The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 21 2024

by Tony Wikrent


Strategic Political Economy

Will the American Oligarchy Accept Limits or Choose World War Three?

Posted on April 14, 2024 by Conor Gallagher


Database Exposes ‘Illicit Network Undermining Democracy Around the World’

Brett Wilkins, April 05, 2024 [CommonDreams]

“Coups. Assassinations. Riots. Detentions. Disinformation. We know the tactics that have been deployed to undermine our democracies. But who is behind them?”

Progressive International (PI) asks and answers this and other questions with an extensive new database published Wednesday that connects the dots in what the leftist group calls the “Reactionary International“—a loose global network of right-wing leaders and organizations working to subvert democratic institutions.

PI calls it an “illicit network undermining democracy around the world.”….

A cursory search of the database’s contents shows users can:

  • Learn about Israel’s NSO, Rayzone, and Team Jorge, and how a team of Tel Aviv tech entrepreneurs fuel unrest in Latin America;
  • Meet the Grey Wolves, Turkey’s roving death squad with links to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ethno-nationalists in his governing coalition; and
  • Explore the global network of the Falun Gong, its Trump-connected media outlet The Epoch Times, and its traveling dance troupe known as Shen Yun….


Global power shift



Scott Ritter [via Naked Capitalism 04-19-2024]

The world’s attention has, rightfully so, been focused on the fallout from Iran’s retaliatory strike against Israel on April 13-14, 2024. Iran’s purpose in launching the attack was to establish a deterrence posture designed to put Israel and the United States on notice that any attack against Iran, whether on Iranian soil or on the territory of other nations, would trigger a retaliation which would inflict more damage on the attacker than the attacker could hope to inflict on Iran. To achieve this result, Iran had to prove itself capable of overcoming the ballistic missile defense systems of both Israel and the United States which were deployed in and around Israel at the time of the attack. This Iran was able to accomplish, with at least nine missiles striking two Israeli air bases that fell under the protective umbrella of the Israeli-US missile defense shield….

By successfully attacking Israeli air bases which had the benefit of the full range of US anti-ballistic missile technology, Iran exposed the vulnerability of the US missile defense shield to modern missile technologies involving maneuverable warheads, decoys, and hypersonic speed. US bases in Europe, the Pacific and the Middle East once thought to be well-protected, have suddenly been revealed to be vulnerable to hostile attack. So, too, are US Navy ships operating at sea….

In short, this means that the US and NATO forces in Europe are vulnerable to attack from advanced Russian missile technologies which match or exceed those used by Iran to attack Israel. It also means that China would most likely be able to strike and sink US navy ships in the Pacific Ocean in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. And that North Korea could do the same to US ships and forces ashore in the vicinity of Japan and South Korea.

Until which time the US can develop, produce and deploy missile defense systems capable of defeating the new missile technology being deployed by nations like Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea, US military power projection capabilities are in a state of checkmate by America’s potential adversaries.


Precision over power: How Iran’s ‘obsolete’ missiles penetrated Israel’s air defenses 

[The Cradle, via Naked Capitalism 04-20-2024]


Gaza / Palestine / Israel

Saying What Can’t Be Said: Israel Has Been Defeated – a Total Defeat 

[Haaretz, via Naked Capitalism 04-17-2024]


Michael Hudson: The Truth about the Destruction of the Palestinians 

[Naked Capitalism 04-14-2024]

What Michael Hudson learned about Palestinians from the Mossad 50 years ago: “The aim all along has been to kill them.”


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

Giant Food Corps Are Largely to Blame for Higher Grocery Prices 

Sulms Arias, April 19, 2024 [CommonDreams]

The largest grocery retailers—which include Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon, which owns Whole Foods—used the pandemic as an excuse to raise prices across the board….

According to a new report by the Federal Trade Commission, the largest grocery retailers—which include Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon, which owns Whole Foods—used the pandemic as an excuse to raise prices across the board. The same is true for big agribusinesses like Tyson Foods and DuPont, which sell the lion’s share of meat products and seeds.

These giant companies wrote themselves a blank check during Covid-19, which they now expect us to pay for.

What all of these corporations have in common is they always want to get bigger. Why? Because when consumers have fewer choices, corporations can force us to pay higher prices. This is especially true with food, which none of us can live without. And according to the FTC, a big reason for these higher prices is corporate greed.


