It’s midterm elections again in the USA and this year seems a repeat of 2018, 2010, 2006 and 1994, where the party of the Presidency gets voted out of the legislature. However, this is a new phase of political unrest. I predict that the flipping back and forth of the two party system will rise in frequency. That the American public, facing a deep long-term structurally caused depression with no easy fixes, will find themselves increasingly flipping back and forth between unsatisfactory parties and candidates for 6-10 years or much longer. I predict that the future leadership people rally around, will be one that captivates on fear rather than hope. Only when they fail at a great resurgence of US imperial power will we breakthrough to a political revolution that confronts the internal dynamics.
I’m not pessimistic, I’m a realist. I point people towards a long term orientation for struggle rather than quick fixes for systemic problems. When Republicans take Congress as the outcome of this election, many people might feel a greater pessimism than I will feel. At the same time, many who voted Republican will feel a greater optimism than I would suggest they have. The turmoil, that we are in the beginning of, is a sign that real political changes are closer than before. I’m also optimistic that the changes in the external world order are likely unstoppable and that the US may come to recognize their new position in the multipolar world as inevitable. If this realization happens, then the US might keep the worst from happening by taking the right steps sooner.
As this election passes, it’s a good time to reflect. Real change in the US will only come if we have a deeper understanding of the powers that we are up against and an understanding of ourselves. Right now, I would argue that most people don’t understand either. What many people consider as the power they must confront, I would argue is instead part of a false dichotomy made to distract. Who then would I consider the actual power?
The real power we must fight are the mislabeled Centrists, who come from and rule both major parties. These “Centrists” are the followers of the powerful, the managers of power and the powerful themselves. It’s rather diabolical that the ones responsible for every atrocity allowed by the US are always the Centrists. They are responsible for the wars, the prisons, the spy agencies, the inequality and more. The Centrists are described by their closeness to power, not by their being reasonable or in any way the median position of the US population. Centrists instead get proven in poll after poll as being far from both. Their democratic support is found within the status quo part of the population that feels generally secure in their lives. Both parties have these partisans of the powerful and they are there supporting the interests of core institutions and negotiating where they disagree. These core institutions that make up the Centrists are the financial institutions, the military industrial complex, the information industrial complex, the billionaires, the biggest corporations and the deep state. The “Centrist” politicians of both parties play the role of framing all debates and negotiating all agreements in holding these core institutions together as a block. Centrists successfully divide opposition to their power in the population to the point where most of the population doesn’t even recognize that where all power resides is the center.
Every core institution that forms the center of power have overwhelmingly failed the people of this country. Failures that have developed over decades and progressively gotten worse. But for the people that make up these core institutions, these past decades has seemed instead as years of success. Success to them is measured by how much they take for themselves and the seeming stability they find even in failures. Breaking this down by core institution can each be an encyclopedia to itself but briefly I’ll share their failures as the following.
The core institutions that divine the centrist position.
Let’s start with the financial institutions. This is where all major decision making has occurred over at least the last 40 years under the neoliberalization of our economy. It’s been allowed to happen because of the dominance of our military around the world and the institution of the US dollar as the world reserve currency. The so called economic cycles of the US, which is just a way of talking down the repetitive failures of our economic system, has routinely been minimized by our ability to offshore the pains of those failures upon the rest of the world. What that has meant at home in the financial sector is that moral hazard has consistently been minimized because there has been felt little consequences amongst the power elite who control the financial institutions. Today what we see as a result is an economy in the US that is fundamentally a house of cards. Financialization has meant that the rich have made money off of money for decades at a faster clip than the productive economy. Real value is created by labor and resources not leveraging finance. The wealth that has come to the US power elite has predominantly come from the exploitation of the rest of the world as an owning class. This also meant that the workers in the US felt their own exploitation much less harshly than they would have otherwise felt. As the rest of the world begins to overthrow the trappings of US dominance, the US workers will be left as the major prey of this ownership class and that will make for much greater turmoil.
Next let’s examine the US military industrial complex. At this moment in time the annual US budget for the armed forces is in the realm of a trillion dollars or more. That’s actually a conservative figure because there is the servicing of trillions in US debt from past wars, veteran care and of course the nuclear weapons industry that has it’s budget in the Department of Energy. This is a colossal expense that grows by 10% or more in every recent year. It supports the enormous expense of over 800 foreign military bases, 2.3 million core employees (not counting the workers of weapons manufacturers), and 11 aircraft carrier groups which is a combined force of around 10 warships each. Then there are the 3,750 nuclear weapons that the US maintains and the 72 nuclear submarines. All of the above are only some of the very expensive systems that make up the US military industrial complex. Did I mention jets, tanks and satellites?
