The GOP budget shows us the New America that lies ahead

Summary: The first budget by the new Republican majority in Congress shows what lies ahead for America. It’s another tale of the New America rising on the ruins of the old, as the 1% begins the pursuit phase of the battle against us. These tales are entertainment for the outer party, just exhilaration as they boo the other tribe unless they motivate people to political action. {2nd of 2 posts today.}

“There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
— Warren Buffet, quoted in the New York Times Magazine, 26 November 2006.Was Marx right?

 

Brick by brick the New America slowly rises on the ruins of the Second Republic. As we see in this week’s headline “Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts“. It’s a full-court press to reconfigure the US government to benefit the 1%. Excerpt:

The Senate passed a Republican-authored budget plan early on Friday that seeks $5.1 trillion in domestic spending cuts over 10 years while boosting military funding. … which is similar to one passed by House Republicans on Wednesday. … They also showcase the fiscal vision for Republicans, who now control both Houses of Congress for the first time since 2006 and are eager to demonstrate their ability to govern.

… The Senate budget seeks to eliminate U.S. deficits by 2025 without raising taxes through deep cuts to social safety net programs, investments in transportation and education and other domestic programs. At the same time, it proposes to boost defense spending by adding about $38 billion to an off-budget war funding account, and offers core Pentagon budget increases in subsequent years.

This is just the first step. We can expect more drastic measures in the future, shifting taxes from the 1% to us and cutting government benefits. The Hill explains (Note: block grants are a means to shift spending to the States, for easier slashing):

 

Ending the Class War

A conservative budget released by the House Republican Study Committee (RSC) on Monday would balance in five years by cutting $7.1 trillion in spending over the next decade.

… In fiscal 2016, it would give the Pentagon a $570 billion base budget, much more than the $523 billion the Pentagon would have under the House GOP budget. It would also meet President Obama’s nearly $51 billion request for the Defense Department’s war fund, known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account.

… The RSC blueprint would lower nondefense discretionary spending for domestic programs next year to $405 billion, $88 billion below the baseline set by the 2011 deal.

Altogether, discretionary spending next year would total $975 billion under the RSC’s budget, much lower than the $1.018 trillion top-line number established by the 2011 law. Over the 10-year window, the RSC budget would cut nondefense spending by $1.3 trillion and increase defense spending by $435 billion.

Between 2016 and 2025, the budget would reduce “unnecessary mandatory spending” by $1.7 trillion. This amount excludes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The RSC plan would repeal ObamaCare through a budget tool known as reconciliation.

… The conservative budget seeks the same sort of reforms to the tax code embraced by previous Ryan budgets but dropped this year by Price — like … reducing the top individual and corporate rates to 25%. It would also roll back tax increases won by President Obama, such as the hike to the top dividend rate from 15% to 20%. And it would make changes to programs like the earned income tax credit, a tax break for the working poor that Republicans believe has too much fraud.

… the RSC budget would reform Medicare by 2020 by converting it to a premium-support system that would offer a range of coverage options to people born in 1955 or after. The plan would gradually phase in an increase in the eligibility age for those born in 1960 or after and would raise it by two months each year until the eligibility age reaches 67. The budget would also transform Medicaid by combining it with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expires later this year, and providing states with block grants.

… For Social Security, the RSC blueprint would eventually raise the full retirement age to 70 and would impose chained consumer price index (CPI) for Social Security benefit calculations. The proposal, which Obama had offered in previous budgets and then dropped, would result in lower benefits.

To address infrastructure issues, the budget calls for shifting the authority to state and local governments, and phase out the federal government’s authority over five years. The plan also says Congress should lower the federal gas tax, which currently funds the Highway Trust Fund.

To balance the budget through cuts, the RSC proposes eliminating or repealing a slew of government programs such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Election Assistance Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Labor Relations Board and a program that taxes Christmas trees.

The plan would also reduce funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS and foreign governments.

Class War if we fight back

Why do we vote these people into office?

When Thomas Frank published What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (2005) I considered his explanation to be specious about why the people of Kansas voted against their economic interests. Time has shown that he was right and I was wrong. From the excellent review in The New Yorker:

Kansas, once home to farmers who marched against “money power,” is now solidly Republican. In Frank’s scathing and high-spirited polemic, this fact is not just “the mystery of Kansas” but “the mystery of America.” Dismissing much of the received punditry about the red-blue divide, Frank argues that the problem is the “systematic erasure of the economic” from discussions of class and its replacement with a notion of “authenticity,” whereby “there is no bad economic turn a conservative cannot do unto his buddy in the working class, as long as cultural solidarity has been cemented over a beer.”

The leaders of this backlash, by focussing on cultural issues in which victory is probably impossible (abortion, “filth” on TV), feed their base’s sense of grievance, abetted, Frank believes, by a “criminally stupid” Democratic strategy of triangulation. Liberals do not need to know more about NASCAR; they need to talk more about money and class.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you would like to do something you’ll find ideas in the posts at Reforming America: steps to new politics.

See all posts about the Republican Party:

  1. The key to modern American politics:  the Right-Wing Id Unzipped, 15 February 2012
  2. A harsh clear look at the history of the Republican Party, 22 September 2013
  3. Most of what Democrats say is wrong about the Republicans’ recent actions in Congress, 1 October 2013
  4. What are the odds of violence from the Right in America?, 2 October 2013
  5. Seeing the world through conservative eyes, 15 February 2014
  6. A look into the GOP mind: untethered from reality and drifting in the wind.
  7. The secret to Conservatives’ success, and why they deserve to win.
Jefferson on class war
From Jefferson’s letter to Colonel Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787.

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “The GOP budget shows us the New America that lies ahead

  1. The identity politics is not class or money based. It is geography based. Not a single exurban county voted democratic. True or not, the sense among exurban voters is that they are ill served by urban power elites. This won’t change until they believe otherwise. Unfortunately I suspect the urban centers are in fact waging economic war on the outlying geography. Partly hoping to herd people into the cities where they will eventually join the urban world view.

    1. Peter,

      “The identity politics is not class or money based.”

      You like to make these statements, assuming the world is binary. It’s not. There are multiple fault lines between the parties, not just geography.

      “Not a single exurban county”

      There is no single definition of “exurban”, but they are only a small fraction of the US population. By this analysis, ~8% (26 of 319 million).

    2. Yet the GOP controls congress. They achieved this by co opting the TEA party one single issue (guns, Gays, whatever ) at a time, while hedgehog like knowing one thing about the religious right; that they believe their beloved apocalypse cannot occur if Israel stops being a Jewish state. By the way the Left version of TEA; occupy, was not so easily deflected. They had to be physically crushed.
      Anyway our ruling elites in both parties are urbanites but the GOP stripe uses the fragmented rubes in the sticks to control congress. You might say the GOP is the keep it simple stupid party that knows just a few very useful tricks. The Dems are by contrast the smart(er) guys who consistently blow it due to smug refusal to see their own manipulation by real pros who simply stroke the party rubes and tell them how smart they are for being the largely urban and urbane Dems they are. I believe this captures one aspect of our current mess.

  2. Marxist influence is what we must fight. We have Marxist magazines (Jacobin Magazine), Marxists being invited to national television debates (Richard D. Wolff), Marxists in office (Kshama Sawant), we have a general liberal-Marxist-Jewish atmosphere in the air (Democratic Party, Barack Obama), that needs to stop. We need National Socialism now.

    1. And by dealing with it, I do mean illegalizing these ideas and people. This country has been through enough. It’s time to realize the Nazis were on the right side of history.

    2. Kenny,

      Always nice to see delusional posts from the far right as supporting evidence for my posts. Also kudos for the unabashed endorsement of the NAZIs (assuming you are not a troll).

      For those living on Mars, there are few Marxists left on Earth. Parts of his work have gone mainstream (not always parts that were original from him). More parts are believed on the Left. Most of these concern his political analysis, or what was called political economy.

      His economics are largely in the dustbin. His overall system — aka Marxism — was discarded even by the Left in the 1950s, when they discarded much of it for the far superior analytical framework of Nietzsche.

  3. If what you say is true, which just sounds like delusional thinking on your part, explain the rise in popularity around the world of Marxist and Neo-Marxist parties and people and groups. Even in this country, we have Marxist economist being elected to office and touring the country in popular droves, and magazines promoting Marxist gaining readership and influence. Marxism most certainly is not in the dustbin of history, the Nazis would have made sure of that though. I’m a fascist mind you, not a Nazi, just being objective.

    I don’t see the Left citing Nietzsche.

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/01/21/marx-is-back/

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/22/believe_it_or_not_karl_marx_is_making_a_comeback/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/opinion/sunday/douthat-marx-rises-again.html

    http://business.time.com/2013/03/25/marxs-revenge-how-class-struggle-is-shaping-the-world/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobin_%28magazine%29

    So you’re the delusional fool playing into Jewish lies.

    1. Kenny,

      Please read more carefully. I said that some aspects of Marxist thought have gone mainstream, and that’s what the articles you cite show.

      They don’t cite Nietzsche, but then people talk about capitalism without mentioning Adam Smith. The ideas have gone into our general mindspace.

  4. By the way, you’re lying yourself: “The coming big inequality. Was Marx just early?

    We have forgotten Marx’s analysis, and must now slowly and painfully recover them (his prescriptions were a first cut at the problem, as good as such things usually are).

    Marx tells us a hard truth: what matters is not income distribution, but wealth. And that’s far worse than we’re told. For example, the below graph is wildly misleading. The primary asset of the middle class (the lower classes have trivial net wealth) is their homes, which in a slow growing — in terms of money and population — America are a near-zero real return asset (after expenses). Unlike the businesses, natural resources, stocks, and bonds owned by the 1%.”

    Your site is a Marxist rag itself, no wonder you’re denying this.

    1. Kenny,

      Yes, that fits what I said here. Some aspects of his analysis have gone mainstream. The overall system is in the dustbin (e.g, materialism, labor theory of value). His prescriptions were useless (history shows that first cut solutions are almost always wrong).

      What is a lie? You’ll have to be more specific if you want people to understand you.

  5. Whether this guy is a troll or a serious neo nazi, he is right that “Marxism” is facing a revival. I am a Marxist, so I’m biased, but to say that Marxism is in the dustbin of history and that Marxian political analysis isn’t being seriously looked at again is just false, and is attested by the fact that Marxism and Marxist-lite people, ideas and groups are gaining more prominence. To say it’s “mainstream” is silly because in a capitalist society, obviously it wouldn’t take prominence, but even here in the US, there’s a revival in the interest of the system.

    I also don’t know what you mean by the left abandoning it in the ’50s, but they certainly haven’t discarded it now.

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Failures of Actually Existing Economic Systems“, Truth-Out.

    It seems more the staid Keynesian and “neoliberal” ideas are going into the dustbin, and people are desperately trying to scream that “Marxism” and such are not coming back out of fear. But again, I am biased, as I am a Marxist so you are free to take what I say with a grain of salt. I don’t mean this as some attack or “comeback” I just think what you say is not fitting the current political realities of the 21st century.

    1. By the way, I enjoy your website, I’m a casual observer, so please don’t bite my head off for this disagreement. I’m just trying to add some positive discourse into the issue and hopefully an alternative perspective.

    2. Jamie,

      (1) Some background for readers: Marxism is a system, with specific characteristics. In popular discourse “fascism”, “neoliberalism”, and “marxism” no longer have specific content; they’re just labels — often used pejoratively. Wikipedia gives a decent description: labor theory of value, class-based perspective, materialist interpretation of historical development, and a dialectical view of social transformation, etc. Much of this is obsolete (e.g., the labor theory of value), some is mainstream (e.g., class-based perspective).

      It’s in the dustbin as a system because no major nation (perhaps no nation) is moving in that direction. That there are some people calling themselves Marxists (and a smaller number who actually are Marxists) does not contradict my statement that there are “few Marxists left on Earth.”

      (2) “It seems more the staid Keynesian and “neoliberal” ideas are going into the dustbin”

      Keynesian analysis proved far — very far — more accurate than all competing theories since the crash. This was one of the rare near-ideal tests of theory and outcome, with a decisive result.

      Similarly “neoliberalism” has a commonplace definition (again, see Wikipedia), associated with the policies of Reagan and Thatcher. These seem ubiquitous in the West. I can’t imagine why you believe otherwise, irrespective of whether you agree with them or not.

    3. Jamie,

      “I also don’t know what you mean by the left abandoning it in the ’50s, but they certainly haven’t discarded it now.”

      Marx saw his work as a system. That’s how his followers saw it for generations. Taking bits and pieces of it doesn’t add up to belief in Marxism. I doubt Marx would recognize much of what Marxists say today as Marxism.

