FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse

by

Photo by Shardayyy | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Shardayyy | CC BY 2.0

Fascism commends itself on its self-evidence (to its adherents) and its tidiness (making the trains run on time), a mental frame which harnesses the cult of action to a certitude of belief that translates into authoritarian submissiveness. How else explain what is happening in America today? We have billionaires floating around and in government who we did not know existed and who seemed pulled out of a rabbit’s hole of gut-level extremism heretofore always present but under wraps waiting for its day in the sun.

We are still at sunrise, after a predawn setting, under Liberal/Democratic auspices, which already created the conditions for its breaking surface in a new day. There could not be Trump, if there were not, first, Obama, and there could not be Obama, if there were not first the continuity of predecessors, bipartisan, single-minded, dating back half-a-century. Trump is not happenstance; he is as American as apple pie.

Take for example his invitation to Stephen Feinberg to review United States intelligence agencies, with his possible appointment as director of one. An incestuous process at first glance, it is actually a still more rightward shift of mainstream government, with Republicans goading him on, and Democrats largely marginalized, shooting arrows at hardcore nutcakes ordinarily beneath contempt. Yet in present-day America, to be a billionaire is certification of competence, (nonexistent) prior public service, patriotism (the single word driving a state of false consciousness, and yes, America’s own Nazification), and mood of hardening ideology.

Feinberg is the co-partner in Cerebus Management, a fund unerringly pointed in the direction of America’s fascistic underpinnings, from heavy investment in defense industries to covert counterrevolutionary forces. That he and Trump would go public with such a record speaks volumes about the prideful assertion of what had once been publicly unsuitable and almost beyond the pale. But there he is in full display (as are the others around Trump: take your pick, Bannon?), no apologies, on the contrary, bulldozing straight ahead.

Once, from the standard of structural analysis, the interpenetration between business and government, a unification of two modern spheres of authority, capitalism and the state, was adequate to the definition, as found in late stages of Weimar, and corresponding stages in Japan and Italy. With internal regimentation and the outpouring of militaristic expansion, matched by, or even preceded by, the concentration camp and gas chamber, the definition was seen as too simple. that in fact history was in the throes of civilizational upheaval, capitalism a driving force, even within itself, of world conflict. (Neither Russia nor China has evinced the staying power to be a viable challenge in determining the global order.)

Under Trump, American world ascendance is proving catastrophic, a frenzied feeding in search of still greater power: America First, as our neo-Nanzis of the late 30s would have understood and appreciated the phrase, has come to signify a solipsistic national universe, unilateral in its power surge, that, perhaps without need of the concentration camp, will produce the same result, passivity, marginality, of the people below. Trump, Feinberg, Mattis, Bannon, make even the CIA look good. The rehabilitation of Obama is rapidly underway, if that was ever in doubt. In sum, there is no governmental impasse, only the next step in the uphill slog to greater supremacy.

Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
Paul J. Ramsey
What Trump’s Travel Ban Reveals About His Long-Term Educational Policy
Norman Pollack
Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago
Michael Brenner
The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play?
Sam Gordon
Falling Rate of Profit, What about Some Alienation?
Jack Random
Sidetracked: Trump Diaries, Week 8
Julian Vigo
The Limits of Citizenship
James Graham
French Elections: a Guide for the Perplexed
Jeff Mackler
The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart
Lee Ballinger
Chuck Berry: “Up in the Morning and Off to School!”
Binoy Kampmark
Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession
Nyla Ali Khan
Cultural Syncretism in Kashmir
Chad Nelson
The Politics of Animal Liberation: I Can’t Quit You Gary Francione
Weekend Edition
March 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Reynolds
Israel and the A-Word
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail