WHAT'S THE RULING CLASS GONNA DO?
June 6, 2020
[Also see "What Replaces the Police?"]
In this article I am going to say what I think the United States ruling class is likely thinking about how to respond to the wonderful Black Lives Matter rebellion that is currently erupting all across the United States (and much of the rest of the world, for that matter.)
Imagine if you will that the top strategists of the ruling class are at this very moment meeting together in some "undisclosed location" to brainstorm about what to do in order to maintain their enormous wealth and privilege and power in the face of a mass movement against racist policing that is growing dangerously more revolutionary every day.
I'll refer to these ruling class strategists merely as "A" and "B," etc. They are all very smart people*, totally loyal to the ruling class: people like Henry Kissinger, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and others of that ilk. Use your imagination. Some of the billionaires, themselves, are included: perhaps Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and George Soros.
Let's drop in and be a "fly on the wall" and listen in on their strategy session. And let's act to ensure that their strategies--no matter what they decide to use--fail. My linked articles here are all about how to do that.
A: I suggest we first assess the current situation. Here's my take.
We face a serious threat to our power. Our ideological control of the population is weakening. Since the 17th century, we have relied on divide-and-rule along race lines, turning the white working class against the non-white working class. The system of chattel slavery worked fine for this purpose until the Civil War. Then we were able to use Jim Crow for the same end. But we had to tell LBJ to abolish Jim Crow in 1964 because we faced a revolution then if we had kept it.
Fortunately, we were able to replace the old Jim Crow with the New Jim Crow of racist prison incarceration, under cover of the War on Drugs, to keep the divide-and-rule working pretty effectively. Additionally we did an excellent job--thanks to that wonderful man, Richard Nixon, of using Affirmative Action to destroy the dangerous solidarity between white and non-white working class people that had developed during the Civil Rights Movement led by that dangerous man, MLK, Jr. (Thank God we were able to get rid of him.)
But the War on Drugs required our fine police departments to carry out racist policing. And now there's a massive rebellion calling for the abolition--not merely the reform of--our police, one of the key pillars of our domination of society and guarantor of our great wealth and privilege and power. This is truly unprecedented! And, needless to say, it portends catastrophe for us.
Even worse, the rebellion today is not like the black riots of previous decades. Back then it was almost exclusively black people rioting. They had very little support from the whites. We therefore risked very little attacking the blacks with extreme violence. Hell, we were able to flat out murder the Black Panther leaders and not provoke anything like what we're seeing today. Those were the good old days.
It's true that our Ford and Rockefeller foundation folks have turned some whites against the blacks by brilliantly substituting the phrase "white privilege" for that damned MLK, Jr.'s unifying "racial discrimination" phrase in the minds of the younger generation. But it wasn't enough. Sure, we helped our buddy boy Trump increase his racist base, but dammit, the BLM protests are nonetheless so damned integrated its downright scary! It makes me recall that nightmarish Bacon's Rebellion way back in the day, when our British forebears in the Virginia Colony were almost overthrown by the unified laboring class.
Now you know I don't want to be an alarmist, but sometimes alarms need to be rung and this, I believe, is one of them. Here's why.
First of all, let's not kid ourselves.These BLM protests have an enormous amount of support from the general public. Our intelligence reports that, for example, the protesters receive loud and enthusiastic shouts of support from people in their apartments as they pass by in the streets of Brooklyn, NY. In fact, the protests there are so large that in order to join one all one does is go to any nearby intersection and wait for one to come by--no need to find out the where and when like in earlier demonstrations.
If it is just a matter of protests against racist policing in the streets, of course, then no matter how large they are, we'll remain in power. The problem is that the aims of the BLM movement are growing increasingly revolutionary. First it was just to reform the police, and now it is to abolish them.
But it's not just the police. It's class inequality itself--the very basis of our wealth and privilege and power--that is starting to be identified as what must ALSO be abolished, the way the abolitionists aimed to abolish slavery itself back in the day.
What makes me say this? Recall what happened when the pandemic began. In order to maintain our credibility as being protectors of public health we had no choice but to order non-essential workers to stay at home. But that meant that the general public started demanding that we pay the non-essential workers what they needed to live without the pay that we prevented them from earning. Well, we had to give in--at least a little bit--to this public pressure, or else be exposed as enemies of the people--never a good thing for any ruling class!
But here's the problem. The public was essentially calling for the implementation of that pernicious egalitarian economic principle of "From each according to ability, to each according to need." They might not have been thinking of that principle explicitly (thank God!) but it was the underlying principle of their demanding we send non-essential workers enough money to live decently.
