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

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail