Now Politics

A Friend of the People Opposing Elites; Social and Political Commentary; Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo

Totalitarian Capitalist America [A Polemic]

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What if I were to employ the forms of a short story in writing an essay, a polemic about Totalitarianism here in the United States, but still wanted to leave open the possibility for debate; this then not being a thesis driven essay all the while it is supporting the thesis that these United States have been remade in the image of Totalitarianism, Bourgeois Capitalist, fair sure, as surely as the Soviet Union restructured Russia along the lines of Totalitarian Bourgeois Communism, and do not blink at that, as if you do not understand what I mean.

 

ONE

“Totalitarian needs an expanded, more articulate definition in order for us to see how it operates in states that do not fit the conventional models of totalitarian societies,” Ivan Ivanovich said to his companions who were sitting with him on the train to Boston from New York Penn Station. Could totalitarian be applied to what we have here in the United States? Most people would say no. I say yes, as Ivan has said, “Yes, America is prime for this restructuring, if it has not already been completed. Totalitarian is often oligarchic; never mind the example of the Cult of Personality that was Hitler’s and Stalin’s. That was something else fused to the totalitarianism, almost incidental although partly necessary, yet as incidental to its motives, drives and successes of State as was the Anti-Semitism it used. There is a mistake in historical perception that Nazism and Anti-Set,itism were one and the same, and if not that, then mutual, and if not always walking mutually hand-in-hand, as they did do, that Anti-Semitism was de necessitas for the Nazis rise to Power, for the existence of Nazism. The horror is that if there were no Jews in Europe, there still would have been a Nazis Germany. The Jews were not necessary for the Nazis to rise, gain or maintain control. It could have been anybody and would have been anybody else if one or another target were not around for their convenience. The Final Solution was passed into law in 1942. 1942! There would have been Nazis and Nazism and yes, even camps without Jews. This non-necessity makes of the Holocaust an even more heinous and cruel and malignant event,” Ivan Ivanovich said, “but there are plenty of people–too many, in fact–who imagine otherwise, say otherwise, insist otherwise. I do not want to get into the delusions that victims themselves suffer after their victimization, after their suffering, which dies not conclude as weight want to hope it does, after the primacy of oppression and brutality have been lifted, ended? Questions and more questions,” Ivan Ivanovich said.

“What then must we do when considering the rise of Nazis Germany in a society such as ours here in the United States, complete with its own dogmas, its own set of received ideas, its own packaging and re-packaging of history to meet one or another emotional expectation or foregone conclusion derived from–I don’t even know what anything we say is derived from in this culture. We no longer have any commitment to the Truth, any faith that it exists or that it can be approached–you disagree?” He asked.

“Our connotations seem to have been limited by a decrease in our understanding of the operations of governments, historically, and by our habit of supplanting particular examples of totalitarianism for a general and generalizable denotation over all other connotations,” he said. “Totalitarian needs a few ingredients socially that not even dictatorship has, and not every totalitarian society has a dictator, either in the classical sense or in the twentieth century sense.  We have too understand that Mussolini’s Italy was not a totalitarian state, nor was Franco’s Spain; however, Nazis Germany and the Soviet Union, whether Lenin, Trotsky or Stalin or Khrushchev et cetera, were,” he stopped.

Everyone paused.

I was not there. I was not on the train. I know what I know as conventionally I should know it.

Each of the others sitting with him on the facing seats aboard train number 88, the 3:00 PM, Sunday, Northeast regional to Boston, remained silent for a moment after Ivan finished. Everyone was on his way back to Boston after a weekend in New York together. They all work in the same place. They run a literary journal, in print and on line after all of them graduated Harvard and decided to remain close to their Alma Mater. The train left on time. Ivan has not been noticing the stations passing. Pavel has been staring out the window. Ivan has not noticed what his other two companions were doing. Their literary journal has been in operation for ten years.

“All of us can agree that totalitarianism seeks to subordinate all aspects of individual life to the authority of the state,” Nikolai Nikolaievich said, remembering perhaps his days as a Political Science student.

“This has a certain value in our understanding except that this is a highly limiting comprehension of the complexities of totalitarian restructuring of a society;” Andrei Andreyevich added, “and that is, if we do not comprehend what the State is, how the State or how states can function and do function apart from whatever the government is in its administrative capacities–” he was interrupted by Ivan Ivanovich, “And how the government functions subordinately to the State, and how the state operates with, in, by and for Power,” he said.

