20 March 2020 — Anti-Capital
1. All of this stuff–this self-isolation, this quarantine, this social distancing, this confinement; all the lock-downs, ups; all the virtual meetings, the telecommuting, the face-timing- all of this eau gazeuse dispensed from the candy-cane headquarters of advanced capitalism with Archie behind the soda fountain and Jughead in the shipping room, are being manipulated as distractions, as spectacles to deflect from the failure of these bozo-stock boys to organize and execute the fundamental requirement for any program to get a grip on an outbreak of a new disease– testing, testing, and more testing. Without the testing, nobody knows what’s working and what isn’t. Without the testing, nobody knows how acute or gradual the curve is; nobody knows the peak, the upside, the downside, or most importantly, the area under the curve.
Which is exactly what Archie and Jughead are being paid to do, or not do.
Money talks. Sometimes it says, “send this idiot adolescent to Harvard.”
More than sometimes it says, “send these idiot adults to Washington, DC.”
The bourgeoisie aren’t the first ruling class to prove themselves unwilling and incapable of controlling a pandemic, but they sure are going to be the last.
Socialists aren’t the only people to take seriously “social responsibility,” but socialism is the only mode of production organized around the principle of social responsibility
2. All of this other stuff, this “economic” stuff– the return of zero interest rates, the return of quantitative easing, the return of currency swap lines so the Fed can supply dollars to central banks as everyone everywhere cashes out of everything except dollars, the return of the Commercial Paper Credit Facility– this rerun of 2008 and 2009 is the work of tired generals fighting the last war.
All this other, other stuff– the “trillion dollar” stimulus plan, the $500 billion direct cash payment plan, this pie in the sky, this money into the black hole, which, appropriately enough for a country where religious evangelism and financial fraud are so intimately, intrinsically connected, will have the full faith and credit of the United States, this is the salesman’s patter, the misdirection to keep the eye distracted while the money vanishes from the national coffers and reappears in the accounts of Archie’s country clubs, and Jughead’s PAC.
Sure thing, only yesterday Archie and Jughead were drooling at the prospect of cutting off some 700,000 people from access to supplemental nutrition benefits in the next year , and cutting another three million over ten years. But today? Step right up and we’ll cut you a check! And with the check comes an honorary baccalaureate from Archie and Jughead University.
3. All of this stuff is designed to protect “the economy,” to protect capital as opposed, literally, to protecting the population. To the demands and pleas of the medical professionals for supplies–for masks, gloves, swabs, drapes, gowns; to the demands of those who have already been denied adequate numbers of test kits, the soda-jerk in charge replies “The Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and shipping them. You know we’re not a shipping clerk,” says he pointing to Jughead.
Even better Archie said this on the same day at almost the same time that his own Department of Energy announced its plan to buy 30 million barrels of oil for the strategic petroleum reserve, thereby propping up the price of oil which had sunk below $25 per barrel.
“Let ’em wear the empty barrels when they’re triaging in the ICUs, Jughead,” said Archie, “Now get me some powder for my wig.” Jughead, as usual, nodded his head vacantly, or nodded his vacant head.
As a matter of fact that’s exactly the role the government, any government, has to play in a pandemic. Shipping clerks indeed. Obtaining, packaging, and distributing as quickly as possible, as massively as possible, the instruments needed by those confronting the disease. It’s called logistics.
The answer to those wannabee warriors who call everything a “war;” the answer to the bozo-soda jerk who thinks he’s a “war time” president is this: “Amateurs talk about tactics; professionals study logistics.”
Shorter version from Sun Tzu: “The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…”
Apparently, Arch, doesn’t know about the US Strategic National Stockpile, responsible for maintaining critical supplies of medicines, vaccines, and medical equipment in sufficient quantities to combat the results of a nuclear, chemical, or biological terror attack. Of course not, he’s a soda jerk, not a shipping clerk. But his appointees are; his mini-Jugheads at the cabinet departments, intelligence directorates, emergency agencies, they know for sure.
We know too, because political interests trump public health, and ideology takes care of its own. So Florida gets all the gowns, masks, and gloves it requests (while the governor keeps the beaches open for college kids on Spring break), while New Jersey and New York don’t, thus allowing the contagion to expand even more dramatically. If this were war-time, or anything close, the whole bunch of them, all the Archies and mini-Archies, and the Jugheads and mini-Jugheads would be arrested for war crimes.
4. And after all this? After all this, after the millions unemployed with the $1200 checks long turned to dust, and with eighty or ninety percent of the workers NOT afforded extended medical leave despite, or rather because of, the laws passed? After all this? Wages will be driven dramatically lower. Wages will be driven below the cost of sustaining the lives of those working for wages.
All the noise about expanding employment and increasing wages will be nothing more than the wind rattling a skeleton’s bones.
Back in the day, the days of 2008 and 2009, there were those on the left who supported, or agreed with, or resigned themselves to the government’s bail outs of the investment banks, the commercial banks, the insurance companies, the auto industry. To those of us audacious enough to oppose the “bailouts,” they told us, or more correctly, one of them told me, “The alternative is complete collapse of the system.” To which we (I assume others replied similarly), “the complete collapse of this system, here and now, is the lesser evil. Allowing this system to restore itself will condemn humanity to complete collapse.” Sometimes, it sucks to be right.
Disease is the conqueror’s way of writing history.
March 20, 2020