Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The premise of your post is that the banks do not have the political power to nullify an American government. I have not seen any evidence for that proposition.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who controls the CIA, the Pentagon and the National Guard?

And therein lies the rub. If the answer is not "the government," then your problem is not "angry lefties." Then your problem is that your angry lefties are not nearly angry enough. And don't have nearly enough guns.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:02:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have also not noticed that being angry produces any political power.

The situation is what it is. The power of finance capital and the military/security managers in the US cannot be pretended away. No government can act without taking those powers into account.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have also not noticed that being angry produces any political power.

Germany 1848. Spain 1936-39. Bolivia 1952-1971.

The situation is what it is. The power of finance capital and the military/security managers in the US cannot be pretended away. No government can act without taking those powers into account.

Where did I propose to act without taking them into account?

What I proposed was to break them. Destroy them. Utterly. Send the lot of them to prison or the poor house. Preferably before the midterm primary season.

You can win that way. You can also, of course, lose that way. But as long as he does not take the fight to the enemy, he will lose and he will keep losing. The alternative would at least give him a fighting chance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany 1848.

Bismark and guns win.

Spain 1936-39.

Franco/Hitler win.

Bolivia 1952-1971

CIA wins.

"What I proposed was to break them. Destroy them. Utterly. Send the lot of them to prison or the poor house. Preferably before the midterm primary season."

No. You proposed that the US President should break them. As if a centrist elected by an electorate that has shown no appetite for serious reform let alone revolution would defy the core power structure of the state and somehow magically turn it into bunnies.

It's that combination of "but he's the president" naivete and demands for radical change to be imposed by people who are, at best, mild reformers on a public that has elected people like Nelson and Lieberman and Coburn to high office that strikes me as peculiarly deluded.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's that combination of "but he's the president" naivete and demands for radical change to be imposed by people who are, at best, mild reformers on a public that has elected people like Nelson and Lieberman and Coburn to high office that strikes me as peculiarly deluded.

You asked "what could he have done?" I answered with a plan that could have worked, if he had been willing to break legs, bust kneecaps and generally behave like he meant business. He could have lost. If you initiate an institutional crisis, you run the risk of losing. But he could also have won, which is a better prospect than what we're getting now.

Your answer: "But he doesn't want to do that."

The Americans call that "shifting the goalposts." The question wasn't "what could he have done that would not have shaken him out of his cozy Beltway comfort zone?" Because if you accept the cozy Beltway comfort zone as the limit of any legislative agenda, then the US is going to keep going rightward.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah well, if your proposal is that he "could have" acted like a revolutionary leader of a mass uprising, I suppose I must concede. He could have also tried to impose Sharia law - with equal probability and similar results.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:13:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, my proposal is that he pushes his authority to the very limit and with a clear idea about who his enemies are and what he should do to destroy them.

Is the FBI on his side? Yes or no. If yes, deal with Wall Street the same way Lyndon B. Johnson deal with the Ku Klux Klan a generation ago. If not, deal with Wall Street the same way Benjamin Franklin dealt with the British three hundred years ago.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
under johnson, the fbi spent far more time attempting to destroy the civil rights movement than the kkk. and yet, lbj helped pass the civil rights laws.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:52:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain 1936-39.

Franco/Hitler win.

They kept Franco busy for three full years, and prevented Spain from making a meaningful contribution to the Axis war effort. That's at least a draw.

Fighting doesn't guarantee that you'll win. But not fighting guarantees that you'll lose.

Unless, of course, you labour under the delusion that if the communists had appeased the fascists and not demanded land reform, the fascists would never have launched their coup? But then I have to wonder who is really the naive one...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless, of course, you labour under the delusion that if the communists had appeased the fascists and not demanded land reform, the fascists would never have launched their coup? But then I have to wonder who is really the naive one...

- Jake

It is necessary to distinguish between the virtue and the vice of liquidity. (With apologies to Lemuel K. Washburn)

I labor under the delusion that if the net result of a political struggle is the imposition of a fascist dictatorship that lasts 40 years and kills at least tens of thousands, then it's rather silly to call it a win.

In any case, the power of the left in Spain came from years of painful organizing, not fantasies that the moderate government would smash the state.

