Thomas Neuburger: The War Against the War Against the People, or Why You Should Contribute to Naked Capitalism

By Thomas Neuburger, an Oregon-based writer who publishes regularly at DownWithTyranny!

There are quite a few reasons to support Naked Capitalism (and if you have had a chance to do so, the Tip Jar is over there). These include…

  • Aggressive coverage of CALPERS and its crimes. Someday the rot on that ship will sink it deep
  • Close coverage of BREXITat a time when no one this side of the ocean is paying real attention. The day of divorce, when it finally comes, will matter to most of us
  • That rare not-Trump, not-Dem voice and editor’s stance, a voice that in left-right times is hard to find. (Yes, Virginia, both Trump and Biden can be both wrong and right, and on the same issue.)

But the reason I want to ask for   your support is more far-reaching than these. Put simply, the nation, already pre-revolutionary, could soon approach the point where it just unravels, starts to come apart, and inside I think we all know this. Perhaps in the end it won’t; perhaps the republic, such as it is, will muddle through as it has. But it’s brought itself to the door of its demise, put hand to the knob, and could well open it.

George Floyd Meets Mario Savio

The signs of distress are everywhere. The George Floyd uprising and its offspring, the Battles of Portland and Kenosha, are bringing the radical to realize that protests aren’t enough, will never be enough, and are, in fact, a waste of time and work unless co-joined to Mario Savio’s injunction, pronounced from the steps of Sproul Hall in 1964:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus of the machine, and make it stop.

You’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re freed of it, the machine will be prevented from working at all.

The George Floyd protesters are close to realizing this, but aren’t quite there. The next step is that knowledge. If they do reach Savio’s conclusion — and I’m not sure how they can avoid it — we’ll see the start of an actual revolt, a “rolling civil war” against murder by cop. That phase will be an escalation from the escalation we’ve already seen.

As every police murder is revealed, as the cultureof police murderis revealed — as the evil of their enabling system; the evil of their unions; their brutal exculpating laws; the evil of their enabling politicians, black and white, complicit in those laws — as all this rot is made to stand in the light, the phrase “No more” will present itself as the obvious next thing said.

The next act after that is allowno more, to grind the machine to a halt with bodies if need be, until the beast stops killing the people. Imagine how Biden or Trump, whichever you prefer, will deal with that.

Pre-revolutionary. Very much on the verge.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

There are other fronts on which this war could be joined. Consider the economics of housing in the Trump-Covid era.

Put simply, housing for the many is going away fast. The comfortable are fine, those with two-laptop jobs and Uber Eats Visa accounts, but most of us aren’t comfortable. Housing insecurity is on the rise, and the streets are filling up with the tented homeless. (The streets outside this window where I writeare filled with the tented homeless; I’m looking at them now.)

Trump has declared an eviction moratorium, to last only till after the election, with no debts forgiven and interest piling up. This puts enormous pressure on small landlords, those with debts of their own, who are certain to pass that pressure to rent-owing tenants in January. I’ve seen no data on the state of homeowners, but if they’re out of work, they can’t be doing well either.

The moratorium is help of a sort, but only of the sort that lengthens the fuse on the bomb. What happens come January when these forces collide — the force of the debt-demanding class, backed by police and other organs of force, and the retaliatory force of the class that’s hanging by a thread?

The Covid Connection

Or consider just Covid itself — the disease, its treatment and the vaccine that will someday prevent it. (I say “someday” because despite all our dreams, the fastest vaccine development in history, the mumps vaccine, took four yearsto go from throat swab to deployment.)

I’ve written quite a lot about the non-medical consequences of Covid treatment, for example here. To summarize, the vaccine should be free to all, and treatment should be free to all. Period.

But it won’t be.

Under Trump, friend of Big Money, both vaccine and treatment will cost, perhaps exorbitantly. They will also cost under Biden, friend of Big Pharma, though because our Democrats are kinder, gentler predators, they’ll cost a little less.

Will people stand for that, this new predation, after all they’ve suffered through? Again, all treatment should be free, and all vaccine, the simple cost of the crisis. Folks are on their last legs now, both emotionally and economically. In these new times, if the only way to be cured is to pay for it, they just might say “Enough.”

Or maybe they won’t; maybe they’ll just bow and be grateful. But they’re getting to the point where they may have to pick a path. This time the spouse is cheating openly, and the nation’s heart is crying at the door. Will it just slink away, or ask to be let in knowing what it’s going to see if that door opens?

I wouldn’t place a bet on how thatturns out.

And Now, the Election

Unless this election is won decisively, it will go to the courts, likely to many of them, for a decision. If that occurs, it’s almost certain that the losing side — whichever side that is — will not accept the outcome as valid, will hold that the office was stolen and say so with force. I think ultimately the final court decision will standand a new president (or an old one) will be sworn in. But the losers will burn for revenge for the next four years. No one on the wrong side of this decision will go quietly.

Now add this to the Covid questions — who suffers? who dies? who pays? who profits? who goes under? who gets a government ride? — a drama that itself will last for years, and compound all that with the fact that neither party wants a Sanders-like solution to anything involving money, that neither will heal the people of their pain, and we could find ourselves on a powder keg, this time a lit one.

Investing in the War Against the War Against the People

Which brings me back to Naked Capitalism. Sites like this one — sites whose editors see past right and left to right and wrong, see past anger to analysis — won’t be important resources just for you. Sites like Naked Capitalismwill also be critical to others you encounter, to people who are not readers but who listen to you, to people awakened by pain and needing other voices in their ears besides CNN and its wealth-seeking brothers and friends.

As the nation’s frustration rises — as more and more people finally ask in earnest, “What do we do about this?” — voices like Yves’ and her writers’ will not just be helpful, but critically necessary to everyone exposed to them. If the war against the war against the people is actually joined, we need as many people as possible to understand why.

