The current domestic culture war in the USA is a reflection of a growing lack of difference between the various class structures of the world.
It’s completely obvious that in the post-Stalinist states, it was the staff of the “red” intelligence and security apparatuses, and some of the Party and state apparatuses, who become the very same oligarchs in the supposedly privatized systems which followed. This we can call the KGB kleptocracy. It also speaks volumes about the ultra-conservative culture of Stalinism that, until they become a global phenomenon after the recession, the world’s greatest breeding ground of fascist movements were the post-Stalinist states.
Whether Russia actually did support Trump’s campaign, or Trump’s regime simply resembles a Russia-style reactionary kleptocracy, is kind of beside the point; the point being that the different political economies of the world increasingly resemble each other.
It is of course also the inheritors of Mao’s state who are the primary ushers of capitalism into China, famous for their political style of zig-zagging shifts in party line and corresponding attacks and purges, often exploiting extremely progressive-sounding rhetoric championing the struggle of oppressed identities in order to buttress their regime and power maneuvers. This we can call corporate Maoism.
The Democratic Party, of course, would be the USA’s counterpart to China’s corporate Maoism, as Trump is the USA’s counterpart to Russia’s KGB kleptocracy. It insincerely used identity politics to suppress the Sanders campaign in the name of corporatism.
Furthermore the Democratic Party constantly uses its influence through various nonprofits and college-based groups in order to derail any emerging coherence in the USA toward a class-conscious student or activist movement, intentionally keeping the focus on a vapid celebrity-led “intersectionality” liberalism. The USA does not have mass student tuition fightbacks like in Quebec or Europe, and this is specifically because of ruling-class infiltration of activism in the form of identity politics.
It’s true that they use identity politics to attack conservatives, and on the one hand, this is liberalism actually doing its job. There are, in fact, oppressed identities, and they should, in fact, be defended from the right. But it’s also the case that the neoliberal corporatist identitarian complex uses any cheap shot available to it, doesn’t care whether what it’s saying is substantial or true, and often alienates people in the center with its dishonesty. Finally, we should be aware and unhappy that they are using identity politics to cleverly look like the good guys for attacking Trump while in fact insidiously keeping a lid on the larger rebellion they are truly nervous about, that of class-consciousness.
So the “red” Stalinist and Maoist bureaucratic ruling classes have everywhere shown themselves to be identical to or compatible with the various capitalist ruling classes. Libertarian communists cannot relent in our critique of “red” class societies, for the sake of economic equality, class struggle, and political democracy, but also because the cultish factional politics of Stalinist and Maoist states serve as exaggerated caricatures from which we can learn in order to scrutinize the more subtle and yet essentially similar manipulation within Western “democratic” politics.
The working class, increasingly, has no dog in the Trump-vs-SJW fight. It’s good to eliminate the legacy of the Confederacy to be sure. But this seems totally cosmetic to a working class faced with post-recession low wages, crappy benefits, crappy mandatory Obamacare which the Left has been bullied into defending in spite of its horrible quality, and general austerity.
There is a huge third camp silent majority of the working class which is disengaged from both the activist Left and the alt-right, identifying with neither. A great deal of the working class doesn’t care about pulling down statues, and is rather unsympathetic toward it while it worries about money. If anything, the working class would just want the Bernie campaign back, if it could even articulate anything. Mostly it’s just disgusted and disaffected with the over-the-top dramatic tone on both sides, while also vaguely agreeing that economic conditions are urgent enough to justify such a tone, but not really seeing what solutions either side are bringing to the table.
I am not the first to make the observation that there is a large third space to be opened up between safety pins and swastikas, that of class consciousness.
The hardest thing for a leftist to do right now is to remind people that the strategic topic that resonates with the most people is economic justice and fighting income inequality. The Left has completely lost track of this. The Left doesn’t talk about fighting capitalism or wealth inequality anymore, only fighting white supremacy or gender oppression. It’s hard to even discuss this dichotomy given how morally charged everything is right now. But we still have to discuss it. We still have to remind people that these issues find their completion in each other and we have to keep class on the agenda too.
Going into depth about how we are going to seize the means of production is critical. How are we going to build a mass party to sometimes gradually, sometimes rapidly develop toward the point where this goes from being a fantasy to being realizable?
We can counter neo-nazis, but neo-nazis are a product of economic insecurity. We can call police the modern slave patrol, but then if police are the modern slave patrol, what would be the modern plantation? Is it only the prison-industrial complex? Hardly: the aura of capitalist law and order the police emanate covers our entire society. The modern plantation would have to be the workplace, the entire capitalist marketplace and economy. And the only way to disperse that slave patrol, which we find repeatedly defending those nazis in Virginia, is to dissolve the state that pays them, and the only way to dissolve the state that pays them is to overturn the slave economy on which that state is based. To get rid of these nazis we need a modern slave rebellion, we need the workers to seize the workplace, and it is no coincidence that to do so we’d end up facing off with the modern slave patrol that fills black people into prisons where they are put to work for sub-minimum or zero wages.
The libertarian communist, class-centric Left is constantly asked to apologize for itself, constantly told that it is divisive for bringing up its criticisms, that it is bringing them up at the wrong timing. But we have to have the confidence to say no, our specific critiques and politics are the needed solution for the log jam that is currently facing the Left, to take us from this horrible moment where every factor is obstructing every other factor, to one where every factor reinforces every other factor.