Category Archives: Conservatism

Robert Stark Interviews Roman Bernard about the Paris Terrorist Attack & the Political Situation in France

Link here.

Now this interview is simply superb. I have never heard of this fellow before and he is connected with the Alt Right but I found that he had few if any objectionable views. Perhaps Europe is so Loony Left that Alt Right over there simply means “sane.”

He does have a very strong French accent, but it was just strong enough to be charming, disarming and even sexy but not so strong as to hinder communication. I understood easily 90-95% of what he said.

Great views on the politics and social structures of France about which I knew little. If you are into the politics and sociology of modern France, this interview is a must listen!

Great interview!

 

Roman Bernard lives in Paris, is the European Editor for RADIX JOURNAL, is in political communications and marketing, and is a former sports reporter.

Topics include:

The role that Paris plays as the center of power in France.
How Paris is a three-tier city with a wealthy left-leaning white center (where the attack happened), a 2nd tier which is mostly poor immigrants, and a 3rd Tier which is the white flight suburbs.
How Roman walked by the Bataclan Theatre before the attack and saw many of the victims and how he knows people who knew people who died.
The psychological processes Roman went through after the attack (human, anger, confidence).
How the terrorist explicitly targeted Whites and spared the lives of non-Whites.
How two of the terrorist were refugees.
The media’s myth that Paris was under total martial law.
How the police used the attack as justification to break into people’s homes.
How Prime Minister Hollande lied about the borders being closed.
How propaganda is more important than history and facts.
The Football scene from The Dark Knight Rises.
French football as a form of civic nationalism.
How Qatar owns the major football team in France, is hosting the next World Cup, is largely responsible for the crisis in Syria, and combines the worst aspects of Arab and Western cultures.
How Syria has a connection to Western Civilization due to colonization by the Greeks, Romans, and French.
The Syrian War as a racial conflict.
How the French Government is supporting the Syrian rebels against the Alawites who were allies of the French under colonialism.
The plans by the Western elites and Gulf states to dismantle Syria and build an oil pipeline.
Michel Houellebecq’s Submission which is about an Islamist takeover of France.
Demographic trends in France.
How the key issue is western atomization and that Islamization is the symptom of that malady.
The 2015 French Regional Election.
Marine Le Pen and the Front National.
How the Front National is a coalition of former socialists in the de-industrialized North and affluent conservatives in the South.
Why Roman views the key issue as national survival and that economic and social issues should be left to local regions.

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Filed under Alawi, Arabs, Conservatism, Europe, Europeans, France, French, Islam, Middle East, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Shiism, Sociology, Sports, Syria, Terrorism, Whites

Robert Stark Interviews Luke Ford about the 7th Day Adventist Church, Orthodox Judaism & Max Hardcore

I will continue to run interviews with the engaging Luke Ford though he is rightwing on some things, nevertheless he is one of the most interesting and palatable rightwingers out there. He has a great delivery and I really enjoy what he has to say as he has some great insights into things that I have never known before.

Interview here.

Robert Stark and co-host Paul Bingham talk to blogger, former pornography gossip columnist, and convert from the Seventh-day Adventist Church to Orthodox Judaism, Luke Ford.

Topics include:

How Luke and Paul both share a common background in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Seventh Day Adventist Beliefs.
How Ben Carson’s campaign brings attention to the 7th Day Adventist faith.
How 7th Day Adventists tend to avoid politics.
How 7th Day Adventists tend to distrust the US government.
The apocalyptic aspect of 7th Day Adventism (ex. the Branch Dravidians who were a breakaway sect).
How 7th Day Adventists put an emphasis on healing.
How 7th Day Adventist facilities have an aura of holiness and reverence.
How the Church if made up of mostly women and tends to feminize both men and women (ex. discouraging competition).
How the Church appeals to people in poverty and helps them improve their lives.
How upwardly mobile individuals tend to leave the Church.
How 7th Day Adventists put a strong emphasis on the afterlife while Jews tend to focus on success in this world.
How 7th Day Adventists and Jews tend to have opposite values about passions towards money, sex, and power.
How Orthodox Judaism is much more challenging and difficult to convert to.
Similarities between Judaism and Mormonism.
Dietary laws, 7th Day Adventist vegetarianism, and the Kosher diet.
The impacts of vegetarianism and how it can work if practiced properly.
Luke’s father Desmond Ford who was an influential leader in the church and later broke away.
The Nostradamus Kid which is a coming of age story about an Australian boy raised a Seventh-Day Adventist in the 1950’s who yearns for the pastor’s daughter and fears the world is coming to an end.
The Alexander Technique and how it appeals to actors and athletes.
How the Alexander Technique helps with voice problems, posture, and clumsiness.
Whether religion or psychotherapy are more effective in treating psychological problems.
How different religions address different problems.
How Luke found the 7th Day Adventist Church stifling of expression.
How Dr. Kellogg, who was a 7th Day Adventist, promoted circumcision to reduce sexual pleasure.
How Luke has tended to avoid tension and has developed his humor as a coping mechanism.
Max Hardcore and how he pioneered the genre of violent humiliation porn.
How Max Hardcore took porn to its logical conclusions and was an embarrassment to many in the industry who hid behind a veneer of respectability.
How Luke’s personal take on Max Hardcore based on the time he spent with him, was that he was articulate, intelligent, and charming but had a dark sadistic side that he let out on camera and when he was drunk.
Luke’s controversial political views, immigration, and Donald Trump.
Chateau Heartiste.

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Filed under Christianity, Conservatism, Gender Studies, Judaism, Political Science, Politics, Pornography, Psychology, Religion, Sex, US Politics

Robert Stark Interviews The Truth Will Live about Redpilling Your Family & Catholicism

I am going to run this interview, as I did listen to about half of it. However, this woman has such a boring and poor delivery and she has such rightwing views (We are the
Alternative Left after all!) that I do not think I am going to run her stuff anymore. If any of you readers like The Truth Will Live, then I will continue to run her stuff so you can enjoy it. After all, you readers sort of run this blog in a way.

Interview here.

Topics include:

Wife The Girl by Uncuck the Right.
How the Truth Will Live was Redpilled.
How she was able to Red Pill most of her family.
How most of her family was relatively moderate to conservative to begin with.
How the first reaction to the Redpill is often a hysterical, but after that the person changes their views.
How women tend to be more conformist than men.
How it’s easier to Redpill people of the same gender.
How to Redpill liberals by bringing up how mass immigration harms workers and the environment and that immigration and feminism are driven by capitalism.
How we live in neither a true Patriarchy nor Matriarchy but rather a  culture driven by consumerism and profit.
How our culture is in a spiritual and moral crisis.
Her video Why Have Children?, a response to anti-natalism.
Social Atomization and how it leads to psychological problems.
How Americans are expected to put on a facade of happiness.
The Paleo diet and lifestyle.
The Catholic Church and how it has changed since the 2nd Vatican Council.
The end of the Latin Mass.
How the Catholic Church is suppressing traditional music such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Gregorian Chants.
How Catholicism has become more like Protestantism.
Aesthetic standards in religion and how it was affected by the prohibition against idolatry.
Traditional Catholics who reject the Vatican.
E Michael Jones and how he views Protestantism as similar to Judaism (ex. Prosperity Doctrine).
How modern Christianity has become synonymous with prole culture and has driven away creative types.
Missa Luba, a choir in the Belgium Congo that was taught to sing the Latin Mass by missionaries.

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Filed under American, Catholicism, Christianity, Conservatism, Culture, Feminism, Gender Studies, Liberalism, Man World, Music, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Social Problems, Sociology

The Real Reason the Viet Cong Won in the Vietnam War

EPGAH writes:

The Russians gave the revolt guns and bombs, without which, they would’ve lost.

Bottom line is that the Russians and Chinese funded and armed Commie rebellions all over the world. Most of them failed. If you do not have the objective conditions for a revolution, it’s going to fail. You have to have a really lousy rightwing regime in power for a Commie revolution to succeed. Anywhere there is a halfway decent or progressive regime in place that treats people well, you never get a successful Left revolution.

Bottom line is the Viet Cong won because they always had mass support. They had the support of the majority from the very start until the very end. In particular, they had mass support in the countryside. Hardly anyone in the countryside supported the landlords. The VC had less support in the cities, but even there, none of the South Vietnamese regimes had much support from the people.

Also the South Vietnamese regimes were seen as puppets of the US. The US was seen as a colonist who only replaced the French. So the South Vietnamese regimes were seen as puppets of the US colonists. The South Vietnamese regimes were always for the rich and against everyone else. Mostly they were for the rich feudal landlords in the countryside, and had no interest in helping anyone else.

The ARVN did not fight very well, probably because their heart was not in it. Further, the ARVN was completely infiltrated by the Viet Cong. For that matter, the South Vietnamese state was completely infiltrated by the VC also.

Commie revolutions failed everywhere they did not have mass support no matter how much money and guns they had from outside. And if the objective conditions were not correct (a crappy rightwing government), then no revolution usually got started, or if it did, it never went anywhere.

Russians and Chinese only funded and armed rebellions that were already underway anyways. These revolts only succeeded where they had mass support of the majority, and the Western client/puppet regime had almost no support.

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Filed under Asia, China, Cold War, Colonialism, Conservatism, Eurasia, History, Left, Marxism, Political Science, Regional, Revolution, Russia, SE Asia, USA, USSR, Vietnam, Vietnam War, War

Why “They Have Too Many Kids” Is a Bad Argument against Third World Poverty

EPGAH writes:

You keep saying the Third World “breeds normally”, but that’s not true, otherwise they wouldn’t outnumber us in our own countries–and for that matter, wouldn’t have TENS OF MILLIONS to dump on us, if they weren’t overbreeding!