Unfortunately, it is not unlikely that the BLM movement, which already has enormous public support, will grow to become one that is also for thoroughly implementing the egalitarian economic principle. You do know, of course, what that would mean. It would mean the abolition of class inequality, the abolition of our status as the ruling privileged wealthy elite. It would mean we'd be no better off than any ordinary Joe Shmoe! We might even be in prison.
If the BLM movement develops this way unchecked, then we're looking at not just protests in the street but labor strikes on the job, and not just like the many strikes a month ago demanding PPE and more job safety from the pandemic, but strikes against class inequality itself. And not just strikes here and there but general strikes.
And if it ever got to this point then I'm not sure we would be able to rely on our military forces to obey orders to smash those strikes. Nor would the police forces be sufficient to do the job even if they were willing.
We have got to destroy this BLM rebellion. But how?
B. Thank you, A, for describing the situation so clearly. We do indeed have a crisis to manage.
Let us now recall how we have dealt with uppity riff raff in the past rather effectively, and see if we can apply those lessons today.
We have essentially four strategies:
1. Use divide and rule.
2. Demand obedience to us because we are defending all Americans against some bogeyman foreign enemy.
3. Employ violent repression to just frighten them all into submission.
4. Grant some reform that will "calm the waters" and end the rebellion while leaving us in power so we can clamp down again later.
There are pros and cons to each of these strategies. I'd like to speak about the first one.
Divide and Rule
Race is an excellent, time tested, division to use for this strategy, but it seems it may need to be reinforced with some extra divisiveness today. Our problem is that there are liberal whites allying with the more working class blacks. I think I know how we can un-do a lot of that. There are four ways that come to mind:
a. Ramp up our work on the abortion issue. The reason I say so is this. Most liberal whites support abortion, but many blacks don't. Many blacks view the pro-abortion cause as racist, as a way to prevent the birth of black babies, since the founder of Planned Parenthood supported the eugenics movement. We have been very successful in turning people against each other on this issue, but we haven't worked hard so far to make people view one camp as the "white" camp and the other camp as the "black" camp. The potential to do that, however, is great.
b. Ramp up our work on the same-sex marriage issue again. The reason is the same as for the abortion issue. Lots of blacks oppose same-sex marriage. Seventy percent of African-American voters in California voted in 2008 for proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. White liberals, in contrast, support same-sex marriage. This is an issue that we have learned how to use very effectively to turn people against each other even though they actually are in agreement to a great extent. Up till now we haven't emphasized the racial conflict, but now might be the time to do just that.
c. Illegal immigration. Same idea as before. White liberals are all for letting illegal immigrants enter the nation freely. They say it's racist to stop them. But many blacks and Hispanics oppose illegal immigration because their jobs are the ones most threatened by cheaper illegal immigrant labor. As our good friend and billionaire, John Henry, reported in his Boston Globe, "Labor organizer Cesar Chavez supported the arrest and deportation of illegal farm workers. His union, whose members were predominantly of Mexican origin, viewed these interlopers from Mexico as strike-breakers and scabs."
I read one study of black views on illegal immigration that said:
African Americans are more fearful than whites of negative economic effects of immigration both on the country as a whole and on their own job opportunities.
Longitudinal research suggests that African American public opinion is shifting in the direction of more negative attitudes and beliefs about immigration and immigrants.
Well, this is really just wonderful! This shows that we ought to be able to vastly increase the conflict between white liberals and blacks and Hispanics if we set our minds (and mass media, of course) to it. The key, of course, is to keep secret the real reason why so many people south of the border are trying to enter the U.S. illegally--that we force them to. Ha ha!
d. Reparations. If we play our cards right we can make the reparations issue extremely divisive. We can get working class whites pissed off at blacks by saying working class whites must be taxed more to pay blacks reparations. This is really a no-brainer.
C. Thank you, B, for your creative thinking about how we might ramp up divide-and-rule. I'd like to say something about the next strategy, using a bogeyman enemy to make people obey us. It has worked excellently in the past. I have in mind World War II, which our hero, FDR, used to end the 1930's rebellion that nearly removed us from power. Not sure what we would have done back then were it not for the convenient fascists.
Next we used the Communist bogeyman for several decades, and of course we had to arm the Soviet Union during it all to make them a sufficiently scary bogeyman, but it worked damn well, I must say. All we'd have to do to neutralize any troublemaker was call them a Communist. Worked like a charm. Unfortunately, Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Soviet Union, telling American diplomats, "I will do something very terrible to you America--I am going to take away your enemy."
But fortunately we were able to create a new bogeyman enemy and started the War on Terror. That has worked well too, as long as we and our Israeli friends keep ensuring that the bogeyman enemy remains frightening.
