[Marxism] Helsinki: Was it "excellent"? Should we care?

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 06:25:51 MDT 2018


I've seen the same statistics on Republican voters' approval of Putin. I
think it has a lot to do with similar social and political attitudes
(anti-gay, religious, etc.) But in any case, I think that those statistics
actually support my contention. The reason is that the old, mainline
conservatives in the Republican Party have lost out. This is exactly the
wing that represents the capitalist class. Take what happened in the
presidential primaries. The mainstream conservatives and the wing of the US
capitalist class they represented had it all set up for Jeb Bush to win the
nomination. It was a sure thing. Guaranteed. We know how well that worked
out.

Now, we hear it over and over again - how different Republican politicians
are afraid to stand up to Trump because he will get them "primaried". In
other words, the next time they run for reelection, he'll mobilize their
base to get them knocked out in the primaries.

In fact, this is a common theme heard over and over in US politics - how
Trump has completely captured the Republican Party. How the traditional
conservatives have capitulated to him. This is why a series of Republicans
are not running again - they don't want to get "primaried" but they fear
that continuing to capitulate to Trump will tarnish their future careers
and reputation. Probably the foremost Republican strategist, Max Boot, has
actually left the Republican Party because of this.

In other words, the capitalist class has not only lost control over the
presidency; they have lost control over their preferred political party.
(Not that the Democrats won't do when needed.) This is a huge development.

On the US-Russian rivalry: Even the closest capitalist allies are always
rivals also to some degree or another. I agree that the basis for the
US/Russian rivalry is not the same as it is with the US/Chinese rivalry.
There, economic competition is clear. But look at the whole issue of the US
alliance with Germany and other Western European countries. Is there not a
conflict there with a Russian alliance? Yes, maybe the whole world order
can get shaken up and a whole new alignment could develop. But it seems to
me that this could not happen without a reordering of the pecking order -
who is on top. And that cannot happen without a real settling of accounts,
meaning without a new world war.

I think the capitalist class in the main dreads something like that too.

Meanwhile, the daily attacks on Trump continue. NBC just did a short
segment on Trump's role as a money launderer for the oligarchs. As I said,
if this starts to come out, then all hell could break loose, but maybe
they'll have to bring it out. If Trump is not a "traitor" to their class,
then we have to explain why they are attacking him in such strong language.
It certainly is unprecedented.

John Reimann

On Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 2:26 AM, mkaradjis <mkaradjis at gmail.com> wrote:

> Lots of good discussion. John and others are emphasising how
> "treasonous" Trump appears to be from the point of view of much of the
> ruling class; his highly idiosyncratic nature; his financial ties to
> the Russian oligarchy etc. My post wasn't aimed at suggesting he was a
> "perfect" representative of a wing of the ruling class, whatever that
> may look like; and probably some of his wing would prefer he didn't
> come with the personality defects and sheer brazenness etc.
>
> But on the ties to the Russian oligarchy for example. Is that unique
> to Trump? Would be interesting to know how much of the US ruling class
> has ties to the Russian oligarchy. After all, that' what 1991 and the
> "fall of Communism" was supposed to be all about wasn't it? If members
> of the US ruling class developed ties to Russian oligarchs in the
> Yeltsin era, would anyone have batted an eyelid? Wouldn't it have been
> considered normal business activity now that Russia had done the right
> thing and got rid of "communism"? It might seem less normal than the
> powerful ties the US ruling class has with the Israeli ruling class,
> but it seems to me that's mainly about tradition, especially when we
> consider that the US-Russia connection goes so strongly through
> Israel.
>
> Consider these stats:
>
> "in just four years, Gallup shows Republican approval of Russia and
> Putin has increased from 18% to a whopping 40%. CBS polling shows a
> 27-point swing toward a majority seeing Russia as an ally in just
> three short years. To be sure, voters overall are still quite
> skeptical of Putin’s regime, but that is fast changing among
> Republicans." (from this very useful article, even if I don't love the
> title:
> https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/07/21/the-putin-trump-
> alliance-is-part-of-a-new-cold-war-between-liberalism-and-white-supremacy/
>
> If true, this does suggest a significant shift within one of the two
> traditional ruling class parties. Not sure that can be passed off as
> supporting an agent of the Russian oligarchy or even by idiosyncracy.
> Appears to me more like a minority ruling class tendency.
>
> In response to my point about Russian economic weakness and reliance
> on oil/gas etc, John says: "Yes, I've been wondering too about the
> basis for the rivalry between the US and Russia. But I don't think we
> can explain every inter-imperialist rivalry in terms of economics. I
> think the military might of Russia - the second largest nuclear power
> in the world among other things - is a factor."
>
> I agree John. It would be a very narrow view to see all rivalry in
> terms only of economics. Yes to the rest, the military might of Russia
> etc. Agree completely. BUT I don't think any of that precludes the two
> most powerful military states in the world being allies either. I
> don't think there is anything that necessarily forces them to be
> rivals. Frankly, with Russia's economic status almost
> "sub-imperialist", combined with a military status more full
> imperialist, an alliance of enforcers does not seem to be beyond logic
> to me at all.
>
> Actually, the entire history of the Syrian conflict fits that picture
> much, much more than the heralded US-Russian "imperialist rivalry"
> scenario. Eastern Europe, perhaps not. It's a mix. The same Trump that
> can say Crimea belongs to Russia because "everyone there speaks
> Russian" can also supply arms to Ukraine. For Trump and Netanyahu,
> recognising Russia's flagrantly illegal annexation of Crimea fits well
> with Jerusalem.
>
> On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 10:52 PM, John Reimann via Marxism
> <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> > ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
> > #1 YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> > #2 This mail-list, like most, is publicly & permanently archived.
> > #3 Subscribe and post under an alias if #2 is a concern.
> > *****************************************************************
> >
> > Michael Meeropol writes: "
> > NOW COMES TRUMP and he doesn't FIT --- He is NOT in my opinion at all a
> > representative of the American ruling class -- in fact he is giving them
> > FITS ....
> >
> > From some leftist perspectives that might be something we'd celebrate ---
> > fucking up the economy with a trade war and other stupidities (opposing
> the
> > Fed's interest rate hikes, for example) and disuniting our politics like
> > not in a long time ---- maybe there would be openings for "our side" if
> > only we could get it together.
> >
> > Given how weak (and divided) we are, I doubt that works."
> >
> > Yes, all we have to do is turn on CNN to see that they're extremely
> > agitated in a way that I've never seen before. Not even at the height of
> > the Watergate crisis (Nixon). But it's like Brexit in this sense:
> > Socialists should not start from the point of view of supporting whatever
> > weakens capitalism. Our starting point should be what strengthens the
> > working class, what makes it stronger, more united, helps clear up
> > confusions. Because the two aren't always the same. Sometimes - as with
> > Brexit - what weakens the capitalist class also adds to confusion in the
> > working class.
> >
> > Trump's position nearly perfectly fits all the definitions of
> bonapartism,
> > or the rule of "martial law" as the NY Times writer put it. Not that
> we're
> > there yet, but consider: Under "normal" capitalist democratic rule, the
> > capitalist class has and can maintain a huge base of support within the
> > rest of society. It does this through a lot of means. The capitalist
> media
> > is a huge one. Now, due to the weakening of US capitalism world wide and
> > due to the collapse of the "American Dream", that base is starting to
> > crumble.
> >
> > How far Trump can go depends to a large part on his base. I just found
> some
> > interesting statistics. In December of 2016, confidence in the media was
> at
> > a historic low of 16% - an 8 point drop from just the previous year.
> > However, a poll from October of 2017 shows a move in the opposite
> > direction: "A poll released Tuesday found that 48 percent of adults
> > surveyed say they have a “great deal” or “some" confidence in the press,
> a
> > 9-point increase from last November. [Clearly, there are different
> methods
> > of getting the results, which is what explains the huge difference in the
> > two different polling numbers. But it's not the absolute results that is
> > really the issue; it's the direction of the trends.]  Forty-five percent
> > say they have “hardly any” confidence in the press, down from 51
> percent. The
> > Reuters-Ipsos data also show that public confidence in President Trump
> has
> > decreased among both Republicans and Democrats since the president took
> > office." this poll also revealed that at the same time support for Trump
> > had declined. I'm guessing that the latest flap will result in a
> > continuation of that trend.
> >
> > But Trump still has his true believers - the ones who wouldn't be
> bothered
> > if he "shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue" as he famously put
> it.
> > Is this enough of a base to go even further than he has? Can the
> mainstream
> > of the US capitalist class regain control, starting in the November
> > elections? The fact that I don't think anybody can answer with certainty
> > really says a lot.
> >
> > John Reimann
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 5:12 AM, Michael Meeropol <mameerop at gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Very impressed with many interventions in this discussion.   Much food
> for
> >> thought.
> >>
> >> My "parallel" to the reality we are experiencing in US politics with
> Trump
> >> as Prez is akin to the "disruption" of the "predicted order" in Isaac
> >> Asimov's classic FOUNDATION TRILOGY.    In the course of the (second
> >> volume, I think!) something totally throws the low run predictions into
> a
> >> cocked hat in the person of "THE MULE" a MUTANT whose arrival on the
> scene
> >> could not have been predicted.
> >>
> >> All "ruling class" analysis from Bill Willaims' "Industrial Gentry" that
> >> he introduced in CONTOURS to Bill Domhoff's detailed analysis in his WHO
> >> RULES AMERICA series and ongoing research --- to the mini "power
> structure
> >> research" activities of countless New Leftists in the 60s and 70s ---
> all
> >> pointed towards "ruling class" decision-making.   Both the Monthly
> Review
> >> stagnation school and the SSA approach in the US (regulation approach in
> >> France) were both posited on the "rationality" of those in charge of the
> >> "irrational system."
> >>
> >> (The response of Paulson, Bernanke, Bush II, to the crisis in the Fall
> of
> >> 2008 and the lockstep support for it by both McCain and Obama which
> >> ultimately persuaded enought DEMOCRATS to switch votes in the House to
> pass
> >> TARP is a perfect example of the ruling class at work).
> >>
> >> NOW COMES TRUMP and he doesn't FIT --- He is NOT in my opinion at all a
> >> representative of the American ruling class -- in fact he is giving them
> >> FITS ....
> >>
> >> From some leftist perspectives that might be something we'd celebrate
> ---
> >> fucking up the economy with a trade war and other stupidities (opposing
> the
> >> Fed's interest rate hikes, for example) and disuniting our politics like
> >> not in a long time ---- maybe there would be openings for "our side" if
> >> only we could get it together.
> >>
> >> Given how weak (and divided) we are, I doubt that works
> >>
> >> More likely he is stumbling towards a very dangerously repressive and
> >> potentially war inducing situation (such as war with IRAN which might
> start
> >> as cyber-warfare sooner that we think) --- If that is what we are headed
> >> for, I'd even join a coalition with an element of the ruling class to
> slap
> >> him down ---
> >>
> >> (there goes the broken record again -- sorry)
> >>
> >> On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 1:15 AM, John Reimann via Marxism <
> >> marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >>> ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
> >>> #1 YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> >>> #2 This mail-list, like most, is publicly & permanently archived.
> >>> #3 Subscribe and post under an alias if #2 is a concern.
> >>> *****************************************************************
> >>>
> >>> Well, we simply disagree with our analysis. That's okay. For myself, I
> >>> don't see any other way of understanding the extremely strong - in
> fact,
> >>> unprecedented - attacks on Trump, as well as the nature of the attacks.
> >>> What does it mean to say he's guilty of "treason", for example? Also,
> as
> >>> I've said over and over again, there are all his financial ties to the
> >>> Russian oligarchy.
> >>>
> >>> Yes, I've been wondering too about the basis for the rivalry between
> the
> >>> US
> >>> and Russia. But I don't think we can explain every inter-imperialist
> >>> rivalry in terms of economics. I think the military might of Russia -
> the
> >>> second largest nuclear power in the world among other things - is a
> >>> factor.
> >>> Whether this rivalry can change in the future is a different matter.
> >>>
> >>> John
> >>>
> >>> On Sat, Jul 21, 2018 at 7:49 PM, mkaradjis <mkaradjis at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> > Trump may not represent the "mainstream" of the US capitalist class,
> >>> > but he definitely represents a strong part of it. He most certainly
> >>> > does not represent the Russian capitalist class! I think you went a
> >>> > little overboard here John, though I agree with most of your points.
> >>> >
> >>> > The "anti-Russia" thing might be good propaganda that a lot of the US
> >>> > capitalist class likes due to the traditional role it played for
> them.
> >>> > However, that tradition was from Soviet times. One wing of the US
> >>> > capitalist class thinks not only that it continues to be useful
> >>> > imperial propaganda, but also that Russia does represent some kind of
> >>> > important rival to US imperialism. Another - more forward thinking in
> >>> > my opinion - understands that (1) Russia is not the major competitor
> >>> > of US imperialism - economically it is too weak, and dependent to an
> >>> > overlay large extent on oil/gas for its apparent economic strength;
> EU
> >>> > and Chinese imperialism represent more long-term competitors, even if
> >>> > Russia still has a larger military/diplomatic weight, and (2) there
> is
> >>> > nothing at all fundamentally wrong from the point of view of US
> >>> > imperialism with allying with Putin's far-right, White-supremacist
> >>> > regime which is backing all the same parties throughout Europe and
> the
> >>> > world as is the Trump tendency. It is ironic for those among the
> >>> > "anti-Russia" warriors in one wing of US imperialism who might also
> >>> > come from the neo-con tradition and are strong supporters of Israel,
> >>> > that the Trump-Putin ideological (and I would argue geopolitical)
> axis
> >>> > runs directly via Netanyahu, and in the Arab world, the UAE.
> >>> >
> >>> > The identification of part of the left with the Trump view because
> >>> > they see it as more in tune with "peace" in the world puts them in
> >>> > alliance with far-right forces throughout the West who are racist,
> >>> > anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, Islamophobic and, also, pro-Zionist.
> >>> > Peace has nothing to do with it at all.
> >>> >
> >>> > On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 9:32 AM, John Reimann via Marxism
> >>> > <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> >>> > > ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
> >>> > > #1 YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> >>> > > #2 This mail-list, like most, is publicly & permanently archived.
> >>> > > #3 Subscribe and post under an alias if #2 is a concern.
> >>> > > *****************************************************************
> >>> > >
> >>> > > Mark deals with the heart of the matter, but I think he's
> mistaken. He
> >>> > > writes, "Trump still represents the mainstream of the U.S. ruling
> >>> class."
> >>> > > Consider first the surrounding circumstantial evidence:
> >>> > >
> >>> > > The mainstream of the US capitalist class had it all planned for
> Jeb
> >>> Bush
> >>> > > (remember  him?) to be the next president. When that collapsed
> like a
> >>> > house
> >>> > > of cards, they moved to Hillary Clinton. Now look at what's
> >>> happening: We
> >>> > > have not seen a US president attacked as Trump is for... Well,
> maybe
> >>> not
> >>> > > since the pre Civil War days. Who ever heard of the former head of
> the
> >>> > CIA
> >>> > > calling a sitting president "treasonous"? This is only the most
> blunt
> >>> of
> >>> > > the attacks that are heard every day on CNN, CBS - every channel
> but
> >>> Fox.
> >>> > > What they mean, of course, is that Trump is not representing their