      Here’s one example, talking about the influence of Nietzsche on the Left, and how it’s displaced much of Marx. From Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind:

      ——————–

      The continuing effort of the mutant breed of Marxists has been to derationalize Marx and turn Nietzsche into a leftist. Nietzsche’s colossal political failure is attested to by the facts that the Right, which was his only hope that his teaching would have its proper effect, has utterly disappeared, and he himself was tainted in its ugly last gasp, while today virtually every Nietzschean, as well as Heideggerian, is a leftist.

      … The mature Marx had almost nothing to say about art, music, literature or education, or about what the life of man would be when the yoke of oppression was lifted. His early “humanistic” writings were looked to by some for the inspiration lacking in the later ones, but they turned out to be thin and derivative stuff.

      Since the Nietzscheans spoke so marvelously well about all these things, why not just appropriate what they said? So they took over “the last man,” whom they identified with Marx’s bourgeois, and “the superman,” whom they identified with the victorious proletarian after the revolution. The diminution of man and the impoverishment of his spiritual life as inimitably described by Nietzsche strengthened Marx’s position, if one just believed that somehow or other capitalism was the cause of “the last man” and that, with capitalism removed, new energies would be released. Radical egalitarism is the cure for the evils of egalitarianism so marvelously portrayed by Nietzsche.

      {Max Weber and Freud divided Nietzsche’s views}

      To take another example: Freud talked about interesting things not found anywhere in Marx. The whole psychology of the unconscious was completely alien to Marx, as was its inner motor, eros.

      None of this could be incorporated directly into Marx. But if Freud’s interpretation of the cause of neuroses and his treatment of the maladjusted could itself be interpreted as bourgeois errors that serve enslavement to the capitalist control of the means of production, then Marx would move in on the Freudian scene. What Freud said were permanent contradictions between human nature and society could be set in motion dialectically, and in a socialist society there would be no need for the repression that causes neuroses.

      So Freud was neatly enrolled in the Marxist legions, adding to the charm of economics that of eros, and thereby providing a solution to the problem of what men are going to do after the revolution — a problem left unsolved by Marx. This is what we find in Marcuse and many others, who simply do not talk about the difficulty posed by the contradiction between Marx’s fundamental principles and those of Freud.

      Two powerful systems are served up in a single package. Freud is the really meaty part of the concoction. Marx provides a generalized assurance that capitalism is indeed at fault and that the problems can be solved by more equality and more freedom, that the liberated people will possess all the virtues.

  6. Thanks for the response.

    Some points of contention:

    1. I’m well aware that “Marxism” is a system of analysis, but you’re wrong the labor theory of value has been debunked, or the materialist conception of history. This non-Marxist economist does a good job giving the basics on the straw-manning and misrepresenting of Marxism: http://www.critical-theory.com/3-strawmen-arguments-surrounding-marxism/

    So I can’t say I agree with your analysis of Marxism there.

    2. Your statement on it being in the “dustbin” isn’t entirely accurate, and also misunderstands what I said. First of all, countries have recently elected in parties that officially adhere in part to Marxist ideas and claim to do so, elected officials even in the US have, as small and “insignificant” as they may seem but my comment was on cultural, economic and social dialogue. Marxism, not just specific ideas attributed or put forward by Marx, are indeed back in vogue and are being taken seriously more and more. To say otherwise is just to deny the reality of the situation. There isn’t as such “few Marxists” left on Earth, and I’m not sure of people who think they are but aren’t really. I certainly do not fit in that category, nor does any Marxist I know personally, or know of.

    3. You misunderstand my statement on Keynesianism. It has not proven more “accurate” (economics is a soft science at best and one system cannot be more “accurate”, it depends on who the system serves). I said it’s going into the dustbin because every government and society that has embraced it has ditched it in favor of “neoliberalism”, which is something Marxist and other socialists in fact predicted for decades. Keynesianism was meant to save capitalism, but since it preserved capitalist power, they predictably worked to undermine it and destroy it, which it has. To think it will have a comeback to me is actually more naive than thinking Marxism is going to take over the world.

    4. My statement on neoliberalism is that it’s slowly losing its ideological defense via “TINA” (There Is No Alternative).

    Thanks for the fruitful discussion, again I am a fan of your blog even if I disagree quite a bit with you. Don’t take this response as some attack.

  7. As for your comments on Nietzsche, I cannot comment as I am not versed in his ideas, and this is the first I’ve ever heard of his ideas “replacing” Marxist ideas, which I have no witnessed and seems to run counter to current political leftist groups and currents. I will say this one statement is wrong:

    ” problems can be solved by more equality and more freedom, that the liberated people will possess all the virtues.”

    Marx never said that. Marx wasn’t an “egalitarian” and wasn’t advocating for just more equality and freedom, he simply gave an ideological justification (backed by facts IMO) that workers should be paid the value of their work, which in turn would lead to more equality and solve the issues of capitalism. His predictions (vague as they are) that this would evolve into a robotics/computerized economy of superabundance (communism) is more up in the air, and I dont buy that part personally.

    Anyway, take this with a grain of salt, as it is from a Marxist, but this review does a good job IMO in showing Marx is more relevant now than ever, and the claims that Marxism is are just vapid: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/marx-biography-review-jonathan-sperber/ “A recent biography tries to prove Marx’s irrelevance. It fails miserably.”

    1. claims that Marxism is irrelevant are vapid*

      Sorry, it’s late and I haven’t had my lunch yet, typos might be frequent in my responses.

    2. Jamie,

      I’m uninterested in the sort of “what is Marxism” debate that Marxists love. My point is unrelated to what god or philosophers think of the Marx. My point is just that Marxism — in any traditional sense of the term — is spent as a political movement. There are a few Marxists, but few of influence. Parts of it have gone mainstream and so have political influence.

      Theses are cold hard facts.

  8. FM –

    What is the purpose of government? If it’s to redistribute the meager fruits of my labor to projects and policies that favor the 1%, the Democratic Party is doing just fine with that already, thank you very much. Different Patròns, different clients. But one party: the ruling party.

    This is why Boehner and the GOP “folded” on the immigration fight. If they had meant to overturn Obama’s policies, they would have held something that at risk that the President cared about, not DHS funding, which the GOP cared about. It’s all theater for the masses.

    Lets look at something both parties are in favor of–Immigration “Reform.” The two parties want that sweet, cheap labor to keep coming so they can keep wages down and corporate profits/campaign cash up.

    ComputerWorld links:

    “Southern California Edison IT workers ‘beyond furious’ over H-1B replacements:” http://tinyurl.com/k3gvwgw

    “U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft’s H-1B push as it lays off 18,000 workers:”
    http://tinyurl.com/pmykxwz

    The parties’ budget “battles” are two sides of the same coin.

    1. Arms merchant,

      “What is the purpose of government?”
      Things don’t have purpose. People, individual and working together, have purpose. The purpose of the Republic is clearly stated:

      “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”

      “If it’s to redistribute the meager fruits of my labor to projects and policies that favor the 1% … ifferent Patròns, different clients. But one party: the ruling party.”

      That was controversial when I first said it in 2007. It’s not nice, but relevant only to the extent you are willing to do something about it.

      If it’s to redistribute the meager fruits of my labor to projects and policies that favor the 1%, the Democratic Party is doing just fine with that already, thank you very much.

  9. Re: marx…wrote articles on US civil war for a new york newspapee…his works were always in progress so to speak–

    world socialists website is great..http://www.wsws.org/….read Slavoj Zizek and Herbert Marcuse…Read Germinal by Zola…

    I never understood the fear that Marx generates in people like the resident Nazi here at FM and others…The guy was a social scientist observing the wickedness of the industrial revolution and he did have some interesting things to say…

    This reply session is like recycled cold war trash in that we are repeating the same worn out tripe of Marx v Adam Smith, commies v americans, etc….

    I was watching King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man video today from 1969….images in that video mirror today’s violence…in short, not much has changed..

    1. John,

      “he did have some interesting things to say…”

      True. I’d say that much more strongly. The overall framework was long ago discarded, but parts remain powerful — and are growing more so. Which is natural, as we return to conditions in some ways like the last 19thC that Marx wrote for.

      “not much has changed”

      I can see why you say that, but I think in fact much has changed. But I fin it disturbing to see things long gone returning.

  10. I have engaged in no such discussion on “what is Marxism”. I simply showed that your basic claims on it are wrong, contradicted by the basic facts of what Marxists themselves state (the equivalent of saying Christianity believes the sun is a God, and then being pointed out otherwise and then rejecting that this is the case) and that your claim that it’s in the dustbin is wrong, given that it’s on a (albeit slow) rise, both in elected politics and social discourse. Your logic ironically would more fit Keynesianism, which is in total decline and has been rejected by practically every government that once instituted it.