Predatory finance

The Professor Who Wrote the Seminal Book on Wall Street Megabanks Calls Today’s Financial System “Dangerously Unstable” 

Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 18, 2024 [Wall Street on Parade]

George Washington University Law Professor, Arthur Wilmarth, has done it again. After authoring the seminal book on the insidious evolution and enormous dangers still posed by the Wall Street megabanks (Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act) Wilmarth is now out with a new, gripping paper. In the paper’s abstract, Wilmarth explains how the risks posed by the Wall Street megabanks in 2008 have become exponentially more dangerous today. He writes:

“The dangers created by universal banks (including their ‘internal’ shadow banking affiliates) and ‘external’ shadow banks have intensified since 2009. A toxic symbiosis has developed between the syndication and underwriting

of risky loans and debt securities by universal banks and the origination of speculative private credit by ‘external’ shadow banks. That noxious partnership has helped to generate unprecedented levels of risky consumer and corporate debts.

“Universal banks and shadow banks have created dangerously unstable financial markets that depend on frequent bailouts from central banks and other government agencies. Four serious financial disruptions since the GFC [Global Financial Crisis] have triggered significant government interventions and bailouts—the repo crisis of 2019, the pandemic financial crisis of 2020–21, the failures of three U.S. regional banks in 2023, and the collapse of Credit Suisse. Those episodes demonstrate that universal banks and shadow banks pose massive and unacceptable threats to our financial system, economy, and society.”

Wilmarth’s paper expands on the groundbreaking work of Patrick Corrigan, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School, who last August did a deep dive into the shadow banks that exist off-balance sheet in the form of Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) at the largest Wall Street megabanks (a/k/a universal banks). Corrigan documents the key role these shadow banks/VIEs played in the financial crisis of 2007-2010


We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act to End the Toxic Symbiosis Between Universal Banks and Shadow Banks, Which Professor Corrigan Has More Fully Revealed

Wilmarth, Arthur E., [40 Journal of Corporation Law Digital 1-40 (2024), GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2024-27, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2024-27]


Stanford Finance Professor Anat Admati Is Making Jamie Dimon Very Nervous – Again Calling His Bank “Dangerous”

Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 16, 2024 [Wall Street on Parade]

…Now, at the worst time possible for Dimon, as he attempts to bully regulators into scrapping their demands for higher capital at JPMorgan Chase, out comes Admati with an updated and expanded version of the highly readable, pristinely documented, seminal book on bank capital and the bankers’ disinformation campaign around it: The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It. The book is co-authored with German economist Martin Hellwig….


Restoring balance to the economy    

The Slow Death of a Prison Profiteer: How Activism Brought Securus to the Brink 

[The Appeal, via Naked Capitalism 04-14-2024]

Last week, the nation’s largest prison and jail telecom corporation, Securus, effectively defaulted on more than a billion dollars of debt. After decades of preying on incarcerated people and their loved ones with exploitative call rates and other predatory practices that have driven millions of families into debt, Securus is being crushed under the weight of its own. In March, the company’s creditors gave the corporation an eight-month extension to pay up, urging its sale to a new owner to stave off an otherwise imminent bankruptcy.

Securus is one of two corporations that dominate roughly 80 percent of the U.S. prison telecom industry, forming an effective duopoly that thrives on the captive markets found inside the nation’s lockups. Both companies are owned by private-equity firms: Securus, by Platinum Equity, and ViaPath (previously Global Tel Link), by American Securities.

The slow death of the largest player in this space is not accidental. It follows six years of intense advocacy to expose the vulnerability of the prison telecom industry’s business model on both ethical and economic grounds. Organizers have waged a strategic war against Securus, educating investors and the public about the company’s predatory practices while successfully advocating for legislation and regulation to rein them in….


‘You All Moved a Mountain’: Tennessee Volkswagen Workers Vote to Join UAW 

Olivia Rosanem, April 20, 2024 [CommonDreams]

Workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, became the first Southern autoworkers not employed by one of the Big Three car manufacturers to win a union Friday night when they voted to join the United Auto Workers by a “landslide” majority.

This is the first major victory for the UAW after it launched the biggest organizing drive in modern U.S. history on the heels of its “stand up strike” that secured historic contracts with the Big Three in fall 2023.

“Many of the talking heads and the pundits have said to me repeatedly before we announced this campaign, ‘You can’t win in the South,'” UAW president Shawn Fain told the victorious workers in a video shared by UAW. “They said Southern workers aren’t ready for it. They said non-union autoworkers didn’t have it in them. But you all said, ‘Watch this!’ And you all moved a mountain.”

….The union’s win comes despite the opposition of Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.


Trampoline Unionism: “Power expands, it doesn’t contract.”

Hamilton Nolan, April 15, 2024

…Here, quite briefly, is what the UAW did: The union’s leadership was fucked up and corrupt. An internal democratic reform movement succeeded in booting out the old leaders and installing Shawn Fain. Fain and Co. then immediately led the biggest and most aggressive strike against the Big Three automakers in the union’s history. They won the strike. Then they immediately announced plans to organize not just one, but every nonunion auto maker in the country. A hundred and fifty thousand workers total. Then they went right to work doing it….

Everyone should be doing what the UAW is doing. The greatest service they are performing for the labor movement right now is not just organizing new union members—it is proving that other unions have no excuse not to be doing exactly the same thing.

Did Shawn Fain inherit some set of conditions that made all of this easy for him to pull off? No! If anything, the opposite is true. He inherited a union that has been losing membership for decades, and was demoralized and discredited by having a number of top officials thrown in jail for corruption, and was also divided by a contentious leadership election. All of the UAW’s inspiring successes in the past year have not occurred because they were lucky enough to have some advantageous landscape that other unions can’t hope to replicated. They have occurred because they fucking tried. And the energy of every success has been funneled into the next project, growing as it goes, like a jumper on a trampoline getting higher and higher….

The first time that I interviewed Sara Nelson, in 2019, she gave me a quote that I still think about: “People think there’s only a limited amount of power that you have, and if you exert some power, you’re not gonna have enough for the next fight. That’s just not how it works. Every time workers really grab their power and take action, it encourages the next group of workers to have that power and act more. Power expands, it doesn’t contract.” The constant impulse to stop doing daring, ambitious things, understandable though it may be, is wrong. It is not responsible leadership. It is deadly leadership. It is an act of turning off the tap of power, rather than opening it further. Instead of resting to rebuild our forts, it is crucial to take the energy generated by one battle and use it to propel us into the next battle. A bigger battle. A bigger fight. A bigger win. More! Bigger! Stronger! Seize the opportunities, or they will blow away in the breeze….

This, to me, is the most exciting thing about what the UAW is doing in their Southern organizing drive. For one thing, they are tackling the heart of the very idea that the South can be a place that companies can use to escape union power. Unionize the South’s auto factories, and that proposition is dead. Even better, winning some of these union drives at huge factories will create a beachhead of union power that can serve as a base for more union organizing—not just in auto factories, but everywhere. A town is very different when it has thousands of newly organized union members in it. Suddenly those people are telling their friends and neighbors about the union. Those thousands of newly unionized auto workers creates tens of thousands of workers at stores and restaurants and warehouses and factories who say to themselves, “Why can’t I have what they have? Why can’t we do what they did?” Suddenly every boss in town and every piece of shit mayor and rat fuck Southern governor can no longer tell working people that unions aren’t right for them, aren’t possible there….


Health care crisis

[X-Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 04-20-2024]



Information age dystopia / surveillance state

Microsoft’s VASA-1 Can Deepfake a Person With One Photo and One Audio Track 

[ars technica, via Naked Capitalism 04-20-2024]


Spotting the deepfakes in this year of elections: how AI detection tools work and where they fail 

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 04-17-2024]


Climate and environmental crises

Climate Change Will Cost $38 Trillion a Year. Who Will Pay for It? 

Kate Aronoff, April 19, 2024 [The New Republic]


California Exceeds 100% of Energy Demand With Renewables Over a Record 30 Days

[Electrek, via Naked Capitalism 04-16-2024]


A Rarely Used Technique Could Double U.S. Grid Capacity

[, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 04-18-2024]

“Much of the grid infrastructure is outdated, built to rely on electricity supplies from a few major energy hubs. However, as more green energy projects crop up in atypical locations – such as rural regions and offshore sites – it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that energy will reach the grid for distribution. Many energy experts believe it will take a complete overhaul to prepare the grid for the rapid growth of the country’s renewable energy capacity. Yet, some believe it may be possible to roll out a rarely used technique to upgrade old power lines across the U.S. …. Two reports released this month suggest that replacing existing power lines with cables made from state-of-the-art materials could potentially double the capacity of the grid across many parts of the U.S., allowing more renewable energy projects to be connected. The technique, ‘advanced reconductoring’, would replace the traditional approach to transmission line construction. Most of the powerlines in the U.S. are made up of steel cores coated in strands of aluminium, as electricity companies continue to use the century-old, tried-and-tested design. However, some companies have developed innovative cables, which use smaller and lighter cores, such as carbon fibre, that have a greater energy transport capacity than aluminium. While the technology is available in the U.S., many major companies have been reluctant to make the switch due to their unfamiliarity with the materials, as well as the fear of regulatory and bureaucratic limitations. Most importantly, replacing old transmission lines can be done quickly and prevents the need for regulatory approval for new power infrastructure. The technique is also significantly cheaper than a total infrastructure overhaul, costing around half the price of constructing new lines. The reports suggested that if utilities started replacing the thousands of miles of power lines they could add four times as much transmission capacity by 2035 as they are currently on pace to do.”


‘Water is more valuable than oil’: the corporation cashing in on America’s drought 

[Guardian, via Naked Capitalism 04-20-2024]


Democrats’ political malpractice

The Real Book About the “White Working Class”

Matt Taibbi, April 10, 2024

Interview with Les Leopold, author of “Wall Street’s War on Workers,” the book neither party wants you to read….

Leopold is going to have a hard time getting booked on Morning Joe or receiving shout-outs in Paul Krugman columns when his book features sections like “The Mischaracterization of White Working­ Class Politics” and “The Continued Mischaracterization of Populism.” The book is in the tradition of Thomas Frank’s seminal history of anti-populism, The People, No, which described the original Populist Party clashing with New York banking interests on issues like free silver, and quickly found itself caricatured, forever, as bigoted, stupid, and dangerous. Leopold is telling a similar story, but is more focused on the idiosyncrasies of the current clash, which he sees as rooted in competing narratives about a number: 30 million, his estimate of the number of laid-off Americans since 1996:

“As Wall Street has routinized the financial strip-­mining of productive enterprises, more than 30 million of us have experienced mass layoffs. And even more have felt the pain and suffering as our family members lost jobs.”

As for where he got the number, he explains in a footnote that the “Bureau of Labor Statistics’ mass­ layoff database records 20.2 million layoffs for the years 1996–2012,” 2012 being the last year the stat was calculated. “If layoffs con­tinued at that rate through 2022, the total number of layoffs would be 32.8 million.” Even 20 million in 16 years is a huge number. But it’s the often unexplained reasons for those layoffs that illustrate the enormity of the gulf of political misunderstanding between college urbanites and rural America….

Les Leopold: You think we would’ve all learned a lesson from the Carrier air conditioning company. Because it’s a double story. First part of the story is that the reason Carrier was going to move to Mexico in 2017 was that 12 hedge funds took a position in the parent company, United Technologies. They told UT they wanted a stock buyback, so they decided to move Carrier to Mexico and that would save them like $50 or $60 million a year, and that would help finance the stock buybacks. Then Trump jumped in, stuck his foot in his mouth, but he ended up with Pence keeping most of the jobs. The polling on that turned out to be wildly popular.

You would think liberals would’ve learned the lesson that if you stand up and stop a plant from closing, you’ll gain a lot of popularity with the voting population.


Interview: Chris Hedges Discusses “Wall Street’s War on Workers”

Matt Taibbi, April 12, 2024

Award winning author and correspondent Chris Hedges talks about the origins of the ongoing media campaign against the “white working class”….

MT: The thesis of “Wall Street’s War on Workers” is that the “white working class” has been mischaracterized and that a lot of the anger isn’t about hot-button social issues, but about layoffs. Does that line up with what you found in “America: A Farewell Tour”?

Chris Hedges: Most of the people who demonize these voters — let’s start with Paul Krugman. He spent his entire life in Ivy League institutions. They write off or they attack a group of people they’ve never met. Half of my family comes out of the lower working class in Maine, post-industrial areas that have been devastated. Think Lowell, Massachusetts.

