Fight Fascism

I just got back from the UK where my Chinese step-mother-in-law and step-grandmother-in-law told me about living through the Cultural Revolution. Somehow personal stories make it more real. Some of us remember what happened in Chile. Some of us remember the treatment of the “Freedom Riders.”

Fascists types (I count the Cultural Revolution/Stalinist types there, too) will just line people up and shoot them, throw them from helicopters, take people’s houses and businesses, and laugh at the sub-humans they do it to while they do it. It’s a personality type not an ideology. If ‘fascism’ is the wrong word I’ll use another.

When collapse happens, they come out and play.

Nothing is more important than stopping the forces of fascism from getting control once they are unleashed – as they are now. Even if it means getting “in the foxhole” with the Lincoln Project, or Liz Cheney or whatever it takes. We still have the institutions that currently keep that crowd from living their dream. Collapse is collapse and that crowd is just itching to start the mayhem.

It is imperative that we fight that.

The Benefits Of Trade And Automation Were Stolen From Us

The capitalist economist’s argument for “free trade” was the Jetsons Economy argument: the future will be glorious. They explained that when you move production to places where workers were paid less, everyone here would benefit because it freed up resources that would be applied to better jobs with higher wages, more free time, etc. The resulting gains would benefit everyone. And everyone where the jobs were moved to would also benefit from climbing the same ladder.

Sounds nice. A democracy would have made sure that was written into trade agreements, for everyone on both sides: The gains must be shared by everyone.

Same for automation, technology, etc. The gains were supposed to go to everyone. A democracy would have guaranteed that’s what happened.

A democracy would certainly have outlawed what did happen: Big money used “free” trade and automation/technology to pit workers against each other to force wages and benefits DOWN, with all the gains going to the top few.

What actually happened is that the Jetsons economy was stolen from us.

The Brand-Name “NAFTA”

All of this and the consequences — the benefits of trade and automation going to the top, everyone else forced ever downward, homes lost (and bought up by private equity to rent back to the former owners), factories closed and abandoned to rot, businesses closed and replaced by private-equity-owned chains, communities destroyed, etc – is covered by the brand name “NAFTA” for voters who were affected by this. That’s a big part of what brought us Trump and destroyed the Democratic party in the minds of all those voters.

Why Blame Dems?

Those textile mills and furniture manufacturers and all the rest of the manufacturing that went away when the Jetsons Economy future was stolen, the hollowed out cities with abandoned stores & homes downtown, ringed by private equity chains in malls out by the highway, bitter people forced out of the middle class blaming Dems for what happened to them…

The dilemma: This stuff branded NAFTA was a Republican/Wall Street neoliberal project all along but some Dems went along with it. Carter with deregulation, Clinton with trade, Obama with Wall Street. Wall Street/corporate money and propaganda getting them into office. (The famous chart showing the split between productivity and wages started under Carter/Volker. Then driven home by Reagan.)

The reason it’s identified with Dems more than Republicans now is that Dems were supposed to be the party of labor. The Democrats were supposed to protect working people from the things big money wanted to do to us. So Dems get the blame for breaking that wall of solidarity.

It’s like how Dems get the blame for things every single Republican is doing. We expect Republicans to be the party of capital, not Dems. Of course it wasn’t all elected Democrats who did this, but the capital bought enough Dems to get away with it.

Doing A Good Job Of It

You could follow Umair Haque and his site Eudaimonia and Co for more frequent documentation of the collapse.

For example:

Letter to the Chedditor (Cheese Editor)

EVERYTHING. IS. HOPELESS.

but…

SO. FUCKING. WHAT!!

It’s not difficult at all to find happiness in the fight.

But that’s the key: always be in the fight, and always as a happy warrior.

From a reader:

My favorite description of the most important thing that’s happened over the last 50 years or so comes from coal history, and it is this:

Just 50 years ago, to get anthracite out of the ground, we sent hundreds of men into tiny holes in mountain-sides with lamps on their heads, and tools in their hands. They’d slowly follow seams, pushing coal out in carts that ran on tracks they laid.

Today, we’re literally taking the tops off of mountains, scooping out what we want from their insides with shovels the size of houses, then filling the hole back in and moving on to the next mountain.

Now, thankfully, coal extraction is slowing down in the USA. But this kind of exponential growth in resource extraction wasn’t limited to coal, and it wasn’t limited to the United States. Indeed, as bad as the US ecological footprint has been, it’s orders of magnitude worse in other parts of the world.

So apply the same principle to ocean fishing… or to palm oil production… or to ranching and the deforestation that goes along with it… The next time you fly, look down at the earth and understand that 50 years ago, all that land that’s been transformed by roads and houses and parking lots and farms… Well, 50 years ago, much of it was wild.
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American Democracy in the Rear-View Mirror?

“We saw it in the 1930s in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan; today it’s happened in Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Russia, The Philippines and Brazil, and is well underway in Poland, India and multiple smaller countries.”

Thom Hartman, writing at Raw Story in The new ‘businessman’s conspiracy’ authoritarian plot is closer than you think,

History shows that most democratic nations don’t realize how serious their fascism problem is until it overtakes them altogether. We saw it in the 1930s in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan; today it’s happened in Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Russia, The Philippines and Brazil, and is well underway in Poland, India and multiple smaller countries.

… Fascism isn’t just about the merger of oligarch and state interests; it also requires a repudiation of the rule of law and the institutions of democracy itself.

… We’ve seen this movie before, and, tragically, history tells us most countries only recognize their fascism problem in the rear-view mirror after it’s consumed their democracy.

It is happening here,
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