Pick a country in Europe, and tell me how many MILLIONS they have to spare to dump on the Third World. Then pick a Third World Hell and tell me how many MILLIONS they have to spare to dump on US! Or just count how many MILLIONS they already HAVE dumped on us!

That will help you count how much they’re overbreeding.
Round to the nearest MILLION if it helps your calculations?

They breed too much because they are poor and have shitty governments. When you give women education, health care, housing and work, and you give families security in sickness and old age, the birth rate crashes. The birth rate has crashed in Kerala in India under Communist rule for the last 25 years. Same thing in Cuba. Same thing everywhere you do this. People have kids for security in old age and to have workers to help on family farms. If you give people pensions, support against illness and no reason to use their kids as labor, they stop having so many kids. The main thing is education of women. The less education women have, the more kids they have.

Bolivia is a classic case where people scream that the Bolivians have too many kids, and the place is overpopulated. Yet Bolivia is one of the least populated states on Earth. If you want to talk overpopulated, look at Singapore or the Netherlands.

Mexico is another case where the overpopulation crowd scream that the country is overpopulated and the people have too many kids. Mexico has never been overpopulated. Mexico has the same population density as California. Furthermore, the Mexican birthrate, while not low, has been crashing since the early 1960’s.

Furthermore, in a number of countries in the developing world, for whatever reason, the birth rate has completely crashed and is now at or below replacement. Of course these same overpopulation theorists still scream that these places are overpopulated as long as they are poor even if the women are not even breeding enough to sustain the population. One wonders at what point exactly a 3rd World country’s population is not “having too many kids.” It seems that as long as they are poor, the people are having too many kids. The 3rd Worlders can’t win. No matter what they do, as long as they are poor, they are always having too many kids.

Saying “they have too many kids” has always been a dodge that rightwingers use to justify poverty that is mostly caused by gross maldistribution of resources and money in backwards rightwing developing countries where the rich steal every nickel in the place and leave everyone else holding the bag.

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Filed under Americas, Asia, Caribbean, Conservatism, Cuba, Economics, Education, Europe, Government, Health, India, Latin America, Mexico, Netherlands, Political Science, Regional, SE Asia, Singapore, Social Problems, Sociology, South America, South Asia, Women

What Would a Progressive, Sane Immigration Program Look Like?

Repost from the old site:

Let’s take a look at what a progressive Immigration Sanity (IS) project might look like, along with some possible principles:

1. Junk internationalism. Obviously, an IS project has to be nationalist, not internationalist. This in spite of the fact that all Communist regimes in history locked down their border and were very careful about who they let in.

Not one Communist or even progressive government anywhere engaged in a project to allow unfettered immigration of cheap labor into the state so that national workers could be fired and replaced by cheap labor immigrants.

Not one progressive regime ever subscribed to a policy of allowing massively exploitable immigrant labor into the nation, to be worked under horrible, sweatshop-like, abusive conditions, untaxed and unregulated, with the Sword of Deportation hanging over their heads, as a preference for brassy and sometimes defiant national workers who stood up for their rights, unlike submissive immigrants.

2. A clear condemnation of cheap labor immigration. Low wage, submissive, exploitable immigration is antithetical to every progressive value and must be condemned across the board. The fact that the Western Left is lining up with the most crooked capitalist interests on this labor-crushing issue is frankly despicable.

3. A notion that revolution begins at home. Read Marx and Lenin and tell me where they say that the way to wage revolution in a backwards country is go invade some developed country and then work as a submissive, ultra-exploited, captive worker. What a joke! If your country is the suffering from the typical wreckage of failed Third World capitalism, you need to fix up your own country, not invade mine.

We have our own hands full dealing with our own rightwigners who are in power and progressively ruining America. We don’t need the added problem of a peasant invasion on top of that.

4. A recognition that unfettered immigration is contrary to all environmental values. As a radical environmentalist, it is clear to me that population growth is driving the present extinction crisis.

To pretend that population growth is not an issue and open the borders to 50% of Mexico (50% of Mexicans want to live in the US) and 1/3 to 1/2 of the world (polls show that 1/3 to 1/2 of the world wants to come to America) is environmental insanity.

With half of Mexico in the US, not to mention 2 to 3 billion new Americans, we can kiss the natural environment goodbye.

5. A principled opposition to H-1B and all other forms of cheap labor immigration, legal and illegal. There is no sense in automatically opposing all forms of immigration as “taking jobs from Americans”. There are all sorts of immigrant physicians working in the US; this is not a problem since they work for prevailing wage and do not drive down salaries of US physicians.

Immigrants willing to work for prevailing US wages should not be automatically opposed, and they do not “take jobs from Americans”. The only time immigrants “take jobs from Americans” is when they work for lower wages, tolerate worse working conditions, are more likely to work under the table, and display more submissive behavior than US workers.

If they work for prevailing wage and are as unwilling as US workers to tolerate abuse, they don’t take a job from a soul. They add one more worker and consumer, which helps create more jobs.

The H-1B program is completely insane. Begun in 1990, it allows into the US about 250,000 foreigners as some kind of “non-immigrant guest workers”. The nonsense began 17 years ago due to a so-called shortage of computer techs and programmers in the US. The vast majority of the workers brought in on H-1B have been from India.

Few if any of these Indian workers are actually needed in the US! We have more than enough programmers and engineers in the US; in fact, H-1B has put many US tech workers out of work. What is H-1B all about? It’s all about replacing high-paid US workers with low-paid, typically poorly-skilled scabs from India!

Every year, the tech companies conjure up a nonexistent desperate tech worker shortage out of thin air. Every year, all of the US media report wide-eyed on this fake shortage. Every year, Congress reinstates the program, or increases it even more.

I assume until shown otherwise that the Left in the US supports this charade. Why? Because the Left seems to support anything involving foreigners who come to the US, even to work as scabs. End H-1B!

6. A recognition that the mass importation of poor Mexican workers to the US as illegal immigrants is part of the elite project of reactionary capitalist elites in both the US and Mexico. Obviously, there is no reason that any progressive should get in bed with these scoundrels or support them in their backwards game.

Mexico needs to feed and house its poor, not create more Carlos Slims (Slim just passed Bill Gates as the world’s richest man).

7. A hardheaded recognition of the anarchy, crime, disease and elevated costs than millions of poorly educated peasants and urban poor bring to America. The children of Mexican immigrants have a higher illegitimacy rate than either Americans or Mexicans. Hispanics in the US already have a 42% illegitimacy rate.

The link between illegitimacy and fatherless upbringing and a variety of ills, including sociopathy and criminal behavior in the male offspring, is scientifically proven. Almost 1/3 of young Hispanic males have been arrested, and 25% have been imprisoned. I’ve been arrested a few times myself, but these are serious figures.

The children of the illegal immigrants are forming Hispanic street gangs in large numbers. There is no progressive reason to apologize for, make alliance with, or defend a bunch of criminals.

No Communist state fetishized or coddled its street criminals, and no progressive state ever allowed them to run loose Clockwork Orange-style to destroy the fabric of the land. No sucking up to crooks! No sucking up to sociopathic street gangs!

By virtue of their poverty and the fact that they frequently work under the table, illegal immigrants contribute very little in taxes.

At the same time, they flood various social services such as schooling and correctional facilities. They get emergency treatment at hospitals for free. This itself is not a problem except that the federal government demands this emergency room treatment and then refuses to reimburse local governments for the costs of it.

We demand that the federal government reimburse the states for the costs of treating illegal immigrants in the emergency room.

Fully 60% of Hispanics in Los Angeles are failing to graduate from high school. Of those that do graduate, only 20% are qualified to go right into college. These facts are partly responsible for the explosive growth of remedial classes at our universities.

For a variety of reasons, Hispanic illegal immigrants and their children are not performing well in education, have a high crime rate, and contribute little in taxes while heavily utilizing  government funds. The upshot is crumbling government services for all, including poor and working class American citizens.

It is not important, nor is it our place to inquire or understand why Hispanic illegal immigrants and their offspring are performing rather poorly, but there is evidence that it is based more on class than race. Poor workers and peasants in many societies have tended to have high crime rates and to be poorly educated.

It is dubious that we would be having these problems with our recent Hispanic arrivals if, say, 40% of Hispanic immigrants, legal or illegal, had, say, advanced degrees. Hence we reject racialized explanations for poor Hispanic performance. Poor performance by Hispanics on various matrices is not a racial inevitability.

Sadly, for a variety of reasons, it may be unlikely that new illegal Hispanic arrivals follow in the footsteps of, say, the Italian immigrants of a century ago. The reasons for this are likely complex and ultimately not as important as recognizing that importing an army of impoverished unschooled peasants is not a good bargain for America.

8. The progressive project is based on development. Aside from some strange movements like the Khmer Rogue, all progressive movements have been based on the transition of society from underdevelopment to development. Control over population growth was essential to these movements.

China’s huge population was one of the near-impossible tasks that Mao faced in feeding the Chinese people and bringing them out of feudal serfdom. Mao could not have accomplished many of his great accomplishments with a continuous invasion of vast numbers of poor, uneducated peasants. He had his hands full with the Chinese.

Allowing continuous unfettered immigration is antithetical to our goals of sheltering, employing, feeding and providing medical care for our citizens, especially our poor citizens. It makes a difficult job downright impossible. The Open Borders movement is a movement to take a First World country, the US, and “underdevelop it” back to Third World status.

There are too many 3rd World countries as it is. The trajectory of the world should be forward towards progress, not backwards towards underdevelopment. We progressives are committed to moving the 3rd World forward towards the developed model, not the reverse.

9. A rejection of anti-Hispanic racism. Recognizing that US Hispanics have various shortcomings and problems as a group is not racism. Nevertheless, the anti-immigration movement is shot through from top to bottom with racism, typically of the White Nativist variety at least. It is populated largely by the some of the most ignorant and backwards segments of the US White population, the Yahoos of H.L. Mencken fame.

While this does not mean that the movement is immoral, we need to recognize that the racists in the movement exist and to somehow keep our distance from them. One step is banning any semblance of actual (not imagined) racism from our fora. At the same time, we recognize that cultural critique is in the finest progressive tradition, one we continue to uphold.

10. Kindness towards illegals. I do not feel that illegal immigrants or low wage legal immigrants are bad people. I socialize with Mexican immigrants almost every day, hang out in Mexican bars and restaurants where scarcely a word of English is heard, shop in Mexican corner markets, buy food off their taco trucks and sit down and joke with drunken farmworkers relaxing after work. Many of those folks are illegal aliens.

I also speak passable Spanish. I like Mexicans on a personal level, even illegal immigrants. In many ways, I like them better than my own Whites. The principle of love the sinner, hate the sin, should be operative here. As a Christian, I believe in showing compassion towards immigrants, legal and illegal, as a general rule.

Of course they are just trying to get ahead economically. Of course their home countries are a wreck. Nevertheless, it is logical that as illegals or low-wage legal immigrants, there is a good argument to be made, or at least debated, that they should not be in this country.

We may need to firmly and lovingly convince them to go home and wish them all the best on their journey. Others are going to need to be told that the door to America is closed to them. It’s not a problem; millions of potential immigrants every year get this message from many countries the world over.

Hatred and contempt for immigrants of all kinds should be discouraged in our fora. They are in general not bad people; it is the system that is broken.

11. As noted, the anti-immigrant movement is largely the hardest rightwing sector of the US conservative movement. It shares many similarities with the Patriot, militia and Black helicopters nutjobs. Christian fundamentalism to the point of sheer lunacy is quite common. Ignorance is high; many activists can neither spell nor use proper syntax, and you wonder when they last read a book.

This anti-intellectual, redneck aspect of the movement is a reality that will not change. Most movement members are ready to march off and vote for Republicans. These Republicans are antithetical to us progressives in most every way but immigration. Ideally, it would be better to convert Democratic candidates to immigration sanity than to get into bed with these rightwingers and wake up with fleas.

On the other hand, we should be willing to make coalitions with any and all friendly rightwingers who share at least some of our views on immigration. In these cases, it is best for both Right and Left anti-immigration movement members to look for commonalities on the immigration question instead of getting wrapped up in pointless sparring over Right vs Left politics, in which case our fora will be littered with endless infighting.

We need to be very careful about making coalitions with White Supremacist, Patriot and militia types and the racists in the movement. It is probably better to simply keep them at arms length and focus on growing an anti-racist IS progressive movement. If we let them into our fora, they will litter it with racist-type language – then our enemies will use this to say we are “friends with the fascists and racists”.

On the other hand, many of the Minutemen are married to Mexican women. Many others regularly go to Mexico, and many speak Spanish well. Just because someone is a Minuteman does not mean he is some anti-Mexican racist.

The rightwing of the IS movement is a mixed bag. Some are quite sensible and decent, while others are backwards, racist and need to be avoided. Judicious choice of friends applies here, as elsewhere in life.

12. This movement is very much a work in progress. It is hardly the work of one man or one blog. This blog welcomes your intellectual and theoretical contributions, from the Right to the Left, on the issues I have probed in this essay.

One of the main areas we should focus on is how we can possibly wean Democrats and liberals off the Open Borders movement and towards some sort of sanity on this issue. Let’s not let the Right own this issue – it’s too important to leave it to one side of the spectrum.

This research takes a lot of time, and I do not get paid anything for it. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a a contribution to support more of this valuable research.

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Filed under Asia, Capitalists, China, Conservatism, Crime, Education, Environmentalism, Fake Guest Workers, Government, Hispanics, Illegal, Immigration, India, Internationalism, Labor, Latin America, Left, Legal, Liberalism, Marxism, Mexico, North America, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, Republicans, Scum, Social Problems, Sociology, South Asia, US Politics, USA

“Democratic Capitalism in the Last Stages? Capital as Agency in Wolfgang Streeck’s Analysis of the Crisis,” by Kees van der Pijl

This is an excellent paper discussing Wolfgang Streek’s latest and popular book, Buying Time. People like to bash Marxism, but as a tool for analysis of capitalism it is unsurpassed. But no capitalist will ever admit that. Everything in this paper is 100% true (except for the suggesting that the Charlie Hebdo attack was a false flag) but no US newspaper, newsmagazine, TV News or radio news will ever tell you this true story. Instead they will recycle an endless series of lies from the capitalists.

The capitalists do not want you to know what they are doing, and this is why they operate in secret, lie constantly and use codewords and memes. This is because the capitalist project is not good for the vast majority of Americans. Only perhaps the top 20% benefit from the capitalist project in the US. As the paper shows, Western capitalists have been trying to get out from under the Social Contract that they made with labor and society as a whole after World War 2 as a measure to head off Communism.

This project hays been operating in stages since  the 1960’s, and we are now near the final stage. Every one of these stages has been good for the capitalists and bad for wage labor, society, and I would argue democracy.

This is because the capitalist project lately is a profoundly antidemocratic one. Any project that redistributes wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 20% is hardly democratic.

Further if your project is to redistribute wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 20%, it would make sense to lie about your project and not admit that you are doing that. Instead of harming the bottom 80%, you say you are helping them. The capitalists also argue that those who seek to redistribute wealth from the top 20% to the bottom 80% (the Left) are actually harming the bottom 80%! As the capitalists own all the media in the West, there is no contrary narrative to this wild lie.

Any project that seeks to harm the majority at the expense of a minority must disguise its aims. As this is generally the project of capitalists and conservatives in general, both capitalist and conservative discourse is typically profoundly dishonest as they both seek to convince the bottom 80% that an elite project to harm them is actually going to help them.

What would happen if the capitalists and conservatives were simply honest about their redistributive aims? They would have to say that they were pushing a project to redistribute wealth upwards from the bottom 80% to the top 20%. Further they would have to say that their project is going to harm wage labor every step of the say.

What is the likelihood that such an elite reverse Robin Hood Project would fly? Never estimate the American voter’s tendency towards conservative masochism and supporting their class enemies economically. Nevertheless, I doubt that even the hyper-masochistic American working and middle classes would go along with a project to take from the bottom 80% and give to the top 20%.

Since conservative and capitalist projects are always designed to take harm the masses and help an elite through upward wealth redistribution, conservatism all down through history has typically been extremely dishonest. If you are running an elitist project, you can’t exactly come out and say so.

This is perhaps my biggest beef against conservatives – their extreme and continuous dishonesty in public discourse. The extreme and near continuous lying of conservatives only confuses the masses and poisons the well of public discourse.

Talking with a conservative is like trying to have a conversation with a psychopath. How can you possibly have a productive conversation with a pathologically lying sociopath? This is what political discourse in the West has boiled down to in he last 35 years.

Furthermore, when one side is lying constantly, this makes a mockery out of claims of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. What good is freedom of the press if the press is all owned by pathologically lying sociopathic capitalists? How can alternative or dissident voices even make themselves heard if the only way to talk to the public is to be rich enough to own a printing press, TV station or radio station?

Democratic Capitalism in the Last Stages?
Capital as Agency in Wolfgang Streeck’s Analysis of the Crisis

Paper for the 5th EU experts’ Discussion, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Berlin, 11-13 December 2015

Kees van der Pijl
Centre for Global Political Economy
University of Sussex

Abstract

Wolfgang Streeck’s Gekaufte Zeit/ Buying Time contains a compelling analysis that points to the origins of the current crisis in the wave of strikes of 1968-69. It caused the capitalist class to try and wrest free from the post-war social (-democratic) contract forced on it by labor.

However, not only does Streeck not pay attention to imperialism and war, he also tends to assume that capital-as-agency governed the entire period since, attempting to postpone the full social impact of the crisis in three different ways, restricting democracy as it went along. However, the three periods he distinguishes (inflation, state debt and private debt) were directed by changing coalitions of capitalist interests uniting behind a different concept of control – corporate liberalization and two versions of neoliberalism.

This highlights that in 2008, when these remedies all had exhausted themselves, capital-as-agency in command was the bloc of forces led by speculative money-dealing capital, which in the 1990’s had captured the states of the West and steered them onto a path of high-risk, high-reward policies both in the economy proper and in international affairs. This explains why after 2008, solutions to the crisis followed this particular political-economic orientation, with more risk-taking in all areas on the agenda.

The debate on the crisis of 2008 continues to produce significant works, often concentrating on the fact that although the crisis was caused by neoliberalism, tackling it has not included a clean-up of the worst features of that particular form of capitalism such as off-shore, financialization, or the flexibilization of labor(e.g. Mirowski 2013).

Wolfgang Streeck’s Buying Time (here cited from the German original, Gekaufte Zeit, Streeck 2013) in this connection claims that the options for a democratic capitalism to find a way out of the crisis after three attempts to postpone its effects have been exhausted. It is the argument of Buying Time that will serve as a framework for organizing my reflections here.

Streeck’s conversions, first from and then back to a historical material position, are best left for the gossip column. Yet whilst it is a laudable step to pick up where he left off as a Marxist, the readings back from his earlier days are not sufficient to cover all aspects of the current situation.

More particularly, his argument that we must conceive of capital as agency, a self-conscious social force, remains incomplete. It misses the dimension of capital/class fractions as moments/components in the process of class formation, their different abilities to weld class compromises with forces outside their own ranks, and the successive concepts of control (German, Herrschaftskonzepte) that guide them and society at large along a path of a certain necessarily limited rationality.

Corporate liberalism and neoliberalism are such concepts. Since these different concepts have very different implications in the sphere of, say, whether or not violence plays a role in the formulation of policy, we must pinpoint their precise composition in terms of ruling blocs. That this shortcoming is not immediately evident in Buying Time is also because Streeck does not really deal with imperialism, war and repression as aspects of a capitalism in crisis.

Fractions, Class Compromises, Concepts of Control

Streeck begins by taking his distance from the structuralist premise of Theodor Adorno (in whose honor the lectures brought together in Buying Time were delivered) and the Frankfurt School theorists. They employed a notion of capital as apparatus, not as agency; as means of production instead of class.

Thus difficult class-theoretical questions, e.g., concerning the difference between managers and property-owning capitalists, small and large capital, and so on, could be avoided. But a theory of capitalism from which capital as agency is absent, remains anemic (Streeck 2013: 43-4, 44 n., 47).

This is indeed the beginning of all wisdom, but it is not enough. To understand capital as agency we must realize that capital as such, as a totality, is never a given. When we look at it in class terms, we will see different axes of capitalist class formation, contesting the terrain among each other as they seek to build coalitions of interest casting their nets beyond the immediate concerns of firms/sectors from the process emanates – fractions of capital.

Forming from vantage points such as productive versus money capital, international, national, or sub-national/regional, and the like, fractions of capital in the process of class formation seek to transcend the initial principles which they must uphold to survive by developing a tentative, broader concept of control, a program for managing a broad range of political-economic terrains.

Such a program requires the political-ideological talents of organic intellectuals who arise in the same process and who earn the patronage of powerful interests expecting to gain from it.

These ‘intellectuals’ (professional politicians, corporate executives, participants in private planning groups, writers) may in fact be the first to see an opportunity and start the process. But they always are the ones who take the initial project forward into the sphere of politics, where it either blossoms out into a comprehensive concept of control, or not.

For as Gramsci writes, politics is an immediate impulse to action which is born on the “permanent and organic” terrain of economic life but which transcends it, bringing into play emotions and aspirations in whose incandescent atmosphere even calculations involving the individual human life itself obey different laws from those of individual profit, etc. (Gramsci 1971: 140).

Hence groups that do not obtain any material reward, but only symbolic concessions, may yet become part of the constellation of forces supporting a particular concept of control: say, an armaments policy that benefits the military-industrial complex in real terms also satisfies the chauvinism of people who stand to lose from a warlike stance in terms of income, life-chances etc.

In that sense, a political-economic fraction profiting from a specific conjuncture will succeed in making their particular interests appear as the interest of the entire capitalist class or even society at large (Hickel 1975). We can think of export-oriented capital when foreign trade opportunities are on the rise, finance in a period of restructuring when fixed capital is being liquidated, and so on.

A successful process of class formation culminates in a stage where so many real and symbolic concessions have been made (‘symbolic’ generally referring to political aesthetics, often by conjuring up a threat that feeds into bellicose chauvinism) that no rival concept of control can hope to cover all these fields.

One concept of control thus becomes truly comprehensive in that all political efficiency and success is premised on it and all social forces, even those from whom the whole process emanated to begin with, must subordinate their immediate, short-term interests to this program (Bode 1979).

At the heart of each such constellation of forces, then, we must assume there are key class compromises that lend coherence to the starting point from which a concept of control can be developed before it merges with the conjunctural conditions under which other interests will be inclined to sign on – at a diminishing rate of actually inflecting the final result (which by the way, as a formula of the general interest, is never spelled out but is experienced as self-evident ‘common sense’).

Only when a concept loses its comprehensiveness and unravels will it be recognized as the particular project of special interests and lose this common sense quality.
So when Streeck proposes to enlarge the notion of a legitimization crisis (originally formulated by Adorno’s student, Jürgen Habermas) by substituting the two actors identified in that theory, the state and the citizen (Habermas 1973) by three (the state, capital, and the wage-dependent population), what is still lacking is which fraction is providing the capitalist class interest with a specific thrust.

Also, closely related, we must know whether or not and to which extent the ‘wage-dependent population’ is either part of the initial class compromise, a later entrant, or not rewarded at all except perhaps with symbolic gestures or sentiment.

Why is this important? Streeck’s argument is that the crisis of a capitalism seeking to liberate itself from the democracy imposed on it after 1945 really dates from 1968-69. Since then, ‘capital’ (acting through the state) has tried three methods of postponing its full impact – inflation, state debt, and private debt – until in 2008, the entire edifice came crashing down.

That suggests four crises of restructuring in which ‘capital as agency’ acted under different concepts of control, reflecting different fractional vantage points based on entirely different class compromises, a different balance between material and symbolic rewards, etc.

Thus in the last crisis of 2008, ‘capital’ was the capitalist coalition formed (as I will explain) by speculative, money-dealing capital, immersed in high-risk operations both economically and politically, connected to the apparatuses of covert action and violent power projection that must compensate for the fact that it hardly makes any real concessions any longer outside the oligarchies in command.

The environment too is only seen as an object of speculative gain, with an emissions exchange the typical (and useless) form of dealing with the crisis of the biosphere. Other ‘solutions’ too will carry the stamp of this particular coalition and the concept it operates under, and it was the same for the previous crises of restructuring. In each case, a different ‘anthropology’ is involved as well – from the responsible, ‘embedded’ citizen-worker of the 1950’s to the atomized, ‘elementary human particle’ of today.

From this perspective, the immediate future, bar a political landslide away from capitalism altogether, may be much bleaker than Streeck envisages. Even his (already bleak) prediction that democracy may be abolished altogether under the factual directorate of high-risk, covert operators will exclude any negotiated reduction of democracy and instead involve provocation and war, covert action-induced emergencies and a suspension of rights.

This is what is happening before our eyes. So whilst for capital as a whole we cannot be sure where it will be heading in seeking a way out of certain profitability constraints from a fractional viewpoint in combination with the tendency in the conjuncture of profit distribution, the degree of probability in fact increases.

Even if we follow Streeck’s understanding of a legitimization crisis as arising from the dissatisfaction of capital with democracy and the obligations imposed by it and his thesis that the functioning of the capitalist economy is not a technical but a political issue as are growth and full employment, we should again specify this for the separate, fraction-to-‘imagined totality’ trajectories of each post-war concept of control.

Crises indeed are not technical malfunctions but follow from legitimization crises of a special kind (Streeck 2013: 49), but these can be understood in a much more specific sense. In fact he says a lot that enriches our understanding of a concept of control and its inherent class compromises, as when he writes about capitalism presuming a social contract in which legitimate mutual expectations are laid down formally or informally (Streeck 2013: 51).

Again a differentiation in terms of fractions works to enhance this understanding of capitalism as a time-bound, historically specific social order in need of legitimization, which crystallizes in different forms in space and time; forms that are negotiable and are negotiated anew once the malfunction of a particular format of the social contract, that is, the comprehensive concept of control, becomes evident.

I begin with the post-war concept of corporate liberalism (my terminology) because it was the crisis of this form of capitalism in 1968-69 of which the full impact according to Streeck was postponed several times until it exploded in 2008.

Corporate Liberalism after the War

Corporate liberalism is the liberalism governing relations between bodies internally organized along their own principles, so ‘sovereign’ in their own domains. It was based on the class compromise forced on capital by organized labor with the strengthened Soviet bloc adding its weight to the balance of forces and decolonization announcing potential further shifts to the detriment of the West’s pre-eminence in the global political economy.

Economically it rested on Keynesian countercyclical state intervention, capital controls (allowing the Bretton Woods system of a gold-dollar standard with fixed exchange rates to function), and the spread of demand-led, Fordist mass production.

This was what Streeck calls the ‘very specific settlement’ in which capital had to make an effort to prolong and renew its social license, whilst allowing politically determined social goals to govern the profit economy and yet avoid a spillback to fascism or yield to the temptations of the Soviet-type planned economy (Streeck 2013: 51).

In the terms introduced above, the fraction of capital positioned centrally in this set of intersecting influences and lending substance to the original New Deal and post-war Marshall Plan projections of a corporate liberal capitalist social contract was productive capital.

The class compromise at the heart of the corporate liberal concept of control was that between capital and organized labor in production. In this sense we can speak of an epoch of democratic capitalism, at least for the North Atlantic political economy – not for Vietnam, or Indonesia, and other areas for which no parallel Yalta compromise (which in Europe included the legitimate presence of large communist parties outside the Soviet bloc) had been agreed.

As such it is the strongest corroboration of the thesis that in capitalism, democracy does not depend on the bourgeoisie but on the presence in force (including, in the state apparatus) of organized labor (Rueschemeyer et al. 1992). Streeck notes that in the course of the 1950’s and 60’s, election turnout increased everywhere (2013: 87).

The global wave of wildcat strikes in 1968 and ’69 then signaled to the capitalist class that social protection and countercyclical crisis management had lasted too long, and capital found that its maneuvering space for further concessions had been closed (Streeck 2013: 53). As full employment was undermining workplace discipline, managers were reminded of Kalecki’s 1943 thesis concerning the need to maintain a certain level of unemployment to cushion labor militancy.

Capitalists now began to prepare for evacuating the post-war social contract, abandoning their erstwhile passivity and restoring their capacity to act and actively shape social relations instead of being ‘planned in’ by democratic politics (Streeck 2013: 54). As noted, the capitalist crisis that we are experiencing today according to Streeck has its origins at that juncture.

