Liberalism or Racism?

On the feeble accusation that Obama’s (the Dems’) much-abused base is unsupportive of his capitalist policies because the Democratic base is racist, in “Why Liberals Are Lame” (Naked Capitalism):


Choice cuts:


If anything, the fact that it took his diehards this long to figure out the Obama bait and switch is a proof of white liberal guilt, not bias…It took most people far too long to get that Obama was a phony because the presumption that a black man would be sympathetic to the fate of the downtrodden is a deeply embedded but never voiced prejudice (and this bias is exploited successfully by the right in depicting Obama as a socialist). “


“So (in a two-party system, the Dem Party’s) desperate need to maintain its increasingly phony ‘be nice to the rainbow coalition’ branding places a huge premium on appearances. It thus uses identity politics as a cover for policy betrayals. It can motivate various groups on narrow, specific issues, opening the way for the moneyed faction to get what it wants.”


“(T)raditional iconic symbols of liberalism – secular urban elitism, blackness, technocratic skill, micro-issue identity based political organizing groups – have been fully subverted in the service of banking interests. Obama is the ultimate, but not the only, piece of evidence that these symbols are now used simply to con the Democratic base out of their support and money. 


…The task of moving forward will require …(t)hose engaged in that effort … to become skilled in dealing with these liberal McCarthyite identity smears.”







Besides the rampant (not just by Dems), corrupt deployment of identity politics as cover for policy betrayal, the thing to bemoan is our hapless longing for a big daddy magical redeemer who will deliver us from intra-systemic conflict, and the capitalist politician’s opportunistic willingness to drape himself in the robes of the Great Populist-Black Hope to tap that longing. 


Obama is a lawyer; that is, he is specially trained to defend capitalist property.


In Black Obama’s defense: Despite the fun populist speeches that get penned from time to time, there has never been a national political regime in the United States that has had the power, the vision, and the autonomy to adequately oppose capitalists to defend the economy.


Roosevelt made the political class look strong when foreign war + communist threat semi-disciplined the capitalist class and rescued the economy. But because in capitalism, capitalists always hold the political reins, Roosevelt’s policy reforms were forged too weak to endure capitalist restoration. In contrast to Keynes’ proposals, the Roosevelt regime’s semi-disciplining policies were never strong nor built to last. They were just designed to rescue the economy so that American finance-and-military capitalists could dominate. 


Upperclass concessions could restore the economy; but it is capitalism, so once the economy is restored, the upperclass will have more power than ever to jettison the class concessions. At the consequent economic (just post-) apex, Nixon’s conservative regime then followed up with a full capital-appeasement strategy (progressively augmented by Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama) with a 30-year economic lifespan ending in a capitalist economic supernova. 


Unalloyed capitalist incentives, social stratification and culture geared to wealth appropriation by any means necessary cannot produce a healthy, sustained economy except under exceptional, temporary circumstances. Late 20th century American political leaders took advantage of those rare circumstances. Now they are over and done, and they will not be back for a long time, and not without global working class insurrection.
Now politicians and technocrats can do nothing but support economic collapse, because the fundamental capitalist interest–wealth appropriation (Not investment, which is simply one wealth appropriation strategy, along with the various forms of primitive accumulation (If you’ve got sufficient social power, hedge betting on the stock market and then having the state force the public to pay your losses+ is one famous form of PrimAcc.))–is not aligned with economic health, and there is no organized global political opposition–that is, there is no global socialism. There will be continuing economic collapse.


No overblown military-financial complex, and no liberal, and no conservative can deliver us from due economic collapse under the wealth-appropriating crush of the military-financial complex, and all politicians who must labor under the capitalist yoke are de facto liberal-conservatives. 


Without socialism (and unlike the iconoclast elite Keynes), no one in polite society today can intellectually or psychologically consider a critical, non-conservative political-economic analysis of Western economies. That’s why Rastani’s perspective was such a public scandal (It took a few minutes for the chattering classes to declare him not a member of polite society, and so irrelevant). That’s why we’re stuck with zombie economics, and why there will be no semi-bold policy innovations that could combine with fortuitous external events to restore the economy. That’s why China can play the West, but itself is hogtied by the arc of capitalism’s entropic appropriation of the environment.


The creative human labor (mental + physical) of everyone in an economy is the ultimate source of the economy in human societies. There are radical implications to this. Because they encompass both wealth appropriation and social legitimacy, capitalists are never disposed to let the radical implications see the light of day. This is a profoundly non-trivial, endemic problem that collective human agency is abjectly failing.

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