When liberal economist Paul Krugman and Martin Feldstein, Reagan's chief economist, and a Trilateral Commission member, concur that there is literally no end in sight to the 10 percent-plus unemployment levels, and no known path to recovery without another major shift leftward in U.S. politics; and that there is a 1 in 3 chance of another recession next year and a 1 in 10 chance of catastrophe in the event of another "externality" (unpredicted war, climate crisis, currency shock, etc); and that the global scope of the crisis spells no cure through trade - it's time sharpen our understanding of exactly what's happening to capitalism.
The tea party "movement" is largely a Fox and "friends" fueled project, but the crowds of panicked citizens drawn to it, plus the One Nation demonstration draw of almost 200,000 people, show that people are hungry for answers, and few have been forthcoming, at least in terms clear enough to be understood by the multitudes of millions.
Hardly less intimidating are the stories continuing to emanate from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that show a bloated U.S. military giving the finger to the president on even modest efforts to slow down and terminate these unproductive, adventuristic, un-winnable wars and their unsustainable costs.
New thinking about economics, new thinking about the future of society, new thinking about war and peace are needed. Old paradigms are not working. The forces of hate and negativity already unleashed in the mid-term election campaigns, and inflamed by unlimited, and secret, corporate money legalized by the criminal, sick majority on the Supreme Court, will leave the streets of the country covered in blood if countervailing answers and forces are not forthcoming and mobilized.
In the past I have written frequently that in general, more socialism is needed, on many fronts. I am not a believer in "great leaps forward" nor do I think the foreseeable future argues for the abolition of markets or capitalism in many sectors of the economy. Further, the "more socialism" I think we need bears no relation to the Cold War stereotypes that lose many Americans who know that what is happening is new, and different, even if it has been building for some time. However, unless the electoral process can find a way to substantially weaken the power of finance capital over the political and economic life of the country, and permit a rational, balanced, long-range restructuring plan to go forward, then revolutionary and counter-revolutionary tactics will increasingly hold sway.
Make no mistake, in this writer's view, reactionary forces led and funded by leading sections of finance capital, energy, defense corporations and agribusiness will lay waste to democratic institutions to preserve their wealth and privileges. We will be compelled to defend those institutions with our lives. They have effectively nullified the U.S. Senate and the Supreme Court. No more aid to states and cities reeling from the economic crisis will be coming from a paralyzed Congress. The House, if taken over or neutralized by the Republicans, will become an endless waste of hearings on important matters like Michelle Obama's wardrobe or hair style, or Kenyan influences on the president.
We need a new vision. And the willingness of millions of patriots to save their country from ruin; and put ourselves in the way of this reactionary juggernaut.
Photo: Wall Street's "charging bull" statue. http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-o/2932154983/ cc 2.0