[OPE-L:8642] Re: Re: long term centers of gravity?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Thu Mar 20 2003 - 14:23:18 EST

I wrote this last night in response to Fred.

>   Rather, I mean that the value transferred from the means of
>production to the value (or price) of the output in the current period is
>equal to the price of the means of production in the current period.

Fred, our agreement is substantial enough. I had indeed misunderstood you.

  I feel pretty sure however that neither of us wants to continue a 
conversation on a point like this at this point in history. Though 
the the use of shock and awe tactics against Arabs abroad, as well as 
the divisiveness over foreign workers here, fills me with dread, 
there are reasons for hope.

  But I don't think there is a split in the US ruling class, though I 
see Michael Perelman seemed to agree on his PEN-L with Michael Lind 
that Bush's base is in in the heirs of the plantation/mining economy 
which has historically survived on super-exploitation, not high tech 
and advanced industrial capital (Lind's examples are Michael Dell and 
Ross Perot, his heroic creative entrepreneurs).  To be sure, some 
leading voices for the business community are worried that there are 
long term costs to the failure to pay lip service to international 
institutions  and to Bush's running up of the national federal debt , 
but I don't think the business community is confident that it has any 
real option at this moment other than Bush's military Keynesianism 
and unilateral foreign policy, aimed at short term advantage. Which 
is not say that it will not pathetically voice a preference for other 

Take for example Jon Corzine, who was a bond trader and co chair of 
Goldman Sachs before he bought himself one of New Jersey's seats on 
the Senate. I have heard him say to a small gathering of Indians for 
the Democrats that Bush's combination of tax cuts and military 
spending is a grand experiment in Keynesian economics to ride out the 
collapse of capital spending (I don't think the high tech community 
is confident that the wireless age and biotech will open up massive 
new fields of investment to which they are thus happy to see the 
government contribute in the form of militarism). Corzine didn't seem 
to think there was a real alternative, though his tax cuts wouldn't 
be so locked in and his spending not entirely weighted towards the 
military; that qualified support for military Keynesianism coupled 
with this former Marine's support of Israel means that he won't be 
leading a revolt from within the business community against the Bush 
Administration. At any rate, he walked off with Sun Founder Vinod 
Khosla to get down to the real nitty gritty--should options be 
expensed? The Democrats are doomed to be voted down as pathetic 
imitations of the Republicans by those who even bother to vote.

Bourgeois opposition as expressed through the Democratic Party will 
continue to be tame and unconfident. I thus don't have confidence 
that a new  bloc of capital (Lind's creative entrepreneurs) will be 
forced to capture the Democratic Party out of respect to popular 
opposition which it will then hegemonize as it fashions a diluted, 
American-style pseudo social democratic programme.

  I hope that there is such an easy electoral way out of this mess and 
mounting horror. But I don't think so.

Though in fact I am unable to make any confident predictions.

Perhaps the most effective electoral opposition to Bush in 2004 will 
be a Patrick Buchanan who will run on the principle of a Republic in 
opposition to Bush's Empire. But who knows? Bush I's regime fell 
ignominously even after a short and victorious military campaign. 
Perhaps Bush II wins this war while the economy sours, and there is a 
change of guard. The American voting public reaches the  conclusion 
that the war against Iraq was not meant to secure their safety 
against terrorism, and intended only to give oil men some easy 
profits, draw attention away from regressive domestic politics and 
the illegitimacy of the Bush presidency itself?

  Or perhaps Bush II wins this war in short order and with a minimum 
of American casualities, and American business finally acts on the 
backlog of replacement and innovatory investment that has been 
building up for the last three years. Out with the old PC's. In with 
the wireless ones. Voila! Military victory, coupled with economic and 
stock market recovery.   Bush II then wins 2004 by a landslide 
(perhaps with Osama bin Laden's head on a stick), and enjoys a 
position of unprecedented domestic power, which allows him to 
privatize social security, break collective bargaining once and for 
all, desecularize the school system, etc. But things probably won't 
work out so well for the Republicans. At any rate, things working out 
well for the Republicans will bring no relief to the working masses.

By the way, I think the American weekend anti war movement is not 
only politically impotent, it is is even for the most part 
ideologically trapped as Perry Anderson has shown.

The opposition still features those plaintive cries for the 
re-uniting of the international community which has slowly murdered 
Iraq for a decade and broadcasts those who find it radical to reveal 
that the "oil man" Bush is "really" fighting for ownership of an 
increasingly scarce resource controlled by  price fixing cartel which 
he intends to break...as if this patent falsehood turned into a "bold 
insight" would prompt most Americans to oppose war and the occupation 
of Iraq. In fact many will infer from this so called radical analysis 
that if the US can indeed get control of Iraq without Saddam burning 
down the oil fields and inciting of the Arab masses, the US will be 
under less threat of being held "HOSTAGE" by the Arab-dominated OPEC. 
Indeed liberal, putatively anti war Representative Charles Rangel 
said so much in the WSJ piece which I forwarded.

I am quite anxious to know what you and others think.

Yours, Rakesh

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