Aziz Rana’s Internationalist Platform

Aziz Rana’s (2019) policy-development prescription (somewhat reformulated by me) for Justice Dems and labor organizers, as a polity-challenger coalition:

1) Labor organizing, building networks capacitating internationalist immigrant organizing leadership.

Problem: “The overwhelming tendency–and not just on the Right–is to present immigration as an issue that begins at the national border, with virtually no attention paid to the particular histories, international economic pressures, and specific US foreign policy practices that generate migration patterns” (Rana 2019).

2) Democratic budgeting exercises reworking the security state budget, to demonstrate popular capacity to democratize foreign policy, and to reintegrate foreign and domestic policy beyond the shallow, corporate-military “America First” working-class appeasement campaign.
3) Policy ideas for transitioning the US from overgrown military keynesianism on behalf of global capitalists to a wealth-circulating, democratic-tech developing, social reproductive economy appropriate to an “overdeveloped” (rentier capitalist) economy.
4) Develop trade policy with constraints on transnational property rights, linked to the domestic economy via enforced labor and environmental standards throughout supply chains, as well as policing redirected toward repatriating (sharing across production-impacted countries) excess profits and other private accumulation stockpiles.
I would add:

5) Organizing needs to address the great portions of the American working class materially and symbolically co-opted by the capitalist security state, particularly guard labor and owners of marginal businesses. These are the American working class, herded by right wing orgs and socially- subsidized into supporting global, militarized rents extractivism at the astronomical cost of global, social and environmental destabilization. Besides designing and investing in a democratic social reproductive economy to reincentivize this working class population, how can as many as possible of these co-opted working-class Americans be reorganized into supporting a transition to democracy, demilitarization, and a social reproductive economy? David Graeber’s lesson in “Army of Altruists” (2007) can be a starting point in organizing strategy: People want to work together for a great purpose.

6) Required: an assessment of policing and military capacity to tolerate v. oppose advancement to a democratic economy and polity in the US. Assessment needs to include an inventory of tools of suppression at police and military disposal.

7) Required: an assessment of the implications of US demilitarization and democratization on international investors, private and state, and their capacity to tolerate v. oppose, including an inventory of tools of suppression at their disposal.

8) Required: an assessment of antidemocratic imperial state partners’ capacity to tolerate v. oppose US demilitarization and democratization, including an inventory of tools of suppression at their disposal.

9) Note that the fight for social democracy in Sweden required that political organizers concentrate on building unions and a union confederation across the country for three decades before launching into the polity with a political party.

This planning sketch recognizes that much of finance-organized capital, as well as the conservative-Catholic US judiciary, and most of the polity are organized against democratic development. As well, it also recognizes historical structural shifts, including those identified by Rana, that can enable organizing toward stymied social, economic, and political democratic emancipation.


Serfdom: From the American Working Class to Global Capital & China

Conservative organizer Friedrich Hayek famously, counterintutitively predicted that democratic Enlightenment and egalitarianism would restore serfdom. However, in our less enthralling, dog-bites-man history, financialized global capitalism restored serfdom instead.

Partly, as the capitalist economic coordination organizations (World Bank) like to point out, that is the cost of recycling wealth to China and India, which have been serving as the global factory. Partly, that is the cost of building up the astronomical fortunes and exclusive sovereignty of a restored, and slightly more global patrimonial capitalist class.

Class War Brings Commodified Life…


…Paid for with Credit in Lieu of Income.

not including mortgage debt (presuming mortgages debts converts into private wealth at some point), US data.

debt to income us households minus mortgage

From the 1970s on, Anglosphere Rentier Capitalism Busts Out, EZ Credit Permits Housing Prices to Balloon, and Household Debt Balloons

Blue (below) is household debt, from the 1920s-2010s.

debt life

…Then, Fed on Credit Not Income, the US Working Class Hemorrhages Wealth in the 21st Century

After housing asset inflation, student & car loans expand.

total household debt us 03-16

The American Working Class Lives in Debt Serfdom, Loses Wealth, so that China Can Develop & Global Capital Can Accumulate

Chinese Money on Credit Markets

Suffering and Dying in 21st Century American Serfdom

One way of recognizing the impact of this global capitalist macro social construction is in its effects on working class people’s life chances. As working class people are in the majority, their suffering impacts population health statistics.

Regardless of current racial composition, former slavery counties continue to maintain inegalitarian slavery institutions, facilitating elite prosperity on the back of mass human stunting. The map below shows the bifurcating distribution, in the US, of declining (green) and increasing (pink) mortality in the 21st century. This is to say that life expectancy is declining in the pink zones.

divergent mortality rates, US

The orange and blue map below shows the distribution, within the US, of the “hardest places to live” (in orange). Easier living is found in the darker blue counties. The “hard places” index was constructed from data on each county in the United States on education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity.

hardest places in the US

Index and map by Alan Flippen, New York Times, June 26, 2014.

By comparing the above life-chances distribution maps to the green map below, we can note the correlation between white evangelical Christianity (light green) as a sacralized organization (associated with inegalitarian slavery culture) and crappy life chances. White evangelical Christians are just a-passin’ through this world–all rough ‘n’ tumble-like.

whats wrong with oregon

Women’s health is taking a hard hit with the restoration of class inequality within the US. The chart below shows the high and increasing rate of maternal mortality in the US, compared with other core capitalist countries.

Maternal Deaths per 100,000 live births


While life chances have always been distributed by race, gender and class in the US, aggregate life expectancy has begun to gradually decline in the 21st century US. “Life expectancy in the United States has declined for a second year in a row, driven in large part because increasing numbers of Americans are dying from drug overdoses, suicides and chronic liver disease, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A baby born in 2016 can expect to live 78.6 years, which is down from 78.7 years in 2015 and 78.9 years in 2014.”–Susan Perry, US Minn Post.

LifeExpectancy640 US by race

Comparison: Cold City Transit Systems Costs and Coverage

Minneapolis-St. Paul (The Twin Cities)

Composition: Buses (130 routes, 68%), light rail (2 lines, 29%), commuter rail (1%) are run by Metro Transit.

Daily volume: Over 264K daily rides on average.

Coverage and metro area: 1,460 sq km out of 2,650 sq km urban area; 21,000 sq km metro area.
Metro Transit: 78%, including 100% of the urban area; Opt-out suburban transit 17%; Private subcontractors 5%.
Population: Metro: 3.3M (58% of 5.7M state population), including 3.1M urban + some part of 834K suburban. The Twin Cities Metro is composed of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the suburb of Bloomington, as well as other suburbs.
Area population density: 3,020 sq km (urban); 200 sq km (metro).
Median income: In 2018, the area median income (AMI) for a household of four was $94,300 (per the Metropolitan Council).

Funding structure: $393M/annual revenue, of which $98M (25%, mandated by legislation) comes from user fees. Primarily (63.4%) state-funded, including from the State Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (55%), and the State General Fund (8.4%). Participating metro counties contribute 8% to the annual budget. Federal funding contributes 1% to the budget.

Expenses: $421M/year, of which 71% pays salaries.
$140/resident (Metro area) annually.
Budget shortfall: $28M in 2017.

Working conditions: Unionized. 3,200 employees.

Cost per ride: Downtown travel $0.50; On-hours: $2.50; off-hours: $2.

Governing authority: The Metropolitan Council, an infrastructure planning administrative body with powers superseding local governments, and authorized by the state legislature. Its members are appointed by the state Governor.

Winter severity: Winter Length (operationalized as horticultural frost dates):  62% of the year. Winter Intensity: -14C.



Composition: Buses (93 routes).

Daily volume: 168.5K daily rides on average.

Coverage & metro area: TBD out of 464 sq km.
Population: 808,400 (60%) Winnipeg metro area, out of 1.35M province-wide.
Metro density:  1,430/sq km population density.
Median income: CA$82,000/household (US$62,400).

Funding structure: $85.5M (44%) comes from user fees, $65M (34%) comes from municipal funding, $42M (22%) comes from provincial funding,

Expenses: $193M/year, of which 62% pays salaries.
$239/Winnipeg resident annually.

Working conditions: Unionized. 1,560 employees.

Cost per ride: $2.50-$3 by rider status.

Governing authority: City of Winnipeg.

Winter severity: Winter Length:  69% of the year. Winter Intensity: -18C.




Daily volume:

Metro area density:

Funding structure:


Working conditions: Unionized.

Cost per ride:

Governing authority:

Winter severity: Winter Length (operationalized as horticultural frost dates):  65% of the year,  238 days, Oct 7-May 3. Winter Intensity (operationalized as average January low): -12C.




Daily volume:

Metro area density:

Funding structure:


Working conditions: Unionized.

Cost per ride:

Governing authority:

Winter severity: Winter Length (operationalized as horticultural frost dates):  61% of the year, 221 days, Oct 21-April 30. Winter Intensity (operationalized as average January low): -2C.




The carceral core

the carceral state 21st c

From Bauman, Valerie. 2018. “Incarceration vs. education: America spends more on its prison system than it does on public schools,” The Daily Mail, 25 October.

