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'Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainity and agitation distinquish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones ... All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.' Marx

American conservatism + populism « Previous | |Next »
October 11, 2011

The economic news out of the US suggests that America could well be facing a long recession one with negative growth or low growth or no growth for a long time and high unemployment. That generates anger on the street about an economic regime that is impoverishing the economy, accelerating foreclosures, pushing state and city budgets further into deficit and forcing cuts in social spending. That is the left of centre populism of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, in contrast, puts the finger on the fault line where ordinary citizens have been on the wrong side of the greatest transfer of wealth, and virtually all of their supposed protectors stood by or had their hands in the till; and that the government no longer represent the people. The Government represents the financial interests of Wall Street that are impoverishing the economy. The Democrats are acting as the party of bankers-- government policy is designed to benefit some large bank under the cover of the public interest.

The counter reaction right-wing outrage that denigrates the Occupy Wall Street movement. It's underlying message is that the protestors are slovenly unproductive losers and hence have nothing in common with respectable middle class people. They fundamental distinction for the Tea party Movement is not state vs. individual, it is the division of the United States into “workers” vs. “people who don’t work.” The undeserving are “people who don’t work”, the freeloader.

Wall Street banks, having helped cause the global financial crisis and then been bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars by the US government have now set about gutting attempts to reform their industry. Wall Street has hordes of public-relations flacks and armies of lobbyists to do their bidding and a a big share of both parties’ campaign funds comes from Wall Street. Wall Street has won the class war.

The latter's rhetoric is based on nostalgia for 1800s-style small government and laissez faire economics deification of The Market, v because it gives us gives us freedom, opportunity, prosperity. Cutting into, and privatizing,Social Security and Medicare is a core tenet of faith for the libertarian ideologues, the Republican Party's Wall Street and Corporate America funders, and its elite conservative intellectuals.

What unites both strands of the Americian conservatism--the Tea Party and Waal Street strands together is the conservative worldview: America (or “Washington,” or the “mainstream media,” or some other powerful stratum) is dominated by a liberal-intellectual-academic-bureaucratic-socialist-internationalist (pick two or more) elite that must be overthrown. Ordinary Americans are being trampled on by the liberal-bureaucratic elite, and politics is an attempt to seize power back from them. It is a radical or counter revolutionary movement that thinks in terms of total war against modern radicalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:49 PM |