Rob Urie: Americans Are Unleashing Monsters They Have No Idea How to Contain

Yves here. One small quibble in this otherwise instructive piece is Rob Urie’s use of the word Left. By this he seems to mean liberals, particularly the professional-managerial class sort, while we here use left to mean advocacy of better material conditions for labor and the lower income.

By Rob Urie, author of Zen Economics, artist, and musician who publishes The Journal of Belligerent Pontification on Substack

At present, it is difficult to see how US politics get sorted in a way that avoids calamity. The Biden administration’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine appears to have been lost on the battlefield. In the midst of the Disney-on-meth-and-cough-syrup ‘pageantry’ of American elections, truth about the US-provoked catastrophe is unlikely to emerge, leaving most Americans wildly detached from the genocidal foreign policy being carried out in their names. Meanwhile, the administration’s Covid-19 ‘response’ has assured that a significant proportion of the population is being permanently disabled by long Covid.

From history, the US war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia was understood to be ‘unwinnable’ (link below) by the political leadership of the US by the mid-1960s. However, no US president was willing to ‘lose’ Vietnam because of feared domestic political repercussions, leading them to implement profoundly destructive policies to crush domestic opposition to the war while multiple millions of Vietnamese nationalists were slaughtered. The war left three and one-half million Vietnamese dead and the land poisoned with Agent Orange. It finally ended in 1975.

With the military draft in place for most of that war, America’s ruling class was at least in theory at risk of being sent to fight and die in Vietnam. This led to a bourgeois revolt whereby the so-called educated classes turned against a war that was being overwhelmingly fought by working class kids. The bourgeois that joined the military were given leadership positions which many used to launch careers when their tours were up. However, because of bourgeois resistance to the draft, which sometimes bled through to the war, the draft was ended, leaving behind wars that are  consequence-free for most Americans.

This removal of consequences led the class that opposed the US war in Vietnam to be the primary supporters of the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Bourgeois class interest in 1967 was to oppose the Vietnam War because of the risk of being drafted. The bourgeois class interest in 2023 is to support the US proxy war in Ukraine because it is benefitting from it, at least in the near term. Tellingly, the articles in the bourgeois press about the causes of the war leave out all of the (true and relatively unambiguous) history cited by Russia to have motivated the conflict. Use of selective history is a form of deception.

On the Covid pandemic front, Lambert Strether from has done yeoman’s work keeping an analytical eye on it. The pandemic is politically relevant for more than just the misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that has been disseminated by the Biden administration and the CDC about it. While Americans have been told that the pandemic is over, missing is that long-Covid is debilitating by degree, with a very real risk that ten to fifteen million Americans have been permanently disabled by it, most of them while Joe Biden has been in office (125 million infected X 10% long Covid rate = twelve and one-half million disabled).

This combination of the American proxy war in Ukraine and the domestic response to the Covid-19 pandemic was chosen because it illustrates the radical detachment of American governance from the political will and needs of the people. While the view here is that the permanent government in the US will prevail until it doesn’t, the question of how the US will extricate itself from Ukraine must be answered. And while the focus of this piece is on domestic politics, what of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who have been slaughtered to date? If you imagine that the Russians are responsible for these deaths, you haven’t been listening to the American political leadership exhibiting its glee at convincing Ukrainians to die for it.

While the bourgeois/Left press has focused on irreconcilable political and cultural differences in the polity— as if it had nothing to do with stoking these differences, the facts suggest a singular, if dynamic, political economy that has crafted a citizen-free set of policies intended to perpetually increase the power of the few over the many. Via technology, capital has shifted from using psychological coercion to sell its wares to using state power to force consumption. With a stunning lack of political foresight, the US has created commercial dependencies— e.g. the insurance industry bears no natural relation to healthcare, that leave ‘us’ beholden to corporate power.

One of the charges against Donald Trump (disclosure: I have never voted for a Republican) was that he ‘interrupted’ US foreign policy by challenging the foreign policy establishment to explain itself. Were Trump to be re-elected with the war in Ukraine still underway, the bet here is that he will bend to the will of the three-letter agencies. But what if he doesn’t? According to the fascist Left in the US, and despite four years of evidence to the contrary, Trump would be seeking an alliance with Vladimir Putin. If such an alliance ended the war, why would this be a bad thing?

This brings ‘us’ to the problem for the American foreign policy establishment that would arise if Trump (or whomever) negotiates a peace with Russia that sees the Russians withdraw from the parts of Ukraine that haven’t been permanently annexed. Were the Russians to fail to march on Europe, the American claim that the Russians are imperial competitors would be revealed to be the paranoid fantasy of a declining empire. In fact, the Russians have negotiated two settlements (see here, here) with Ukraine that the Biden administration stepped in to destroy. These were 450,000 or so dead Ukrainian soldiers before Biden claimed that Russia would ‘never negotiate.’

Readers are free to disagree with the particulars of this analysis. What isn’t in dispute is a startling disconnect between bourgeois assessments of the political and economic states of the US and those of vast majorities of the citizens. According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, only four percent (4%) of Americans believe that the American political system is working. Four percent. In 2023. The reason why the year is important is because the elevation of Joe Biden was the response-from-power that was supposed to right the ship-of-state.

With the wisdom of hindsight, the full-throated (and batshit crazy) response of officialdom to the election of Donald Trump emerged over irritation that electoral politics was interfering with the policies of the permanent government. Neocon-neoliberal warmongers are now called ‘liberal imperialists’ because they espouse woke principles as they bomb the peoples of ‘competing’ nations into tiny pieces. However, as the results of the Pew poll suggest, the public has lost political interest in policies that benefit oligarchs and corporate executives alone. This result pits the institutions of the Federal government against the political will of the American people.

This latter point is important to understand. Russiagate was the American foreign policy establishment’s response to ‘interference’ from the duly elected president of the United States. Mr. Trump and the half of voters who voted for him likely believed that the President, in consultation with Congress, determines American foreign policy. Well, Russiagate was a case of the CIA, FBI, and the NSA disrespectfully disagreeing that the President has any say in US foreign policy unless it supports the CIA’s position. Biden has been a craven tool of the CIA for most of his time in Congress.

This latter point is important to understand. If elections don’t result in a transfer of power due to interference from the permanent state, the form of American governance is authoritarian. Via the convergence of corporate with permanent state institutions, the US already has fascistic form. Through the ascendance of this permanent government that is unanswerable to the polity as it unilaterally launches imperial wars, the US moves to full-blown fascism. If you want to see American fascist atrocities, look at the consequences of US foreign policy since capital has been placed in a position to control the American state.

In prospective terms, sixty-three percent— approximately two-thirds of the Americans asked, have little to no confidence in the form of the US political system. For those with memories— I’ll leave it at that low threshold for the moment, Democrats and the fascist Left in the US have claimed for the last seven years that the problem is ‘Republicans.’  One problem with this claim is that US foreign policy, a/k/a forever wars, are a bipartisan affair misleadingly put forward as the product of whichever party is in power when wars are started. For instance, Bill Clinton’s ‘Iraq Liberation Act’ established George W. Bush’s subsequent war against Iraq as official US policy.

