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<nettime> Who said the US is boring?
Brian Holmes on Wed, 16 Aug 2017 21:09:17 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Who said the US is boring?


Well, I have said so myself in the past. But it doesn't seem that way today. Right now you have the entire punditocracy and even the Prez hisself debating whether White Supremacy is to blame for the nation's ills. Monuments to the slaveholding Confederacy that were put up long after its demise are being taken down secretly in a single night, after agonized moral debate in the city councils, followed by raw fear that the Nazis might come to your town. As for the latter, they have declared a "Summer of Hate" in an uncanny rejoinder to some dazed celebrations 50 years ago. It all kind of momentarily overshadows the worry that the North Koreans might splash Guam with an improvised ICBM, or that a rash move by a would-be Commander-in-Chief might unleash a sea of fire on the peaceful city of Seoul.

On one level, this is profoundly boring, as people across the planet will likely agree. Everyone is transfixed by a media system that promised a "Knowledge Society" but now focuses exclusively on a pathetic narcissist given to cathartic emotional outbursts. The major problems remain unaddressed, like what to do about a collapsing geopolitical system, or the coming wave of unemployment caused by AI, or above all, the currently unfurling mass extinction event and the explosive climate catastrophes spurred on by rising CO2 emissions. Beneath the 24-hour forth of the news, much of the regulatory apparatus built up by generations  of Americans to protect both the population and the environment from capitalist rapacity is being pragmatically stripped away. What's paid no attention today is defining tomorrow.

On the other hand we in fact are debating White Supremacy, arguably the cultural bedrock on which imperial, extractive, consequence-denying capitalism has been built. With his declarations yesterday, Trump became the Defender-in-Chief of White Supremacy. The result is that his administration is crumbling, his closest advisors are speechless, the upper crust of the corporate sector is peeling away, and it's down to the hard core of the radical white nationalists and the most aggressive elements in the oil-and-gas industry, the military and the police. Things could go quick now. The outbreak of war followed by mass protests, or simply another incident with a car barreling down a city street, could unleash confrontations between ordinary citizens and armed diehards raised on survivalism and Bruce Willis movies. If the Fearless Leader were more competent, such a scenario would be the chance for a coup and a real KKK fascist USA. But I don't see evidence for any organization coherent enough to do such a thing. Instead it's likely to be a fearful ugly mess with further opportunities for entropic social decay and stealth militarization of the status quo.

Fellow citizens, indigenous sovereignists and proud illegals, let's say something different to the world.

BH
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