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Vicky Osterweil can be well received by the same people who thought Bernie Sanders “too radical” because Osterweil’s jargonized defense of looting is not supposed to be taken seriously while Bernie’s “political revolution” very much was. That particular stratum of the professional class, including many activist influencers, have a wink and nod built into the ideology with Osterweil. Everyone knows it’s opportunist bullshit, soon to be forgotten, but for the next few months keep a copy of the book on the coffee table so if anyone comes over they will know how “radical” you are. (Unless someone, you know, steals it.)
Middle class liberals went from arguing Bernie Sanders is too radical for the suburbs to supporting, at least tacitly, burning down buildings (disproportionately immigrant owned) as a political shortcut. Many then pivoted again to support the candidacy of Antone Melton-Meaux against Ilhan Omar. Melton-Meaux has been critical of both BLM and #metoo from the right and is the most transparent candidate of capital I’ve seen in a long time. (Strangely enough, he’s too chickenshit to run on “rebuilding Minneapolis,” something that might actually gain traction.) 
This is why people outside of the states have so much trouble sorting out our politics. We’ve never had a party of labor, the populists were smashed by business and the state, so this professional managerial class muddle confuses everything. It’s incredibly frustrating. 
State power (that is the ability of the state to use brute force) has increased beyond any somewhat comparable moment in history, yet the state’s ability to everyday govern has decreased to historically poor levels. People (across the political spectrum) typically make sense of this through various conspiracy theories, some more attached to reality than others. (Many are nakedly conspiratorial, others have elements of structural analyses, usually done by trained post-structuralists of course.) America is ground zero, but this is not exclusively an American phenomenon. (China is a possible counter-example, though their competence is both exaggerated and relies heavily on the brute force part of the state.)  This creates a stalemate of sorts. The state lacks legitimacy, but also can’t be replaced. You can add Ross Douthat’s Laschian critique of societal “decadence” (drift may be a better word) to this context. His analysis is largely correct in my view and he’s also right that it’s relat…

A Letter From Saint Paul

As I write this we are about a half an hour from curfew. I’m in St. Paul. It has been hit far less than its counterpart across the river but my neighborhood, the city’s poorest and most diverse, is still boarded up. My neighbor is a mental health professional and helped out at a makeshift hospital for the protests. I mowed her lawn the other day and found a clear attempt to start a fire in the alley. It looks like they tried to set another neighbor’s garage on fire. 
Things have been much calmer the last few nights. After George Floyd was murdered I felt sick to my stomach. (And I’m a white guy. I don’t pretend to know how people who have been attacked by those brutes for generations feel.) My view is that the first two nights were what you could call a rebellion, the pinnacle being the burning down of the third precinct. (The city was reduced to abandoning it and pretending there was a gas leak.) 
Night three saw a qualitative change. It was lumpenized to the point of the movement swit…
I’m somewhat familiar with the story, but haven’t seen the tv series “the plot against America.” Is it any good? I’ll admit I have doubts that will be difficult to overcome. My guess is it’s a well stylized but historically simplified attempt to frame international liberalism, particularly the US dominated post war order, as something deeper than what it has become- a value championed almost exclusively by the cosmopolitan elite and global corporations. I also predict that the entire post WW1 context (three months involvement and almost 120,000 Americans dead, split evenly between fighting and the flu pandemic) is lost to Lindbergh and his anti-Semitism. Is this accurate? “The man in the high castle,” another alternative history book made into a tv series that I actually did watch, missed an opportunity to dig into American militarism by not really explaining why so many high level American military members joined the Nazis. (We were supposed to believe it’s just because the Germans w…

South Carolina the Bulwark

Putting South Carolina’s primary right before Super Tuesday is a stroke of genius. There is not a better state to serve as a bulwark for any left candidate who manages to do well in the first three states.

South Carolina is probably the most conservative state in the country. This, of course, means that its Democratic Party is also conservative, at least relative to more liberal states. South Carolina also has a significant African American population. To the punditry, this is an early test of the “black vote.” (Despite their purported wokeness, media types love to treat African Americans as though they are a monolithic voting bloc separated from the larger culture of their communities.) There are black conservatives. Both relative to other Democrats in the Democratic Party and also relative to the universally recognized ideological spectrum. (Indeed, Tim Scott is from South Carolina.) This context is overwhelmingly ignored by the media.

So instead of talking about a socialist Jew fro…
The DNC changed its debate requirements so Bloomberg, who’s not even a Democrat, could participate. They’re in an open panic at this point. Klobuchar didn’t stick, she’s got a problematic past (and no one has even looked into her foreign policy yet, particularly that NYE trip to Ukraine where she was palling around with a Poroshenko government full of open neo-nazis along with her bffs McCain and Graham). They warmed up to Warren after she went dirty against Sanders but she took a nose dive as Warren vs Sanders turned into CNN vs Sanders. Mayor Pete’s campaign is always on the verge of imploding, good riddance when it finally does. Biden, who no one really actually likes, should be running away with this thing but is just sticking around. His gaffs aren’t endearing but senior moments, some of which seem purposely creepy. To top it all off, politico is reporting some DNC executive committee members want to give superdelegates a first ballot vote at the nomination convention in order to…
Ilhan Omar could have had a job for life in Congress, no questions asked, if she would have just kept her head down and played the part. The Minneapolis elite primarily wanted her to represent their supposed enlightened wokeness. They had/have no desire for her politics that go far beyond their squishy (mainly cultural) liberalism. In a surprise twist of history, she is more Farmer Labor than Democrat, a throwback politician who understands what it takes to significantly change society and isn’t beholden to the rad lib politics that permeate the liberal left. I don’t live in her district, but am donating to her reelection campaign.
People before Trump’s Presidency:
He’s going to be a dictator! The country may never recover! We must resist! This is the most important election in history!!! If you don’t vote for Clinton you support Trump!!!

Same people when Sanders emerges as the clear frontrunner for the Dem nomination:
The presidency actually isn’t that important. (You know we have a system of checks and balances.) It doesn’t really matter who’s elected. Congress is what’s really important.
It’s fashionable for the media, political and cultural elite to define social pathologies in such a post-modern way that activist influencers can build cultural capital off of definition creep. At the same time our elite is still as xenophobic as ever, projecting this historic European anxiety regarding Asian development that goes back to the Mongol Empire. While you can build a brand showcasing your awareness of personal guilt regarding day to day interactions (within a system, always have to add that part or else you’re just a dick), it’s much less lucrative to situate your biases within a grand historical context. A fear of the Russians, Chinese, and apparently even the Iranians, is punching up for this crowd.

Air strike assassinations get met with “no angel” tropes and above the fray “this is a bad strategy” cop-outs. These guys don’t like our half-wit president’s bluster. But you can’t build much of an anti-war movement on questioning the empire’s aesthetics. I don’t trust them. …