Today’s Latin Lesson

This tweet of mine unexpctedly opened up the meditation on US politics which follows it:

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Friendly, unsolicited advice to Republicans in search of solutions to their poor, bedraggled (driven through the mud) party or, alternatively, toward founding a new center-right one:

Go back to the basics.

You likely aspire after RES PUBLICA, a “public thing” – a govt answering to its franchised citizens.

You probably do not think that the DEMOS, the People, especially a people composed of multiple conflicting identities, should rule. That would be DEMOCRACY.

Obviously, the question of citizenship, more precisely who is franchised, must be defined. My advice would be to expand the franchise to as many as possible. Short of genocide, white people, those who consider themselves such, will become a minority almost everywhere in the US.  

Thought Crimes

Continuing correspondance …
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I don’t really have the energy to get outraged over the rushed nomination to RBG, the idolation of whom is typical of the current state of “liberal” culture. Make that liberal “culture”.

Hypocrisy, such as McConnell’s, is the name of the political game. Did anyone think Trump wouldn’t rush to appoint? But hypocrisy of the ones justifies, in my opinion, the hypocrisy of the others. The GOP will prevail on this Scotus nomination but what will be their eventual cost?  I personally hope that revenge will be sought and obtained — a somewhat different wish than yours for eventual balance and restraint. I don’t know if the Dems will prevail in the White House or the Senate. But all gloves are off, and should be.

For the record, you know already, that I am radically pro-choice, but I am also increasingly anti-woke. Another recent tweet of mine: “How many racists can dance on the the head of a pin?” A turn of thought a little too complex for Twitter, I admit. The Woke Ones probably didn’t get my point.

John remarked in a tweet that he had felt the help of that beer. I think the recording session took place late in the afternoon, so cocktail hour. I remember his personal taste as being more inclined to chardonnay.

Interesting about the Le Monde magazine piece, alas only a snipet available this side of the firewall, though easy to imagine backhanded French dédain therein expressed: https://www.lemonde.fr/m-le-mag/article/2020/09/18/thomas-chatterton-williams-glenn-loury-coleman-hughes-les-anticonformistes-de-l-antiracisme_6052654_4500055.html

Orwellian dimensions to what is going on, including at Princeton (the nominal home of that imperialist, racist pig Woodrow Wilson). Turns out that some animals are more equal than others. And what people are being charged with is what we used to call “thought-crimes”.

All of this is further proof to me of the incipient chaos of a disintegrating empire, one which will take many down with it. I am even beginning to want to live long enough to see more well-deserved damage on the US body politick. Let the chickens come home, I say, transitioning from Boomer to Doomer.

Cheers,

George

China’s Silk Road Imperialism from a Leninist Perspective

Liberals, neo- or not, tend to dismiss Marxist theory as voluntarist drivel, a reflection of evil intentions, not analysis amenable to verification. Hence my surprise the other day in reading this excerpt from the Financial Times in a series on China’s Great Game in Central Asia:

Lenin’s theory that imperialism is driven by capitalist surpluses seems to hold true, oddly, in one of the last (ostensibly) Leninist countries in the world. It is no coincidence that the Silk Road strategy coincides with the aftermath of an investment boom that has left vast overcapacity and a need to find new markets abroad.” (13 Oct 2015, p. 9)

The debate over the economic causes of imperialism survived the crisis in orthodox, state-sanctioned Marxism, in part because it had been incorporated into Third World and World Systems theory then embraced by the anti-globalization movements which address the inequities among the most, the more, the less and the least economically developed societies around the globe. Inequities also prevail within each of those sectors.

Here, in what we persist in calling the West, prolonged stagnation of income, pervasive impoverishment and creeping lumpen-proletariatization have meant slumping internal markets. To export their surplus of profit, corporations based in the capitalist democracies now need foreign consumers — the unbridled creation of credit, aka debt, to feed domestic consumption having revealed its shortcomings in 2008.

In China, given its recent boom, the problem is similar, though more acute.

Beijing must find sufficient external demand for its products and goods to avoid recession, depression or even collapse, of the economy first, then of the regime. This is why China must expand into Central Asia. Its province of Xinjiang (New Frontier  新疆, or in its other official, Uyghur transcription شىنجاڭ) as well as the hinterland in the Stans are as important to this recently established, naturally continentally-minded dynasty as its maritime zones of influence, both the seas adjacent to the western Pacific which bear its name (East China Sea, South China Sea), and the “String of Pearls” which connects its prosperous coast through the Strait of Malacca to the Middle East and Europe. From a Leninist, though even from a purely merchantilist perspective, the Trans-Pacific Partnership which excludes China from crucial east Asian and west Pacific markets will push China even more strongly into central Asia.

Lenin’s argument was initially directed against his rival Karl Kautsky’s 1914 typically social-democratic bout of wishful thinking that capitalism’s tendency towards cartel monopoly would lead to a phase of ultra-imperialism in which the great powers subsume their nationalist antagonisms and cooperate jointly in the exploitation of the periphery, thus avoiding war. Lenin correctly saw — retrospectively in 1917, let us note — that the ever-shifting balance of powers among competitive capitalist states precluded such co-operation. Put another way: state politics trump economics.

So it is not odd, in fact the odds favour that the capitalist powers, soon prima inter pares China, will  be drawn into military conflict in a tragic reprise of the internal contradictions which engendered the First World War, but also the first explicitly anti-capitalist revolution, the one associated with Lenin’s name. The next anti-capitalist revolution remains to be imagined. If the past is any measure, it will  follow upon a cataclysm unavoidable as long as the logic of capitalist accumulation prevails as international law.

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The Financial Times article can be accessed in on the Uyghur Human Rights Project / UHRP website (no firewall). http://uhrp.org/featured-articles/china’s-great-game-new-frontier-old-foes

Lenin’s theory of imperialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperialism,_the_Highest_Stage_of_Capitalism

World Systems Theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-systems_theory

Kautsky’s Ultra-imperialism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-imperialism

China’s Silk Road initiative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silk_Road_Economic_Belt_and_the_21st-century_Maritime_Silk_Road

China’s String of Pearls strategy:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_of_Pearls_(Indian_Ocean)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership