POTEMKIN POLITICS: PLUTOCRATS, PROFESSIONALS AND THE PROLETARIAT

Everything in a Plutocracy – or among Oligarchs in a de facto Feudal State (de jure democracy notwithstanding) comes from the twin dictates of extracting profit (which includes minimizing all expenses, reducing risk towards zero) and evading accountability (which includes consolidating influence, no censure, no backlash, absolute unchallenged status, reducing any cost to power towards zero).”

“All politics in the USA – especially the neo-classical architecture, the flag-draped institutions, the reverent rituals, the august pomp and circumstances of high office – is a Potemkin village. Whether it looks like a fortress-like Town Hall or an imposing Capitol, it’s the same Potemkin: to maintain the maximum most efficient least risky profit extraction from the 300 million poor/precarity/working/blue collar/lower-middle class to the 1 million rich ruling elite (upper class, oligarchs, billionaires) without disruption to the silent running of wealth and power. The Potemkin facades and the complex often opaque mechanisms of wealth transfer and exercised power is managed by a multi-layered Professional Managerial Class (PMC) – a freemasonry of highly educated, corporate, well-paid wageslaves, dominated by the ruling elite, surrounded by the 300 million proles whom they exploit at smaller (but still significant) scale.”

“Arguments between Liberals and Conservatives, GOP or Democrats, is either pure theatre or fodder for the unwashed masses to keep the morons spectating but feeling like they matter. In both cases it’s time wasting. All real debate among the ruling elite is private and personal. Any public debate involving the Professional Managerial Class is a squabble over scraps, kneading the dough of popular opinion; more a litmus test, a dynamic polling, than an important factor in elite policy. This is why the ‘ideals’ supposedly enshrined and absolute can be picked up or dropped as convenient, why Reds can be fighting the Blues for the very fundamental rights the Blues had fought the Reds over just a few years before. Money and power eclipse all other considerations. The upper echelons of the PMC – those closest to the ruling elites, with perhaps a little finger on power, $100 million plus in the economy – have long since been winnowed of untrustworthy vassals. The Chomsky-Marr paradigm is universal among the topmost layers of the PMC.”


In the United States, the duopoly is Democratic Blue and Republican Red. These ‘parties’ have evolved and morphed throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st-Century. The constant is division – roughly equal – as the Dems/GOP represent different factions in the plutocracy, wielding different code games to achieve their ends. Code games serve multiple purposes: they’re a non-violent purity test, an easily updated ‘always current’ civil protocol to sort the loyal from the disloyal, the right allies from the right opponents from the wrong proles, and a perpetual well-spring of tests, gateways, mandates, debate/argument fodder, distractions, socially overwhelming bullshit spigot – all of which converges naturally on keeping the public bickering (enforcing, avoiding, accusing, monitoring) over codes and thus never getting to organising solutions. Power meantime stays where the plutocracy wants it; in the hands of the ruling elite, the oligarchs and the monopoly on violence that backs up complete dominance of the only rules that count: the law.”


The global ruling class is cementing into place a world where they govern without accountability, we are reduced to serfdom, the climate crisis accelerates, and mass death is normalized.

Those who rule, PMC hirelings of corporations and the global billionaire class, work tirelessly to cement into place corporate tyranny. They have been at this task for much of the neoliberalism period stretching back to the Volcker Shock of the 1970s/1980s. The plan being pursued by our political caste, regardless which coloured team happens to be ‘elected’ front and centre stage, is not – nor ever was – to reform. They do not serve our interests. Their only mission is to facilitate, consolidate and perpetuate the corporate pillage. This pillage, more and more onerous for the global population, necessitates a new totalitarianism, one where the billionaire class lives in opulence, workers are precariat serfs, rights such as privacy and due process are abolished, Big Brother watches us all the time, war is the chief business of the state, dissent is criminalised and – reasserting a new zero sum nationalism – those displaced by conflicts and climate breakdown are barred entry into the climate fortresses in the global north; which is becoming its own balkanised carceral state.

Workers, whether in the vast sweatshops in China or the decayed ruins of the American rust belt, struggle on subsistence wages without job protection or unions. Politicians promise large and deliver nothing. The masses are cursed by trade deals, deindustrialization, austerity, rising interest rates and rising prices. They can’t build wealth, they never know security, their communities have been atomized, divided, ringfenced by militarized police. Their future is a descent into obsolescence they see all too clearly, desperation growing with each passing year though they’re helpless against the global scale of the high-tech high-skilled highly aggressive forces of corporate plutocracy.

And meanwhile, the wealthiest, most powerfu, most entrenched enclaves have chosen to hoard privilege, separate, shielded from the rage of the proletariat and the planet. It’s a vainglorious and degraded hope. It won’t save them, even if others suffer first. Perhaps extinction of civilisation was inevitable once human society passed into the nuclear age, with the very exemplars of success – competitive, acquisitive, reckless, driven by an insatiable need for power, wealth and feudal territorialism – at the same time incapable of restraint, ungenerous, myopic and bereft of the imagination (or humility, or grace) needed to change course.


Despotic governments need an enemy to justify the repression of dissidents, the reduction and cancellation of social programs and the iron control of information. Wars justify the unjustifiable – black sites, kidnapping, torture, targeted assassinations, censorship, and arbitrary detention – off-the-book war crimes. War induces a state of perpetual paranoia and fear. It demands mass obedience.

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous,” George Orwell writes in 1984. “Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.

The message of endless war is – if you defy the ruling class, the militarists and the government, you are a traitor.

The hostilities, a self-fulfilling prophecy by American and European satellite warmongers, delights the Washington establishment whose goal is to perpetuate endless war.

The message imparted to the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the weak is this: your lives and the lives of your children do not matter.

The PMC and their billionaire masters, or at least most of them, adore pomp and circumstance. They feel genuinely entitled to aristocratic privilege, they’re affronted by dissent and they’d prefer to loot and pillage under the cover of the familiar old political decorum and rhetoric. They like the fiction of paying homage to a historical continuity, with themselves the inheritors of divine right in the face of emasculated democracy. The veneer of respectability and the delight of public self-love is intoxicating. Sometimes bread and circuses will follow the script. Sometimes there will be unrest. Neither change the calculus of the ‘winning’ team. The rage of the betrayed can be articulated only by imbecilic demagogues vomited up from the social and political swamp. Fuck the lumpen proletariat, whether they’re lumpen or not.

Corporations, PMC enablers and the billionaire class will continue to exploit, but under an ever cruder and crueler authoritarianism. The social, political, economic, and environmental breakdown can only accelerate. Reality, increasingly unpalatable, is already ceasing to exist in public discourse; and before long it’ll slip out of private thought too. It will be replaced in the ‘First World’ by Millenarian cults, such as Dominionism and the Christian fascists, by transhumanist snake oil sellers aping Silicon Valley techno-futurist cabals, by impotent armies of urban unhoused and the swirl of bizarre conspiracy theories based on half-comprehended glimpses of real-world evil too intractable to face.

Ironically, even a retreat into magical thinking – where evil is embodied in demonized individuals and outgroups that must be eradicated – is a more comforting purgatory than what’s coming, just over the horizon.

“Truth and lies will be indistinguishable. The vulnerable will be cast aside, blamed for their own misery, as well as ours. Those who resist will be criminals. Mass death will sweep across the planet. This is the world our children will inherit unless those who control us are wrenched from power.”