But no bogeyman, alas, lasts forever. They wear out eventually, lose their power to, how shall I put it, terrorize.
We've begun trying to use an inanimate bogeyman, lately: catastrophic human-caused global warming. This seems to be gaining some traction, but our late friend, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said he didn't think it was good enough to do the job. Perhaps he was right.
The covid-19 pandemic did give us an opportunity to make people grudgingly stay at home, but not for too long and, besides, that was hardly a way to make people work for us, was it?
I'm thinking it would be very helpful if we could get China to attack us, just like we got Japan to attack us back in 1941. I think that might be the ticket. I know for sure that the Chinese rulers sure as hell don't want to see class inequality overthrown anywhere, neither here nor in China. If a war between China and the U.S. is what it takes to maintain class inequality, they would be happy to make it so.
D. I agree with you, C, that a good bogeyman is a great strategy. But your suggestion to get China to attack us is problematic. People aren't as gullible as they used to be. That's why we have the damn BLM rebellion worrying us so much in the first place. I fear that too many people, with the WMD lie now exposed and the truth about the Vietnam War now so well known, will not believe that they need to obey us in a fight against China. I even worry that some BLM joker will do another Muhammad Ali and shout that "No Chinese ever called me a nig*er."
You know that we've got a whole lot of blacks in the military now. I'm not sure they'll buy the "China is the real enemy" thing. Hell, even the whites will be doubtful. Remember back during the Vietnam war Nixon had to pull out because the damn GIs were refusing to fight the Viet Cong. If something like that happens again, we're in deep shit if the BLM rebellion keeps growing and we've got a military force that won't obey our orders.
E. Well, my friends, it's time to consider brute force. We have the 82nd Airborne Division and others as well. It may be time to use them against the damn BLM rebels. I doubt they'll keep marching in the streets and doing mischief if they're confronted by the barrel of a tank and a line of machine guns! He he he.
F. But E, you're sounding like our buddy, Donald T--not the sharpest knife in our drawer. You're forgetting something crucial! Who's to say that that the soldiers driving the tanks and holding the machine guns will aim them against the BLM protesters instead of aiming them so as to PROTECT the protesters? True, they would ordinarily be afraid to disobey our orders to attack protesters even if they personally supported them, because they know they'd be shot for treason or something almost as bad if they did. But if the protesters' movement is big enough, and if it is--God forbid!--aiming to remove us from power, and if it is determined enough, then guess what? Our soldiers might decide that disobeying our orders and going over to the side of the protesters would more likely mean they'd be on the winning side, and not punished as a traitor. Then we're screwed.
I want to remind you what some smart people warned us about:
Professor of history at Harvard University, Crane Brinton, who from 1942 to 1945 was Special Assistant to the Office of Strategic Services in the European Theater of Operations, wrote in his 1965 book, The Anatomy of Revolution (pg. 88),
"[T]he nowadays common view that modern weapons have for the future made street-risings impossible is probably wrong. Modern weapons have to be used by police or soldiers, who may still be subverted, even in the atomic age."
Hannah Arendt, one of the most insightful intellectuals of the 20th century, even if she was no friend of ours, wrote in her book, On Violence (pg. 48-9):
"In a contest of violence against violence the superiority of the government has always been absolute; but this superiority lasts only as long as the power structure of the government is intact--that is, as long as commands are obeyed and the army or police forces are prepared to use their weapons. When this is no longer the case, the situation changes abruptly. Not only is the rebellion not put down, but the arms themselves change hands--sometimes, as in the Hungarian revolution, within a few hours...Where commands are no longer obeyed, the means of violence are of no use; and the question of this obedience is not decided by the command-obedience relation but by opinion, and, of course, by the number of those who share it."
It's easy to say, "Call in the 82nd Airborne Division." But it's a bit harder to make sure they do what they're ordered to do.
G. You're absolutely right, F. Using military repression must be our very last, and clearly desperate, option because if it fails, we're toast.
Retired General John Allen, who's no dummy, and who clearly represents active duty generals who aren't at liberty to so openly criticize their commander in chief, said that President Trump's military threats against the BLM protesters could be "the beginning of the end of the American experiment."
Former secretary of defense and retired Marine General James Mattis, also no dummy, excoriated Trump for using the military against American citizens. Here's the account of what Mattis said:
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
These generals are on OUR side. They have always served us loyally. We ignore their warnings at our own risk.
Even just using extreme police (not military) violence against the protesters initially turned out not to stop the protests from growing. NYC Mayor de Blasio tried that and it failed. It just made people angrier and drove more to join the protesters. De Blasio ended up having to cancel the curfews. Same thing elsewhere.