There are multiple waysto give to Naked Capitalism. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. You can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post-dated checks) in the name of “Aurora Advisors Incorporated” to:

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213

If you send a check, please also send an e-mail to with the headline “Check is in the mail” to let her know it’s coming and to have your contribution included in the total number of donations.

As Matt Stoller wrote for a previous fundraiser: “This isn’t just giving, it’s a statement that you want a different debate, a different society, and a different culture.”

And a statement, I might add, that you want to invest in one. Thank you.

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  1. Terry Flynn

    I hope that others, like me, recognise the need for NC….. When we might have made mistakes due to mental health issues, getting overly invested in an issue etc.

    We might have annoyed site owners due to obsessive interest in certain issues.
    I hope we can all pull together. Whether we have the cash or not we continue to support it. X

  2. Malcolm MacLeod, MD

    When I first sit down at my computer each day, NC is one of my first visits. I was born in 1934,
    depth of the great depression, and have been through the Army (drafted) overseas, GI Bill for
    education, and numerous other challenges, and this present time is the hardest of all.

    This is probably the best and most accurate assessment of how things are on a daily basis. Good,
    news sites and opinions are difficult to find.

  3. Synoia

    I disagree with this:

    Under Trump, friend of Big Money, both vaccine and treatment will cost, perhaps exorbitantly. They will also cost under Biden, friend of Big Pharma, though because our Democrats are kinder, gentler predators, they’ll cost a little less

    I do not believe the Vaccine would cost less under the Ds. Even if Biden wins there is no way to compare prices of the Vaccine between non-simultaneous (simultaneous D and R administrations are thought to be an impossibility) D and R administrations.

    On on other words D munificence is not subject to and measurable proof. The Drug companies are a constant, as is their immutable desire for profit.

  4. occasional anonymous

    Neuburger has a way higher opinion of the protestors, and of their future potential, than I do. As far as I’m concerned the majority of peaceful protestors are earnest fools without a coherent set of demands, and the violent elements are dumb know nothing kids who want an adrenaline rush. We need more violence, he says? And that will accomplish what? Public opinion is already firmly against the asinine ‘abolish the police’ rhetoric. Killing more cops isn’t going to bolster its popularity. BLM had a chance at real police reform, and utterly wasted it on nonsense that has already imploded

  5. ericboman

    Mario Savio ?!….a voice/name I haven’t heard in……….well, a while. Have given my tithe, so the more the merrier!
    As a resident of a small Vermont town….I, too have noted the population rise. Will it be permanent & then what? Second homeness Is well established here… seasonal population bumps are SOP. But local real estate says things are flying off the shelves. It’s just possible we’ll see a permanent boost for while via virus&work @ home. This is a very basic town…….initially drove me nuts but now I kind of like the inertia. Ack!…..change……we’ll see.

  6. Wukchumni

    The utterly useless SF Chronicle wants me subscribe for 3 months for 95 Cents-and it still seems way overvalued, along with most of the old school newspapers offering rates that seem more in line with the McDonalds $ menu offerings.

    I’m happy to support independent journalism that probes deep into stories and isn’t afraid of corporate sponsors getting upset, because there aren’t any.

    Donate today!

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    Those who can’t, or won’t , give money, can still give their time in a way which makes their time WORTH money, at least a little.

    And that is to . . . Read The Ads. Adplacers pay money to place ads here. If there is proof positive evidence those ads get read, then ad space can be sold for more money. The more people can be proven to have read the ads, and to keep reading the ads, the more money-per-area that adspace can be sold for.

    And if you actually buy something because of an ad you read here, tell the company you bought that thing because of an ad you saw here.

    1. vlade

      You need to click on the ads, not just see them. Or, even better, if you need to buy something, and you happen to see an ad on NC for it, buying it via that (assuming the price is acceptable).

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, I thought ” Read” the ads just preSUMED ” click on” the ads. How else could one see them to read them?

        But okay. Make sure to “click on” the ads. Also, make sure to take the time to actually READ them AFter you have “clicked on” them. Because the Googlenet might have a way to monitor how long a clicked-on ad remains open for, how much the cursor moves around on it, etc.

        We should not try to spoof the system by thinking we can be clever little click-farmers. I suspect the system is wise to that game.

  8. vlade

    An interesting point is made here, about the police unions. I’d include the LEBORs, which are police union collective agreement clauses, which include things like how you can run a questioning of a police officer charged with criminal conduct. Which basically rules out all the common police questioning strategies. Guess who knows best what strategies are ideal for getting a confession (regardless of guilt)? And which are ruled out in LEBORs?

    Most of police unions should be investigated under RICO. I understand that there’s a tough line, and most honest cops hate to see a clearly guilty party walk away on technicality. But is it really better “ten innocent in jail rather than one guilty walking away”?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      That would be something for Reformationist attorney-general wannabes to run on . . . in jurisdictions where the nazi police UNION is also obviously a criminal gang practicing Deep Bluemerta. Such a run would be educational, and if made over and over and over again, might eventually result in a victory for a Decontanimationist attorney-general wannabe.

  9. Phillip Allen

    I decided, back when I first became a donor to NC, that a monthly donation was more affordable in my circumstances than a single, much larger donation. A single gift of $50 or $100 is harder for me to accommodate than monthly gifts of $5 or $10, and have the added benefit of me making a larger annual donation than I would have afforded otherwise. I believe there’s benefit to NC (or any small not-for-profit) in having a predictable monthly income stream (however small the dollar amount). So my bank generates a monthly check for NC, and 2:00PM Water Cooler gets supported via automatic monthly PayPal payments, Mr. Strether’s preferred method.

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