MT: Manchestah…

Chris Hedges: The towns have been destroyed, lives have been destroyed. Les looks at Mingo County in West Virginia. So this was a county that actually had an armed rebellion of United Mine Workers at Blair Mountain in the 1920s, and the government finally had to send in the National Guard and the state militia to crush it because the Pinkertons and the gun thugs couldn’t do it. It was only in the early 1930s that Roosevelt legalized the union and gave them the ability to do collective bargaining instead of living in essence under some kind of martial law. So Mingo County, as Les points out in his book, was fervently Democratic. They remembered what the Democrats had done for them, and even Clinton was pulling over 60%.

Reagan started it, but Clinton was the Democratic impetus for this, where they talked in that “I feel your pain” language of liberalism but thrust a knife in the back of the working class. So are there irredeemable racists and bigots? Of course there are. But to write off the entire working class like that and essentially blame them for their own, I think, very legitimate rage has been a way for the Democratic Party and the liberal establishment to wash their hands of culpability.

In America, the Farewell Tour, I wrote a chapter out of Anderson, Indiana. Anderson, Indiana used to be a big GM town, produced 25,000 union jobs, huge GM plants. Clinton passes NAFTA. They packed the equipment up and shipped it to Monterey, Mexico. And the plants, they’re just empty lots now, but they’re massive and they’re surrounded by cyclone fencing, weed-choked lots, a kind of painful reminder of the jobs they used to have. What happens in Anderson? Well, it’s completely predictable: opioid crisis, diseases of despair, massive numbers of suicides, and so on.

Where the 2024 Presidential Election Voting Integrity Will Be Fought 

[Angry Bear, via Naked Capitalism 04-19-2024]

This is a long post. It is the only way Steve can get it across the issues created by Louis Dejoy’s incompetence. Look out 2024 Presidential Election, we will have a battle on our hands. Think of SCOTUS.

With the botched-up implementation of the new USPS Processing and Distribution Centers going on the way they are, we will see significant issues with the upcoming 2024 presidential elections. Time to stop the implementation and take alternative precautions to insure postal deliveries. And Fire Louis DeJoy.

Angry Bear already posted Steve Hutkins reveal on how the Richmond facility has had severe implementation issues. The Atlanta facility was just starting the conversion process. What was considered a dumpster fire in the past is now being called a House Fire in Atlanta. The rate of on-time delivery of mail went from 60-70% to roughly 20%. And there is Post Master General Louis DeJoy just smiling away….


(anti)Republican Drive to Civil War

Trump’s Fundraising Shows Reliance on Oil Sector, Wealthy Donors 

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 04-16-2024]

Donald Trump relied on a small cadre of donors to contribute a hefty portion of his March fundraising haul, showing the early success of his pivot to wealthy benefactors to finance his presidential bid…. The $23.6 million from deep-pocketed donors accounted for a substantial part of the $65.6 million he and the Republican Party raised that month, the latest disclosures to the US Federal Election Commission show… Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has amassed a record war chest for this point in an election year. Outside groups supporting Biden, led by his main super political action committee, the Future Forward PAC, have now pledged $1 billion to support him.”


Trump’s Billionaires and Zaka Propaganda: For some oligarchs, a fascist dictatorship is worth keeping taxes low.

April 10, 2024 [The American Prospect]


Trump Eyes Social Security Cuts By Slashing Payroll Tax 

Julia Conley, Apr18, 2024 [CommonDreams]

Amid new reporting that former U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic advisers are urging him to cut the federal payroll tax, a key revenue source for Social Security and Medicare, advocates on Thursday urged voters to remember that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has long threatened to do just that.

“Don’t be fooled,” said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, which lobbies to strengthen the social safety net for retired Americans. “At the end of his term in office, Trump delayed Social Security’s dedicated revenue paid from workers and their employers. He was quite explicit that, if reelected, he would convert that delay into a permanent cut.”….


How Conservative Policies and Rhetoric Kill People 

Thom Hartmann, April 19, 2024

Study after study says it: Right-wing policies and rhetoric lead to more homicides and suicides. Why don’t more people know this? [The New Republic]


Speaker Johnson says it’s U.S.’s ‘biblical admonition’ to help Israel 

[FOX, via Naked Capitalism 04-17-2024]


Louisiana lawmakers vote to remove lunch breaks for child workers, cut unemployment benefits 

[Nola, via Naked Capitalism 04-20-2024]

The Utter Joy of Watching Trump Watch People Who Despise Him

Alex Shephard, April 19, 2024 [The New Republic]

In his hush-money criminal trial, the former president is coming face to face with potential jurors who have expressed unvarnished opinions of him on social media.


