Late Capitalism in Weimerica Pt. 3: The MAX Slayings

David Ruccio:

…I remain sympathetic to the idea that “late capitalism” effectively captures at least some dimensions of contemporary economic and social reality. Here in the United States, there’s clearly something late—both exhausted and exhausting—about contemporary capitalism. In the wake of the worst crises since the first Great Depression, growth rates remains low, leaving millions of workers either unemployed or underemployed. Wages continue to stagnate, even as corporate profits and the stock market soar. And the unequal distribution of income and wealth, having become increasingly obscene in recent decades, has ushered in a new Gilded Age.

…What is less clear is if “late capitalism” carries with it a hint of revolution, whether it contains something akin to the idea that the contradictions of capitalism create the possibility of a radical alternative. Even if contemporary capitalism is exhausted and we, witnessing and being subjected to its absurdities and indignities, are being exhausted by it—that doesn’t mean “late capitalism” will generate the political forces required for its being replaced by a radically different way of organizing economic and social life.

Silas Reynolds:

It’s tragic to watch – the decline of our military as it morphs, and matches, our demographic and moral deterioration. Instead of citizen-soldiers, much like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus proudly taking up arms to defend his native soil, we recruit non-Whites for gibs and an “education.” Instead of the best and brightest, we have forced “diversity” quotas, which will guarantee a drop in effectiveness. In the name of Weimerica’s false idol, Equality™, we’re now sending our mothers, daughters and sisters to die with our fathers, brothers and sons for (((neocon [Jewish] chicanery))).

In the previous parts, I went through the background of the current situation.  The right has been, for a variety of reasons, been empowered and, most importantly, have mostly abandoned factual discourse.  The left has, after decades of Red Scares and government suppression, remains mostly a token defiance unwilling to use anything resembling actual force in the face of force.

A Loaded Gun Won’t Set You Free
…So you say

It is often surprising to people to read Karl Marx’s thoughts upon the issue:

Marx:

Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organize themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising.

The last time the left embraced the ideal, the right immediately turned against the “fundamental human right,” Americans generally claim for gun-ownership. No sooner were black Marxists carrying rifles, then Ronnie Reagan and the NRA rallied around the Mulford Act as responsible way to curtail gun ownership.

To this day it is common knowledge that a black person with a gun is treated effectively different than a white person with a gun.

This is a systematic problem that goes conceivably back with the birth of the republic, but certainly harkens to Cold War tactics that dealt harshly with the left.  But part of it is also a sickness in the left itself.  I’ve cited elsewhere:

Hunter S. Thompson:

Most hippies are too drug oriented to feel any sense of urgency beyond the moment. Their slogan is “Now,” and that means instantly. Unlike political activists of any stripe, hippies have no coherent vision of the future which might or might not exist. The hippies are afflicted by an enervating sort of fatalism that is, in fact, deplorable. And the New Left critics are heroic, in their fashion, for railing at it. But the awful possibility exists that the hippies may be right, that the future itself is deplorable and so why not live for Now? Why not reject the whole fabric of American society, with all its obligations, and make a separate peace? The hippies believe they are asking this question for a whole generation and echoing the doubts of an older generation.

Less poetically Dr. Thompson writes in the specific in, “Freak Power in the Rockies:”

Somewhere in the nightmare of failure that gripped America between 1965 and 1970, the old Berkeley-born notion of beating The System by fighting it gave way to a sort of numb conviction that it made more sense in the long run to Flee, or even to simply hide, than to fight the bastards on anything even vaguely resembling their own terms.

Despite the lack of fighting spirit, the perceived threat of hidden Marxists, or some other leftists part of a cabal secretly controlling society, is very much alive in the minds of the right.  It seems to be based more on a feeling than on anything concrete.  Lurking in the shadows, somewhere, is the old anti-semetic conspiracy, shorn of its explicit Jewishness, and instead pinned to those “international” people that are involved in banking and the media. That came to the shores of America from central Europe (usually academics from Frankfurt); a plan puppet-mastered by people that are inexplicably both capitalist bankers and socialist revolutionaries.

Freedom of Speech

In order to fight against the insidious conspiracy, they right claims the need for freedom of speech.  But it is not any conception of this freedom, but a completely new one.  Freedom of Speech is, theoretically, protects a speaking individual from government persecution.  The limits famously include, “yelling fire in a crowded theater,” and, “fighting words.”  These are, for the most part, specific instances in specific areas.  However, the standard is still that the government, for the most part, can’t come in and stop you from speaking in public.

For the liberal (in the broadest sense, meaning most people in the US), these freedoms are an abstraction made flesh.  For the Marxist it’s different—the ability to use the rights are what is important, not the ability to say that you have them.

Lenin

In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favourable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that “they cannot be bothered with democracy”, “cannot be bothered with politics”; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life.

…Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich–that is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely into the machinery of capitalist democracy, we see everywhere, in the “petty”–supposedly petty–details of the suffrage (residential qualifications, exclusion of women, etc.), in the technique of the representative institutions, in the actual obstacles to the right of assembly (public buildings are not for “paupers”!), in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc., etc.,–we see restriction after restriction upon democracy. These restrictions, exceptions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor seem slight, especially in the eyes of one who has never known want himself and has never been inclose contact with the oppressed classes in their mass life (and nine out of 10, if not 99 out of 100, bourgeois publicists and politicians come under this category); but in their sum total these restrictions exclude and squeeze out the poor from politics, from active participation in democracy.

Do you really have the same kind of free speech that Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch does?  You may theoretically have the same rights, but if you have no possible way to use those rights do they exist?

Surely Lenin has some point in mentioning that the right to vote is curtailed in practicality by having it on a work day during the day; that not every neighborhood has precincts open at the same times and in the same numbers; that knowledge about the elections are targeted to certain demographics.

Does the African-American really have the same rights to guns that the European-American does?  Or is it curtailed in reality?  If not a bias, does it make a difference that he may not be able to live in a building with guns? That the cost may be prohibitive? That special laws (even by Ronnie Reagan and the KKK) are enacted when he does carry arms?  To use the vocabulary Lenin employed, does this make the African in America a master or a slave?

One may fairly wonder why this long preface is necessary; and it’s because it provides the theoretical framework around the latest rightwing actions in advancing its agenda.

Pharus Hall and Beyond

If one were to Google “Pharus Hall,” one would find any number of fascists and other rightwing sources ready to use it as a strategy.  It was a culmination, in many ways, of Nazi Propaganda.

On February 11, 1927, Goebbels attempted to take “Red Berlin,” from the left and make it a haven of the rightwing. He did so by going to Pharus Hall, in a notorious Marxist area.  His posters were, “done in a bright blood red specifically to provoke the Communists,” to quote Alexandra Richie’s Faust’s Metropolis. The idea was to provoke the left into a fight and then pose as victims that arose victorious nonetheless:

Goebbells:

It was a provocation the likes of which Berlin had never seen. Marxism thinks it presumptuous if a person with nationalistic sentiments expresses them in a working class district. And in Wedding [a working class district of Berlin]?! Red Wedding belongs to the proletariat! It had been that way for decades, and no one had the courage to object and prove that was not the case.

And the Pharus Hall? — that was the uncontested domain of the K.P.D. [the Communist Party of Germany]. They held their party congresses there. Almost every week they gathered their most loyal and active members there. Here one had heard only talk of world revolution and international class solidarity. Here of all places the NSDAP scheduled its next meeting.

It was an open declaration of war. We meant it that way and the opponent understood it that way. Our party members were jubilant. Everything was now at stake. The future of the Berlin movement would be risked boldly and bravely. It was win or lose!

The decisive day of 11 February [1927] neared. The communist press outdid itself with blood-thirsty threats. We would face a tough reception, we would not want to come back. At the labor and relief offices, people openly said that we would be beaten to a bloody pulp.

Those that opposed the Nazis were portrayed as both violent extremists when using action, and weak wimps when using words:

Ibid:

There were scenes outdoors of unimaginable inhumanity. The bestial people who were supposedly fighting for universal brotherhood insulted our poor and defenseless injured with phases like: “Isn’t that pig dead yet?”

…When the discussion period was announced, a pathetic chap who claimed to be a member of the Young German Order stood up. He gave an emotional appeal for brotherhood and peace between the classes, and complained passionately about the useless immorality of all this bloodshed, and announced that only in unity was there strength. As he then bowed to the meeting and prepared to launch into a patriotic poem to conclude his noble nonsense, the crowd laughed loudly when an honest S.A. man made the appropriate interruption: “Shut up, you little birthday orator!”

Alexandra Richie:

Goebbels called the ‘Battle of Pharus Hall’ a ‘good beginning’ and made much of the ‘terror’ experienced by the ‘innocent’ Nazis, who had merely wanted to hold a peaceful meeting.  The report concluded: ‘when the police appeared the fight was already over.  Marxist terrorism had been bloodily suppressed.’