But Spain is a good example because it shows what happens when the government acts against the elites without having sufficient control of military.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which brings me back to the question: Does Obama control the military and the federal police?

If he doesn't, you don't need to fuck around with inside-the-Beltway strategizing. You need to get some guns.

If he does, then you don't need to fuck around with inside-the-Beltway strategizing either. You need to start arresting criminals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:24:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The answer is that Obama has limited control of them within the context of the mic and security state and empire. And of course, "getting some guns" is suicidal.

 But since you have identified the Spanish Civil war as a success, I guess we are going to differ on goals.

by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:27:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Wall Street is above the law, working within the law will not result in any meaningful reform. So you work outside the law, or you accept that they will remain unaccountable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
False choice. If incremental tinkering weakens wall street and allows labor unions to grow - the power balance changes. If Obama cannot command the MIC, he can bend its course somewhat. He cannot abolish finance but he can tinker with the laws so industrial concerns and unions gain in strength relatively.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has Obama strenghtened the unions?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:23:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's working on it - very hard. The business press is alarmed, but the "progressives" have not noticed.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The business press is concern trolling.

Anything Obama does will be cast as socialists coming to take away mom and apple pie. Any policy, no matter how tame, will be heralded as the impending collapse of capitalism.

The business press is slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. If they think a policy is pulling the country left, there's at least a 50/50 chance that they think so only because it isn't pulling the country to the right as fast as they'd like.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are four major classes of political problems in the US:

  • Structural governance issues - endemic corruption, lack of an organised left, lack of organised labour, far-right media landscape, excessive military and corporate influence on government, creeping police state, etc.

  • Medium-term policy issues - a third-world infrastructure, structural current accounts deficit, unsustainable energy supply, decrepit health and education, lack of industrial policy, imperial overstretch, etc.

  • Short-term do-or-die issues, where policy has to be changed yesterday - climate crisis, pro-cyclical economic policy, structural oil dependency, etc.

  • Values politics - torture, criminal wars, high and increasing inequality, rampant sexual discrimination, unreconstructed racism, support for repressive regimes abroad, etc.

Now, nobody is demanding that Obama fixes everything on this list. That would be unrealistic. Not, perhaps, unreasonable, but unrealistic. The problem is that I'm not seeing any kind of progress on any of them.

Of course any kind of progress faces substantial institutional barriers. But there are so many issues where progress is needed and so few where progress is made that I think it's legitimate to ask whether these institutional barriers are, in fact, insurmountable, or whether they are simply being used as a convenient excuse for inaction. A determined attempt to enact sane policy (not even left-wing policy - demanding that from a centre-right president would be clearly unrealistic) could surely find at least one or two areas where the defences could be decisively breached.

Further, even minor progress is not sufficient. Eventually, the Democrats will lose power, and the Republicans are by now composed mainly of Taliban-wannabes and unreconstructed fascists. So losing power will mean another sickening lurch towards the far-right. Unless the gains achieved during a Democratic incumbency more than counterbalance the damage done under the Republicans, they're playing a losing game when averaged over the whole electoral cycle.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
Germany 1848.

Bismark and guns win.

Bismarck was an ambitious but minor politician in 1848. And I think the dynamics of 1848 is somewhat more complex then "guns win".

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. 14 years after the attempted revolution, the far right consolidates power and Bismarck settles into a long reign. If that's victory, give me defeat.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bismarck's tenure was hardly "far-right." He enacted some of the most sweeping social reforms of any Central European monarchies. Bismarck and his cronies may well have been far-right, but if a serious threat of revolution forced him to give concessions... well, concessions are concessions.

And let's not forget that the troubles in Germany in 1848 played a major role in the democratic constitutions of the Nordic countries.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the monarchists? But they were - in most cases in Germany - in power before the revolutions of 1848 too. In Prussia for example the king ruled in absolutist fashion.

So you could just as well describe 1848-1870 in Germany as two steps forward and one step back. The revolutionaries did not achieve a united liberal constitutional monarchy, instead they got (over time) a united conservative constitutional monarchy instead of the disunited, mainly conservative absolutist monarchies it preceeded.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series