope someone would fix the growing economic distortions. The loss of wage gains, while the richest received all the wealth from forty years of development was a ticking time bomb.
That hope ran out in the 21st century. The neoliberal domination of the planet reallocated wealth from the developed world to the new manufacturing centers in Asia and Latin America. This represented the spread of trickle-down economics to the rest of the planet with the same result as in the developed world. Almost all assets move to the rentier class of kleptocrats who had no reason to do anything but consume and watch their wealth grow.
With the once prosperous middle classes in the developed world sinking to the new precariat class consumed by debt with unemployment as their future, the pressures for change grew steadily. Combined with the rise of planetary problems as hyperobjects requiring unified public ownership and management to solve, the facade of the old polarization had to shatter.
The rising pressure for change with the ever-increasing resistance to acknowledging that the old politico-economic systems were completely inadequate left the opening for traditional opportunists claiming racism and nationalism as the balm for the most threatened populations. But the old polarity had been replaced by new population groupings able to identify, communicate, and self-medicate with the new, unregulated (neoliberal) social media.
The nationalistic opportunism,, generally identified as fascist from early 20th century Italian (Mussolini) and German (Hitler) examples, has always been administratively incompetent and corrupt. The goals are always personal gain,, and there is no concern for even their own followers that are immediately abandoned except for those that can be used as weaponized gangs.
With the pressures of grossly distorted asset distribution, economic reporting focused only on the gains of the plutocracy, antiquated pseudo representative governments, a planetary pandemic, and accelerating climate disasters, the pretense of bipolarity as a political problem shattered.
The capital insurrection incited by Trump and his Congressional followers on January 6, 2021, blew apart the Republican Party and burned off bipolarity's facade as just a normal version of political debate. Trump’s ongoing coup attempt is now self-feeding as the outrage of the general population requiring legal action against the instigators drives those instigators to more violent action to protect themselves from the consequences of their greed for power.
As has been widely recognized, senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley's actions require them to be removed from the Senate. That is the end of their cheap bid for publicity to make one of them Trump’s successor. It is critical that they pay the price as allowing them to remain will fuel violence among the confused and fractured victims of Trump’s insanity.
We have recognized the diversity of universes created by self-reinforcing social media under classic fascist propaganda manipulation. What was two, the bipolar problem, is now at least four, Trumpists, Never Trumpers, Democrats, and Democratic Socialists. However, the media would like it to be only three, Trumpists, Republicans, and Democrats. Adding one is shocking enough, reality be damned.
The January 6th explosion cloaked in absurdity is, I think, very much a Humpty Dumpty event for America and the Western world. The two-party system of the US,, as the leader of the modern world order, is in pieces on the floor,, and the pieces are smaller than we can bring ourselves to admit.
The degeneration of the Republican Party into a neofascist criminal organization leaves one-party rule by default. This is the other route to the same authoritarian problem. We need direct democracy and responsive government. That has not existed in the US for decades. No one speaks of representing all of the people without defining and limiting the size of that group.
Put another way, this a piece of tattered cloth with very problematic officials at the top pulling actively on the threads. The unraveling is easy to start but there is no obvious stopping point.
The Democratic Party is barely a political party made up of open and diverse populations held together by the need for defense against racism and fascism. That is a negative bond and we are all missing a positive bond for the common good. What is demanded by the majority has been and continues to be national healthcare, free education, guaranteed basic wellbeing particularly in a planetary pandemic, with the opportunity to work to repair our biosphere to prevent planetary disasters. Not only are these not allowed as goals, they are denounced as unAmerican by the leaders of the Democratic Party.
This drives people apart. Those proliferation gaps are the openings for opportunists and the power hungry to manipulate the people denied representation by feeding their fear and anger. That is where we are and, now, the smoldering rags have burst into flame and the walls are starting to burn.
This is an old but logical response. Opportunists, particularly those seeking power at all costs, are imitators. Once that starts it is difficult to stop and the barriers to that, once seen as illusions, require massive work to recreate because they cannot simply be rebuilt. People with no goals but their personal gain have no internal limits on what they will do. We are seeing that in the failures at the capital and Congress.
These are part of the hyperobject problems I’ve tried to introduce and define. They are so complex because they cannot be broken apart and solved or just ignored until they go away. I don’t think anyone on the planet with any knowledge of history and the nature of our problems expects this to go away without major change. We are stuck with the fact that nations are not separate planets. We are now a planetary condominium and both the pandemic and the fires spread. We must struggle to save the entire building. And, even with that, there is no guarantee of success.