For since that time, the state postponed the full social impact of the crisis by throwing money into the breaches in order to neutralize and defuse potential social conflicts – inflation, state indebtedness, expansion of private credit markets and finally, in 2008, buying up state and bank debt by central banks; through these phases, capital has wrested free from the post-war democratic compact with labor by steadily reducing democracy and citizen’s rights.

Thus a phased unfolding of the fundamental tension between capitalism and democracy through a progressive liberation of the capitalist economy from democratic intervention, indeed a removal of democracy from capitalism by removing the economy from the sphere of democracy. What awaits us now is possibly the suspension of the remaining democracy itself.

This is the Streeck thesis. I will now go through these different phases, beginning with inflation. Like the New Deal prefiguring comprehensive, North Atlantic corporate liberalism, all these changes were initiated by the United States, although sometimes the rise to pre-eminence of different fractions occurred in or via other component parts of the English-speaking West, or as I call it, the ‘Lockean heartland’.

‘Europe’, that is, the expanding Franco-West German compromise out of which today’s European Union evolved, followed the trend. It also necessarily suffered from the successive crises/transitions, because the continental European economies are structurally far less amenable to the neoliberal departure(s) from corporate liberalism – the further to the south (beginning with France relative to Germany), the less.

The Decade of Inflation and Its Architects

The first instance of ‘buying time’ following the crisis of 1968-’69, the decade of inflation, was not neoliberal, it was charted by productive capital under its compromise with labor – indeed deepening the compromises on which post-war capitalism had been built in the first place. ‘The inflationary money policy of the decade following the strike wave around 1968 secured social peace in the context of a rapidly expanding consumer society’ (Streeck 2013: 62).

Inflation enlarged, at least seemingly, the ‘cake’ to be distributed without really making it larger. Inflation not only prolonged the class compromise with organized labor but also brought out the underlying compromise on which the stand-off with the Soviet bloc, agreed at Yalta in 1944 (again, the division of Europe), had been based.

Détente resulted from the eroding bloc discipline in the two zones of limited sovereignty. The Atlantic ruling class had to deal with a Gaullist rebellion leading elements of the European capitalist class to explore economic opportunities in the east, and with Greek pressures for democracy (which were only kept in check by a NATO-supported military dictatorship from 1967 to ’74).

In the 1970’s the West also came up against a ‘Eurocommunist’ challenge, respectful of Yalta but not necessarily of corporate liberal capitalism. The Soviet state class in turn faced the 1968 Czechoslovak ‘spring’, likewise a politically hybrid development it feared it might not control, Romania’s explorations beyond the Yalta divide, and so on. The United States also ran up large deficits in order to continue its doomed war in Vietnam, a costly disaster that in August 1971 forced it to cut the dollar from gold.

The point here is that this decision, which opened the decade of inflation, was essentially an action following the logic of the corporate liberal concept of control and its core class compromise with labor. So it was not just ‘capital’ which ‘bought time’ but to a particular fraction of capital and its organic intellectuals (politicians, economists, and so on) doing it for capital, in this case, productive capital first.

The decision to end the (already restricted) exchange of dollars for gold had mercantilist overtones, with the ten percent import duty the clearest sign of the interests of productive capital dictating it. Likewise, abandoning the fixed exchange rates of Bretton Woods was not originally conceived as a step towards a liberalized financial regime, on the contrary.

In the Nixon administration only George Shultz, and at a further remove, Charles Kindleberger among economists, thought along the lines of making US deficits a foreign investment proposition. The others were still corporate liberals focused on Keynesian deficit spending having to be recouped later in the business cycle (Bassosi 2006: 34).

Productive capital concerns also expressed themselves in the incomes policy advocated by the head of the Federal Reserve, Arthur Burns, a hard Rightist no doubt, who was irate about the wave of strikes and who, to quote the New York Fed’s own report, was strongly opposed to any attempt ‘to “buy” low levels of unemployment by tolerating inflation’ (cited in Panitch and Gindin 2012: 141 – note the terminology, the opposite of the Streeck thesis).

Even so, the authoritarian undertow of the incomes policy was aimed at enforcing the corporate liberal class compromise on the terms prior to the 1971 turnabout. Even more ominously for the still marginal neoliberal tendency, the productive perspective was echoed in the 1975 proposal for a national economic planning body (Panitch and Gindin 2012: 143).

Elsewhere I have documented the autonomization of the managerial cadre in the context of the crisis of the 1970’s, and their role in the ‘planned interdependence’ of the period – the credit-financing of the industrialization aspirations of the Third World coalition for a New International Economic Order as well as Soviet bloc modernization with inflationary dollars accumulated in the London Eurodollar and Eurocapital markets.

In Europe, too, the productive capital perspective and its inbuilt class compromise with organized labor were still guiding policy, not only via the rise of the Left in southern European and Social Democratic governments or majority coalitions in the north. Even in Britain, a Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, after a visit to West Germany returned with the idea of fostering ‘finance capital’ combinations modeled on the continental model whilst attempting to rein in labor militancy by (mildly) authoritarian legislation.

Yet this drew the fire of the employers’ organization CBI for …spoiling the relations with organized labor (cited in Overbeek 1990: 160; on Heath and capital groups, Ramsay 2002: 12-13). The key step was of course British entry into the European Community in 1973, a step again motivated by Heath’s expectation it would stimulate Britain’s industrial modernization (Overbeek 1990 157).

In sum, Stephen Gill writes, ‘the dangers in Nixon’s policies… were the way they nurtured “domestic” forces, and, by undercutting the welfare of key allies, undermined the international consensus which was needed to manage the system effectively’ (Gill 1990: 136, emphasis added).

In the second half of the 1970’s when the capitalist economies were hit by a marked decline in the growth rate in spite of rising inflation, a period of stagflation set in that eventually, in 1979, led the US Federal Reserve to intervene and raise interest rates to around 20 percent, thus terminating inflation until the present day (Streeck 2013: 63; see the statistics in Panitch and Gindin 2012: 142, table 6.2).

Thus the proliferation of the class and international compromises of the corporate liberal epoch, bolstering the forces opposed to the operation of liberal capitalism nationally and internationally, provoked a counteroffensive, not from capital per se but specifically from money capital. This explains why such a sharp turn was made after the inflationary prolongation of the post-war compromises.

The Turn to Systemic Neoliberalism

From Wolfgang Streeck’s perspective, capital in the late 1970’s ‘withdrew its consent from the postwar social contract by denying it the necessary investment funds,’ and the history of the system since the 1970’s can be understood as the struggle to free capital from social regulation forced on it after the war.

Capital no longer trusted a state which almost everywhere had fallen into the hands of Social Democratic governments or coalitions (Streeck 2013: 54-5, cf. 45). What was in order was to end the inflationary prolongation of the post-war social contract with organized labor, a high-risk operation given the resistance that was to be expected on the part of the trade unions and which had to be broken at all costs (Streeck 2013: 64).

However, it was not capital as such acting here but a different fraction leading capital and imbuing society as a whole with its particular perspective. In other words, the capitalist class and the managerial cadre and all other auxiliary and subordinate social forces switched the pursuit of their interests and expectations to a concept no longer formulated from the vantage point of productive capital.

Instead it was formulated from the vantage point of what ‘was needed to manage the system effectively’ (as above). It is as important to recognize the internal struggles within the capitalist class as to see the struggles with labor, in international relations etc., if we want to be able to predict the shelf-life of a particular format of capitalist development and especially, to see the political crisis moments in the transition phase from one concept of control to another, as the ‘outgoing’ leading fraction continues to pursue solutions typical of the concept unraveling.

So the head of the CBI protesting that anti-strike legislation was spoiling relations with organized labor, cited above, was simply arriving late at the party.

Now the fraction perspective available to ‘manage the system effectively’ can be any one. But in the conditions of capital abrogating the post-war class and international compromises and intent on shifting production to locations outside these compromises and hence, liquidate previous positions including breaking the mold of the national state compartmentalization in order to establish a global political economy, in the circumstances was money capital as the embodiment of capital in general.

For production to take place, the cycle of industrial capital must ‘land’ in what David Harvey calls, ‘human resource complexes… to which capital must, to some degree, adapt’ (Harvey 2006: 399); after which it resumes its ‘circulation’ in the form of commodities for sale.

Under the compulsion of competition, capital in money form is then reinvested, not mechanically in the same type of activity but only after a survey of all productive opportunities, which implies a comparison of all ‘human resource complexes’ in relation to markets, transport costs, and the like.

Under the compromise with organized labor, and various ramifications such as capital controls, state countercyclical policy, etc., the human resource complexes were very much fixed in national spaces, but this was now to be opened up.
If the ‘moment’ of liquidation of fixed assets and the attendant relations of production assumes the quality of a systemic correction, as it did between the crisis of 1974-75 and the early 1980’s, the commanding heights of the cycle as a whole, money capital, must be given the maneuvering space in which it can perform this reordering.

This then was the juncture at which the revocation of the post-war social contract ushered in the epoch of neoliberal capitalism, but with the emphasis (initially) on the systemic aspect, not the predatory neoliberalism that would follow. It was intended, first of all, to bring back the income share of the capitalist class to the pre-war level and everywhere produced rapidly increasing inequalities (Streeck 2013: 58; Piketty 2014).

For the core Lockean heartland, 1979 was the cut-off date in which the entire set of compromises on which the previous era of corporate liberalism had been based, was called into question. Besides the abrogation of the class compromise with organized labor in production, it also was the year of the NATO missile decision, intended to scuttle détente and launch a new round of confrontation with socialist forces as around the globe obstacles to the restructuring production were to be removed.