This is the same strategy the right is currently using in relation to two other notoriously leftwing targets: Berkley and Portland.

Berkley

Berkley, the narrative goes, was going to have Milo Yiannopoulos come speak.  Students corrupted by leftist ideology immediately went to work destroying freedom of speech in the place it was largely born for the modern age.

This is, of course, not close to the entire story.

For one, David Horowitz was going along with Milo, and Horowitz has a history of singling individuals out on California campuses:

Inside Higher Ed:

But Jerry Kang, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, issued a statement that took issue with the tactic of posters that linked student and faculty members, by name, with Hamas and others just because these groups favor an Israel boycott (which UCLA and the University of California as a system have rejected).

“Listing people by name raises the stakes,” Kang said. “The chilling psychological harm cast by such blacklist campaigns, especially when pushed into our physical campus grounds, cannot be dismissed as oversensitivity. If you don’t find these posters repulsive, consider your own name on them with whatever ludicrous stigmas that outsiders could conjure up. And if this isn’t enough, consider what might follow. What will you say when the next round of posters on campus includes photos, phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, names of parents, names of children? These are not just hypotheticals. They have happened in other political contexts, such as the website called the ‘Nuremberg Files,’ which targeted individual doctors who provided lawful abortions.”

This, Horowitz’s tactic of finding individual students and doxxing them was what concerned people at the university:

SF Gate:

The UC Berkeley letter warns the Republican hosts of the event that Yiannopoulos could target individual students — holding up their photos or revealing personal information about them — during the speech that will be live-streamed, “putting students at risk.”

“Other targeted groups on our campus have experienced Horowitz’ tactic of publicizing the names and pictures of individuals on posters throughout campus property, and there is a likelihood that there will be Horowitz-backed posters pasted throughout our campus,” the letter said.

The press was profoundly influenced by the rightwing narrative of events.  Which, of course, conveniently excluded the fact that the Alt-Right, the current day champions of free speech, had already shut down universities that had attempted to have Yiannopoulos speak:

Luke O’Brien:

Yiannopoulos had played a major role in promoting the movement on Breitbart and steering new recruits its way. Then, he went too far: He failed to take its racism seriously…Anglin and others soon identified Yiannopoulos as a threat, a “kike infiltrator” trying to coopt or water down their cause. In September, Anglin put up a post outlining “The Final Solution to the Milo Problem,” in which he urged readers to crash Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagements and put him in “a state of constant fear.” The next day, a Yiannopoulos event at Florida Atlantic University was canceled because of a threat the FBI deemed credible, according to a university spokesperson.

But the damage had been done.  The right-wingers had been let off the hook by the media.  The liberal conception of free speech as an abstraction used by the powerful was maintained in the minds of most, while the actual reality that specifically targeted the (often powerless) individual was proven to be the opposite.  The powerful had protected the reactionary, and even now, well-meaning dupes applaud the far right’s plight for free speech that they themselves silently crush when not targeted correctly.

And through this, the narrative continues that the rightwing are the victims, and the left are bullying elites.  The evidence given, generally, being more based upon personal feelings than actual evidence.

Portland

In this national atmosphere, a parade that normally went over 82nd street was threatened for having the GOP participate in it.  This was done via email from, as near as I can tell, some guy.  Nonetheless, the business community that supported this parade dropped it.

The Washington Post:

On Tuesday, the business association buckled, announcing it would cancel the parade altogether.

When this was reported, especially to conservatives, the fact that a business association decided not to participate was implied to be some kind of government censorship.

To underline, businesses decided to no longer support a parade because a single email was sent to an organizer.

This was convoluted into a government assault upon Free Speech.  Crying about their precious victimhood, the white supremacists and other rightwingers pooled together and marched on Portland.  Not just Portland, but upon one of the few minority areas of the city.

In this, the set up is complete for the coming tragedy.  It is instructive to remember Marx before moving forward:

Marx:

The proletarian party appears as an appendage of the petty-bourgeois-democratic party. It is betrayed and dropped by the latter…The democratic party, in its turn, leans on the shoulders of the bourgeois-republican party. The bourgeois republicans no sooner believe themselves well established than they shake off the troublesome comrade and support themselves on the shoulders of the party of Order. The party of Order hunches its shoulders, lets the bourgeois republicans tumble, and throws itself on the shoulders of armed force.

