By Thomas Neuburger, an Oregon-based writer who publishes regularly at DownWithTyranny!
There are quite a few reasons to support Naked Capitalism (and if you have had a chance to do so, the Tip Jar is over there). These include…
- Aggressive coverage of CALPERS and its crimes. Someday the rot on that ship will sink it deep
- Close coverage of BREXITat a time when no one this side of the ocean is paying real attention. The day of divorce, when it finally comes, will matter to most of us
- That rare not-Trump, not-Dem voice and editor’s stance, a voice that in left-right times is hard to find. (Yes, Virginia, both Trump and Biden can be both wrong and right, and on the same issue.)
But the reason I want to ask for your support is more far-reaching than these. Put simply, the nation, already pre-revolutionary, could soon approach the point where it just unravels, starts to come apart, and inside I think we all know this. Perhaps in the end it won’t; perhaps the republic, such as it is, will muddle through as it has. But it’s brought itself to the door of its demise, put hand to the knob, and could well open it.
George Floyd Meets Mario Savio
The signs of distress are everywhere. The George Floyd uprising and its offspring, the Battles of Portland and Kenosha, are bringing the radical to realize that protests aren’t enough, will never be enough, and are, in fact, a waste of time and work unless co-joined to Mario Savio’s injunction, pronounced from the steps of Sproul Hall in 1964:
There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus of the machine, and make it stop.
You’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re freed of it, the machine will be prevented from working at all.
The George Floyd protesters are close to realizing this, but aren’t quite there. The next step is that knowledge. If they do reach Savio’s conclusion — and I’m not sure how they can avoid it — we’ll see the start of an actual revolt, a “rolling civil war” against murder by cop. That phase will be an escalation from the escalation we’ve already seen.
As every police murder is revealed, as the cultureof police murderis revealed — as the evil of their enabling system; the evil of their unions; their brutal exculpating laws; the evil of their enabling politicians, black and white, complicit in those laws — as all this rot is made to stand in the light, the phrase “No more” will present itself as the obvious next thing said.
The next act after that is allowno more, to grind the machine to a halt with bodies if need be, until the beast stops killing the people. Imagine how Biden or Trump, whichever you prefer, will deal with that.
Pre-revolutionary. Very much on the verge.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
There are other fronts on which this war could be joined. Consider the economics of housing in the Trump-Covid era.
Put simply, housing for the many is going away fast. The comfortable are fine, those with two-laptop jobs and Uber Eats Visa accounts, but most of us aren’t comfortable. Housing insecurity is on the rise, and the streets are filling up with the tented homeless. (The streets outside this window where I writeare filled with the tented homeless; I’m looking at them now.)
Trump has declared an eviction moratorium, to last only till after the election, with no debts forgiven and interest piling up. This puts enormous pressure on small landlords, those with debts of their own, who are certain to pass that pressure to rent-owing tenants in January. I’ve seen no data on the state of homeowners, but if they’re out of work, they can’t be doing well either.
The moratorium is help of a sort, but only of the sort that lengthens the fuse on the bomb. What happens come January when these forces collide — the force of the debt-demanding class, backed by police and other organs of force, and the retaliatory force of the class that’s hanging by a thread?
The Covid Connection
Or consider just Covid itself — the disease, its treatment and the vaccine that will someday prevent it. (I say “someday” because despite all our dreams, the fastest vaccine development in history, the mumps vaccine, took four yearsto go from throat swab to deployment.)
I’ve written quite a lot about the non-medical consequences of Covid treatment, for example here. To summarize, the vaccine should be free to all, and treatment should be free to all. Period.
But it won’t be.
Under Trump, friend of Big Money, both vaccine and treatment will cost, perhaps exorbitantly. They will also cost under Biden, friend of Big Pharma, though because our Democrats are kinder, gentler predators, they’ll cost a little less.
Will people stand for that, this new predation, after all they’ve suffered through? Again, all treatment should be free, and all vaccine, the simple cost of the crisis. Folks are on their last legs now, both emotionally and economically. In these new times, if the only way to be cured is to pay for it, they just might say “Enough.”
Or maybe they won’t; maybe they’ll just bow and be grateful. But they’re getting to the point where they may have to pick a path. This time the spouse is cheating openly, and the nation’s heart is crying at the door. Will it just slink away, or ask to be let in knowing what it’s going to see if that door opens?
I wouldn’t place a bet on how thatturns out.
And Now, the Election
Unless this election is won decisively, it will go to the courts, likely to many of them, for a decision. If that occurs, it’s almost certain that the losing side — whichever side that is — will not accept the outcome as valid, will hold that the office was stolen and say so with force. I think ultimately the final court decision will standand a new president (or an old one) will be sworn in. But the losers will burn for revenge for the next four years. No one on the wrong side of this decision will go quietly.
Now add this to the Covid questions — who suffers? who dies? who pays? who profits? who goes under? who gets a government ride? — a drama that itself will last for years, and compound all that with the fact that neither party wants a Sanders-like solution to anything involving money, that neither will heal the people of their pain, and we could find ourselves on a powder keg, this time a lit one.
Investing in the War Against the War Against the People
Which brings me back to Naked Capitalism. Sites like this one — sites whose editors see past right and left to right and wrong, see past anger to analysis — won’t be important resources just for you. Sites like Naked Capitalismwill also be critical to others you encounter, to people who are not readers but who listen to you, to people awakened by pain and needing other voices in their ears besides CNN and its wealth-seeking brothers and friends.
As the nation’s frustration rises — as more and more people finally ask in earnest, “What do we do about this?” — voices like Yves’ and her writers’ will not just be helpful, but critically necessary to everyone exposed to them. If the war against the war against the people is actually joined, we need as many people as possible to understand why.
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