Friday, November 25, 2016

Every Capitalist Needs His Niggers: Race as a Means of Economic Exploitation

One of the things that this recent election has revealed, as it is circulating around the web, is the failure of the New Left. But I'm not sure most people understand this as well. Sure, the Alt-Right has had some influence among emasculated white men reacting. No one wants to be told that they're going to be on the ash-heap of history, a group whose stains far outnumber contributions, and who need to be wiped out. This was a part of the progressive, and somewhat vindictive attitude, that swirled around the Clinton campaign.

But the reality is different. More than half of white women voted for Trump. He also secured the Republican metric of at least 30% of the Latin vote. He also won in Michigan and Pennsylvania, whose labor vote tended towards Trump. He also secured many voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Why? I think it's because Trump capitalized on something Clinton not only failed to do, but could not: he postured himself as for the working class. His protectionist rhetoric did not need an actual plan for it to be attractive. I think many people were glad to hear that someone was willing to say (perhaps even lie) that he intended to bring jobs back no matter what. Trump at least created some jobs in his vain and absurd real-estate schemes. Clinton was backed by the big banks and financial captains who were, rightfully, blamed for destroying huge segments of American industry. For them, there was more profit in turning a profit from shipping industry elsewhere, and turn the US into a different sort of nation.

Despite all the claims of white racism and nationalism, all of which exists, I am confident to say that most people did not vote in Trump because they wanted to reinvigorate the KKK or make America some fascist empire. They went out to get jobs and incomes that promise some level of security, dignity, and living wage. It's for this reason that Bernie Sanders almost took the Democratic Primary even as the DNC was rigged for Hillary. No one expected that a "socialist" (he's hardly one) would reveal the corrupt party mechanics due to his massive popularity.

This sort of thing was not part of the election results, it was primarily so. The problem was not that the Democrats did not listen to the voice of white men, it's that the Identity politics that is part and parcel to the Democratic (and the Republican) party is non-sense. It's an absolute distraction from reality. The hard and cold truth is that things operate according to power, and power comes from functional operations. Money is the liquid and transferable form power takes, a claim upon the resources of the Earth, whether land, food, weapons or labor, production, soldiers. This is where the heart and soul of the issue lies. Identity politics according to race, gender, religion etc. is worthless to explain anything at its root.

Am I saying race is unimportant? Yes and No. It's a question of origins. One must ask where the origins of whiteness and blackness (and all the intermediary states in between) come from. And it's a pretty simple, and disturbing, reality. The mass-slavery of Africans was the major factor in the creation of racial distinction. Whiteness had to be inscribed upon Human bodies, with the correlate of Blackness, to justify an exceptionally exploitative form of labor. But this was done less to soothe the agitated consciences of planters on American colonies. Rather, it was many times a social hierarchy to separate working poor of European stock from colluding or sharing with the Enslaved. It's about the shattering of different subservient peoples from seeing their interests as fundamentally the same. It's about creating a social hierarchy that was radically new: now the wealthy can rule a social polity that lacks the myth of royal patronage and blood.

The formation of social hierarchies has, at its core, a desire for stability. If it is unclear why those on top should remain on top, there's a greater chance for agitation and possible toppling. The purpose of ideologies and founding myth is to prevent these structural shocks. If one wants to seize greater and greater power, one needs greater and greater resources. Thus, it makes sense that any new or established elite would seek to secure a stable population of peons able to provide the raw power of bodies to build an empire upon.

As clear in American history, many Europeans and Asians have suffered racism in the United States for periods of time. Yet the effects of this linger in increasingly diminished forms. Those of African descent, particularly those imbued with the American legacy of slavery, have struggled to overcome this racial hierarchy? Why? Because for most parts of the country, the machinery of the previous system was still in place. It was easier to convince white people that the "nigger" was stupid, lazy, and treacherous and deserved to be kept in functional slavery. Racism become an easy justification to keep a stable class of workers who were paid almost nothing, whether share-cropping in the South or factory work in the North among many other things.