The reform strategy is clearly the least dangerous one and, coupled with ramping up divide-and-rule along the clever lines that B laid out, is the one I think we should continue to use until/unless it becomes clear it is not working.
I am very pleased that our Democratic Party agents are implementing this strategy skillfully. Nancy Pelosi organized Democratic Party leaders to kneel in silence at the capitol in support (he he) of the BLM protests and declared, “We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change.” I just love her rhetoric: so dramatic, yet empty of any substance! This is what it takes to make a critical mass of the BLM protesters retain faith in the system and not go down the road of revolution. We can have our buddy Bernie help out too, by continuing to tell his "Our Revolution" (ha ha) followers that the way to get improvements is by voting for better politicians, not building a revolutionary movement in the streets to abolish class inequality.
We need to make it as persuasive as possible (don't laugh!) that we--the upper class rulers--are in SUPPORT of the BLM movement. This is why it was just perfect for Jeff Bezos to declare his support of the movement. And just perfect for Mitt Romney to march with the protesters in Washington DC. And just perfect for the owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer to fire its top editor for allowing a headline that denigrated the BLM movement.
This is what it takes to ensure that a critical mass of the BLM protesters stay off of the revolutionary road.
Don't worry! We can survive the storm with all sorts of merely inconvenient but necessary reforms. Who really cares if we cut the budgets of the police and call it "defunding" them? As long as there remains a core police force to do things such as evict people who don't pay their rent and refuse to leave the premises voluntarily, and drag fired employees out of the workplace if they refuse to leave voluntarily, what's the problem? A reduced police force is a small price to pay for our remaining in power.
These reforms buy us time. None of them are necessarily permanent. We can get around any of them. We granted the 8 hour day and then made people work two or more jobs. We made it legal to form a labor union and then made sure our agents were in control of those unions. We abolished Jim Crow and replaced it with the New Jim Crow. Hell, our buddies running South Africa even abolished apartheid and now they've INCREASED their power over the South African have-nots. As long as class inequality remains, no reform is too much if it keeps us in power.
Our CIA, as you know, has covert "police officers" in the police departments of all the major cities**. These CIA guys know how to scare the shit out of any politician. All they have to do is remind them how the CIA killed the popularly elected Congolese prime minister, Lumumba, and aided Pinochet in killing Chile's popularly elected president Allende, and orchestrated the killing of JFK when he tried to end the Cold War. This is how we can make sure that no mayor will abolish the police department or do anything else that seriously weakens our grip on the population if we warn them not to do it. We can let these mayors say pretty much anything to get elected and to calm the waters of rebellion without having to worry that they will cross the line we tell them not to cross. Minneapolis Mayor Frey and NYC Mayor de Blasio are clearly under our control, no matter how furious their base is at them now for ignoring the promises they campaigned on. So, never fear, granting reforms will never seriously threaten our power.
No matter what reforms we grant, we will still have the fundamental power to control the lower class. We will still be able to treat them like dirt to keep them in their place, even if they rise up now and then like what is happening today.
A. Holy Shit! There are protesters outside banging on the door. Call security!
* Way too smart not to have thought of all the stratagems I'm putting into their mouths here. In either case, I link here to my articles that discuss how we can prevent these ruling class strategies from working.
“At 4: 30 a.m. on December 4, 1969, six years after the arrest of Thomas Arthur Vallee, Sergeant Daniel Groth commanded the police team that broke into the Chicago apartment of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. The heavily armed officers shot both men to death.[ 154] In 1983 the Black Panther survivors of the raid and the families of Hampton and Clark were awarded $ 1.85 million in a lawsuit against federal, state, and Chicago officials and officers including Daniel Groth.[ 155] Groth acknowledged under oath that his team of officers had carried out the assault on Fred Hampton and Mark Clark at the specific request of the FBI.[ 156]
"Northeastern Illinois University professor Dan Stern researched Daniel Groth’s background. He discovered that Groth had taken several lengthy “training leaves” from the Chicago Police Department to Washington, D.C., where Stern and other researchers believed Groth “underwent specialized counterintelligence training under the auspices of both the FBI and the CIA.”[ 157]
"According to Stern, “Groth never had a normal [Chicago] police assignment, but was deployed all along in a counterintelligence capacity,” with an early focus on the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.[ 158]
"From his research Stern concluded that “the CIA and the Chicago police were very tight,” and that while technically a member of the Chicago police, Daniel Groth probably worked under cover for the CIA.[ 159] When a journalist confronted Groth and asked him point-blank, “Are you CIA?” Groth just shrugged it off.[ 160]”
— JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass
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