Globalization Ltd

“In terms of conventional markers of contemporary globalization such as trade, migration, investment or tourism, it is hard to find evidence of increased global integration or even of faster growth since the 1970s (thought to be the start of neoliberal globalization). In all of these forms of interaction except migration, growth has remained steady since the 1950s, and even slowed in per capita terms…And the distribution of flows between different regions of the world has remained almost steady since the 1870s…To be sure, the accumulated growth is significant, but it does not mark out a transformative moment of accelerated interaction or time space compression” ( McKeown 2007: 227).
What has changed globally since the 1970s is:
1) The growing global role of East Asia and trans-Pacific trade
2) The decline of Africa, Latin America and the ex-Soviet bloc
3) Subcontracting network expansion
4) Patterns of migration, and
5) The shape of global inequality (McKeown 2007: 227).
A globalist rather than Eurocentric approach to globalization will recognize that northern and southeastern Asia sits alongside the Americas among the world’s great frontiers. “Absolute and per capita emigration rates across Asia were as large as the transatlantic migrations and followed similar ebb and flow cycles. Manchurian soy fields, Malayan tin mines, African palm oil plantations and Siamese rice paddies were as much a part of the expanding world economy as Manchester factories and North American wheat… These migrations were part and parcel of globalization. But it was a segmented and unequal globalization” (McKeown 2007: 226).

We need to recognize “globalization as a process that generates inequalities as well as convergences” (McKeown 2007: 226). Like Eurocentric periodizations, neophilia, insistence on Newness, obscures the violence, compulsion, segmentations and hierarchies that have long accompanied globalization, and “renders past interactions invisible…The past promises and failures of civilization, colonialism and modernization to bring the world together are forgotten…This forgetting makes it possible to keep claiming endlessly (as Modernists will) that only in the present have we truly obtained the power to overcome rather than perpetuate existing patterns of inequality and segmentation, and thus to further obscure the creation and perpetuation of that inequality and segmentation” (McKeown 2007: 228).

Capitalist Primacy

“Britain can be conceived of as the first fossil-fuel-led market civilization with a rising money supply (Central-bank-issued money representing global expectations of and co-optation into its network of private financiers’ future power accumulation,) backed by the surplus energy capacity provided by its (social reproduction-disruptive, inegalitarian social relations, consequent forest depletion and) reliance on coal.

Expanding the money supply–as in France, Spain and Portugal–without adding manufacturing capacity largely resulted in rising prices for a limited amount of goods” (Di Muzio, T. & M. Dow. 2017).

Britain’s 1694 Central Bank moment was replicated in the 1971 Nixon move removing gold backing from the US dollar. Both constituted empire brinkmanship that successfully secured the subordinate cooperation of global wealth owners who in turn controlled non-owners.

Nitzan & Bichler (theorists behind Di Muzio & Dow) are motivated by their aversion to the labour theory of value, and their analytical preference for elite perspective. So I think their critique of Marxists is as usual worthless, because a central point of Marxism is to understand capitalism from the perspective of its mass of expropriated, exploited/discounted, abjected, but still somehow necessary peoples.

With elite-centric theory, the mystery remains unaddressed: The masses are still economically necessary and vital. Elite theorists don’t understand why. Why do elite theorists believe in plutonomy while also believing in the necessity of population growth?

But I think Di Muzio & Dow can be shorn of their anti-labour theory of value tic, to better effect.

They remain academic anarchists, though, and that means that another main objective for them is demonstrating that the state = capitalism, and recommending that all political strategy fall out from there. To do that, they methodically eschew comparative method and most of political sociology findings, and instead reify a British case study. Britain, as Meiksins Wood showed, is capitalism’s premier state, and in an expanding, coercive *accumulation* system (as Di Muzio & Dow show it to be), the premier position is an exceptional position. What Di Muzio & Dow have shown is that Britain’s state = capitalism. That implies a whole ‘nother ball of strategy.

It would be intellectually and strategically irresponsible to ignore all the Marxist-inspired comparative work on state variability and development/stunting in relationship to Anglo-centric global capitalism, to produce a one-size-fits-all story that certainly misrepresents state-society relations in other parts of the world, and may well distort even empirical, actual, and real state-society relationships in Anglo resource-extraction management zones like Canada.

See also: Desan’s “Making Money” is a fantastic book. History of British currency from Anglo Saxon times until ~1700.

Capitalist Murder

“Behind the self destructive behaviour, the authors say, are economic factors, including rising poverty rates, unemployment, financial insecurity, and corruption. Whereas only 4%of the population of the region had incomes equivalent to $4 (£2.50) a day or less in 1988, that figure had climbed to 32%by 1994. In addition, the transition to a market economy has been accompanied by lower living standards (including poorer diets), a deterioration in social services, and major cutbacks in health spending.” James Ciment 1999

“Though the Whites executed and starved tens of thousands of Reds after the war, they were particularly ruthless with the Women’s Guards. White soldiers raped and mutilated them before shooting them dead. Their bodies were stripped naked or twisted into obscene positions.

A 2016 study by a young historian, Marjo Liukkonen, uncovered evidence revealing that the Whites executed far more women and children in the infamous Hennala concentration camp than previously believed.” –“Finland’s Red Women,” Jacobin

A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis.


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