Graph: corporate profits (blue line) cycled around wages and salaries (red line) from the end of WWII to about 2000, when financialization took over the American economy. Basic political logic would have led Barack Obama to return this relationship to its historical range had neoliberal ideology not consumed the American Left. As history has it, Mr. Obama’s Wall Street bailouts returned control of the US economy to the same people that crashed it. And in fact, these ‘profits’ represent the transfer of political control to the rich. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

The graph above of wages and salaries of American workers versus corporate profits is relevant in several ways. In the first, the period prior to 2000 saw a well-behaved mean-reverting process around a rolling mean. From 2000 forward a break occurred by which capital took ever-larger proportions of corporate revenues for itself. The claim in 2020 was that ‘lunch-bucket Joe’ (Biden) would reverse this trend with labor-friendly policies. In fact, Biden instantly reneged on his promise to raise the minimum wage. While pandemic funding muddies the picture, corporate profits exploded under Biden as wages and salaries went nowhere.

What this leaves is an epoch in which corporations have ‘partnered’ with the Federal government to raise corporate profits while excluding labor from its historic share. This epoch started around the mid-1990s and accelerated through the Biden years. Claims of a return to ‘normalcy’ through the election of Biden refer to the power of the Biden administration to silence its critics. My Google searches now return 1/10,000th of the relevant results that they did a quarter of a century ago. Actual history has been systematically replaced with propaganda that would embarrass the ‘running dog lackeys’ propagandists attributed by the CIA to Chinese Maoists of the 1960s.

Graph: the question of why Joe Biden finds China’s economic policies objectionable in 2023 leads back to Mr. Biden’s support for China entering the WTO in 2000. Mr. Biden and his neoliberal colleagues were true believers in the fantasy that capitalism works as neoliberal economists claim that it does. Were that the case, they (US officials) would be singing Kumbaya with Chinese officials instead of tossing poorly considered, anti-historical, threats of imminent war at them. The original sin was siding with oligarchs to end manufacturing in the US. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

The point: politicians and pundits looking for reasons why Americans are angry regarding ‘our’ political system need to leave their chairs every few decades and take a look around. The graph of corporate profits illustrates 1) the post-Great Recession surge in corporate profitability that has accelerated since Joe Biden entered office, 2) the epochal nature of this acceleration, and 3) labor has not benefited at all. Most likely, American capitalism has entered a terminal stage, call it the Louis XVI stage, where a remote and ghettoized ruling class misrules until it is no longer permitted to do so. In this respect, expect the Left in the US to act as a reactionary force in support of official power, as it has for the last seven years.

In class terms, the urban bourgeois support power because it pays their salaries. Corporations, NGOs, and so-called non-profits are concentrated in cities because Federal support has favored urban-based industries in recent decades. In other words, cities are where the paychecks are since the US was deindustrialized 1975 – 2023. ‘Woke’ is neoliberal framing of the path to ‘just’ capitalism. ‘Just’ capitalism is political economy where a few people control everything and tell the rest of us what to do for 40 – 60 hours per week for a preponderance of our lives.

Younger readers likely don’t know that this theory of how to accomplish social justice has a long, ignoble, history in the US. Federal Affirmative Action laws were in effect until the planned demolition of the industrial economy was completed. Industrialization had led the Great Migration of Southern Blacks to Northern factories. Deindustrialization was an oligarch-led undertaking to break the back of organized labor, with the added benefit of leaving US negotiators to negate labor and environmental regulations through the creation of international adjudicating bodies peopled by corporate representatives.

Erased from memory is that Black industrial workers sounded a lot like the supporters of Donald Trump in the 1980s and 1990s as deindustrialization was underway because they had been placed in direct competition with recent immigrants and foreign workers. Through financialization, Black access to credit led to a credit-based economy, and with it, the predatory loans that left utter devastation behind when Wall Street imploded around 2008. Given the known results of the Great Migration when NAFTA was being negotiated, how could deindustrialization that disproportionately impacted Blacks not be considered racist?

In fact, there is little evidence that race was considered when NAFTA was being negotiated. Here, from the Clintonite faction of the fascist Left, is a document that explains the relation of race to trade policy while claiming that the Republican version is racist while the Democrats’ version isn’t. With due respect, this type of self-serving parsing is intended to place blame on ‘Republicans’ so as to avoid blame being attached to the system of political economy that made the Democrats’ trade policies racist under their own terms of discourse.

The ’lesson’ here is that too-clever-by-half political party efforts to blame what ails us on the other party have lost some of their potency through the political incapacity of either party to legislate in the public interest. This formulation is a little messy because neoliberalism is the theory / ethos that what benefits capital and the rich benefits us all. This is the ideological path by which open graft has come to represent the ‘American system.’ It is also how a stealth class war was rendered visible. If legislators perceive the interests of business to reside in the executive suites, that is where they apply their energy. Labor, in this view, is a detraction from business interests.

Graph: as planned deindustrialization took root in the US, the loss of higher paying manufacturing jobs devastated Black communities. Following China’s entry into the WTO in 2000, this trend accelerated, tying the lots of Black communities to those of working-class White communities. This puts a lie to the received wisdom from officialdom that ‘economic anxiety’ was a White, working-class malady. And in fact, readers are invited to describe bank robbery at gunpoint as ‘economic anxiety’ on the part of bankers. That banks are protected by law from robbery while American labor isn’t illustrates ruling class control of ‘our’ discourse. Source:

Democrats interested in why so-called ‘minority’ voters are fleeing their party, at least until the DNC works with the CIA to frighten them back into the fold, may wish to consider the aggregate class position of American Blacks. Through the Great Migration, Southern Blacks found employment in Northern factories until planned deindustrialization was implemented 1980 – 2023. This shifted them from being landless, or modestly landed, peasants to solidly working class. In the graph of corporate profits above, American Blacks on average find themselves without a benefit from surging corporate profits.

Woke fantasies and seven dollars might buy someone a cup of coffee. But the surge in corporate profits— while labor sees none of it, illustrates the challenge. As long as race is in the aggregate a class relation, woke solutions from authoritarian liberals will be racist. Consider: Joe Biden has been sold as the second coming of Dr. Martin Luther King. What has he wrought? A surge in corporate profits, creation of a permanently disabled class from long Covid, and a proxy war against nuclear armed Russia. I fail to see the social justice of any of this.

The Pew poll referenced above should be ringing alarm bells in official circles. And while it would be a mistake to underestimate the capacity of liberal institutions with unlimited resources to shift the political trajectory back toward liberal/ Left fascism, the powers-that-be have lit fires that they now have no idea how to put out. If you are blessed with ignorance of how cra-cra these powers have been through history, spend a little time reading about American General Curtis LeMay.

Unlike the dim cowards currently advising Joe Biden, LeMay put his own life at risk on many occasions. And, like Biden, LeMay had a nationalist / racist hatred of the Russians. Unlike Biden, LeMay had a plan. That plan was to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack against Russia and China that, through nuclear winter, would have killed 99% of the human population of the planet. I guarantee that Vladimir Putin knows this history as certainly as I know that the Americans ‘advising’ Joe Biden don’t.

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  1. ArkansasAngie

    Well… I’m impressed. There is hope.

    Better watch out … they will put a target on your back for this.

  2. diptherio

    Yeah, Rob’s use of “Left” here is pretty grating, particularly when he phrases it “fascist Left”. I know what he’s talking about, of course. He’s talking about the Maddows and Clintons of the world; the TDS having libs. But he’s as bad as any talking head on Fox when we refers to DLC Dems as “the Left.” Does he not know what that word means?

    On the other hand, his explanation of the inherent racism of the PTB’s policy of deindustrialization/free trade is pretty good, and not an angle I’d considered before.

      1. pjay

        You should read it. Having read Rob for many years, I guarantee you that he is not “confused” in the sense you mean that term here. The overall analysis in terms of class interests and democratic political representation is sound. However, I do agree with Yves’ “quibble” about the “Left.” Rob seems to have given up on the term, therefore ceding it to the Right, who use it in the same way, or to the “compatible Left” who use it to refer to themselves. “Liberals” don’t usually refer to themselves as “left.” I’m not sure what Bernie would call himself these days. A number of good commentators on the *actual* left (by my definition) have taken to using terms like “liberal imperialism” or “authoritarian liberalism” (Rob does, too, in places), so why not “liberal fascism” as well?

        1. tegnost

          I agree. In terms of the overton window the PMC could be considered “the left” as that’s the allowed discourse, and I also agree on fascism generally, having described the corporate left in similar terms myself. It appears to me the wheels have come off and the next election is going to be a doozy and the disrupters, who have done so well for themselves disrupting, will go back to the well and disrupt as they can. Whats the difference between a technocratic authoritarian and a dictator? Accountability? I see none. A good read imo.

        2. Susan the other

          Liberal Fascism as opposed to Nationalist Fascism. It is an accurate term. Liberalism is sort of a more civilized description of Mercantilism. The party you belong to these days is the global One Percent.

          1. Susan the other

            And this extreme level of privilege depends on plunder to pay for its profits and destruction.There is no way to incorporate the extreme inequality of the One Percent into a world of eco-social Justice and balance. Of course it’s Russia’s fault; Hilary just reconfirmed it: It is unpatriotic for Americans to read RT. And duh – it is absolutely necessary for Russia to have a bloody war of annexation in Eastern Europe because the West desperately needs to annex the Caspian. Or some similar imperious logic from our self-appointed queen. Patrick Lawrence recently titled all the garbage we are being fed “cognitive warfare.”

            1. eg

              The stupid bit on Clinton’s part is thinking that Ukrainian corruption can only be spoken of by RT or other avenues of “Russian talking points” when those of us with a functioning brain and memory well recall plenty of articles in the mainstream press decrying Ukraine’s corruption problem at least as far back as the Panama Papers.

        3. steppenwolf fetchit

          Its time to take the term ” liberal fascist” around the block for a spin and see if anyone signs up for a ride.

          What else would one call the Clintons and Maddows except “liberal fascists”? Or maybe Liberal Fascists? Don’t they support state-organized censorship and repression against online voices and platforms, for example?

      2. .Tom

        I read the whole thing. I agree with the arguments, they being the kind of stuff I say to whoever will listen. As a useful coherent essay putting together a number of things I’d share it but for this “fascist Left” thing. I find that a unclear myself but I know people I share it with will either be baffled by it or will take it as a sign of an author that they can dismiss. I can go along with descriptions of the state, politicians and media as being authoritarian (and I can present evident) but calling it fascist is a rhetorical stretch. But “fascist Left”, what is that? It’s the Left in our politics who are the fascists? Or there’s a Left faction who are fascists that the author refers to?

        1. tet vet

          Forgive me but I’m not able to understand the quibbling that is going on about Liberal, Left and Fascist Left. There exist liberals, left leaning persons and fascists. My reading of Urie is that he is merely making a distinction that in the US there exists a Fascist Left which is a subset of left leaning people and he feels the need to make that distinction. My understanding is that generally Fascism has been thought to be mostly a right wing phenomenon.

          1. Ergo Sum

            This quote may help in understanding the fascist left:

            The term “left fascism” names the moment when the left abandons its agenda of emancipation and counterintuitively adopts repressive measures that resemble the practices of the fascist far right.


            That’s a pretty good description for the current political system in the US. It does not matter, if people don’t trust the government; it’ll continue on its current path. The chances are that the government has “The Solution” borrowed from Berthold Brecht for this distrust:

            After the uprising of the 17th June
            The Secretary of the Writers Union
            Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
            Stating that the people
            Had forfeited the confidence of the government
            And could win it back only
            By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
            In that case for the government
            To dissolve the people
            And elect another?

        2. Geoffrey

          Even someone as erudite as Alastair Crooke has used the term ‘left fascism’ to describe ‘progressives/liberals’. Luongo calls the EU deep state ‘commies’! Political terms have lost their meaning and utility in general conversation. The misuse of ‘left’ serves primarily to shepherd the sheeple into the anti Russia/China/socialism camp, which suits Capital very well. Frances Stoner Saunders (author “Culture And The Cold War’ – or similar title) said the Cold War was primarily cultural. One article I read in the last while described how in the 1970’s “the CIA read left wing literature too”, knew what was going on in leftwing intellectual discourse very well, and in fact funded alot of overtly left-wing and Marxist art and literature high-end journals. Some allege that the cultural turn to Post-modern individualism and subjectivism was shepherded by the CIA/deep state, in that it defanged the activist political radicalism of ‘the academy’. Even if only half of all that is true, it is not hard to see machiavellian hands behind the morphing or the term ‘left’ into something of utility to the Right in delegitimising bona-fide left-wing causes. Otherwise the confused use of terms can be put down to Gramscii’s quip, that in in-between-times, “a great deal of monsters/monstrosities appear”!

          1. .Tom

            I understand that and I think a lot here do. My comment comes from thinking about with whom I could share it. If the essay’s audience is limited to those of us who are already situated intellectually to understand this meaning from, and be unperturbed by, use of terms like left fascism or liberal fascism then who is it for? Just us believers, I guess. But if, on the other hand, you want maybe to persuade some fence-sitting liberals to our cause, a few simple edits that don’t change the substance but avoid the possible sense of insult or confusion from being labeled fascist might help.

            For my own purposes, I think if we define terms carefully, as you did for example, then the concept can be coherent and even useful. For example I like to call the journos and tech people who jump and put their hands up like teachers pets to help the government censor us: our protofascist media. Inflammatory rhetoric can be useful. I felt quite clever and witty talking about the Russell Brand affair as his excommunication from the Orthodox Church of Western Liberalism. But talking like that limits the audience.

            This essay is well organized and evidence driven it seems a shame to limit it.