Always Power, they would have agreed. “One has to understand how Power operates,” Andrei said, “yes, how Power, Influence and Authority operate, sometimes in unison, at other times, separately, but in what could be called coalition, cooperation–and this co-operation does not have to be grand or conspiratorial for it to achieve larger controlling effects,” he added, “for it to amount to oligarchic power behind governmental authority,” he insisted more emphatically, “carefully managed by a media elite in bed with or allied with Power and other Money,” he said.

You question this? You have been trained to think otherwise, as well as taught, but trained is better in its connotative value separate from having been taught. They do share some synonymy, but no two words share absolute synonymy, and these two share only a thin degree of synonymy.

“Yes,” Nikolai interjected, “the Media elite are part of the Monied Elite. The corporate take over of print media, of all media . . . what is it now? There are 6 corporations that own or control over 90% of the media in America. Yes, that bodes well for the First Amendment. The media cannot do anything but support, defend, veil, obscure, deflect, whatever else it is that it can or will do to help Power and Money remain in the shadows.”

“Of course,” Ivan interrupted, “America’s darling liberal, Obama, was deeper in the pockets of Money than any other President, controlled, manipulated and more dexterously by Money and Power than any other President beside Bill Clinton,” he said. Again, media in America is meant to keep Power and Money in the shadows, Ivan thought. Yes, Bush did not need to be manipulated–he was already one of the oil gangsters, he added under his breath. We all agree with the common analysis, have said the like about it, one way or another, in one set of words, or in another set of them, each time expressing the same or similar sentiments about an America no longer a Democratic Republic, Ivan thought.

“America is a place where the People have been substituted with a more grossly state serving Public,” Andrei said. Nikolai added, “this is always the desire of States everywhere every-when, turn the people into a public. Get them to abdicate their freedoms.”

The Patriot Act, anyone? As if there has not been an increase in shooting deaths by the Police or a rise in the number of unarmed who are shot.

“Power always in alliance with Money,” Andrei Andreyevich added, “these being the two sets of Elites that matter most here in America, where we have carefully excluded government officials in their authority and influence from controlling that which is usually controlled by the State in Traditional authoritarian totalitarian models,” he said.

“There is Power as an Elite,” Ivan said, “what we might have called an Estate in a much, much older Political Science,” he added. “And there is this energy, this force that is Power in this elite bloc standing monolithically in its desire to perpetuate itself,” Andrei continued, “yes, to accumulate more of what it has and what it perceives it does not have, which is why Monied Elites seek to broker in Power and Power, where it is not as rich as it might want to be even in its advanced greed, seeks to exchange power for money,” he said.  “There can be great monied elites in any Democratic Republic, but where Money exchanges its wealth for Power and Power its power for money,” Nikolai said. “Oligarchic coalition displaces democracy and seeks through the help of its allies in the media to transform the People into a State and Power and Money serving Public,” Ivan said. “Yes, drones in a Capitalist Bee Hive,” Andrei adds. “And they used to call the Soviet Union the Bee Hive State here in the West,” Nikolai added.

“What we have in the conflict between most conservative supporters of Trump and liberal supporters of Obama is a contrast in Conservatism,” their friend Pavel Pavlovich added, waking from a brief and all too shallow slumber, the shallowness of which he lamented to himself in words not even under his breath. “American Conservatism’s move toward totalitarian structuring of individual life in these quite dis-United States of America is apparent to anyone who has eyes to see, except too many in America have no eyes for looking at the Truth,” Pavel Pavlovich said. “We’ve undermined the notion of a capital ‘T’ Truth, along with knowledge–knowledge is no longer attainable. It has become something one can never have, like water from the moon. We have only doubt, doubt and more doubt, if you want to revise Mr. Gradgrind,” Pavel Pavlovich said.

[And I inquire of you if you are ready to accept these men at their word, prepared to suspend your disbelief or accept the responsibility of What if, that is, What if I were this man or that one, and not, as too many of us do, ask the most irrelevant of questions, What if Pavl were I, or what if Nikolai were I, for it is not your responsibility, which is your answerability, to wrestle the characters of any story, fictional or non fictional, allegorical or non, wrestle or wrangle or mangle or mold him or her or it into your own self image, but to understand, for example, Hamlet as Hamlet is, thus What if I were Hamlet, how would I order a hamburger at WEDNY’s, or how would I board a bus to Boston? and not to say, Why does Hamlet do what he does that I would never do and so act in a way I find unbeleivable?]