I listed above a generalized view of the expenses of the US military industrial complex. The question, outside of the moral quandary, is whether the expense is worth it. If it isn’t worth it, then this too can be seen as an epic failure of a core institution. But how does one judge it? As a working class citizen in the US, I see it much differently than the people who run it. I see it as a cost that takes away from potential spending on healthcare, education, elder care and useful infrastructure. I consider it’s justification in defense of the US as overblown and as the world police as an unnecessary burden or in fact criminal. I see the wars of the US since WW2 as overwhelming failures as well. But for the “centrists” that control the military industrial complex they see it much differently. They see it in terms of successfully making them richer. That the wars, overwhelming failures, kept the dominance of the US over the world. It kept the countries and “terrorists” we disagreed with in fear of the US. They saw the enormous pork and waste of this sector as not facing any serious challenges and therefore as a good thing that could and should continue.
Unfortunately, the failures of the military industrial complex have become overwhelming. The calamities of the economic house of cards and the rise of the multipolar world makes the examination of this core institution show some ugly facts. The biggest failure is blissfully ignored by the neoconservatives, which is that the US armed forces cannot win in their manufactured great power struggle. As they pound the drum for WW3 and involve themselves in what ultimately will be a failed proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, it becomes obvious to the other major powers that the US doesn’t have the force projection capacity that it once had. Despite the increasing of US spending, this fact will only become more true. This was a shocking revelation to me as I examined the Ukraine situation over the past year. I came to understand the US armed forces as wholly lacking. There is no way that the US could even today win in a fight against China and Russia especially in their region of the world. I fear that the US starts WW3 from a wrongheaded sense of supremacy and what could happen as a result. Which would be a US loss and potentially a nuclear winter.
All other core institutions couldn’t get away with their failures without the failures of corporate media, academia, big tech and Hollywood in the information industrial complex. The basic tenet of this failure is a simple one, they have been so successful at getting away with lying that we all are facing the consequences of the informational industrial complexes own success. Where to even begin? Shall we start with the success of advertising as an industry that over decades made a science out of convincing people of things unconnected to merit, truth, value or morals? That the science of convincing simply became a tool used by money for the making of more money? This science of propaganda and the corresponding tools that were developed has given the information industrial complex the ability to manufacture not just consent but also manufacture controlled opposition and division that keeps any challenges to power at bay. It has allowed a narrow and controlled environment for debate that carefully adjusts the parameters to give people the feeling of free speech and thought when most thoughts instead live in a well created zoo. Outliers, like myself I suppose, get dampened by the algorithms, ridiculed by the punditry, attacked by the watch dogs and, if all else fails, silenced in a myriad of ways that are designed to not cause a big stir. The information industrial complex sees this as great success. They made fortunes while maintaining control subverting major backlashes. Unfortunately this means that we have all been indoctrinated in failing ideas. Our creativity to overcome the systemic issues has been stymied. The powerful have been deceived by their own propaganda tools. The emperor has no clothes.
Speaking of the emperor, let’s talk billionaires. Billionaires are oligarchs in case you were confused. It’s the US version of aristocracy, kings, warlords, whatever you consider in other countries as the powerful rich. The wealth of billionaires is a difficult to fully understand for most people. Imagine the best neuro surgeon in the world who makes a salary of half a million a year and lives a lavish lifestyle, managing to save 100 thousand a year. In ten years they will have a million in savings! But it will take the best neuro surgeon in the world 10,000 years to become a billionaire and a million years to have saved as much as the richest billionaires. Three billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the US. My example of the brilliant neuro surgeon is also to show that the rewards of billionaires go far beyond what they deserve in terms of intellect and hard work. The billionaires of the US simply cannot be justified in any legitimate or moral way and their wealth keeps growing. This is to them seen as a success but for everyone else and for the US this is another example of a core institutional grouping that is a failure. Generally speaking, one other thing you might not realize, they are billionaires because they cheated at capitalism. The cheat in every case is the same formula. The way to become a billionaire is to consistently rig the game so you can never lose. It means that you make money no matter what. Being in control of a monopoly or new technology at just the right time while shutting down or buying out all your competition is generally the way to becoming a billionaire along with stealing from the government. These are leaches that must be plucked off. Had the rich of the US been regulated by wealth taxes and constrained by controls on their influence it would not have failed.
Billionaires tie in with the US’ biggest corporations. These behemoths have valuations larger than many countries and they have failed. The biggest failures come from their outsourcing of everything and the race to the bottom that they drove. They also would use financialization to make money off of cheap accounting tricks that aren’t regulated nearly enough. Like making money by tax loopholes rather than innovation and investment. Like stock buy backs in the same way to inflate the value because that was more important than improving their company. There is also the gutting of companies for intellectual products while stripping them of the capacities needed for research. It goes on and on. At the end of the day the US biggest corporations are more bluster, branding and licensing than industrial might.