The Democrats that run the city, having long since abandoned the unions and other labour movements; having conceded the economic and military theories to the Republicans; having become reliant upon the Republican Party’s narrative events; immediately gave into the rightwing narrative of events.  “Free Speech,” even in the hands of the Democratic city ceased to be safety from the persecution of the government; it was now the government forcing everyone in a hostile neighborhood to hear the ranting and raving of rightwingers surrounded by armored policemen arresting anyone that disagreed.

The following are from the Portland Mercury:

An anti-semetic sign that implies a Jewish conspiracy of facts that challenge the postmodern understanding the right holds with mock ebonics:

Jeremy Christian, who will become a prominent part later events:

And the march itself, flanked by armored police that threw anyone that didn’t want the march through their neighborhood to the side:

This vast expansion of the enforcement of the rightwing was, naturally, made into an oppression of the rightwing in their minds counter to any available evidence.

Jeremy Christian was relatively well known in Portland.

A known white-supremacist that adhered to esoteric Nordic beliefs, I once did security for a place against him.  Like most other people, he struck me as a fanatic but not insane.

A few days after the big “free speech,” parade, Jeremy Christian entered the MAX, mass transit in Portland, and began verbally assaulting minority girls.  When three men attempted to—by all accounts peacefully—intervene, Christian stabbed them, killing two.

The reason that he gave?

“Free speech.”

For the rightwing the extension moved beyond the government not persecuting someone; it extended beyond the right of businesses not wanting to fund a parade; and went further than the police forcing minorities to listen to white supremacists going to their homes to inform them that they’re not wanted. Freedom of Speech now meant the freedom to murder people that were attempting to persuade a right-winger from screaming at underage girls on a train.

Is this not reminiscent of a previous form of freedom? A freedom of national personality being led astray by liberal and marxist activists…

Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg (links not given so as not to endorse, in any way, sites)

Duly external ties shape internal creation. This is where the old German understanding of freedom that today is represented in National Socialism reappears. This concept is entirely different from the liberte of the French Revolution and different from the raving madness of Marxist-Bolshevist destruction….

It is essentially the same concept of freedom (although it might not be present philosophically) that shows itself with increasing clearness in the relation between what we call personality and community. We strive for a community of millions of Germans, firmly shaped and guided, while at the same time we demand that there is room for outstanding, creative personalities. We do not feel that these two demands oppose one another, although other nations do because they only know the choice between tyranny and chaos. The National Socialist Movement followed its inner instinct and arrived on a political basis at the same conclusions that had earlier been drawn by the important religious leaders of the German people as well as by our thinkers and glorious poets. We could achieve this goal because the National Socialist Movement was led by Germans and had come to life in a fight for freedom.

If we look at the German nation as a whole, it is hindered and bothered by other stipulations that affect world history. Neither for Germany nor for any other nation can national sovereignty be absolute. According to our conviction it would only be harmful and dangerous for the creative power of a nation if there were no borders in this world. Demarcation, competition and the constant check of possibilities is not only part of an individual’s life but part of any nation’s existence. This educational and philosophical thought alone makes it clear that Germany does not strive for world dominion. This National Socialist Weltanschauung that has been attacked so often, wants only that the earth finally be given a Gestalt . A transformation that would end the time of chaotic liberalism which on the one hand strived after a world-trust and world-republic that should be built on democratic internationality and Marxism, while on the other hand it called for a world-revolution to be carried out by so-called proletarians. Earth is not populated with an abstract mankind, but with certain races and nations.

To be clear, most of the right raises their hands and say that Christian went too far.  But even mainstream rightwingers went so far as to claim a conspiracy was afoot to trick people into thinking a white supremacist that followed Nazi rhetoric and went to pro-Trump rallies leaned to the right.

The conspiracy that the “outstanding, creative personalities,” peddle seems to revolve around the fact that Christian, following Trump’s lead, had a brief (and unreciprocated) flirtation with the idea of Bernie Sanders (1, 2, 3).  Obviously Christian, an anti-semite that parades around in an American flag at rightwing rallies and followed Trump’s politically convenient temporary love of a Jewish democratic-socialist, was hardly the leftist the right attempts to portray him as.  But the right has long since given up on the idea of facts, and simply feels like reality shouldn’t be the way it is.  This is enough to make the narrative stick.

And why should it not be?  The Republican Party endorsed the goals of terrorists in the name of order, and their opposition could only meekly point to hypocrisy and do nothing about it.

During the events described, the Republicans in Oregon went further still an endorsed a possible policy to remove themselves from the civic order entirely and rely completely on the terrorists.

And that will be examined in part 4.

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