|When the narrative at the heart of a system of rule falls apart, when the flow of history runs counter to the story told by those in power, then we know the entire edifice is crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions. The political crisis arrives when the people sense that the prevailing order is built on a foundation of oppressions and lies. The rulers panic, scrambling to reweave the matrix of fables and myths that justify their waning supremacy. At such points in history, the truth is up for grabs -- and a change of regime is in the offing.
That’s why the current “fake news” scare-a-thon is not just some minor eruption of rage by Clintonites frustrated at their failure to ride Hillary’s Big Tent campaign into the White House. Clinton’s defeat was a shock to the ruling class, which was as unified as fractious ruling classes can get in their opposition to Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against corporate “trade” deals and wholesale “regime change” -- pillars of current imperial policy. Although the billionaire hotel magnate is surely no heretic to the capitalist faith, his verbal assaults on Wall Street’s relentless export of capital and jobs and his oft-stated desire for a more cooperative relationship with Russia provoked a pell-mell stampede of the ruling class, its national security attendants, and the corporate media into Hillary’s Unified Imperial Corporate War Party, which fully expected to assume office on January 20th.
Trump, the campaigner, turns out to have been a Party-of-One, a fat-mouthed globule around whom the Republican White Man’s Party is reassembling itself along ever-resurgent, Dixie-based white nationalist lines: old-school American fascism. The reactionary composition of Trump’s cabinet and the raw viciousness of the Republican majorities in Congress ensure there will be no effective challenge to the whims of Capital from within the governing system, in the near term. But that doesn’t even begin to solve Capital’s problem with the populace, majorities of which disliked both candidates and overwhelmingly saw the country as going “in the wrong direction.” By Inauguration Day, Trump will have thoroughly discredited himself with those working class whites that hoped he would reverse the global corporate Race to the Bottom. Meanwhile, corporate Democrats (what other kind are there?) must try to manage the vast base of the party that is both terrified of Trump’s white nationalists and yearning for a “social democratic” alternative that, many are now convinced, would have been better able to ward off The Donald.
The Democrats can, and will, rally the party’s base against the most overtly racist and sexist manifestations of the GOP’s agenda -- a typical Democratic holding action that attempts to save the Republicans from doing even greater harm to the functioning of a modern state -- but they are incapable of offering any real relief to the masses or a hopeful vision for the future, for the simple reason that capitalism in decline has nothing to offer the people. President Obama’s $4 trillion “Grand Bargain” with the Republicans represented a ruling class consensus on austerity-plus-unending-war -- the duopoly’s vision of the future.
Even under the pressures of Bernie Sander’s challenge -- and having absolutely no compunction against lying -- Clinton did not meaningfully budge from dogged defense of the domestic status quo, while at the same time sprinting towards nuclear confrontation with Russia and, inevitably, China. The rationale for her bellicosity is also simple: military superiority is the only card U.S. imperialism has left to play in its bid for global domination. The world is outgrowing the U.S.-led, rigged economic and political system that is the last vestige of half a millennium of colonialism and white supremacy. Washington’s endless wars of aggression and regime change are desperate, scorched earth campaigns to avoid eclipse -- to stop the future from happening.
The U.S. ruling class -- which formed a kind of consensus in Hillary’s Big Tent under the double stresses of Donald Trump’s assault on the Republican Party’s corporate leadership and Bernie Sander’s self-aborted Democratic revolt – has committed the nation to a last ditch battle for total corporate hegemony in the world, or to the destruction of the planet in the process. Such a commitment is, literally, unspeakable -- and so, it is not spoken. Instead, an opposite reality, a false narrative, is presented, in which the United States is engaged in maintaining order and the rule of law around the globe as it upholds American “values” and the heritage of western “civilization.”
Domestically, the deteriorating living standards and rising inequality that is the inevitable (and welcomed) blowback from the global Race to the Bottom is framed as an inescapable consequence of modernity, a force much like the weather, which can be successfully managed by a technologically enlightened (and ethnically diverse) corporate leadership.
These are fake realities, requiring constant updates of fake news -- the mission of the corporate media in all its forms.
The greater the contrast between the official (corporate) narrative and the unfolding reality, the more intense becomes the Crisis of Legitimacy for the regime.
We have entered an epoch in which everything that is said by the regime’s mouthpieces in the Democratic and Republican parties and the corporate media is, at root, a lie.
American “exceptionalism” is a lie. The U.S. has no moral or legal right to set itself above all other nations on Earth. The very act of claiming such a distinction is an abomination to modern notions of civilization. American exceptionalism is rebranded “Manifest Destiny,” which is nothing but an assertion of white supremacy over darker peoples. Barack Obama is, therefore, a racist imperial goon, in the same category as Donald Trump. There will be no break in the continuity of the lie, or the crimes, on January 20.
The U.S. is not engaged in a “War on Terror.” Along with Saudi Arabia, Washington has been the patron and puppeteer of Islamic jihadist terror for nearly 40 years, since jointly creating the previously nonexistent international jihadist network in Afghanistan.
Domestically, every “reform” that fails to break the power of concentrated Capital -- that is, every ameliorative measure short of nationalizing the banks -- leaves intact the mechanisms that have created the Race to the Bottom. The rulers of the U.S. not only welcome the downward spiral in general living standards, they have deployed their global military to effectuate it by crushing all international resistance, and assigned their federal, state and local police forces to keep Americans from rebelling against the consequences of the process.
The United States is the biggest police state in the world, as measured by the number and proportion of its citizens that are imprisoned. It is also a fundamentally racist regime, based on the same prison numbers and the totality of its history of slavery, apartheid and genocide.
Such overarching realities are in constant conflict with the official narrative and must, therefore, be delegitimized, along with those who dare to speak them. Derivatives of such truths are labeled “fake news.”
For example, in August of this year BAR published an article titled, “Yes, Obama and Clinton Created ISIS – Too Bad Trump Can’t Explain How It Happened.” The piece was based on a declassified 2012 memo from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency warning that the nations sending arms and money to “rebels” in Syria were creating the conditions for the rise of what would become the Islamic State:
Hundreds of thousands of deaths later, President Obama still claims that he has always been committed to crushing ISIS. He’s lying, of course. Yet BAR is placed on a Democratic Party list of sites that are purveyors of “fake news.”
“The United States is the biggest police state in the world, as measured by the number and proportion of its citizens that are imprisoned.”
But, that’s their crisis of legitimacy, not ours. Unlike some others among the 13 leftist sites cited in the Washington Post/PropOrNot list, we at BAR will not whine that we don’t deserve to be slandered in such a manner. The function of ruling class publications is to disseminate and perfect a false narrative, so what else are we supposed to expect?
The real “enemies lists” are being created in the algorithms of the National Security Agency and other spook houses, based on the world’s most pervasive fascism-enabling machinery. More fundamentally, for the past two generations U.S. police departments have been putting together dossiers on millions of people deemed guilty of existing-while-Black in their own neighborhoods -- an “enemies list” that is surely without precedent in the world, in terms of pervasiveness and life-deforming consequences.
Damn right, we are enemies of the state, and we will speak out until they take away our means to do so. And then we will find other ways -- to act.