Finally, the deep state. People define this in different ways from the relatively benign to the conspiratorial. I tend to characterize it mostly as the bureaucracy of technocrats rather than the power elite. These are the people and offices in government, think tanks and NGOs who keep the form and direction of the train of state and society. They know where the real power decision centers are and are responsive to them alone and consider the veneer of elected officials as the people that also understand and are good spokespeople or who must be schooled and curtailed. I’d say the security state of alphabet agencies also play an interconnective role from here. The failure of the deep state is in their robust callous indifference to democracy. This whole segment consider themselves the technocrats but they also bounce in and out of public and private positions so their loyalty to the people is forever in question.
The Left, Right and Independents.
Outside of the Center is what is referred to as the Left, Right and Independents. This is basically the second largest block. I group them all together because these words also have no definitive meaning other than signifying that they are outside of the center which would be the real power, the consensus position of the core institutions. It doesn’t mean that these are outside of the two parties, plenty of the Left, Right and Independents are involved in either the Republican or Democrat party. The Left indicates that they are generally on the outskirts of the Democrats, the Right indicates that they are generally on the outskirts of the Republicans and Independents means that they consider themselves on the outskirts of either. Neither of these categories has any real power at best they wield soft power. What it means to be Left, Right and Independent is equally as ubiquitous as Centrist. They only have relational value to the Center. These terms change as the center rebalances the two parties. If a right idea wins over the center it becomes a center idea.
Third Party Light: Libertarians and the Green Party.
These are a combined of maybe 3-10% of the electorate on any given year. As much as they would disagree, these two parties basically are related minor parties to their major party. The Greens to Democrats and Libertarians to Republicans. Oddly enough, the major party they most correlate with is also the party that is most likely to undermine them. These parties basically pick up the remnants of the excluded politics of each major party. These parties have zero power but are places for broaching new ideas for the major parties to eventually use although they generally don’t elevate the people that generate them. Like the Democrats stealing the Green New Deal from the Green Party. I support all third parties in challenging elections as well as Independents. I have been a part of this struggle and it is difficult and takes a courageous effort.
The “Far Left” and the “Far Right”
I’m sure that I am going to piss off even more people by grouping these two in a block but this is about the view from the “Centrists”. What connects them is that they are the Centrist’s fears and weapons in the population for direct action that must be kept at a distance. Neither are threats to the Centrists as a whole but they do serve as justification for the control mechanisms of the population and politics. These two groupings are big headers for a lot of small groups that comes and go that offer very little ideological cohesion although they do offer the most debate internal to their side and can show the most theory based ideology. They show no measurable role in electoral politics. Also they are manipulated more than self driven and their actions are spun more towards what the Centrists need from them than what they gain for themselves. This is the area that sees the most backfire, the most repression, the most infighting and the most youth. The trials and tribulations of the struggle on the streets that these groups endure can sharpen the best of them as future leaders, but many are destroyed and some are corrupted. Organized, there is great hope here, but disorganized, undisciplined, uneducated and untrained they fair for the worse. For these groups to succeed they must become organized. Unfortunately this favors the “far right” groups, because they can orient towards the defense of the rich that sponsor them and many are trained in the armed forces that discipline them and steward them towards following authority. The “far left” could make greater gains in organizing, discipline, find better sponsors, and even recruit from military but they’ve been led away from these things for a variety of reasons some good and some bad.
Social, Community, Worker, Farmer and Religious Organizations
These are the most likely to break from the centrist powers and therefore the Centrists are most concerned with them as a threat. It’s because that these groups could be pulled to new political formations because they have more loyalty towards their communities. These groups also represent some real power as in resources, control of assets, moral authority, legitimate popular leadership but most of all people power and are the backbone of society. They can only be controlled and weakened but they can rarely be fully destroyed. The banks, the military, the media, the billionaires and the government could all go away and these groupings would still be there.
What about Conservative and Liberal?
These are terms that also seem rather without clear political definition despite their prevalence, similar to left and right. I personally wish we would just consider these words by their standard definitions which seems about resources. Liberal being more generous and conservative meaning to keep in reservation. In this way at least we can decide that no one is a liberal or a conservative on all things. The official political definition of liberal is denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise. Conservative means favoring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas. Notice the crossover is free enterprise but these definitions don’t really mean anything either. The point is that definitions change but the structure of power seemingly does not.
Understanding the rebalancing and redefining.
