The shape of things to come
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
May we live in interesting times, as the curse goes. Political change agents among the least of us have been denied once again, and those that sit at the tables of power are in the grips of a full blown effort to convince the people that the institutional structures of society are fundamentally sound, and that all that is needed is a competent manager at the helm to guide us through the rough waters we have been experiencing lately. You know the thing; we have to keep it great, lest someone come along and peer behind the curtain only to find that a revolution is brewing. The virus that plagues us may or may not be man-made, but the shape of things to come certainly will be.
As our selected officials flood the media with statements that have the phrase “war-time footing” (read: emergency extra-legal authority) sprinkled throughout, it is clear in which direction the country, and the world, is being led. And make no mistake, the war being fought on all sides of the crisis before us is an information war. We are currently in the reaction phase, which will shortly be followed by the solution phase. The solution phase will at minimum, include the following: a further bailout of the banks in addition to the trillions already pumped in, with some UBI-type payments included; and the changes in behavior and the contingencies set forth by national, state, and local governments that dictate our daily lives will in part become permanent, although something like climate change will be promulgated as the new raison d’être for such measures. Those who wield power will use this as an opportunity, manufactured or not, as the vehicle through which power will further consolidate among the elite, and continue to diminish among the disorganized masses.
The first of Janus’ faces is the coronavirus outbreak. An important aspect of the crisis to keep in mind is that what is unfolding, in its most charitable interpretation, was known in advance, at least insofar as the spread of the virus, its reported point of origin, and the global response. The Chinese government ran an exercise in Wuhan province in September of 2019 that rehearsed the response to a deadly outbreak of a novel coronavirus that was seeded from outside the country. Additionally, the Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum ran a coronavirus outbreak simulation in New York City in October 2019, called Event 201, which was hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Also, The Gates Foundation funds The Pirbright Institute, which owns a strain of the coronavirus and will be instrumental in developing a vaccine, resulting in a financial windfall for the eugenicist’s foundation. These two exercises can accurately be used as a blueprint for how this crisis will unfold. The discussions that took place during the exercise in New York City are instructive. We have already seen China’s response in Wuhan, the place where the drills occurred and the outbreak was said to originate; and in New York, where Event 201 took place, where New Rochelle is the first city in the United States to have a military presence designed to lock down the state. Whether or not forced quarantines will take place by military personnel remains to be seen, but as it stands, the crisis is unfolding just as the exercises in China and New York “predicted”.
The second face is the political narrative being played out in the media between Biden, Sanders, and Trump. Sanders ran as an opposition candidate, which in this case means he did not effectively make the case for how he would use his elected power to reform government, he merely criticized those who hold power; and in so doing, criticized the ownership of power itself, which is in fact, Un-American. In fact, opposition groups are, by definition, in the minority. The largest factor that continually guarantees the political failure of the working class at the national level is that the opposition factions within society are unable to effectively wield power simply because they do not own or operate the instruments of power. They have but one weapon, the vote. It was once remarked by Emma Goldman that if voting made a difference, they would make it illegal. Although strictly speaking Goldman was wrong, her sentiment was indeed one of the most true statements about democracies ever made. We know voting matters, because the power structure attempts, at every turn, to control the outcome of elections by whatever means it can get away with.
Bernie Sanders is profoundly emblematic of this phenomenon, as voter fraud by state and local governments, collusion by the DNC and the other candidates, and a steady avalanche of media propaganda all conspired to bury his political hopes. However, he also played a key role in his own failure. Speaking to the economic populist in the hearts of Americans is the key; but more importantly, Right economic populism is more effective than Left economic populism in this historical moment, an observation lost on Sanders. The former strategy was successfully employed by FDR which resulted in the New Deal. The nationalist hue of the Right can more effectively join together the key constituencies needed moving forward, which was the frame Trump’s rhetoric took on in 2016. Sanders, on the other hand, continued to build his message on an internationalist, “Workers of the world, unite!” platform, which allowed him to be pilloried with the socialist moniker. As it stands now, Trump will run the Hillary 2.0 playbook against Biden, speaking as politicians do out of both sides of their mouth, with the media becoming apoplectic each time Trump utters so much as a syllable. And the Trumpists, with every negative news segment about Trump, will only become further entrenched in their support, and Trump will be able to once again call out the fake news. Trump’s efforts will likely be rewarded with a second term in office as most of Sanders’ supporters will not back Biden because they rightly view him as a fraud, depressing Democrat turnout just enough to get Trump to 270.
These are the shape of things to come.
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.” ~ John F. Kennedy