[OPE-L:8648] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: long term centers of gravity?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Thu Mar 20 2003 - 18:45:29 EST

>I only heard him a couple of times on KPFA.  He did not discuss the
>material you mention -- just that the old English aristocractic influences
>without the Puritanical caveats came with the cotton from the deep South
>to Texas.  I could not defend a book that I did not read.

But your point here is that without those Puritanical cavaets the 
Southern aristocracy which now runs the country has been willing to 
grant itself tax cuts which will jeopardize the public education 
system on which the long term health of the capitalist system in fact 
depends. If the heirs of Puritanical capitalism had been in office, 
then the tax cuts would not have been pushed through--this seems to 
be your point.  Yet Clinton and Rubin enacted reductions in the 
capital gains tax. Were Reagan and Stockman beholden to the mythical 
Anglo Southern aristocracy when they pushed their tax cuts through?
If we think that the anti-war  and anti-Bush movement will save 
(real, true Puritanical) capitalism from a cabal and is thus sure to 
win bourgeois support through patient argumentation and electoral 
politics, we will surely have deluded ourselves to where we stand in 
history today.
Only working class insurgency on extra-electoral political terrain 
will now force the capitalist class to give even the appearance of a 
shift in policy and regime.
I wish it were not so. The hardly hardly banal nationalism of the 
American working class gives me very little confidence that there 
will soon  be even the appearance of such a shift.
I know many are filled with hope after the Seattle anti globalization 
uprising, the student anti sweatshop agitation, the anti war 
movements and the public statements by all those big Hollywood stars. 
An American left which features Michael Lind and Todd Gitlin however 
is not intellectually serious, and the American left is obviously not 
organized except by loons who will soon rush to the defense of Kim 

So I think we are well on the way to decisive defeat especially if 
Bush and Wolfowitz are able to create the semblance of some political 
democratic and material improvement in Iraq. As Perry Anderson 
suggests, this will give Bush all the irrestibility which he needs to 
refashion the Middle East:

"Of course, as many otherwise well-disposed commentators have 
hastened to point out, rebuilding Iraq might prove a taxing and 
hazardous business. But American resources are large, and Washington 
can hope for a Nicaraguan effect after a decade of mortality and 
despair under UN siege-counting on the end of sanctions and full 
resumption of oil exports, under a US occupation, to improve the 
living conditions of the majority of the Iraqi population so 
dramatically as to create the potential for a stable American 
protectorate, of the kind that already more or less exists in the 
Kurdish sector of the country. Unlike the Sandinista government, the 
Ba'ath regime is a pitiless dictatorship with few or no popular 
roots. The Bush administration could reckon that the chances of a 
Nicaraguan outcome, in which an exhausted population trades 
independence for material relief, are likely to be higher in Baghdad 
than they were in Managua.

In turn, the demonstration effect of a role-model parliamentary 
regime, under benevolent international tutelage-perhaps another Loya 
Jirga of the ethnic mosaic in the country-would be counted on to 
convince Arab elites of the need to modernize their ways, and Arab 
masses of the invincibility of America. In the Muslim world at large, 
Washington has already pocketed the connivance of the Iranian clerics 
(conservative and reformist) for a repeat of Enduring Freedom in 
Mesopotamia. In these conditions, so the strategic calculus goes, 
bandwagoning of the kind that originally brought the PLO to heel at 
Oslo after the Gulf War would once again become irresistible, 
allowing a final settlement of the Palestinian question along lines 
acceptable to Sharon."


>On Thu, Mar 20, 2003 at 02:31:01PM -0800, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>  > >I don't know if the ruling class has split; I just noted the potential for
>>  >a split.  I hope that it comes to pass.
>>  >--
>>  But Michael I don't see why Lind or anyone else accepts at face value
>>  Bush's self-representation as a good ole, Southern boy who represents
>>  the (very) old economy and truly likes pork rinds. This is the image
>>  which Bush and Karl Rove have attempted to project to maintain his
>>  electoral base in the South and the Far West. To think that Bush is
>>  running Dell and Boeing into the ground for cattle ranches and Texas
>>  oil patches is farcical.
>>  Michael Lind is now only now making a political theory out of Bush's
>>  cynical image making and thus giving credence to one of Bush's key
>>  electoral weapons. Why the alarm bells do not go off every time Lind
>>  writes or says something is beyond me. He has already engaged in
>>  immigrant bashing and a pernicious nativism, Listian neo mercantilism
>>  and a virulent and anti-third world economic nationalism, and war
>>  mongering (in the case of Vietnam).
>>  So I don't see why you and the Nation magazine take this demagogue 
>>  Rakesh
>>  >Michael Perelman
>>  >Economics Department
>>  >California State University
>>  >Chico, CA 95929
>>  >
>>  >Tel. 530-898-5321
>>  >E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu
>Michael Perelman
>Economics Department
>California State University
>Chico, CA 95929
>Tel. 530-898-5321
>E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu

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