    These are cold hard facts, and that’s all I can say. I’m not interested in a pissing match on what system is right, and I’m not trying to convert you, and as I can see this discussion running into a brick wall, so we’ll just agree to disagree.

    Have a nice day and good luck with the website.

    1. Jamie,

      Easy way to test my point. Read Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and see how it applies today. A lot.

      Read anything of Marx and look for any mass movement attempting to put it into action today. None. But parts of it are politically powerful, and becoming more so.

      I’m unclear why this is difficult to see.

  11. “Easy way to test my point. Read Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and see how it applies today. A lot. ”

    Weird example to use, because Marx himself just viewed his ideas (which btw is not the totality of Marxism in any case) as a continuation of Smith’s ideas. Furthermore, The Wealth of Nations and Smith got a lot wrong, indeed Marx himself got things wrong (I don’t believe Communism is possible, and don’t think I need to explain why).

    “Read anything of Marx and look for any mass movement attempting to put it into action today. None. But parts of it are politically powerful, and becoming more so.”

    This is of course wrong as there are Marxist movements around the world, both large and small trying to put Marxist views and ideas into practice. I’m unclear why this is difficult to see. If you think I’m trying to prove Marxism is “right” or that it’s going to be dominant in the future, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m simply saying Marxism is becoming more accepted and popular again, even in the US.

    “A follow-up note. I believe that showing “that your basic claims on {Marxism} are contradicted by the basic facts of what Marxists themselves state” is exactly a “discussion on what is Marxism”.”

    No, this is just saying you don’t know the basic definition of the term. It’s like if you got the word “house” wrong and I showed you what the dictionary and encyclopedia definition is. That’s all. I don’t mean this in any condescending fashion, I’m simply saying you have your basic ideas of it wrong. I don’t care if you agree with Marxism or not.

    And I don’t really want to spend my spring break arguing about an issue that isn’t that important to me, so let’s just agree to disagree and let the readers decide.

    1. Jamie,

      Wow. There’s not much to say to that amazing logic, or to continuing this discussion. One point of fact…

      “there are Marxist movements around the world, both large and small”

      I said “mass movement attempting to put Marxism into practice”. Can you name one? Not one that’s adopted bits of Marx (parts of it have gone mainstream). BTW, a “mass movement” is one of a segment of the population.

  12. I find it telling when someone not only refuses to address the various sources and information provided, and continues to simply peddle the same line over and over again, and then after a few short snide remarks, blocks the person without even being able to answer your question. I do agree as such, it’s pointless having a discussion with you.

    As for your one last question, here is one example: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/syriza-john-milios-greece-eurozone I could go on and on with this, but ironically you’ll probably say they’re not “real” Marxists, they’re not pursuing what you define as Marxism, and that this doesn’t prove my point, because etc, etc. I’ll give you the last word, as this is totally pointless and you can believe whatever nonsense you want.

    K thx, bai :>

    1. J,

      Did you read the article? Quote from the article, showing the aims of Syriza. There is nothing remotely Marxist here. It could be the aims of the US Democratic party (hardly far left by global standards).

      Milios rolls off the party’s priorities one by one. It would make concerted efforts to help those hardest hit by the crisis – free electricity for Greeks who have had supplies cut off, food stamps distributed in schools, healthcare for those who need it, rents covered for the homeless, the restoration of the minimum wage to pre-crisis levels of €750 a month and a moratorium on private debt repayments to banks above 30% of disposable income.

      … Ending policies that have pauperised Greeks is, he says, only one part of the equation. The other will be dealing with Athens’s monumental debt pile – at €320bn, or 177% of GDP, it is more than a third larger than it was at the crisis’s start. The leftists have taken a leading role in putting the problem of public debt on a pan-European level, proposing the extension of maturities on bonds held by the ECB.

      …“More than 50% of Greek debt needs to be written off,” says Milios. “The solution [of debt forgiveness] that was given to Germany at the London conference in 1953 is what we must do for Greece.”

      As for the rest, your response are those of a funhouse mirror. Word games. There is no point to this discussion.

