Sunday, February 9, 2014

US Capitalism plagued by economic, political and social crisis

By Sean O’Torrain

The most serious crisis facing US capitalism is its economic crisis. The problems left over after 2008 have not been solved. The other shoe is still to drop. When this happens we will see a very dramatic stepping up of the attacks on the working class and this in turn will see a stepping up of the working class fighting back. This in my opinion is likely to be the decisive feature of the years ahead, that is an intensification of the class struggle with all its confusions and defeats and victories. 

We have been highlighting on this blog how the US capitalist class in anticipation of these developments has been increasing its arming of the state apparatus. We have commented on the sudden appearance of tens of thousands of cops in full body armor against the Occupy movement. It was like they appeared from nowhere. But they did not. They appeared because the capitalist class knows that their decision to take the working class back to the conditions of the 1930's will meet with major resistance and they will need a bigger stick. In Friday February 7th's Wall Street Journal there is an article about this development. 

All over the country police forces in cities and towns are being armed not just with body armor but with all kinds of armored vehicles. One example of what is being acquired is the Mine Protected Ambush Protected trucks. MRAPs. These are huge armored military vehicles. In city after city, other armored vehicles called BearCats are also being acquired. The Pentagon is giving away 11,000  MRAPS for free. These cost between $400,000 and $700,000 but while the cities and towns get them free, the taxpayers who pay for the military budget have to pay for them and the local communities have to pay for maintenance and to transport them to their cities and towns. All hell is going to break loose in this country in the future. 

While remaining convinced that the most likely feature of the coming period will be the deepening economic crisis of US capitalism there could be accidental factors which could change things seriously. I see where many military officers who are responsible for launching the US nuclear arsenal are on drugs. There is also the wars and occupations and foreign interventions all of which bring with them their own blowback. And it is not excluded that a partial nuclear war could take place in the future in some part of the world. There is also the increased tension between the US, China and Russia. There is also increased tension with the other advanced capitalist powers over many issues including the mass tapping of their communications systems. US capitalism has to deal with these crises with a political system that is basically broken. Multi-billionaires buy the politicians and the major parties and through these fight for their shortsighted interests and narrow objectives and so and make major strategic decision making very difficult.   

While I have been thinking off such issues for some time I recently began to give more attention to how these general features of the capitalist crisis could be substantially speeded up. We probably all get some pleasure out of watching Chris Christie implode. We should not deny ourselves a little pleasure now and then. But we should also realize that the liberal wing of the capitalist media is  concentrating on this at the expense of much more serious issues. 

We reported on this blog recently about the organized attack on the national electricity grid which was carried out by organized forces that knew what they were doing and that the state is worried may have been a dress rehearsal for a much more comprehensive attack. It is most likely that these are some sort of home-grown individual terror outfit like those that bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Then we had the chemical spill in West Virginia which left 300,000 people with no useable water for weeks and is still continuing. When local residents try to get answers to their question is the water safe yet,  they are told yes, maybe, use your own instincts, then just last week more schools had to be closed. The outfit that owned the company from which the leak originated was called, believe it or not, Freedom Industries. It has now gone bankrupt and the boss, who some years ago was charged with drug dealing, has disappeared. 

These people such as run so-called Freedom Industries and all the big capitalists are a bunch of crooks. It is only a matter of degree. Now we have a major spill of coal-ash in North Carolina. We have the same humming and hawing from politicians and officials as to how bad it is. We do not yet know. We also have the Fracking going on all over. These environmental disasters will inevitably, at some point in time, lead to whole areas of the country being uninhabitable. There will be hundreds of thousands of empty houses, tens of thousands of closed schools and businesses. People who put their whole life's earnings into their house because they were told to by US capitalism will be left with nothing. As I say, all hell will break loose. 

We need to think more about these profit-based catastrophes. They occur because the corporations buy the politicians and get them to lift any laws which would force them to take safety measures. This de-regulation, this bribing and corruption, has been going on for decades now. But it is getting seriously worse.  Trotsky said that capitalism was hurtling toward the edge of a precipice with its eyes shut. This is a very apt description in this period. 

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