Empire Stumbling Toward Irrelevance

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or committed Communist, but for people for whom the distinction between facts and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

– Hannah Arendt

With the Vietnam War six decades behind us, and the demise of the U.S.S.R. almost thirty years in the rear-view mirror, is American Imperialist society’s anti-communist dogmatism finally peaking?

It’s taken multiple generations of public-corporate-sponsored propaganda, gaslighting, false-flags and psyops to eradicate nearly all the “Communist” influence from the compromised worlds of tenured intellectuals and partisan organized labor.  Obviously, this retreat came at a heavy cost.

Empire’s brain has been so dumbed down by censorship, pseudoscience, social media, surveillance technology, biblical literalism, and institutional corruption, that even the most thoughtful “post-Marxist” critics can’t seem to articulate a coherent 21st Century alternative to replace global capital’s neoliberal structure.

Nor can today’s bumbling “experts” (economists, social engineers, and media prima donnas) recall that class, not gender, race, or ethnicity drives the social-cultural division that matters most.

The self-appointed ruling elite work overtime to deflect blame for their failure.  In “Our Democracy,” political appointments to high government offices are awarded only to the most proven bootlickers and loyal sycophants who worship the high priests of Global Capital.  But the masks are coming off, revealing power’s long-kept secrets about sources and methods.

Once an enemy (scapegoat) has been singled out, usually among the weakest and least politically connected (disenfranchised poor, immigrants, and minorities), suppression of free speech, scapegoating and fearmongering ramps up to restore the ruling class’s dominion and privilege.

To a working family “camping” on the street or a homeless single mother, this is what political collapse feels like.  The UK is #1 in homelessness, the USA “leads” the developed world in percentage of its population living on the street.  Meanwhile, endless billions are borrowed and sent abroad to senselessly genocide millions.  These sure signs of Imperialist decline can’t be ignored forever.

Worldwide, young adults quickly discover that the intelligence level of most hierarchically structured groups is inversely proportional to their size, and that global military-authoritarian empires have become so ossified, unwieldly, and dumb, that it’s unlikely they will ever learn much of anything.

The ruling class’s mantra is simple but effective: “Double-down – add loyal bureaucrats, NGOs, police and military as needed to violently drive the point home – and repeat.”

Capital is now global.  Markets are global.  Capital seeks nothing beyond quantitative growth and accumulation expressed in numeric profit. Capital has no incentive to value anything qualitatively if it can’t be monetized.  Critique of the neo-liberal, supply-side market fundamentalism promoted by the United States is intensifying.

Financializing Nature and human capital (property) is risk exemplified.  How about a Nature Impact Bond or a Human Capital Performance Bond?  Anyone?

Capital is legal property; its legal owner is a capitalist (slave-owner).

This leaves all two-legged beings who value (non-monetized, non-financialized) relationships with Mother Nature and all of Creation with an enormous intractable problem.

If nation-states lack effective regulatory mechanisms to constrain or enforce accountability over the actions of international finance and trade, what earthly good is it to have any faith at all in a national legislative body, a national president, or national ‘supreme’ court?

Global capital – at bottom, a colonial adventure – reigns supreme.

I can’t provide a viable alternative “paradigm shift” that leads out of this darkness.  For this I am self-critical.  I must, however, dream, work to decolonize my mind, and trust in myself. Resist, dissent and imagine the end to this tyranny.

Steve Kelly is a an artist and environmental activist. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.