    2. J,

      I am not a believer in the utility of personal testimony, but this might be an exception. In the early 1970s I was like you. I majored in political science at Cornell (aka “Government”), and received a solid radical Leftist education (it was in the air back then). This included learning how Leftist thought had evolved in the century since Marx.

      I then went into the world to apply this knowledge, working with social services and volunteering as a union organizer and political activist. Hard won experience quickly taught me that most of what I learned was false.

      I am certain this will not affect you, but might put my comments in a clearer perspective.

  13. This comment thread is unintentionally hilarious, first we have a self-proclaimed Nazi, then a Marxist on spring break (so either an academic, teacher, or student, the jokes write themselves), plus FM more or less being cured of Leftist indoctrination by a heavy dose of Reality.

    Tangentially, FM has revealed more bits about his past. Cornell undergraduate (coterminous with Allan Bloom’s time there?), then a social worker/union organizer of sorts. From there a Republican Party volunteer and Nixon voter. Now working in finance, our host is a most curious autodidact.

    Back to the topic, perhaps America is no longer materially poor enough for pocketbook issues to rile Kansans and others from their stupor. Riffing off of what I read of Robert Putnam in undergrad perhaps America is too diverse (or heterogeneous) for people to fight anything other than the Culture Wars/Identity Politics mudslinging. Man’s natural proclivity to favor their own kind (however defined) is intractable. As America’s demographic profile changes I can’t see how this goes away, especially if political attitudes are heavily affected by heritability (see writings by Razib Khan or other genetics bloggers). But giving up is a peasant’s choice, are we not freeborn citizens?

    1. Hoyticus,

      Thanks for your interesting comment. I’ll follow-up on two:

      “America is no longer materially poor enough for pocketbook issues to rile Kansans and others from their stupor.”

      “Poor” is an imprecise concept, inviting academic comparisons to ancient times. Much of America is under economic pressure, and it’s growing worse and more widespread. Hence the question about Kansas, part of the “heartland” — where the pressure is quite intense, and current trends will largely depopulate the region in two generations.

      “America is too diverse (or heterogeneous) for people to fight anything other than the Culture Wars/Identity”

      America of the Founders’ time was far more heterogeneous than in our time. Most of the population was first or second generation, hence with a weak sense of national identity. Non-English speaking peoples were about 1/5th of the white (i.e., not from Africa or Latin America), many of whom were in communities with English as a minority language. Yet somehow they managed to work together to achieve independence and form a nation. We could learn much from them, if we could overcome our amnesia — and memories of the fantasy past we have overlaid on our history.

      As for my background, ascribe it to horrifically bad career management.

  14. I wasn’t going to respond, as I incidated previously, but your hilarious David Horowitz anecdote of conversion was really amusing so I just couldn’t resist. You come off as some Christian evangelical telling people how they too were atheists once. Not sure why you think I should care about the personal experience (alleged anyway) of one obscure, anonymous blogger? Some of my friends did get a good chuckle out of it though XD

    As for SYRIZA, this shows you can’t read, or just want to argue. The article clearly states Marxists are powerful in the party and want to direct it, which is what you asked for. To say they’re pursuing policies similar to the Democratic Party here in the US is especially hilarious and ridiculous, as they’re the “Coalition of the Radical Left”, and the Democrats are centre-right neoliberals at best, and quite far-right often when it comes to economics (and hell, other matters).

    Here’s an interview about their policies: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/lapavitsas-varoufakis-grexit-syriza/ True that they’re not pursuing the dictatorship of the prolatariat and establishing a Marxist-Leninist state, but this just shows your ignorance on the matter if that’s what you’re really asking for. So again, you’ve proven you can’t read or don’t want to. Of course, I’m sure you’ll again counter that this doesn’t count, move the goal post, swamp me with articles stating otherwise, blah blah blah, but I won’t be reading them, so I wouldn’t bother if I were you.

    As for one little bit of amusement for my sake, there’s also this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30124725

    I could use a hundred examples like this, but I don’t care enough too.
    Not that any of this really matters at the end, the validity of something isn’t determined by popularity, even if the evidence shows a growth of popularity. So shame on me for getting into this useless pissing match with an anonymous nobody.

    As for you commiserating about me being a college student, you’re not going to get under my skin with that horsecrap. It just makes you guys look kind of pathetic honestly. Anyway, have fun blogging to a wall, I certainly won’t be reading it, and you’ll probably just block me again anyway :P Have fun with obscurity.

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