This time the new Cold War was really ‘waged’, not as a posture on the basis of an (incomplete) international compromise as at Yalta, but as a fight to the end. 1979 was also the year of the Volcker Shock, which squeezed inflation from the system by raising real interest rates to around 20 percent and thus kicked the world into the debt crisis.

This was the crisis of sovereign debt, Streeck’s second instance of ‘buying time’. It worked to cut the classes and states profiting from inflation down to size economically just at the time when a violent crusade (announced already by the fascist coups in Chile, Argentina, and other Latin American countries, as well as the ‘Strategy of Tension’ in Europe) was launched against them.

The new posture of the capitalist class, formulated from the vantage point of systemic money capital, entailed a class compromise with asset-owning middle classes. Propertied middle classes had been mobilizing against the corporate liberal consensus and exploiting its ‘legitimacy crisis’ from the late 1970’s, but they were only a subordinate force in the transition.

At such a juncture alternative concepts are being formulated, all striving for comprehensiveness. Yet only one will triumph in the end – for as long as it lasts. It then also captures and reorganizes the state. Streeck mentions that the taxpayer movement resisting levies, and agitating under the banner of ‘starving the beast’ (the state), no longer trusted as the embodiment of the general interest (Streeck 2013: 103).

One is reminded of the fact that this class compromise and hence the ascendant concept of control is shaped by class struggle as was the case with corporate liberalism in the 1930’s.

However, the neoliberal concept that took the place of corporate liberalism in the transition period necessarily came to rely on ‘the beast’ again (a strong state), because every concept of control finds its ultimate expression in the state/group of states in the sense of the specific format of class relations condensing at that level (Poulantzas 2008: 307). As with changing capitalist fraction roles, we are looking at changing forms and orientations of states.

The tax revolt as a process of class formation fed into a form of state relaxing the tax burden on the upper income groups; governments reduced taxation and then borrowed from those it no longer taxed, obviously aggravating the public debt (Chesnais 2011: 113).

Privatization policies also gave asset-owning middle classes a chance to profit from booming stock markets, whilst rising asset prices, notably of real estate, allowed middle classes to borrow against the value of their (mortgaged) property.
However, as Streeck highlights, after the restrictions on democracy by rolling back trade union power and blunting the ability to strike, the contraction of debt and reduction of public services to pay for it to middle classes no longer taxed at former rates also further reduces democracy.

Democracy, he writes, is about the identity between the population as the principal and government as the agent, which should be sufficiently strong to make the former subscribe to the debt obligations incurred by the latter – irrespective whom they voted for and whether the credit was ever destined for them (Streeck 2013: 138). Of course as public provision withers, the readiness to pay taxes can only further decrease (Ibid.: 176).

In addition to the compromise with asset-owning middle classes, there also evolved a subordinate compromise in production with new groups entering the labor market such as women and the young and other hitherto marginalized categories of workers, in the sense that flexibilization of labor to some extent corresponded to their individualized lifestyles (Streeck 2013: 60).

Here the role of postmodern culture with its rejection of hierarchies and established rights also contributed to shaping a popular base for attacking organized labor in the name of ‘combating rigidities’, a notion spreading with the new volatility of finance (Harvey 1995).

All this of course does not compensate for the momentous loss of influence of labor, ‘the wage-dependent population’, which would double in size once China as well as the Soviet bloc and its outliers were thrown open for investment in the late 1980’s.

In the Anglophone Lockean heartland the systemic neoliberal concept crystallized first; outside it, Streeck argues, the neoliberal orientation of the European integration process too dates from the 1980’s, when the de-democratization of the economy and the bracketing of democracy from the economy began (Streeck 2013: 147-8).

He cites a 1939 article by Hayek which argues that moving decisions to a supranational level already implies a neoliberal tendency (Streeck 2013: 144-5). In Europe, the newly founded European Round Table of Industrialists after a brief flirtation with protectionism reflecting the outgoing corporate liberalism (notably in France under Mitterrand, the 1980-83 period), became the spearhead of making continental Europe conform to the ascendant concept of systemic neoliberalism.

It fell in line with abrogating the class compromise with organized labor as it identified inflexible labor markets as hampering ‘competitiveness’, which in a sense was true, coming after the defeats of the labor movement in the United States and Britain and other Anglophone heartland countries (van Apeldoorn 2002: 67-8).

The transition was accompanied by Delors’ move from the helm of Mitterrand’s failed Keynesian experiment to the European Commission, supposedly for a second try at the appropriate level (the level at which, as Streeck cites Hayek, the odds are against any sort of compromise with labor).
In fact therefore he managed the neoliberal wave by announcing the completion of the European internal market and modeling European policy along the lines of the German high productivity/low inflation export strategy (van der Pijl et al. 2011: 392).

In the course of the 1990’s, governments began to worry about the share of debt service in their budgets whilst creditors starting worrying about the ability of the states to pay back their debts. Once again the United States took the initiative to curtail social spending and restore a balanced budget under Clinton (Streeck 2013: 66).

O’Connor did not yet recognize in 1973 that the growing burden of debt service itself would be a major factor in the fiscal crisis (Streeck 2013: 109; O’Connor 1973). One can look at the debt state in light of ‘buying time,’ but one can also see it as the emergence of a new political formation.
The privatization of state assets in the process reduced the state role in the sphere of social protection, tasks which were now delegated to the market (Streeck 2013: 110). Also states resorted to forms of advanced financing in order to avoid breaking constitutionalized limits on public debt.

Public-Private Partnerships are such a form, in that states ask private firms to provide credit for public works (building hospitals etc.) that are then paid back over decades, usually at very unfavorable rates for the public purse given the relative incompetence of governments faced with international lawyers assisting the companies in drawing up PPP contracts (Streeck 2013: 174n.).

Here I would add the element of criminal complicity given the ease with which ministers move from public office to the private sector they had been dealing with when in office, as in the case of the British NHS (Pollock 2004).

The Final Round: Privatizing Debt under the Auspices of the ‘Financial Services’

As a result of the assault on social spending, a new legitimization deficit threatened, which was responded to by a new round of liberalizing capital markets to provide further means of payment, in this case by creating private debt, or ‘privatized Keynesianism’ (C. Crouch). This is the third way in which the fund of disposable resources is increased and purchasing power is created to try to close the gap with the promises made in the post-war period (Streeck 2013: 68-9).

Again I would argue that we must specify the forces involved in this third phase of buying time in order to know who was in charge when it collapsed in 2008 and who wrote the script for dealing with that collapse and its aftermath.

Here the fact that the restructuring away from nationally compartmentalized, compromise-rich corporate liberalism to a globalizing capitalism under a neoliberal concept required lifting the restrictions imposed on money capital in the 1930’s plays the crucial role.

For if money capital in the sense of quasi-social capital necessarily had to guide this process if it was to bring about a restoration of capitalist class power relative to the forces ranged against it nationally and internationally, all aspects of that regime had to be loosened.

The financial repression achieved by the New Deal’s centerpiece, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, separated high-risk, speculative international financial operations from low-risk, national deposit banking; only thus was productive capital able to accommodate to the militancy of the labor movement at the time.

The Volcker Shock of 1979 inevitably enabled a resurgence of this commercial form of money operations too. Here the abandoning of the fixed exchange rate regime in 1971 did play a role even if it occurred under the auspices of a productive-capital bloc (interestingly also including Paul Volcker in a key role as a Treasury official).

Inflation expanded the amount of US dollars circulating across the globe and accumulated outside the reach of the US financial authorities notably in the city of London, especially after the OPEC cartel and others demanded an inflation correction beginning in 1973. Their dollar holdings caused the offshore Eurodollar and Eurocapital markets to balloon and served as a key source for borrowing by the Soviet bloc and the Third World coalition (Burn 2006).

Capital in money form, ‘finance’ thus got back in its stride across a broad front, step by step undermining the separation between speculation and deposit money (Glass-Steagall was formally revoked in 1999). This is best understood by looking once again at how money functions as a means of market exchange first, symbolized as the M (money) in between two forms of goods or services, C (commodities), so C – M – C.
This includes what Marx calls ‘money-dealing capital’, say, trade in currencies or commercial paper. The profit that is made here is commercial profit, buying cheap and selling dear. Once money becomes capital, and is invested in production, the cycle assumes a different form, M – C (..P..) C’ – M’, and profit is based on surplus value obtained as unpaid labor in production (..P.. , and denoted by ’, the value increment).

In developed capitalism, money-dealing capital, ‘trade in financial services’, remains operative. Unlike investment money with its ‘systemic’ view of the whole cycle, it is only marginally connected to the production of surplus value; it preys on it from the outside, via the profit distribution process, not directly (in the Institutionalist tradition of Thorstein Veblen, all forms of capital prey on production in this sense).

Peter Gowan captures the shift with finance that occurred in the 1990’s when he writes about the rise of proprietary trading and financial arbitrage that ‘trading activity here does not mean long-term investment…in this or that security, but buying and selling financial and real assets to exploit – not least by generating- price differences and price shifts’ (‘speculative arbitrage’, Gowan 2009: 9, emphasis added).

Here we are looking at money capital with a completely different, in fact ‘irresponsible,’ attitude even from a capitalist point of view, hence the label ‘predatory’ neoliberalism. The financial operators driving it forward by exploiting new accounting rules and legal loopholes after the definitive collapse of state socialism in 1989-91 assembled allies among politicians and (‘micro’-)economists into a rapidly widening array of forces eager to share in the bonanza.

