from the comments section of, Capitalism in Crisis?
Holy cow. Just read the post about the redeployment of troops inside the U.S. for domestic counterinsurgency.
Well, anyway: Long-term ruling class strategies in wake of the financial meltdown
The immediate ruling class response is the bailout. There’s been talk in the business press about how the bailout signals the end of the neo-liberal, “free market” policy regime of the last 30 years or so. So far, it just looks like a huge, lumbering state capitalism, without any clear underlying paradigm shift in ruling class policy. But if the bailout is not successful at preventing implosion of the financial system, or even makes the crisis worse, as the Hudson piece argues, major ruling class debates may be in the offing over long-range strategies for managing the system, one issue being the role of the state in economic policy. As has been said many times before by others, their strategies have implications for what leftists do. And divisions within the ruling class can be an opportunity for a mass, radical left movement. (Hamerquist has written in the past about capitalist policy alternatives for dealing the crisis, such as a traditional reformist, social democratic approach vs a conservative “strong state” which intervenes in the economy without a popular, working class base, in the context of his theory of the secular crisis of capitalism.)
It might be useful to map out different positions emerging within the rc on dealing with the crisis, in event the financial meltdown really does require the ruling class to make a break with past policies. Among other things, this means looking at discussions taking place within the ruling class network of policy planning organizations, think tanks, research institutes, foundations, etc, which has played an important role in the past in the formation of state policy. These are organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, American Enterprise Institute, Business Roundtable, Institute for International Economics, and so on.
For example: Is this another “New Deal moment”? K. Phillips doubts it is, in the American Prospect article cited in the Bill Moyers interview. If this is true, reformist left politics will have tough sledding. But I think some sort of state interventionism is on the rc agenda.
Some rc ideologues are in fact talking in a “New Deal,” “social democratic” vein. They see this as chance to reassert the power of productive capital (industrial capitalists) with respect to the financial sector. NYT columnist Thomas Friedman is a visible spokespersons for this camp. His writings have been cited by some contributors to this forum as important rc statements on globalization. In recent columns he has been advocating the rebuilding of the U.S. manufacturing base using energy conservation and “green technologies.” For example, his Sept 28 op ed, “Green the Bailout.” His proposals are reminiscent of the reindustrialization” idea debated within rc circles during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, in which the state would channel capital into the retooling of industry and rebuilding infrastructure; this time it is a “green” reindustrialization. I believe Friedman is involved with a number of policy formation organizations representing the internationalist wing of the rc, such as the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, and Bilderberg. So his utterances may reflect the views of a larger grouping within the ruling class, composed of real capitalists with power, and not just newspaper reporters. These would also be capitalists which have ties to specific geographic places, at the same time that they are at the helm of large multinational corporations with operations spanning the globe. This “green” reform program may go nowhere. Reformist policy options may face objective limits in the nature of contemporary capitalism. A “unitary executive” which uses force to restructure capital and society, without reformist “class compromise” politics, may be more likely. But the Friedman program is an example of a ruling class analysis of the crisis which revolutionary leftists should pay attention to.
Having just read the Army News article about a permanent domestic military presence being established under the authority of NorthCom for purposes of controlling “civil unrest,” I am reminded that a lot of ruling class strategizing for general management of the system is now taking place within the Pentagon and the other organs of the National Security State, alongside the older network of “civil society,” “private” capitalist think tanks which formulated and transmitted policy to the State. Mike Davis has said something similar in his writings on “the planet of slums.” I’m also further jolted into realizing that things are heating up and getting closer.