[X-Twitter, via Heather Cox Richardson, April 20, 2023, Letters from an American]




Civic republicanism

Ingrid Robeyn’s ‘Limitarianism’ Makes the Case for Capping Wealth 

[Atlantic, via Naked Capitalism 04-16-2024]

[TW: From last week’s excerpts from Republicanism and the political economy of democracy: “This article identifies three key ideas that together constitute a distinctively republican approach to political economy: (1) establish an economic floor; (2) impose an economic ceiling to counter excess economic inequality; and (3) democratize the governance and regulation of the main economic institutions.” ]


Toward a Republican Synthesis: The Emergence of an Understanding of Republicanism in American Historiography

Robert E. Shalhope [Source: The William and Mary Quarterly , Jan., 1972, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 49-80. Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture]

The effect upon American intellectual history of the symbolic statement, Locke et praeterea nihil, has been both profound and unfortunate.  That popular formula has helped to obscure an understanding of early American thought by obstructing a full appreciation of the vital shaping role of republicanism. Only within the last decade have historians clearly ‘discerned_ the unique and dynamic qualities of republicanism in the period 1760 to 1789…. [p. 49]

[Shalhope summarizes:]  “Scholars assumed that simply a form of government; no hint of re ideology assuming moral dimensions and involving the very character  of America…”

[Caroline Robbins, British historian at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Penn., 1947 article “Algernon Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government: Textbook of Revolution,” Wm. and Mary Qtly.]

[Robbins] contended that Sidney’s ideas did not die with him in i683, but instead were taken up by radical whigs such as Robert Molesworth, John Toland, Thomas Gordon, John Trenchard, Richard Baron, and Thomas Hollis.8 While these men did not affect English politics, they did manage to transmit their libertarian heritage to America…..    [p. 51]

Sidney’s belief in restricted sovereignty and resistance to power became critical elements in American thought.  These ideas emanated from his contention that the people were sovereign and must protect that sovereignty against incursions by their leaders. Since power always corrupted, the people must erect safeguards to ensure that magistrates did not encroach upon their sovereignty and’ thus deprive them of their liberty….

In [a 1951] essay on the Tenth Federalist by Douglass Adair in which he maintained that the work of Charles A. Beard and other progressive historians had cast a shadow over study of the Constitution-and by implication over all of early American history-by minimizing the importance of ideas and ideological factors.” Adair held that political ideas and philosophies were central to the writing of both Federalist Number Ten and the Constitution….

Cecelia Kenyon’s [1955] “analysis represented a major step toward understanding the ideological nature  of the dispute between the Federalists and antifederalists, which had been so badly obscured by Beard and his followers. [p. 55]

…This frame of mind became much clearer in 1965 With the publication of the initial volume of Bernard Bailyn’s Pamphlets of the American Revolution, 1750-1776 (Cambridge, Mass., 1965), the most important single statement of the new synthesis.“ ….Bailyn believed the theory of politics which emerged in the pre-Revolutionary years rested “on the belief that what lay behind every political scene, the ultimate explanation of every political controversy, was the disposition of power.” To the colonist power meant “the dominion of some men over others, the human control of human life: ultimately force, compulsion.” Colonial discussions of: power “centered on its essential characteristic of aggressiveness: its endlessly propulsive tendency to expand itself beyond legitimate boundaries,” but what “gave transcendent importance to the aggressiveness of power was the fact that its natural prey, its necessary victim, was liberty, or law, or right.” The emergent colonial persuasion saw society “divided into distinct, contrasting, and innately antagonistic spheres: the sphere of power and the sphere of liberty or right. The one was brutal, ceaselessly active, and heedless; the other was delicate, passive, and sensitive. The one must be resisted, the other defended, and the two must never be confused.” [pp. 65-66]