            1. podcastkid

              Too many citations of “bourgeois” for me to share it. My contacts probably have a half baked dislike of Marx; I don’t bother to tell them mine is fully baked. Marx didn’t anticipate portable telescreens, or constantly anticipating vaporization or nuclear winter.

              Otherwise…yes, well organized! And using “bourgeois” doesn’t bother me a lick. It did manage to get around to the two things [monsters] people have the most obstructive mental blocks learning anything about, this risky war and “dual use” bio research (or more bugs that will deliver “long” problems; yes, granted, factory farms could whip up some bad things too).

              1. podcastkid

                Bad wording. Apart from the selection in a text I once had, what I really grew to “dislike” wasn’t Marx himself, but the pride taken in knowing Marx. Sorry to say but approaching Marx on the outside of academe, say by listening to Richard Wolff, is something I’ve found to be different.

      3. Donald

        I wish he wouldn’t use it that way, but when you understand his definition of the word the article makes sense.

        A big chunk of our problem in the US is quibbling over semantics. Rob has contributed to the problem here, but it isn’t hard to translate “ liberal “ for “ left”.

        Also, like it or not, Rob’s usage corresponds to the way the word is used by the vast majority of Americans as far as I can tell, so maybe people who are our kind of “ left” just need to take that into account and figure out what to do about it. I don’t have any particular solution in mind.

        1. .Tom

          The “fascist liberal” is pretty confusing too and I expect similarly likely to cause offense and to cause readers to imagine the author as weird.

      4. Mark Gisleson

        Irritated me into reading the whole thing and that was my only complaint. Outstanding read. I’ve been missing Urie since I stopped checking out Counterpunch.

        It never hurts to remember that one of the first things fascists do is to destroy the meaning and value of labels. It’s harder to stop a movement that has no name or is misnamed especially when you can’t even tell a stranger what you believe in with a few words, all such words having been gerrymandered by Blob word techs.

    1. Neutrino

      Many knew the fix was almost in when the TTIP and TPP were being hustled along. Brazen attempts, and those pushers still lurk.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Incredible to see an article like that on Road & Track.

        Max Prince should be invited to discuss…

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      diptherio. Agreed. I tend to agree with Rob Urie’s diagnosis, but then I ran up against this: from the Clintonite faction of the fascist Left,

      I’m sorry (well, maybe I’m not sorry) but that string of nonsense tends to undermine his whole analysis.

      The left is about reduction of inequality, redistribution of wealth, and concrete material benefits for the populace. I tend to doubt that prominent leftists these days like Adolph Reed, Brianna Joy Gray, Aaron Maté, Shawn Fain at the UAW, Starbucks Workers United, and the Amazon Workers Unions–all of whom now might be regarded as important voices on the left (and let’s not forget Margaret Kimberley or Norman Finkelstein) have uttered fascistic ideas.

      So I detect bad faith. As Naked Capitalism (Yves Smith and, in particular, Lambert Strether) have pointed out repeatedly, the political breakdown in the U S of A is more of a triangle dominated by the reactive conservatism of the mainstream Republicans and the confused liberalism of the mainstream Democrats. And both mainstreams are thoroughly for “market-based solutions” and thoroughly against the Left (which, admittedly, is in tatters in the U S of A).

      You can also throw in the paleoconservatives (writers at The American Conservative) and libertarians (whom I define as White Boys Who Don’t Want to Pay Taxes).

      The fascist tendencies in the U S of A are coming from Democrat-aligned liberals and a chunk of the mainstream Republicans.

      Further, the inflection point where income inequality truly took off is not 2000. Look at the graph. It is the mid-1990s, the heart of Clintonlandia and its “Reinvention of Government.”

      In short: There are some good diagnoses here, but all in all, it’s another sermon from a disappointed liberal, a sermon that has some cracks in the foundation. And as an astute commenter pointed a couple of days back, House Republican resistance to spending in Ukraine isn’t based in a desire for peace but rather in an attempt to punish Democrats and their profligate spending.

      1. Donald

        “ that string of nonsense tends to undermine his whole analysis.”

        No it doesn’t. Just translate to “ liberal”.

        And as I just said, like it or not, in America the vast majority of people think “ left” means “ Democrats”. I try not to dismiss an entire argument because someone makes a very common mistake if the rest of the piece seems valid.

        1. outside observer

          The word ‘left’ been redefined/coopted, much as the word ‘vaccine’ has been.

        2. Ashburn

          “ the vast majority of people think “ left” means “ Democrats”.

          Yes, I agree, but then shouldn’t we be demanding that writers, journalists, commentators, and politicians stop conflating the term ‘Left’ with the neoliberal, neocon, Democratic Party? Just because the Left is currently in tatters and has no party or real leadership does not equate it with the authoritarian Democrats. In fact, the Democrats like the Clintons, Obama, and now Biden have been the Left’s biggest enemies.

          1. Old Jake

            Who ya gonna call? Shall we stand outside along some freeway with a sign? Good luck with that. We are not in any way in control, or even in influence. Just bystanders.

      2. .Tom

        > In short: There are some good diagnoses here, but all in all, it’s another sermon from a disappointed liberal, a sermon that has some cracks in the foundation.

        Greenwald and Jimmy Dore often come across with a feel of such sermons. It’s not that they are wrong on the facts or that their anger, bitterness or disappointment (idk) is misplaced. It’s that I’m not sure for whom it is an effective form of persuasion or education. I’d think that if you want to win over some liberals/left/D-voters you treat them a bit more gently than denouncing them as fascist.

        1. Watt4Bob

          I have more optimism surrounding the possibility of winning over Trump supporters than members of the PMC/Liberal class.

          And I think it obvious that the PMC/Liberal class is actively engaged in thwarting the interests of the working class as a whole.

          Considering the PMC/Liberal class largely represents the constituency of the “irredeemable” democrat party, treating them gently is just giving them license to continue abusing us.

      3. Starry Gordon

        Weren’t “conservatives” once isolationists? And on the other side, liberals going back at least as far as Wilson and Roosevelt I, definitely wanted to get involved in the great game of imperialism and Realpolitik. It’s hardly surprising to find “paleoconservatives” opposing the war (any war) — war being an intimate involvement with other nations, other tribes, often leading to cross-breeding and other business relationships.

        But anyway, It seems to me that in contemporary parlance, left and right have become the names of styles, rather than denoting species of ideology.

      4. Melissa

        I don’t think Shawn Fain is on “our” side. Will Lehman has been poignantly calling out his hypocrisy and double dealing:

        I don’t know why there isn’t more talk about Fain’s misleadership. Most outlets, including Labor Notes, seem to think he’s doing a quite admirable job. Payday Report has touched on the topic somewhat, just as they did a nice job pointing out the hypocrisy of Christian Smalls. But I think Mike Elk has been pretty sick with long covid of late.

        I’d love to hear more from NC’ers.

      5. Barry Fay

        Attributing malign motives to anyone resisting the proxy war in Ukraine is the expected diversionary work of a neo-liberal/neo-conservative war monger and is thus an unhelpful impulse that should be resisted by a true progressive. Embarrassing as it is to us former liberal Democrats, it is the Republican party that is leading the way out of the quagmire! (and we should applaud them for it!)

    3. Vicky Cookies

      Certain Marxist tendencies have, through an understandable desire to differentiate themselves from liberals, ceded the term ‘left’ to those liberals. The left was traditionally anti-capitalist, so when liberals identify with that tradition, I see it as good grounds to challenge them on issues like poverty, inequality, and just who makes all the stuff around here. Blue-tie-wearing liberals, since at least Clinton, have been to the right of Reagan on most issues, and I see no reason not to wrest the term back from them, lest it suffer definitional collapse and fellow-travellers have to invent a new label. Another tendency, the left-communists, have just been calling reactionaries of all tie-colors ‘liberals’, dismissively, for a few generations now. I hope it catches on.

      1. Oh

        Right on! I’ve been following Robert Urie’s posts in Counterpunch and I’ve always found him to be quite dissective of the Democrats. I believe the term “left” should mean Democrats. The Republicans have polluted the term so much that some among this commentariat fall into criticizing Robert on a term that does not conform to their definition instead of understanding the message! (Liberal became Progressive and Progressive became Left in the eyes of some of these purists. What’s next?).

        Yves, thanks for posting this excellent article.

    4. Lefty Godot

      Any “Left” in the Democratic party was already dying off with conservative Democrat Jimmy Carter’s election. Mondale was the last moderately leftish gasp in 1984. Alleged flaming liberal Mike Dukakis was already touting himself as a “business-friendly” candidate in his gubernatorial runs and would’ve been similar to (if not quite as bad as) Clinton had he won the presidency. Someone like Bernie Sanders, portrayed in the media as a wild-eyed leftist, would be considered a centrist in almost any European nation, while Democrats like Manchin and Lieberman that the media calls centrist are actually far to the right of most Republicans from 40 years ago.. The woke culture warrior stuff that is mischaracterized as “Left” gives occasional lip service to class, but it’s mostly an elite fashion preoccupation that has the benefit (to them) of provoking division among the working class.

    5. Cat Burglar

      Going back some years — at least as far back as Black’s Anarchy After Leftism — there has been a strong tendency among anarchists to distinguish themselves from the left, and that could be the root of his usage here.

    6. David in Friday Harbor

      Urie is spot-on here, although I prefer Sheldon Wollin’s framing of neoliberal fascism as “Inverted Totalitarianism” explained in his book Democracy Inc.

    7. Chris

      I often come upon the phrase, “the woke Left,” which I also reject inasmuch as it seems to suggest that leftists are committed to identity politics. On the contrary, I would say that traditionally “the Left” refers to those who–to borrow a phrase from Yves–advocate for “better material conditions for labor and the lower income.” This, again traditionally, has been through promoting a socialist agenda or some hybrid of capitalism and socialism.

      1. JonnyJames

        Yeah, these trendy MassMedia terms are BS. “woke left” is a great example: it means a right-wing authoritarian warmonger with a rainbow flag and a BLM bumper sticker.

        Another garbage term is “cultural Marxism”. These fools have never read Marx, the ignorance is staggering. But we shouldn’t be surprised, the US is likely the most misinformed, propagandized society in world history.

        “Globalist” is another wishy-washy nonsense word.

    8. Kouros

      From a review of latest Turchin’s book, linked here at NC a couple of days ago:

      “The contemporary US is a plutocracy – the term is not intended polemically, but as a statement substantiated by the facts and accepted by most informed commentators. It simply describes a country in which networks of corporate interests set the policy agenda via lobbying and political donation, and where hard data show that, over decades, in literally every translation of advocacy into legislative acts, the interests of the wealthy prevail. Plutocracy in fact is the form that rule typically takes in the US; most states, says Turchin, have a form of rule to which they revert over centuries after crisis periods, and ‘culture is persistent’ here. The US is reverting to type after the crisis of the Great Depression spurred elites, in their own self-interest, to turn off the wealth pump; this new co-operative instinct was consolidated by the experience of World War II, so that the decades from the early 1930s saw ‘the Great Compression’, with the gap between the wealthiest in society and ordinary citizens narrowing. Reversal of this trend is a reversion to type.”

      There is no left and right in the main stream parlance. They are all balancing mechanisms devised to allow this monstruozity to keep kicking the can down the road, dumfounding the population while masquerading as a democracy. The porcine maquiellage is through the roof with this artifact.

  3. zagonostra

    While Americans have been told that the pandemic is over, missing is that long-Covid is debilitating by degree, with a very real risk that ten to fifteen million Americans have been permanently disabled by it…

    True enough, but Rob Urie’s comments on CV19 seem to studiously avoid the nefarious side of virus origins, EUA that necessitated falsifying Ivermectin/hydroxychloroquine efficacy, funneling of CARES money to big businesses, draconian mandatory lockdowns, demonization of vaccine skeptics, etc…certain topics, when they get put in the mouths of the likes of a Alex Jones/Stew Peters, are relegated to the margins of what can be respectably talked about…nevertheless good article from an author I used to regularly read on Consortiumnews, before that site failed in its stance on CV lockdowns and mandatory vaccination.

    1. podcastkid

      I tend to think they only failed, if they failed, on the jabs. Although I did remember one piece…

      There was an untimely dearth of knowledge AFAICS, so nobody had thought through appropriate quarantines (I think a bit less involved than jab matters). If we need to do’em again, there should IMO be protocols for people who opt to take their chances.

  4. N

    Robs analysis of the Vietnam War fails in that it wasn’t just the bourgeois potential draftees who were in open mutiny, it was virtually the entire military, especially the working class kids who were refusing to go out on patrol and fragging their upper class officers when they did.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      He also adopts a common canard that having a draft prevents wars. It sure didn’t prevent Vietnam. It took years to build an anti-war movement.

      In yesterday’s Links, we saw in Simplicius’s summary of the new military self-analysis that not having a draft makes big wars against peer opponents impossible. That is a good thing.

      Rob’s not guilty of this one, but another canard is that this time a draft would be administered fairly with the result that elites would be wary to start wars because it would endanger their own children. C’mon, man.

      1. Alex Cox

        The absence of a draft is not a good thing if it leads the US military to resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          If that’s our rulers response to adversity, I don’t see how having or not having a draft has a significant effect on that madness.

      2. Laughingsong

        I didn’t read it that way, I searched the page and the only two instances of the word “prevent “ were in this comment (now three, hehe).

        I read it as him saying that the draft had the potential to send “bourgeois” (PMC?) to fight, and that is at least part of the reason why some of them went against the war in the 60s.

        Most of the comments I’m reading here are focused on Mr Urie’s use of the terms ‘Left’ and ‘Fascist Left’, and it was even called out as a quibble due to it being fairly well understood what he meant, and I get the impression that most agree with his statements, once “translated”. So may I suggest that we let it pass amongst ourselves?

        Out in the wild, however, I do think it’s important to use the correct terminology so that it’s better understood. This suggestion is for us and for Mr Urie.

        The woke stuff he calls out seems spot on to me. For these progressive liberals, as an example, it seems that if 10% of the whole population is black, then 10% of the billionaires should be black. To them, that’s what achieving equality means.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Urie seems to believe that:

          However, because of bourgeois resistance to the draft, which sometimes bled through to the war, the draft was ended, leaving behind wars that are consequence-free for most Americans.

          He seems to be arguing that not having a draft makes wars more likely. The truth is that (from the Simplicius link from Wednesday):

          Translation: the idea of an all volunteer/professional force is obsolete. Large scale combat operations require at least partial conscription. Anyone worth their salt in military matters would have known this long ago. How can you possibly sustain a high intensity war effort with upwards of thousands of casualties a day merely through volunteer enlistments?

          The reason we’re not in a war with Russia now is that we can’t support the manpower requirements, and they fear the reaction if they try to re-institute the draft.

          1. Laughingsong

            True, and they should be nervous about reinstating the draft, I don’t think it will go well.

            I don’t personally remember what the given reasons were for ending the draft, but the impression I got from Mr Urie was that, by ending the draft, Americans no longer had any skin in the game, and so these wars of choice became easier for the Blob to instigate.

            I honestly don’t know if that’s true. Maybe for some people it is/was. For me personally, it wasn’t true. I hated war from the first moment I understood what it was.

            Did I buy that we were supposedly being forced into doing this nasty sh** by our enemies? Sigh. Yes I did…. Until the Soviet Union’s collapse, and then no peace dividend was forthcoming. By the late 90s, I was having my Come to Jesus moment on that score. I still hate how easily I was duped.

          2. Felix_47

            Eliminating the draft removed the populace from the war and peace decisions. Dramatically lowering taxes so that half or more of the population pays no income taxes has removed the populace from decisions regarding government. 40 per cent do not vote. I am convinced if every American had to pay something….enough so it hurt they would vote in droves. And if we raised taxes on high earners back to the 80 to 90 percent rates we had in the 1950s, established an aggressive estate tax and eliminated all the foundation and tax gimmicks like those of the Clinton Foundation and many others so that politicians, lawyers, business people, doctors etc. cannot make dynasty creating money we might see less focus on unnecessary litigation, outrageous salaries (20 million per year for the CEO of GM compared to 7 million per year for the CEO of Toyota!), unnecessary surgery and medical care. And, of course, campaign finance reform but if tax rates were high enough and comprehensive enough it would not pay to be a lobbyist making a few million per year since most of it would be going to pay Uncle Sam. People would go back to playing golf on Wednesdays. Of course if that were done the asset value meltdown would be horrendous, real estate would become cheap, and low earner wages would relatively speaking go up.

  5. mrsyk

    According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, only four percent (4%) of Americans believe that the American political system is working.
    Four percent??!! Wow. At some point something’s gonna give.

    1. JP

      The first phrase that should make your alarm bell ring is “according to a new poll”. Polls are garbage, as they are trotted out to the public only to reinforce someones agenda. I would find it surprising that four percent of Americans understand what the American political system is. What they understand is that it isn’t working for them currently. That could turn on a dime if they landed a well paying job (and many are) and suddenly it’s working. Absolutely the working class has been left (I mean liberal) behind but if the economy should lift all boats many would think things are working in spite of the fact that their slice has diminished. In any case its’ always a moving target.

  6. mrsyk

    This is an excellent post, thanks. Another money quote worth committing to memory.
    If elections don’t result in a transfer of power due to interference from the permanent state, the form of American governance is authoritarian.

    1. Lee

      Another quote that I’m most definitely gonna steal: “Disney-on-meth-and-cough-syrup ‘pageantry’ of American elections…”

  7. Socal Rhino

    I think there would be less contention about the use of “left” if a left existed in US politics.

    Sara Nelson, probably the most visible labor leader in the US, is aligned with Democrats, not Republicans, and I find it difficult to picture her as a Republican.

  8. Rob Urie

    Regarding my use of the term ‘fascist Left,’ I have been writing publicly from a Marxist perspective for the last fifteen years.

    I agree with Yves’ definition of Left.

    From 2016 forward, and in response to the election of Donald Trump, the American Left expressed barely concealed hatred for working people, arguing that ideology is the true realm of politics.

    Instantiating this idealist version of history has been a project of the CIA for seven decades.

    Philosopher Gabriel Rockhill has written extensively about CIA efforts to replace Marxist analysis with Critical Theory.

    Critical Theory has dominated the Left press, with a couple of notable exceptions, since 2016.

    It represents a CIA-funded explanation of liberalism, not Marx’s explanation of capitalism.

    What has been created in the US is a neoliberal Left.

    It is hardly incidental then that the ‘Left’ explanation of the war in Ukraine has been indifferentiable from the CIA’s.

    Again, Nakedcapitalism has been one of the few sites to have done excellent reporting on the war in place of reprinting State Dept. press releases.

    Does this sum to ‘Left fascism?’ I provided the path that I used get there in the piece.

    Thank you for the thoughtful comments.

    1. Acacia

      If “the American Left expressed barely concealed hatred for working people”, then by definition they are no longer “Left” — they are just liberals who switch on “identity”, not “class”.

      These liberals hate working people because they don’t feel any sense of class solidarity with the working class.

      Again, this hatred is not a mark of “the Left”. How can you be “politically Left” and hate the working class? It just means you are not “politically Left” anymore.

      Liberals want to distinguish themselves as politically correct goodthinkers w.r.t. gender, identity, taste, etc. They hate the working class, because the working class doesn’t care to check all the idpol and “good taste” boxes, and consequently, they don’t meet the “standard” that liberals see themselves upholding.

      Again, by definition we are no longer talking about “the Left”, so calling them “the Left” is just confusing.

      next, the whole side journey through Critical theory seems like a non-starter. Critical theory is launched by the Frankfurt School and it is NOT French theory. Please. This is just another huge category error. Drawing a line from Walter Benjamin to the CIA just comes across as weird and absurd, sorry.

      1. Keith Newman

        @Acacia, at 9:37 am
        I find most of Mr. Urie’s analyses unreadable, both here at NC and elsewhere, because of his confusing use of labels that make big parts of it incomprehensible.
        1- The misuse of the term “left”. People who “barely” conceal “hatred for working people” (Mr.Urie’s words) are not on the “left”. In the US context they be Democratic Party supporters, or identity focused neoliberals, but they are definitely not on “the left”. As Acacia above writes, they are people who have switched on “identity” and switched off class.
        2- The misuse of the word “fascism”. Fascism has historical meaning, primarily from Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. Yes these did merge state and big business power, but that is not all they did. The fascists had vast private armies they used to literally fight socialists and communists in the street. They were a means to actually seize power and were used that way. To call a right wing buffoon like Trump a fascist as many have done, is incorrect. “Fascist” has become a virtually meaningless insult standing for “conservative I don’t like”. Its use is misleading and to me at any rate discredits the user as someone who is ignorant of history and just flings off content-free insults.
        Additional personal comment re imperialism. I do not believe an imperialist (re Russia/Ukraine, China, or bad guy country of the week) is on “the left”. Granted I could be wrong here as some have written of “social imperialism” in various ways. Nonetheless I find it difficult to reconcile being on “the left” and being OK with the slaughter that imperialism entails for the benefit of the imperialist power (Iraq, Ukraine, etc). That’s another reason for me not to categorise US Democratic Party supporters or various shades of imperialist neoliberals as in any way on “the left”.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Great article Rob. And given Klaus Schwab’s recent comments about how we should embrace as necessary the merging of state and corporate power – he called it some new feelgood term but Mussolini called it facism – I think fascist Left is an appropriate term. Pretty sure commenters here know what you’re getting at.

      Here’s my own small quibble – if I read the string “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” one more time I’m going to gauge my eyes out with a pair of rusty scissors. Those terms were created by the ones actually spreading it, and I feel that when their opponents use the same terms, it gives them an unwarranted legitimacy. I’d much prefer referring to the BS the government spews like we used to – it’s propaganda, or often just plain old lying.

    3. Rolf

      Thank you, Rob, for this bang on excellent piece, for the explainer above, and thanks to Yves and NC for posting it.

    4. mrsyk

      Thank you Mr Urie. Reading Craig Murray’s “Death Wish 2023” this morning and came across a comment authored by one Tom Welsh that others mat find relevant here.
      Once upon a time, I was taught at school – along with many other fairy stories – “left wing” referred to those politicians who favoured “reform”, and “right wing” meant those who preferred the status quo. Today I cannot see that those terms mean anything at all. Virtually all Western politicians are in conspiracy with business corporations against their own citizens. Labour, Conservative, Liberal, Democrat, Republican – those labels mean nothing at all except rival gangs.

    5. Glen

      Thank you, excellent analysis.

      I’m trying to read up more on exactly how and why the USSR collapsed to try and better understand if any similar scenarios could now play out in the “West”. For example, one could argue with the draconian measures now underway in Ukraine that a new “Iron Curtain” is emerging. I know comparisons like this can make people howl, but the intent is to use history to better understand and predict.

    6. Darius

      Those socialists who are labeled class reductionists in turn call these types radlibs, or radical liberals. They’re liberals only much more so.

    7. Ignacio

      When you talf about the American Left expressing barely concealed hatred for working people, are you talking about some “true” American Left, about the “deplorable” narrative by the neoliberals (as per H. Clinton) or both?

      I think the classical left has historically showed some disrespect or even contempt for working classes who, from time to time, vote populist right wing factions because these are the ones signalling, for instance, that migration is causing labour competition and lowering wages. Is it this kind of hatred you are talking about?

    8. JonnyJames

      ?? Left press? Sorry, I don’t know what that is. Neoliberal left is an oxymoron. Neoliberal is an economic term. I’m confused. Please define these terms as so many use them in different ways.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That’s the thing – all of these terms have been so bastardized as to have no easily recognizable meaning any more.

        These days, 1% vs 99% makes more sense. It’s not about left vs right, it’s about where you are in the pecking order. Stay classy, people! ;)

        1. JonnyJames

          Yeah, devoid of meaning or sometimes meaning the OPPOSITE of what they originally meant. I agree, everyone can understand 99% and 1%, it is unambiguous.

        2. JP

          Agreed, are we classifying a group, a voting block, or some union rep’s individual philosophy? These labels have become meaningless as they mean something different to each of us. They are at best vectors.

    9. Raymond Sim

      To insist on an absolute meaning for “left” is to insist that “right” and “center” are absolutes as well.

      History has developed not necessarily to our advantage. Work those stages of grief folks.

    10. samm

      Kant’s was the original critical theory, Hegel stole it from him, but Marx carried it to a whole new level. The Frankfurt School turned critical theory into an institution, and certainly it’s true those Frenchies did their best to excise Marx from the academy. Interesting twist that the spooks might have had a hand in pushing that part forward; I haven’t read that article but the notion does have a cold war logic to it.

    11. pjay

      My own personal solution in this linguistic struggle is to use a modifier, referring to the pretenders as “pseudo-left” or “compatible left” (which I believe goes back to those CIA revelations of the 60s). But I don’t want semantics to take away from your very relevant discussion. Thanks a lot.

    12. Candide

      If language were not so important the dominators wouldn’t have to do such a brilliant job of capturing, inverting and/or generally weaponizing it.

      Long ago I read Gloria Steinem’s response to the hostile use of the [self-satirical} term PC – politically correct. She offered clarifying language, saying “Just think of it as Plain Courtesy.”

      I suppose most readers here accept your use of “woke” as simply part of the accusatory American dialect.

      Yet “woke” is a superb illustration of language taken hostage.

      Thanks for the chart demonstrating the divergence of economic interests, and for bringing diverse factors together!

  9. LadyXoc

    Excellent article that brings many things into perspective. I appreciate the focus on Black Americans. I might suggest “fascist Dem” for “fascist Left”: just go ahead and call a spade a spade. There is very little “left” in the Democratic Party and very little democracy either. Terrific points about foreign policy, which is excellent example of unelecteds implementing policies that a majority of the population disagree with (i.e., an unelected security apparatus upon which the citizen will simply has no levers of power). I am definitely in the 96% of Americans who know that the US ship of state has veered dangerously off course. To know the mind of Russia, read the transcripts of Putin and Lavov’s speeches.

  10. JonnyJames

    I agree with Yves: too many people misuse political terms. “fascist” “liberal” “left” “conservative” etc. It is a pity that Urie also does this. It conveys an ignorance of political history and accurate terminology. If one is going to talk politics, I would hope that they get their terminology straight, or at least define terms at the outset to avoid confusion.

    The political spectrum is not just one-dimensional: there is a left/right axis and an authoritarian/libertarian axis. x/y. Without taking a course in political philosophy, the history of political thought, or comparative politics, one can go to a useful website for further info:

    If one goes to the website and take the test, it will plot out your political spectrum. Both the D and R parties in the USA are firmly Right Wing/Authoritarian. There IS NO LEFT at all in US mainstream politics. There are only two flavors of right wing authoritarians and far-right authoritarians. Let’s not get it twisted: this is not the 1930s, or even 1968.

    In the US, your only choice is between moderate right/authoritarian and far-right authoritarian. Just because a right-wing authoritarian has a BLM or rainbow bumper sticker does not make them a left/libertarian. It just makes them a hypocrite and panderer,

    1. tegnost

      It can also be true that not using the term fascism is a misuse of political terms when it is an accurate description. It’s an indecorous idea/ belief system/psychosis that makes people uncomfortable.

      1. JonnyJames

        True, but what is/was Fascism? Because this term, as others, needs to be defined. What form of Fascism? Mussolini flavor, Franco flavor or Hitler flavor? Authoritarian, autocratic dictatorship? Neo-fascism?

