FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

So This is How the US Revolution Will Unfold

by

In late 2012, Peter Turchin, a professor at the University of Connecticut made a startling claim. Based on an analysis of revolutionary upheavals across history, he found that there were 3 social conditions in place shortly before all major outbreaks of social violence: an increase in the elite population; a decrease in the living standards of the masses; and huge levels of government indebtedness. The statistical model his team developed suggested that, on this basis, a major wave of social upheaval and revolutionary violence is set to take place in the US in 2020. His model had no way to predict who would lead the charge; but this week’s election gives an indication of how it is likely to unfold.

Let’s take the first condition, which Turchin calls “elite overproduction”, defined as “an increased number of aspirants for the limited supply of elite positions”. The US has clearly been heading in this direction for some time, with the number of billionairres increasing more than tenfold from 1987 (41 billionairres) to 2012 (425 billionairres). But the ruling class split between, for example, industrialists and financiers, has apparently reached fever pitch with Trump vs Clinton. As Turchin explains, “increased intra-elite competition leads to the formation of rival patronage networks vying for state rewards. As a result, elites become riven by increasing rivalry and factionalism.” Indeed, based on analysis of thousands of incidents of civil violence across world history, Turchin concluded that “the most reliable predictor of state collapse and high political instability was elite overproduction”.

The second condition, popular immiseration, is also well advanced. 46 million US citizens live in poverty (defined as receiving an income less than is required to cover their basic needs), whilst over 12 million US households are now considered food insecure. Whilst this figure has been coming down consistently since 2011 (when it reached over 15 million), it remains above its pre-recession (per-2007) levels. Trump’s policies are likely to sharply reverse this decrease. Trump’s second promise in his ‘contract with voters’ is a “hiring freeze on all federal employees”, amounting to a new onslaught on public sector jobs. This is in addition to what seems to be a promise to end the direct funding of state education (to, in his words, “redirect education dollars to…parents”), and to end all federal funding to so-called ‘sanctuary cities’, that is cities which do not order the state harassment of immigrants or force employers to reveal the nationalities of their workers. These cities are some of the most populated in the country, including NYC, LA, Dallas, Minneapolis and over two dozen others.

In concert with his avowed intention to lower taxes on the wealthy, including slashing business tax from 35 to 15%; to smash hard fought workers’ rights (under the mantra of ‘deregulation’); and to scrap what little access to healthcare was made available to the poor throgh Obamacare – not to mention his threat to start a trade war with China – poverty looks set to skyrocket. It is not hard to see how social unrest will follow.

As for the third condition – government indebtedness – it is hard to see how the massive tax breaks Trump has proposed can lead to anything else.

Turchin writes that “As all these trends intensify, the end result is state fiscal crisis and bankruptcy and consequent loss of the military control; elite movements of regional and national rebellion; and a combination of elite-mobilized and popular uprisings that manifest the breakdown of central authority.”

But Trump is also preparing for that. Exempt from his public spending cuts, of course, are police and military budgets, both of which he promises to increase. And when questioned on the issue of police brutality last year, Trump said he wanted to see the police be given more powers. In other words, the tacit impunity which currently exists for police violence looks set to be legalised.  And history shows that there is nothing like police impunity to spark a riot.

Meanwhile, as his policies fail to deliver the land of milk and honey he has promised, the demonisation of scapegoats will continue. Having already vowed to round up and deport two million immigrants, and to ban Muslims from entering the US, it is already clear who these scapegoats will be. However, as well as migrants, popular anger will also be directed towards whatever namby-pamby liberals have blocked him from waging his promised war against them: be it Congressmen, judges, trade unions, pressure groups, or whoever. A combination of increased executive powers plus the use of his newly mobilised mass constituency will be directed towards purging these ‘enemies within’.

“My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970” says Turhcin, “because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time”. All that remains to be seen is – who will win.

This article was first published at RT.com

Dan Glazebrook is currently crowdfunding to finance his second book; you can order an advance copy here: http://fundrazr.com/c1CSnd

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail