Communist Party USA
The Trump administration’s fascistic response to the 2020 #BlackLivesMatter uprising, the U.S. government’s deadly, incompetent response to COVID, and the sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan reflect a long-term structural crisis in U.S. imperialism and democratic legitimacy. Over the past two decades, that crisis has been marked by general economic decline, the failures of endless war, human rights scandals, the Great Recession of 2007, worsening domestic terrorism and a culture of violence, ongoing democratic failures, and relentless systemic racism and social oppressions. Washington is on its heels. In the present moment, racist authoritarian, liberal/neoliberal, and social democratic and socialist forces contend for control of U.S. state-ideological institutions. Recent events have exposed crisis as the norm, threatening to demystify the limits of the political system. What remains in doubt, however, is what will replace it. The crisis of neoliberalism has placed the growing influence of fascism at the center of global politics, while trying to marginalize social democratic and socialist alternatives. Anti-racist struggles and the COVID-19 pandemic threaten capitalist rates of profit, the lives of the labor force, the supply chain, productive capacity, and the cultural and technical development of the working class. Deep economic crisis seems to be just at the horizon. These contradictions — combined with the global and domestic collapse of the U.S. political system’s legitimacy— have seen the migration of neoliberalist ideologues and capitalists into the fascist movement as a strategy to save, at all costs, their power, wealth, and leverage in global capitalism. The Trump-led section of the U.S. ruling class has resurrected white nationalist rhetoric to cover the weaknesses in the U.S.-led global order, which seemed to become an exposed wound in the recession’s aftermath. Neoliberalism’s rise about 50 years ago followed significant economic crises, changing strategic positions of the U.S. ruling class, and fluctuations in the deployment of state power. Following the Great Depression, global war, and the decolonization process, the U.S. ruling class needed to elicit support for an anti-communist and neo-imperialist agenda. The communist-led working-class insurgency of the 1930s produced a deep political opening through which democratic and left forces sought to destabilize capitalist rule in favor of working-class power. The balance of class forces in the postwar period, however, normalized a social democratic consensus among corporations, labor, and the state that eliminated the communist threat through political repression and a concerted mass cultural marginalization of a radical counter-hegemony. This social-democratic New Deal coalition fell into crisis in the 1960s due to several factors. On the local level, white people fled urban concentrations of industry and political power for racially segregated suburban dreams of homeownership. This population shift was fueled by a joint operation of a “whitelash” against racial equality and, as scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has shown, capitalist policy of aligning property values with “race” (through lending policies and racial redlining). A second reason for social democracy’s crisis lay in Cold War imperatives for militarization and war determined by monopoly capitalism’s exploitative necessities. In 1974, even as the crisis emerged, Communist Party Chair Henry Winston labeled the ruling-class strategic policy the “Moynihan-Kissinger doctrine,” which linked domestic policies of managing dissent, especially among racialized communities, stabilizing capitalism, and the overseeing of imperialist interests. (Moynihan was a liberal politician in the 1960s who gave an academic veneer to racist policies that enabled the construction of the prison industrial complex. Kissinger, a Republican diplomat, is most closely associated with Cold War militarism and human rights atrocities.) A convergence of the “warfare-welfare state” in the late 1960s saw the contradictory mixture of war escalation, the extension of welfare policies, and a domestic militarized police repression to quell…
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Neoliberalism, fascism, or socialist breakthroughs?