This will be my last political post for the foreseeable future. So it’s only fitting that I sum up the 13 years of blogging I’ve done on this topic.
In December of 2003, my first ever blog posts (collected into this essay) were about my answer to a question posed at the end of a 1997 book: “[The history of the next 20 years in America] is not yet written. What will it be?”
That book was The Fourth Turning, by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe. The book presents a theory about America that every 80 years or so, the nation fights an existential war — a war that if lost, would end America. The theory goes back to the War of the Roses in England in the 1400s. Over the past half-millennium, there have been 7 such crisis.
Of course, since America wasn’t even founded as a nation until 1776, this theory considers “America” to be a concept, not just a land mass holding a body politic.
Analyzing the book, I concluded that what the 7 crises have in common is the following: each war served to liberate and uplift a former “underclass” in society. Accordingly, in my reading of the book, the meaning of “America” — seen through the lens of these crises — is “liberation of the dispossessed”.
Looking deeper into the book, I noticed that each of the 7 crises was foreshadowed by events 40 years before. That is, 40 years before the crisis, liberationist ideas were raised by certain people and these ideas progressed in society. But in the 20 years prior to the crisis, these ideas were attacked by the oligarchs and forced underground. But then in the next crisis, these ideas would come forward again and this time break through, thus liberating these people.
So if the authors were right that America is currently facing an existential crisis, the period of time to look at to understand the nature of this coming crisis is the “Sixties”. Specifically, we needed to look at a movement that rose and flowered in the Sixties, but was beaten back into submission by the time of Reagan.
To me, the only such leading Sixties movement that fits this pattern was the anti-corporate struggle of the hippies.
So this is what led me to predict that the next coming existential crisis in America will be about People vs. Corporations. Even after over a decade of blogging on this topic, it was still confusing to me what this conflict would be about. Who would be the “People”? How would human people “fight” “Corporations” when the latter are a legal fiction?
I didn’t know back then, or even over the next 13 years, but I felt certain that this struggle cannot involve guns, or bombs, or any kind of violence. Today, now that I feel I understand this coming crisis much better, I am even more certain that this schism cannot involve violence — even if the Corporatists resort to violence against the People.
What will be this “war” look like? Well, let me start by saying I think the war started in 2008. Mr. Obama was the first general of the People in its struggle against the Corporations. And like McLellan before him, I believe history will view Mr. Obama very dimly.
Particularly so given that the same people that voted Obama into office twice voted in the Corporate champion Trump. As I blogged about it, I believe that at bottom, the amazing election of 2016 was about a repudiation of Obama.
With Trump coming into office, the die is already cast. To his administration, he has appointed the pro-Corporate elite. In their departments (Energy, EPA, Justice, CIA/NSA, DEA, Labor, Homeland Security, etc. etc.), they will throw the pro-People mask off and become naked pro-Corporatists. e.g Under Trump, the “P” in “EPA” will be replaced by “Pollution”.
What happens next? My guess is that state bureaucracies will feel empowered, and take over the pro-People function abdicated by the Trump administration. This will, in turn, force a constitutional crisis. That is, under US law, federal law trumps state law (p.s. what a great name for an incoming President given that legal pre-emption is the core of the coming struggle).
In this empowered state reaction, California will take the lead. In fact, it has already done do.
In my view, the next American “civil war” will not find its division along the North vs. South Mason-Dixon line, but rather the East vs. West Rocky Mountains.
What “we” in the West have going for us in our struggle on behalf of the People is the power of the purse, and friends worldwide.
I hold no illusions that California can actually secede from the Union, and take the Pacific states with her. Maybe the paths of Bangladesh, Kosovo, and the Eastern Bloc are too lofty for us Californians. But looking to Iraqi Kurdistan, I’m optimistic for ever greater political, financial, and social autonomy for us in the West in the coming years.
Let me conclude this post by saying what I did 13 years ago: I am staunchly anti-violence. I fully expect the Corporatists, led by Attorney General Sessions will resort to violence against the People.
But if I see People gathering to mount retaliatory violence against the Corporatists, that’s when I’ll take up the offer of my sister to relocate our family to Northern British Columbia during the worst of it.
I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.
And with that, I’m done blogging politics. Got lot’s more on my mind for 2017 and beyond …