> >>> > > interests, which is what the "national interest" means.
> >>> > >
> >>> > > Consider Trump's history: He's been a money launderer for the
> Russian
> >>> > > mafia/oligarchs since this criminal gang of capitalists rose to
> power
> >>> in
> >>> > > that country. He's under their control.
> >>> > >
> >>> > > It's hard to get our heads wrapped around this fact because it
> means a
> >>> > real
> >>> > > break from what we've seen, a transformation in the situation. And
> it
> >>> has
> >>> > > enormous significance.
> >>> > >
> >>> > > What does it mean when the mainstream of the capitalist class no
> >>> longer
> >>> > > controls its chief representative? and bear in mind that this chief
> >>> > > executive is moving ever closer to one-man rule - that he's got
> >>> control
> >>> > > over the legislative branch and near control over the judicial
> branch.
> >>> > > Bourgeois democracy is predicated on the control of the capitalist
> >>> class
> >>> > > over its government; bonapartism is predicated on a loss of such
> >>> control.
> >>> > > Maybe the US capitalist class mainstream will be able to regain
> >>> control,
> >>> > > either through the Mueller investigation or starting with the
> November
> >>> > > elections. But maybe not, especially if Trump can really fraud
> >>> November's
> >>> > > results.
> >>> > >
> >>> > > I doubt that anybody on this list thought that Trump would get
> >>> anywhere
> >>> > > near the presidency. (Neither did Trump!) The fact that he did
> should
> >>> > make
> >>> > > us step back and reconsider our assumptions, including those we
> aren't
> >>> > > fully conscious of.
> >>> > >
> >>> > > John Reimann
> >>> > >
> >>> > > On Sat, Jul 21, 2018 at 1:40 PM, Mark Lause <markalause at gmail.com>
> >>> > wrote:
> >>> > >
> >>> > >> I think the development if very important as well, though Trump
> still
> >>> > >> represents the mainstream of the U.S. ruling class.  He's not a
> rogue
> >>> > >> actor, though he plays one on TV.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >> The American masters engineered the greatest polarization of
> wealth
> >>> in
> >>> > all
> >>> > >> of human history.  We've seen.  We watched it.  We couldn't figure
> >>> out
> >>> > and
> >>> > >> implement a plan to prevent it.  No matter.  Trump slapped the
> icing
> >>> on
> >>> > the
> >>> > >> cake with his "tax reform."   I think Trump could pop out of a
> cake
> >>> > naked
> >>> > >> in the middle of the Oval Office and the ruling class would be
> just
> >>> fine
> >>> > >> with it.  He's their fair-haired (or bewigged) boy for the
> present.
> >>> The
> >>> > >> fact that the Democrats have been dead useless as an opposition
> and
> >>> the
> >>> > >> Republicans have cheered him on reflects that.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >> More telling, the great American Bullshit about economic
> prosperity
> >>> is
> >>> > >> pretty much accepted as real and circulated widely.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >> His attempt to be of service to Russian oligarchs as well as
> American
> >>> > >> oligarchs doesn't necessarily cause problems for them.  Helsinki
> >>> caused
> >>> > a
> >>> > >> brief problem, but the mere show of a walk back pretty much
> settled
> >>> > things.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >> . . . for the present, at least.  We now seem to have moved on to
> >>> > Playboy
> >>> > >> models, payoffs and Cohen tapes.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >> Cheers,
> >>> > >> Mark L.
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >>
> >>> > >
> >>> > >
> >>> > > --
> >>> > > *“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
> >>> > > Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
> >>> > > Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook
> >>> > > _________________________________________________________
> >>> > > Full posting guidelines at: http://www.marxmail.org/sub.htm
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> >>> >
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> *“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
> >>> Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
> >>> Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook
> >>> _________________________________________________________
> >>> Full posting guidelines at: http://www.marxmail.org/sub.htm
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> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > *“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
> > Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
> > Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook
> > _________________________________________________________
> > Full posting guidelines at: http://www.marxmail.org/sub.htm
> > Set your options at: http://lists.csbs.utah.edu/
> options/marxism/mkaradjis%40gmail.com
>



-- 
*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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