Fundamentally, Capitalism is about hierarchies of wealth, of those individuals who have succeeded in owning the means of production. It's not necessarily about markets, that's a smokescreen. It's about the creation of a ruling-class that is dependent on wealth, and wealth defined not in dollars or gold bullion, but on abstract claims, backed with the threat of violence, over the very means of life and features of the Earth. For those who stand at the top of the pyramid, Capitalism requires a stable base of workers, essentially wage slaves, trapped in meaningless and powerless jobs, where they are treated more and more like replaceable cogs, meat-bag machines, that can be reduced to cost-benefit analysis.

While Taylorist-face of Capitalism has faded away, it's still at the heart of things. It's why many manufacturing jobs have become mechanized and shipped abroad. There is no single doctrine of Capitalism, it has many faces, but is fundamentally about a merchant-people gaining control of the bounty of the Earth and doling it out in accordance with necessity and social polity. It's not about "trickle-down economics" except as a means of throwing bread and circuses to people getting fed up with nothing. The kind of industrial wage slavery of ages past has moved on elsewhere, joblessness and unskilled labor has trapped many others. It's a juggling game of interests and division.

The interests of social control and power is not a monolithic entity, there are many sectors and factors, there are many ambitious willing to cut down their competitors. The lust for more many times overcomes sensible policy of control. It's for this reason many Empires are brought down, and the Empire of Capital will, one day, have the same happen to it. Identity Politics is one factor of this, keeping people wasting their time with trivialities and feelings. It's, as Don Draper put it, not catering to the interests the people have, but creating those interests by making them appear self-generated and then offering to meet those needs. It's a complex game of manipulation and brain-washing.

The so-called "Neo-Liberalism" of people like the Clintons channels this approach into a means of social reintegration. It's about trying to reconfigure the racial hierarchical justification of years past into something else. It's meritocratic colorblindness, as well as gender-blindness and sexuality-blindness, that is "egalitarian" by putting women and minorities into the structures of power. Supposedly "racial equality" is met when we've integrated blacks, Asians, Latinos, gays, transgenders etc. into the class that controls Capital. For some, that's all that they want, with hardly a question about the functional enslavement of most of the globe. It's just as evil, as it waves a rainbow flag and has a smiley multiculturalism.

The wage-slaves remain wage-slaves, whether they're retail workers in the US or the legion of factory workers elsewhere. They've become the new niggers of the Capitalist superstructure. And just as times before, they're set in a form of entrapment where their own slavery is heaped upon them as their fault. The prevalence of mind-numbing entertainment, mind-altering drugs, and mind-structuring advertisement keep people down.

People are given impossible standards (whether of beauty or respectability or whatever) to live according to, and many times find themselves wrapped up in an infinite cycle of debt trying to live up to the standard of American living. People try to soothe the burdens of back-breaking work, sapping the limited financial resources they have, and then criminalized. I have no doubt that the American government has, seemingly paradoxically, orchestrated the means of drug trafficing while also cracking down in the War on Drugs. And people become involved in trivial entertainments that ease the burden of psychic overload if they were confronted with their situation. Marx might have said religion is the opiate of the masses, but if that is so, than the entertainment-complex is heroin. All of these become mechanisms to stabilize in ways that race-war structure could only barely accomplish.

Inter-ethnic hatreds have always existed, but this is not what I'm talking about when I say race. Rather, it's an artificial system based upon skin-color and, many times, non-existent or fabricated "cultural identities". At it's root, it's about the the creation of a class of people to be exploited for their labor. It's about creating a social stability where those who own may continue to gain more power.

In the Bible, this is primarily reflected in the Phillistines, an empire built upon plunder and merchandising people. Capitalism is really just the philosophy of Phillistine conquest, feeding upon host peoples and draining them dry. These are a people that the People of God were locked in endless war with, always being tempted with lures. Ultimately, the Phillistines, like Egypt and Assyria, are component parts of the Biblical figure of Babylon the Great. Not all empire is Capitalist, but every Empire finds its roost in becoming Babylon, the whore city that spills the blood of the saints. Every foul beast finds it rest in the evil city.