        1. undercurrent

          I think that facism begins with the fusion of a particular political party with a capitalist economy. What follows is an authoritarian regime that, most often than not, is bellicose, and more likely than not, racist. That’s why I find a seemingly innocuous term, like ‘ public-private partnerships ‘ so dangerous. Capitalism is always a means to a facist society.

  11. Steven

    A request and a comment or two…
    Request: the best well-documented and concise history of Russian security policy since the fall of the Soviet Union, with emphasis on the events in Ukraine since Maiden.

    Like Dr. Hudson, Urie seems to view events from the lens of class war. Maybe? But what about the possibility of just beings ‘too clever by half’? People with a lot of money are in no danger of privation through unemployment or the pollution of a nearby factory. Their biggest threats are high labor costs and environmental legislation that impede them from acquiring yet more money. Off-shoring/de-industrialization addresses both threats. (‘Nothing personal. It’s all about money.’)

    I’m thinking Hudson’s Super Imperialism is more to the point here. If you can secure legal title to the world’s wealth by going deeper and deeper in debt (like Donald Trump), money and the military to ensure it remains the global economy’s ‘legal tender’, the ‘value’ of that money and the ability to threaten the world with death and destruction are your highest priorities.

  12. John9

    Such a thought provoking article. I think the issue of fascist left or liberal fascist depends on where you place the left side of the Overton window. And I think that varies. Unfortunately I consider Yves sense of left to be out of view on the left side of the window because it is so small as to not be counted within the window. Whereas liberals are the last thing you can see on the left side of that window for many. I wish that not true and hope I am wrong…but where do wishes and hope get you.
    As far as using the word fascism.. unification of corporation and state…applied to those who support that, imo America is a fascist state today and there are liberal and right wing supporters of that.
    There is also a lot of confusion. RFKjr’s recognition of the problem of corporate political power and his clear support of the capitalist system represents that confusion for me.

  13. David in Friday Harbor

    In case it wasn’t clear, last night Hillary Clinton offered this chilling insight to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that:

    And when do they break with him because at some point, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members, but something needs to happen.

    “Formal Deprogramming” usually refers to forced detention and brainwashing. Who’s the fascist now?

  14. Glossolalia

    The deftness with which “they” found a war to get involved in that would get the full backing of the same people who were steadfastly opposed to the last 10 years or so of Iraq and Afghanistan is breathtaking. Who says we don’t have talented people in government anymore?

  15. Feral Finster

    “In prospective terms, sixty-three percent— approximately two-thirds of the Americans asked, have little to no confidence in the form of the US political system…”

    So, at least 37% of Americans asked are objecively imbeciles or insane.

  16. Skip Intro

    Fooled me! From the title, I thought the article would be about covid — created in a US-funded lab. And maybe some other monsters.

    Maybe next time.

  17. Jeremy Grimm

    For me the language and analytical basis of Marxism is growing long in the tooth. The power structure analysis applied in this post bothers me as do many of the labels and characterizations used throughout.

    That u.s. government does not and has seldom if ever derived from the “from the political will and needs of the people”, or that government policy particularly foreign policy tends to remain largely unchanged regardless of which party has majority or which President supposedly runs the Executive Branch seems plainly evident from my experiences of the last many decades. That the u.s. Populace is deeply unhappy with the u.s. government although fragmented as a consequence of toxic levels of propaganda is easy enough to discover just by attempting to discuss politics with those around you. Deindustrialization broke the back of organized labor, and labor in general — but it also played a role in the ongoing efforts of Big Business Cartels to construct their vision of a new world order where both Populace and national governments must bend knee to those Big Business Cartels.

    The power structure analysis of this post fails to identify the implications of the tremendous consolidation of u.s. Business. Big Business Cartels are not bourgeois or a class but their kind are becoming among the most powerful components of u.s. and portions of the world power structures. This post does variously identify the presence and exertions of some components of government agencies acting with autonomy from the rest of the government. The motives and goals of these actors are not elaborated and neither is what I believe should be a ponderous conflict between their actions and the motives and goals of the Big Business Cartels. Are the Big Business Cartels on board with Obama’s Pivot to the East and the way it has morphed — through actions of the political puppets and the autonomous actions of various government agencies — into efforts to instigate conflict with China?

    Shifting to some of the statements I disagree with:
    “With a stunning lack of political foresight, the US has created commercial dependencies— e.g. the insurance industry bears no natural relation to healthcare, that leave ‘us’ beholden to corporate power.”
    I do not perceive a lack of political foresight as much as I perceive a complete lack of care how government actions of policies might affect the Populace. I believe the Elites are confident in the local police, and the actions they can expect from some of the government agencies acting with autonomy though in concert with broadly shared aims to keep close control over the Populace.
    “…politicians and pundits looking for reasons why Americans are angry regarding ‘our’ political system…”
    Do politicians and pundits really care why Americans are angry except insofar as that anger might be stirred and directed at toward ‘useful’ purposes?
    “…Louis XVI stage, where a remote and ghettoized ruling class misrules…”
    Is the ruling class ghettoized … or has the Populace been ghettoized, individualized, and controlled such that the Elites have no reason to worry or care about whether members of the Populace characterize Elite rule as misrule?

    I will finish my rantings with a quibble about whether American General Curtis LeMay was cra-cra. Daniel Ellsberg said underlings regarded GEN Curtis LeMay as a sadist. GEN Thomas Sarsfield Power, who was commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, when General LeMay was vice chief of staff of the Air Force — his subordinates regarded him as cra-cra.

    1. Ol Sarum

      I find it cra-cra that the word “anocracy” hardly ever gets a mention.


      ps I am reading Gibbon which tells me that the Roman empire failed when war was outsourced to former enemies. Currently it seems to be different [technological revolution] and the US metropole will fail due to manufacturing being outsourced to former enemies (CHEAP! – with a helping of class-war on the side).

    2. Keith Newman

      @Jeremy Grimm, 8:00 pm
      I concur with your take on Mr. Urie’s puzzling comment on the US healthcare industry. It’s not a matter of lack of foresight but a matter of putting profit over people, as usual. The US has the most inefficient healthcare system in the western world, devoting 18% of GDP to it yet incredibly fails to cover everyone. It’s all about the profits. Other industries follow the same model when they can, military production and finance come to mind.
      The oligarchs the country is run for by various political cut-outs make out like bandits and there is no push back, except Sanders who was flicked aside like a piece of filth. As a couple of Yale profs concluded a few years ago in a relevant study, the US has not been a democracy at the federal level since 1980.
      I would add to the puzzling statements the reference to a “bourgeois/Left press”. What is the left press? Is it the New York Times?! Really?
      While I generally agree with Mr. Urie’s take on things I find his peculiar vocabulary makes it very difficult to follow important parts of his argument.

  18. digi_owl

    Almost as if social media has turned the internet into a massive game of telephone, where people signal their belonging to a virtual tribe by a mix of new words and redefined existing words.

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