Streeck highlights how this frenzy was underpinned by a new theory of capital markets; which were now considered able to self-regulate rather than remain under state supervision (the ‘efficient market hypothesis’) (Streeck 2013: 69). Amidst the high-velocity movement of funds flowing through offshore jurisdictions, asset bubbles became a regular feature of 1990’s capitalism, culminating the predatory raid on Asian economies in 1997-98.

Just as corporate liberalism had produced the responsible citizen-worker and systemic neoliberalism the heroic late-20th-century bourgeois, predatory neoliberalism shaped an anthropology of its own in the form of the postmodern homo economicus, nervously finding his/her way in a jungle of potentially fatal choices in which all certainties have been suspended.

Across the spectrum, predatory neoliberalism fueled an attitude of anti-politics, since as Streeck emphasizes, its ideological mantra is that markets distribute wealth through general rules, whereas politics brings into play power and connections.

Once the idea has settled that the market is natural condition, its ‘decisions’ can be presented as falling from the sky and all politics dismissed as driven by ‘interests’ (Streeck 2013: 97). Organizing for anything becomes suspect as interest-driven power-play, ultimately entailing new Auschwitzes or gulags.

The language of the epoch, still widely spoken today, is replete with demagogy, in which ‘our side’ is endowed with an inherent goodness in the confrontation with successive incarnations of evil – from Milosevic to Saddam and on to Putin. This aesthetics of politics takes the place of material compromises for which the space is closing down. Speculators in fact gambled away many of the assets the middle classes had counted on to bolster their wealth and even their social security.

The aesthetics of politics, the invocation of highly emotive themes such as the ‘tsunami’ of foreigners invading our land, civilization in danger, the threat of terrorism and war, thus substitutes for real material concessions, although pockets of compromise, carried over from the earlier phases, remain, both with organized labor and with asset-owning middle classes.

The thrust, then, especially after the turn of the millennium, has been in the direction of unrestrained predatory neoliberalism with no barriers against risk-taking and with demagogy riding high. This is not a general condition of capital as such, but the operation of the system from the vantage point of money-dealing capital, immersed in risk and (often exorbitant) reward and relying on deceit to obtain social consensus.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with the international posture both of China and of post-Soviet Russia not able to really challenge the pretensions of the US to lead the ‘international community’, promote ‘good governance’, etc., the risk-taking inherent in predatory neoliberalism has also spilled over into adventurous, high-risk foreign policy maneuvers with an enhanced role for covert action.

At this juncture the European project too switched to predatory neoliberalism with the establishment of the Eurozone. As majorities for social protection became less and less possible as a consequence due to the adhesion of eastern European countries, the European Commission in the 1990’s forced through the privatization of large slices of the public sectors of member states in the name of competition law.

Under EU Commissioner Mario Monti, the German public banking system’s competition rules, long an irritant to the private banks, were finally eliminated (Streeck 2013: 150, 150n.).

Streeck provides some important pointers such as the fact that in the first decade of the 21st century the European Court of Justice became the chief executor of the ‘Hayekization’ of the EU, or the ‘European Union as a liberalization machinery’ (Streeck 2013: 148).

The Court’s rulings concerning the right to strike and codetermination in the name of untrammelled service provision and capital movements turned the EU into a machinery for liberalization. Its high point was the Eurozone, in which the freeing of the capitalist economy from democratic constraints reached its pinnacle (Streeck 2013: 151; an earlier, positive analysis of the Court’s role is in Cohen-Tanugi 1987).

Streeck calls the Eurozone a frivolous experiment as it removed the possibility of highly heterogeneous economies to defend themselves without simultaneously abolishing the national states and national democracy (Streeck 2013: 250).
The euro was indeed a project of and for money-dealing capital. The committee consisting mainly of central bankers that worked out the euro project in 1988-89 could not miss the pre-eminence of this form of capital even if it had wanted to – certainly after the European Exchange Rate Mechanism collapsed under the attacks of speculators in the early 1990’s.

Hence it recommended that the Euro’s role as a means of exchange would remain confined to the Eurozone, making the euro an investment object first of all. To attract short-term money flows, its interest rate (the sole monetary policy instrument of the European Central Bank at the outset), was set just above the US rate (Chesnais 2011: 90, 120; Varoufakis 2013: 198-9).

The mistaken but widely-held assumption that after the crisis of 2008 there existed a sort of pure capitalist vantage point with its anchorage in the states of the West which would be able to see that speculation had gone too far, etc. overlooks that capital as agency only comes about as a result of a build-up of a class coalition around a certain fraction, which thus is able to generalize its particular interest as the general capitalist interest and even the general interest altogether.

The collapse of 2008 happened when the formula of the general interest was predatory neoliberalism advanced by money-dealing capital. There was no other capitalist or popular force that had been able to contest its hegemony.

The idea that a crisis of this magnitude produces a rethink again abstracts from real power relations; the bail-out may briefly have looked like a return to Keynesianism but in fact was about saving the banks with public money and consolidating the capture of the state by a bloc of forces operating under the auspices and with the world-view of high risk/reward money-dealing capital.

This socially irresponsible fraction, relying for social consensus on political aesthetics and demagogy, will not be able to find solutions that are rational even for capital as a whole because its rationality is far narrower. There is no other form of capital waiting in the wings, and this is in fact also argued by Streeck (as when he writes that it has become practically impossible to determine what is state and what is market and whether the states have nationalized the banks or the banks have privatized the state, 2013: 71-2).

However he also appears to assume a sort of commanding heights from which successive episodes of ‘buying time’ have been tried by capital as such, whereas in fact we are looking at never-ending struggles in which money-dealing capital has been able to reap the fruits of privatization, liberalization and flexibilization of labor on a global scale.

A Terminal Crisis of Democracy?

As with capitalism, Streeck also tends to assume that there is a hypothesized ‘democracy’ which ‘failed to recognize’ the counterrevolution against the social capitalism of the post-war era, just as it ‘failed to regulate’ the financial sector in the 1990’s (Streeck 2013: 111-2). Just as he tends to turn capitalism into a spectator witnessing its own corruption by speculation, he presents democracy a witness of its own demise.

I should add immediately that this tendency in Streeck’s argument is contradicted by his own often acute observations concerning the real relations of force (as when he describes the creditors of the indebted states as a second constituency, a sort of shadow citizenry far outstripping the power of the original constituency, the people (Streeck 2013: 118-9).

In fact capitalism, as I have argued above, never exists outside its own momentary constellation of social forces, so it cannot by definition ‘correct’ any supposed aberrations in how it functions. That instance, a sort of independent regulator within the bounds of the system does not exist. The same with democracy: democracy denotes the degree to which the population at large can influence the operation of the forces that govern it, both the formal government and the relations of production.

Here the claim of the Communist Manifesto that all history is the history of class struggle should guide our understanding or Gramsci’s argument about Marxism as absolute historicism, an absolute humanism of history, for that matter (Gramsci 1971: 465).

Only in the context of the real relations of force, in all their complexity, can we discover the ability for change; not by appealing intuitively to the good conscience of a social order. Because ultimately capital as agency appears to stand outside its own field of operation and thus retains an ability to ‘try’ different solutions, the notion of class struggle remains underdeveloped in this otherwise important book.

More particularly absent is how class struggle reverberates in and is relayed through the fraction structure of capital as it strives to establish itself as agency embodying the general interest of capital. Hence the struggles within the capitalist class (nationally and internationally) remain in the dark, and democracy merely registers how in the development of class and fraction struggles, class compromises crystallize.

Here an echo from an earlier period appears to take the place of a developed class analysis when Streeck writes about Marx’s idea of countertendencies as in the case of the falling rate of profit, a familiar trope for the readers of Capital Volume III (Streeck 2013: 15, 15 n.).

The succession of instances of buying time seem to arise from one fundamental malfunction due to the operation of these countertendencies which are conjunctural and necessarily temporary as the incorporation of more spheres of life by capital clashes with the logic of the social life-world (Streeck 2013: 16).

Yet here the author tends to overlook that the analysis of Capital volume III takes the analysis of class struggle of Vol. I and the analysis of fraction struggles in Vol. II to an even more concrete level, and without taking these prior struggles into account more explicitly, the tendencies/countertendencies argument remains superficial, not identifying the real dynamics animating successive constellations of forces.

This again affects the understanding of what awaits us after 2008. Again Streeck’s analysis is highly relevant in its main conclusion. Each of the instances of ‘buying time’ was accompanied by a defeat of the wage dependent population that made it possible to introduce and deepen neoliberalization (Streeck 2013: 76).

The end of inflation, by a secular weakening of the trade unions and the termination of their ability to strike in conditions of durable unemployment; the consolidation of the state budget by cuts in and privatization of social provision and curtailment of social citizenship and a commercialization of many aspects of social security, granting new opportunities to insurance companies stepping in as guarantors of social security. The crash of 2008 then also robbed many of their savings, whilst entailing further cuts and job losses (Streeck 2013: 77).

Since the 1960’s voter participation in elections has fallen substantially; the lower the income group, the steeper this decline has been. It is not a sign of satisfaction but of resignation: ‘The political resignation of the lower strata protects capitalism from democracy and stabilizes the neoliberal turn that is at its origin’ (Streeck 2013: 90, cf. 87-8).

Democracy is slowly being replaced by a pure spectator sport, a form of entertainment for the middle classes, in which emaciated, essentially similar political parties temporarily play as if they are enemies only to conclude Grand Coalitions between them – a strategy that Streeck rightly argues is probably the most appropriate form of government anyway in the era of states having to answer to creditors’ demands first (Streeck 2013: 127-8).

Politics as entertainment and theatre reminds one of the thesis of Guy Debord in one of the signal texts of the 1968 movement (Debord 1967).

Here too a fraction analysis would work to deepen the argument. For the lingering assumption that there remains a conscientious democracy that can intervene as such tends to also assume that this theatre will obey the laws of the theatre in that it is orderly staged, the audience knows its place etc., whereas if predatory neoliberalism runs the show as it does today, there is nothing orderly about the response to the crisis in this respect either.

Indeed whilst economically the system is running aground amidst rampant speculation, the abolition of democracy too obeys the laws of high risk policies, involving covert action and provocation, terror scares to bolster the forces calling for a state of emergency, and military adventures, today in the Middle East and North Africa as well as on the borders of Russia, soon to be enlarged with a more pugnacious policy towards China.

Under such circumstances, the abolition of democracy will not take the form of a peaceful spectacle fooling and entertaining the audience but of repression and war.

Of course in the EU the abolition of democracy has already passed through a phase of high-handed demagogy of which the handling of the Greek Spring and the prevention of a Portuguese one are the key instances (in Portugal the Left was not even allowed to translate its election victory into forming a government).

After all the president of the Bundesbank in mid 2012 already declared that if a country does not meet its EU budget obligations, national sovereignty should be automatically transferred to the European level and consolidation measures will be adopted for which in the national parliament may not exist a majority (Streeck 2013: 155).

After Greece and Portugal, France’s subjection to limited democracy was not a matter of enforcing budget constraints any longer but obtained by a terror scare, the declaration of the state of emergency and the suspension of civil rights.

As the consequences of the wars in the Middle East and North Africa are spreading to Europe via the refugee crisis, fragments from the warring parties in these regions (Turks vs. Kurds, jihadists fighting secular regimes) inevitably link up with destitute, marginalized groups in societies here. In that sense the attacks in Paris in November 2015 (perhaps unlike the Charlie Hebdo attack which still had a strong whiff of a double-agent operation) are certainly a sign of things to come.

In this situation we should certainly heed Streeck’s exhortation that critical intellectuals have a duty not to be primarily concerned with their reputation by repeating the mantra that there is no alternative and not be intimidated by the ruling technique of dismissing opposition as populism (Streeck 2013: 219). At the same time, we need a sharper eye for the actual forces the critics are up against if they want to be effective.

References

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Mirowski, Philip. 2013. Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown. London: Verso.

O’Connor, James. 1973. The Fiscal Crisis of the State. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

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Letter from Chile

Chile is supposed to be the dream state of the radical rightwing economic types that shows how neoliberalism and radical free market capitalism is the best system ever. They point to Chile and cheer about what a supposed success story it is. But I have always felt that Chile blows under this new model. If Chile is a the rightwing free marketeers’ showcase, then what can I say? They can have it. It ain’t no showcase to me. A showcase for what? What the Hell kind of a model is that?

I really enjoyed this letter from a commenter which sums up all of my feelings about Chile and also adds some new problems that I was not aware of. I also liked her writing style!

Isabel writes:

I lived in the States many years before relocating to Santiago in the early 80’s. I’ve lived here 30 years, so I know what it’s like. There is good and bad as everywhere else, and you just have to come to terms. A taxi driver once told me, “La tierra es buena pero la raza es mala”. I love living near the Andes, but Chilean society is screwed up.

For instance, everybody lies because they can’t be authentic — it’s taboo to be authentic here. Chileans are artists at making nice but once they (esp. males) are behind the wheel of a car, they become total A-holes. The driver with a bigger vehicle who is going a lot faster than you are has right of way.

Abusive practices are the norm. If you show assertiveness, watch out – you will have hidden enemies who will be sharpening their knives then gloating over your downfall.

In my opinion Pinochet was Darth Vader all right. The dictatorship ushered in the reign of evil, the untrammeled power of money.

They trumpet about how Chile is less corrupt than any other Latin American country, but this is just because they hide it better, and  the recent scandals are starting to uncover the dirt.

Appearances are everything here: modernity, progress are a smokescreen — look behind or underneath and you’ll find the cowering underclasses and a middle class under siege.

The powerless fight back with ingenious scams and byzantine violent tactics against the wealthy when they are weakest, like attacking women returning from the mall in their Mercedeses and Porsches at their electric gates.

I do fault the elites here for their selfishness, and yes, their stupidity. They refuse to understand that by holding back the progress of the underclasses and refusing to change their 19th century habits and attitudes, they are destroying the future of a beautiful country that could be a genuine beacon… they’re too addicted to the Just-Us mentality of the ex-colonized and white immigrants who’ve turned into internal colonizers, moneyed groups inside their exclusivist enclaves.

The Mapuche Nation is continually at war with the political and economic elites because these have pillaged and landgrabbed the south far worse than the Spaniards ever did. It really is shameful, the lack of conscience and egoism of the supposedly breast-beating devout Catholic wealthy of this country and the hypocrisy and brazen greed of the corporate classes.

The youth are fighting for free quality education, for dignity and respect — they had it under Allende. It’s shocking to see how the militarized police shoot teargas at schoolchildren and their parents, how they beat peacefully marching high school kids with their truncheons, and how the media blame the students for the violence when witnesses see the police themselves go out disguised as rioters.

Pinochet and the oligarchy have not ceased to hate Allende. They got their way, but they’ve been a total failure notwithstanding all the gleaming high-rises (and no thought for the resulting worsened traffic congestion and no provision of sidewalks where pedestrians can walk safely) and the faux macroeconomic growth and lowered poverty rates (while executives earn 500 times more than ordinary workers).

Foreigners agree that Santiago is a hostile city, nothing is done about air pollution, there are growing numbers of homeless, prices vary 50% or 100% depending on whether you live in a poor, unsafe municipality or in a tony one, builders destroy residential neighborhoods with malls and substandard high-rise apartment buildings that fewer and fewer can afford to rent in. Ritzy clinics provide lousy medical care when you do have an emergency.

Many dream of leaving Santiago, but most jobs are here, and services in other regions are under-financed or nonexistent.

I’m not even going to discuss the sorry state of women’s rights and the violence against women.

Something’s gotta give. We need a sea change in mentality. We need to put paid to savage capitalism, i.e., neoliberalism. The foundations of Chilean society laid down by elites with a social conscience and the ethos of service between the 1920’s and the 1960’s have been well-nigh demolished. The military coup was the start of the darkest period ever seen in this country, and we have yet to see how the light will return.

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San Bernardino and the Inland Empire

The latest mass shooting shooting occurred in San Bernardino, which is part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. This is a part of Southern California called the Inland Empire. It has long been known as a hot, dry area quite a ways inland from LA.

Out there in Inland Empire cities like Redlands, Riverside and San Berdoo as it is known locally one encounters some of the worst smog in the LA Basin. A lot of the smog produced in the area is apparently funneled back into the Inland Empire with onshore winds back into what amounts to basins surrounded by mountains.

The smog is so bad out there that you can actually see the smog particles floating in the air, you can taste the smog, feel it stinging your eyes and even feel it in your stomach where it gives you a stomachache after you swallow it. I know that all sounds nuts, but you can go out there yourselves and experience it if you do not believe me.

Supposedly LA’s smog has cleaned up quite a bit since I left in 1990. I am uncertain how much it has really cleaned up, and I would have to see it to believe it.

The area is very hot in the summer and pretty hot year-round for that matter. It was traditionally the home of very rightwing, redneck, working class Whites who often wore leather and rode motorcycles. There is also a fairly large White Trash element. Why these Whites are so rightwing is a mystery.

In the last 20 years, San Berdoo has gone from 20% to 70% Hispanic, so it is now one more of the many Hispanic cities in California. The Inland Empire is not a very attractive place, but there are some nice homes out by Redlands. It’s too hot to grow much of anything out there, but the region is a traditional citrus growing region for a long time now. Much of the citrus has been displaced by housing following a traditional pattern in Southern California for 50 years now.

The city of San Berdoo itself is a bit different from the other cities in the Empire, as it is at the far eastern edge of the inland valleys, and high mountains called the San Bernardino Mountains loom up all around the town.

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What Is the South Stream Pipeline and Why Is the US So Determined to Kill It?

There is a project to run Russian gas down through Turkey and the Black Sea to eastern Europe and then up to Austria. This project is called the South Stream, and the US has been anxiously trying to kill this project for some time now.

The US is furious that Russia is trying to run a pipeline up to Europe to sell the Europeans gas, and we will walk through Hell and high water to try to stop this project. America’s hatred for the South Stream is twofold.

First, the US is determined to destroy Russia’s economy any way it can. Cutting off a gas pipeline is a good way to do that.

Second, the US hates the idea of Europe getting hooked on Russian gas. This makes the Europeans not want to fight Russia much since they do not want to alienate their gas supplier. The problem is that the Europeans do not have many alternatives when it comes to gas. They either buy gas from Russia, or they buy gas from Russia.

At first the South Stream was scheduled to go through Bulgaria, and the Bulgarians were ready to agree to it until they came under tremendous pressure from the US, and they nixed the deal.

Then the project shifted over to the Balkans. It would go through Greece and up through the Balkans to Austria.

Regime changer Victoria Nuland (R-Tel Aviv) whose husband is neocon brain trust Robert Kagan (R-Tel Aviv), the same Ms. Nuland who plotted the nefarious Nazi coup in the Ukraine that caused so much death and chaos, quickly went to work in Macedonia trying to set off another color revolution to throw out the government there which had agreed to let the South Stream run through its land.

There were some rowdy demonstrations as Nuland tried to do another Maidan overthrow of the government with crowds in the streets or a coup.

This attempt fortunately failed, so the last chance to stop South Stream was to throw a wedge between Russia and Turkey because all South Stream routes have to go through Turkey. By causing a huge rift between Turkey and Russia, the US thinks it is killing South Stream for the third time.

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