In this election, like all the ones in my lifetime, it’s Republicans vs. Democrats, left vs. right, conservative vs. liberal. And despite all the elections in my lifetime, there has never been a fully victorious side and as times have changed these two parties have managed to basically keep balance. It’s because the definitions of what these words mean is always changing and being redefined. Because the system needs to be balanced, they will trade positions on important issue from time to time as well. The Centrists is always at the center, despite what that centrist position means. Currently the Centrist position is neoliberal economics and neoconservative when it comes to war and empire. This was not the Centrist position when Nixon was President, he would be called left of center today as an example.
The Centrist position moving towards neoliberalism and neoconservatism isn’t a move to the right. If we accept that left and right offer no real meaning. The Centrist position is probably best characterized instead as moving up and away from the people. All the people who work and run the core institutions that forever make up the center have moved greatly up in wealth and literally away from poverty and working people. The rich go to the same schools, they are part of the same clubs, they live in the same neighborhoods, they interact more with each other and less with the rest of us. They have come to more thoroughly look at the rest of us as data for these technocrats to crunch. Unfortunately these technocrats have continually failed for the US as they have done well for their own.
We have heard from Democrats and Republicans this position. Such as Hilary Clinton who called us deplorables, and also Mitt Romney who called us the 47%. They show that the Centrists have moved up and away. What is called the far left and the far right as a block are both farther down and farther back. Every year the power elite that rule becomes a smaller and more remote grouping. The US power elite have discovered a lot of success in this while maintaining more control. As the US fails economically and militarily over the next decade, the center will need to come back down to the people.
In order to get the center down to the people the people will have to have a vision that centers the power in the people. They will have to have goals for taking each core institutional area that align with the vision. They will have to have a strategy to implement these goals better than the ones they employ to stop us. That would be using the OODA loop as we employ tactics of our strategy to infiltrate what we can, disrupt where necessary, destroy what we can’t take, create alternatives for their tools of power when needed, constantly build and improve the movements capabilities, use the power that we have to build the power that we need and so much more.
The election and where does democracy fit in?
Democracy is a bigger idea than just elections, that is only one tool of many of democracy. In fact a democracy could be had with no elections, there are other tools that could be used. The reverse could also be true, of having elections without a democracy of any merit. America today seems closer to the latter. If the Gods had meant us to vote they would have given us candidates, as Jim Hightower wrote. He might also agree that the Gods would have given us a fair election system.
It’s really annoying and dangerous that the Centrists have mangled our thoughts on many things in recent years, especially elections. Decades of people powered movements have decried our broken election system in many aspects. Declaring that the system is rigged against the people by money in politics and dozens of other ways. Then Trump comes along and says his election was stolen. Now criticisms of US elections is seen as a Trump position. And Trump’s team doesn’t mention money in politics very much.
The same is true with the people’s movements against the lies and consolidations of mass media and control of social media. Trump says “fake news”. Now our peoples movement’s work on media is spun around, distorted and destroyed. I’d be labeled today by some as fake media instead of as grassroots independent movement media as I have always been associated before. Regardless, where are the debates necessary for an informed electorate in any media of this democracy?
What about war? Trump, out of office, has been alluding to himself as being against these wars once again, as he did in 2016 before he was elected. While President he did mostly the opposite. Either way, once again, he serves as another spoiler for our people’s movements messaging which he doesn’t share. The antiwar movement going back decades in courageous struggle against US imperialism, nuclear weapons, nuclear arms sales and for peace suddenly is silent and silenced in the US today when we really need it. The woke imperialism of the Left Centrists is little different in it’s neoconservative war mongering ways than the Right Centrists, who espouse US exceptionalism as their reasoning. At any rate where is the US democracy in deciding on nuclear war?
I have engaged in the electoral process on many levels at many points in time and I suppose I always will. From running campaigns for others to running for office myself. Elections are surface level. Shallow hype. Dumbed down. Behind the scenes, it is a mess. I long for something much better. The election system of this supposed democracy is absolutely broken. The Centrists run the game and the house always wins.
Still, as a person born into citizenship in the US empire, I take the responsibilities that come with it seriously. I have certain privileges that my international brothers and sisters around the world, whose countries are bullied by the US empire, don’t have. I do vote, for instance. Partially because they cannot. I’m sure they would like to. Although I think they would rather I do all the other things that matter often much more for removing the US empire’s ability to hurt them. Perhaps change our Center, and to the degree that voting does that then we should do so, if it makes sense to the strategy. The rest of the world we steal from and threaten would like our country to change as much as the people who live here who are the deplorables and the 47%. Change towards greater fair trade, sharing of the best technologies, win win collaborations, cultural exchanges of respect, acknowledgement of past crimes, repairing of wounds, restoration of the ecosystems and ending the militarism and security state. Here at home, for our home, and for the world that we owe so much.