It’s not going so well, is it? In Ukraine, Biden is prepared, it seems, to fight to the last Ukrainian, while preparing for the next war with China. Half the population of Afghanistan is facing starvation, especially since the US government has seized the billions of Afghan state assets, eked together out of opium sales and American aid, held in US banks. The Border Patrol, deportation orders ready, awaits eight thousand refugees trudging through Mexico towards the American dream, while the UK struggles to ship its unwanted refugees to Rwanda.
Climate change has lost its controversial character, as people all over the world can’t help but see that it’s getting hotter and hotter, that storms are getting more frequent and stronger, that water levels are rising on coasts and falling inland. Meanwhile, precisely nothing of significance is being done to stop it by the world’s corporate and governmental polluters, though petroleum companies have taken to advertising their eco-consciousness. Talk of a Green New Deal has been replaced by the idea that the inevitable “energy transition” will take time, and require more fossil-fuel production and use in the meantime.
In the United States, the Supreme Court’s recent multi-move—unleashing urban pistol-carrying, attacking the Miranda rights of accused persons, breaking the wall between church and state, and taking away women’s right to control their lives—demonstrates how far the much-discussed “crisis of democracy” has gone. For once the old Chinese Communist formula fits the facts: a reactionary clique has used its carefully accumulated power to counter the popular will, since large majorities support abortion access (not to mention gun control, parental leave, affordable healthcare, and the like). This has been made possible by the disappearance of meaningfully competitive positions within the electoral system, leaving politics in the hands of party machines battling for control of the gerrymandering process and the judiciary free to pursue its obsessive goal of rolling the social clock back to 1955. Even the partisans of nutball demagogues recognize the basic fact, in their way: the 2020 election was a fraud, they say, engineered by crooked politicians who represent only “the elite.”
Of course, the ugliness of capitalism is hardly new. But if the subtle cruelties of neoliberalism immiserated millions for decades, the crudeness with which the pustules of systemic sickness have broken on the social surface is novel. There’s no longer climate denial, just a refusal to act. The ongoing revival of militarism, racism, homophobia, and the crudest and cruelest sexism has left appeals to “human rights” behind. The wealthy liberals and not-so-liberals of San Francisco turned out a well-intentioned official for putting his office’s energy into mild social reforms (like stopping arrests of children) instead of somehow getting rid of the irksome homeless.
After the Court’s destruction of Roe, Democratic Party politicians gathered in front of the Supreme Court to sing “God Bless America,” led by Nancy Pelosi, fresh from helping re-elect anti-choice Democrat Henry Cuellar in Texas. It’s hard to imagine a more repulsive sight. They are already using this moment to try to revive interest in voting, despite the daily demonstration of the bankruptcy of the electoral system.
What will we do, now that the truth isn’t denied, barely lied about? We can either accept the horrors now out in the open, or finally confront the need to destroy this social system once and for all, by any means necessary.