I am not a Communist, even if I am making similar critiques. However, there are many Christians who unthinkingly abandon the commands of Christ for a place in building a kind of Babylon. They don't understand that Christ very specifically meant that there was an eternal incompatibility between serving God and Mammon. Wealth inequity is all over the Bible as a mark of the Devil's domain. And yet many prop up the system as they have secured a place near the top of the pyramid or have been lured to think they can achieve such a thing.

Christians should practice a different form of sociality, rejecting the allure of money, and relativizing it before the Power of God. This might mean living a life where the forms of security that we're told we need will not exist, rather we will trust in the Hand of God to deliver the poor. But it also means seeing the exploitation of labor and the false divisions of mankind. Race must be overcome as a category if one is to see the actual balance of power.

This post is sweeping in its claims and simplifies a lot of complex issues, but I want to cut through all the shrouds to present what's at stake. It's a wake-up call to resist the process of seeing others as mud-people, degenerate semi-Humans who deserve their fate. Capitalism is one form of this and it's the pervasive American form. Overcoming racism is about overcoming race and seeing the power structures at play. And it's also knowing that Christ has struck the fatal blow. Babylon the Great may reign for a time more, but it will be consumed by fire from Heaven.

This ought to be a moment of self-reflection. Repent of how you may have joined with the Great Harlot who beds the kings of men. Her ultimate fate is destruction and the saints will rejoice.

3 comments:

  1. One of the many side-effects of the polemics and propagandas of the Cold War era seems to be that capitalists and socialists seem able and eager to see the problems of the "other" system commodifying humans without acknowledging that "our" pet system does the same. Individualism and autonomy can be the ideological umbrellas that cover the commodification process in some groups, while for others identity politics narratives can allow people to accept commodification through the shared narrative/identity concerns of a group. Capitalism and socialism both depend on the commodification of people but they deploy different ideologies toward what is ultimately the same end, what you've described as the merchandising of people. One of the shortfalls of the propagandistic combat of the Cold War is that the left and the right embraced polemics and narratives in which they blinded themselves to the ways in which their respective commitments replicated the commodification process of the ideological enemy but simply with a different ideological rationale. The net result for the working class was not necessarily different in communist and capitalist societies. The history of China, as my brother has been sharing it with me, has been that one of the not-surprises of the ruling castes has been that many who weren't communists before the revolution became communists but the ruling elite family names didn't necessarily change, just the state/party ideology they formally adhered to.

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    1. I don't want to lose the cut of my argument, which revolves around the actual mechanisms of power. The Identity Politics talk obscures the fact that it requires fiscal security to pontificate and indulge this.

      Yes, Left and Right have their pet projects in this country, but I'd argue it's about the shape of the boat and who gets to be on it, not whether or not it sets sail. Actual Leftist critique in the US was pretty much hijacked, and functioned as an outlet of the Establishment. It became pot-shots and pet-issues.

      Communism has functioned as a kind of red-tsardom (to rip off a title of a book). Way before Lenin, Marx already had critics saying that he intended an authoritarian regime. Lenin departed from Marx in some pretty substantial ways, but he was still on board with the strongman, the vanguard, driving everything forward. So what if you have to crack a few eggs. But the whole history itself is pretty messy. Lenin was sent back into Russia by the Germans as a weapon to destroy the Tsar. It raises the specters of how involved others were in bringing about events, even if these events quickly overwhelmed handlers.

      The fact that genuine working people get screwed is what matters, and for empires to run well, there is always someone ground to dust. I think that's the fundamental critique by the "left", and I'd stick by that. Christians ought to stay away from ideological commitments, but it's hardly a game of meet in the middle either.

      cal

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  2. when you put it that way it reminds me of a thought I've been mulling over in the last few years about the apparent inevitability of the imperial impulse in humans and how it seems to play out in American politics--the right insists that the atrocities of the United States weren't THAT bad because of the majority that is presumed to have benefited while the left within the United States seems to believe that if the correct redistributive approach to current "wealth" is embraced those sins can be atoned for.

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