The Snow Will Melt, but the Class War is Here to Stay
Damn you, Twitter. After my white-knuckled escape in a rented Pathfinder from the blizzard besieging Missoula, my weekend getaway has been temporarily thwarted by self-sabotage: I brought my phone. And computer.
Hearing news from my wife about the “urban avalanche” that destroyed a home and buried three people, one of them a child, sent me to Twitter. It was miraculous that all three were pulled from the snowy debris alive.
Of course, I stayed on Twitter, then turned on my computer.
While my friend (who somehow had no problem flying into Missoula this morning) is happily snoring away in our hotel room, I’m currently perched on a bar stool in the swanky lounge (we’re splurging). The place is lively. I overhear a regular customer ask the bartender why it’s so busy tonight. The bartender said a big group from the east coast is in town. “We’re ready for them,” the bartender says. It’s a very large group, but only one tab.
It’s the perfect setting to read Ismael Hossein-Zadeh’s piece on How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity—or, to put it in simpler terms—Global War on the 99%. I strongly suggest reading the whole piece, but for now I’ll excerpt this:
The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.
In a moment of honesty, former U.S. President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system”
The article puts in stark terms how this global class war is being waged.
We’ve had some comment-thread discussion on Ukraine, and I’ve written about my weariness of Greenwald’s professional partnership with Billionaire Pierre Omidyar. These two seemingly unrelated topics have been provocatively linked by Mark Ames in a piece examining donations from Omidyar that funded revolutionary groups in Ukraine:
When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Department, DC neocons, EU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.
Last December, the Financial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”
New Citizen, along with the rest of Rybachuk’s interlocking network of western-backed NGOs and campaigns— “Center UA” (also spelled “Centre UA”), “Chesno,” and “Stop Censorship” to name a few — grew their power by targeting pro-Yanukovych politicians with a well-coordinated anti-corruption campaign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before massing in Kiev last autumn.
The efforts of the NGOs were so successful that the Ukraine government was accused of employing dirty tricks to shut them down. In early February, the groups were the subject of a massive money laundering investigation by the economics division of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in what many denounced as a politically motivated move.
Fortunately the groups had the strength – which is to say, money – to survive those attacks and continue pushing for regime change in Ukraine. The source of that money?
According to the Kyiv Post, Pierrie Omidyar’s Omidyar Network (part of the Omidyar Group which owns First Look Media and the Intercept) provided 36% of “Center UA”’s $500,000 budget in 2012— nearly $200,000. USAID provided 54% of “Center UA”’s budget for 2012. Other funders included the US government-backed National Endowment for Democracy.
Add to that George Soros gushing about how to Sustain the Ukranian Breakthrough:
Following a crescendo of terrifying violence, the Ukrainian uprising has had a surprisingly positive outcome. Contrary to all rational expectations, a group of citizens armed with not much more than sticks and shields made of cardboard boxes and metal garbage-can lids overwhelmed a police force firing live ammunition. There were many casualties, but the citizens prevailed. This was one of those historic moments that leave a lasting imprint on a society’s collective memory.
How could such a thing happen? Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics offers a fitting metaphor. According to Heisenberg, subatomic phenomena can manifest themselves as particles or waves; similarly, human beings may alternate between behaving as individual particles or as components of a larger wave. In other words, the unpredictability of historical events like those in Ukraine has to do with an element of uncertainty in human identity.
People’s identity is made up of individual elements and elements of larger units to which they belong, and peoples’ impact on reality depends on which elements dominate their behavior. When civilians launched a suicidal attack on an armed force in Kyiv on February 20, their sense of representing “the nation” far outweighed their concern with their individual mortality. The result was to swing a deeply divided society from the verge of civil war to an unprecedented sense of unity.
Whether that unity endures will depend on how Europe responds.
This is simply how the global elite roll, and this is how they will continue to roll until some counter force stops them.