The [1969] publication of Gordon Wood’s The Creation of The American Republic, 1776-1787 constituted another landmark in the creation of a republican synthesis.… Wood was the first author both to clearly recognize the dynamic qualities of republicanism and effectively define and analyze these qualities. He penetrated the unique persuasion that permeated American society. Americans believed that what either made republics great or ultimately destroyed them was not force of arms, but the character and spirit of the people. Public virtue became preeminent. A people noted for their frugality, industry, temperance, and simplicity were good republican stock. Those who wallowed in luxury could only corrupt others. Easily acquired wealth had to be gained at the expense of others; it was the whole body politic that was crucial, for the public welfare was the exclusive end of good government and required constant sacrifice of individual interests to the greater needs of the whole. Thus the people, conceived of as a homogeneous body (especially when set against their rulers), became the great determinant of whether a republic lived or died. The essential prerequisite for good government was the maintenance of virtue. Those forces which might sap or corupt virtue were unrepublican and were to be purged before they destroyed the good society. [pp. 69-70]

[TW: Debunking the Locke myth and its theology of “property rights” is critical to restoring civic republicanism and ending the bankers’ dictatorship of neoliberalism. But the oligarchs and their conservative and libertarian henchmen are desperate to preserve the Locke myth. See the bald-faced lies in this article in the Winter 2022-2023 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, by David Azerrad, professor at Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C.:  “John Locke’s influence on the American Founding is so overwhelming and obvious that only an academic could deny it….  Locke’s teaching on human equality, natural rights, government by consent, religious liberty, and the right to revolution constitute the bedrock of American republicanism, at both the national and state levels.” The Claremont Institute and Hillsdale College are among the most prominent conservative and libertarian institutions in USA. ]


Open Thread


EU Delusion on Sanctions and Europe’s Future


  1. responseTwo

    As far as Shawn Fain goes, WSWS has a lot more to say about what his real objective is. If you search WSWS for “Shawn Fain”, there is much more.

    One example:
    Autoworkers respond to UAW President Shawn Fain at Biden’s State of the Union

  2. VietnamVet

    Speaker Mike Johnson at an intelligence briefing saw the light and decided to shepherd the $95 billion dollar arms bill for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan despite radical Republican objections. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene called him a “lame duck”. Basically, this pays for the escalation of the proxy World War 3 and spreads it to Asia. $1.3 billion buys one antimissile defensive salvo to destroy all except one ballistic missile of the 120 fired by Iran according to Israel or the nine missiles that made it through the defensive screen to hit military targets according to online videos.

    Depending on the viewpoint of those who are receiving the graft, this is sufficient to allow the West to continue to increase the prodding of the Chinese Dragon to make it a subservient vassal state. But the fact is that the Axis of Resistance has already recreated the multi-polar globe. China will not back down. At best agreements can be made of the strategic zones of interest for each nuclear power. All it takes is one Hydrogen Bomb warhead getting through to destroy Taipei.

    There is no light at the end of the tunnel of wars for profit except a nuclear flash at the end. Mankind must first give peace a chance and then learn to share, feel empathy for their neighbors, and live within their means. It has been only 100,000 years since Homo sapiens left Southeast Africa. Good government must be restored and the looming crises of pollution, pandemics and famines addressed, if humans are to continue to inhabit the Earth.

  3. Purple Library Guy

    The article about the “Trampoline Unionism” makes an important point that applies to politics and political power more generally. Most of the media routinely gets this wrong, with pundits forever talking about politicans “spending” “political capital”, with the idea that power is something a person has a certain amount of and if they use it all up it’s gone. This is wrong, pretty stupid, and results in a fundamentally backwards account of how politics works being very common in the media.

    If some person or organization has political power, and they use it to obtain a political result, that doesn’t use it up. It INCREASES their power. Now other actors will know that they are a force to be reckoned with, courted, asked for favours. Potential members of their organization will be more likely to join, seeing them as effective and important. When they use their power the next time, some potential opponents may not want to fight them so as to avoid losing, and potential allies will be more likely to get on board with them. So basically, as with real capital, you don’t “spend” political capital. You invest it, and end up with more.

    There are exceptions–if a political actor decides to do something all of the sources of their power, supporters and donors and whatnot, will hate, then sure, that can diminish their power. I’m not sure I’d call that “spending political capital” so much as “committing political suicide”.

  4. Feral Finster

    It is abundantly obvious that the sociopaths who rule over us would without hesitation annhilate us all rather than accept limits on their power.

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