“You do not imagine that we have actual liberals as liberals have stood, acted, said, operated since the Age of Enlightenment–and the latter moniker is used as an historical locator in the greater continuum of time and acts, not anything that pretends to be symbolic or definitive, perhaps as character names sometimes function in fiction; however, that has been the tendency, the convention, if you will, in how the names of ages, of decades, of movements in parts of social history have functioned,” he said. 

Pavel Pavlovich put his copy of The Trial in his shoulder bag at his feet between his legs. He looked left; he looked right; he paused with his eyes trained straight ahead at the face of Andrei Andreyevich.

He thinks to himself, hearing himself say to himself that Donald Trump is the man in the Oval Office “who twitters away his time and mind,” he mumbles over his breath, Pavel Pavlovich pauses.

He looks left to the windows, right to the seat next to his, occupied by Nikolai Nikolayevich. He thinks of the book that was on his lap, spine up, spread opened. He imagines talking to his friends instead of actually talking to them at the moment. He sees them in mind, not as he would if he were looking at them, as he is looking at them, in the world, on this train, but kept in mind the way others have always been kept in his mind, one presence and another and another that he, also a presence, in mind, is among, around in a way he only hears, in mind, the voices voicing concerns there, voicing fears, articulating experiences, as everyone dos everywhere every-when . . . the talking he does do with them condensed as everything is, has been, will be, in dreams and day dreams as well, perchance to live as one does in the mind.

He stands and says to his friends that he is going to walk to the dining car to get something, he does not know what, he makes clear as both friends ask him what he is going to get–“I do not know. I will see what they have,” he says. No one says he will join him. Pavel walks alone to the dining car.

On his way to the dining car, a full three car lengths ahead, he thinks, does not know (neither do I, although it has been said that I should, even if I do not tell). He is talking to one friend, neither Ivan, nor Nikolai, nor Andrei, but another friend he has not seen in many years, maybe a little less than many, a friend none of his travel companions (who are nonetheless good friends) ever knew. Pavel never sees himself in his dreams, nor does not he see other persons anyone speaking in his dreams dreamed at night while sleeping, or in his day dreams, waking dreams, he used to say; no. He hears only voices, disembodied voices? He asks himself as he recalls having remembered he had once considered having said. To dream or not to dream while awake you could ask, the question, no?

He asks a friend I never met, “Does anyone recall what twittering used to mean? No? Ah! The sparrows twittered under the fire-escape, and there began building their nest on top of the cable box; the swallows came to roost twittering.” He has always been able to extend conversations in his head as if he were writing dialogue for a play, and ease at such that stood him well when he worked in theater here in New York, off-off Broadway, he recalls fondly, the times he assisted in directing and stage managing plays in small houses, and seeing his own one-acts and other absurdist skits performed in the same venues. He used to do a bit of theater criticism too at the time.

Pavel Pavlovich pauses again. He does not wonder why he would be talking to this friend from nearly two decades ago, nor does he imagine how he would be in the position to, or if it would happen if he were to try to bridge the years by contacting him. He pauses a moment to consider the friend, whatever it was they had they called then friendship, or whatever it is that two friends think they have when they like being in each other’s company, drinking companions, buddies, friends . . . this was all? No, not so–more than this or any other limiting malignant phrase put upon them by those who did not like them, those who did not understand them, those who never wanted to understand them, those who never will, those too different in temperament, in intelligence, in their level of literacy, commonly higher among them and others like them than you find in general in this here systematically under-educated semi-literate America. He asks himself many questions with mock rhetorical inflection

“To twitter was to speak in a high pitched tone?” He asks himself remembering that that was something some people said in conjunction with the word long before it became what it is now to do on line. “Oh yes, to talk, perhaps rapidly, and at length, and in a trivial way . . . this explains President Trump,” he says. “Does it not?” Who he is speaking to is no longer relevant; that he is speaking at all, and that you are privy to what he is saying is what is important.

He usually imagines an old friend speaking to him in return, but not quite at length–sometimes it is a dialogue in the way Plato set dialogues and not as dialogue in a play would unfold. His friend from how many years ago mute as it would be if Pavel were talking to the trees, which he used to like doing when he was a boy, talking to trees in the forests he’d wander about in, on and off the trails he’d follow, or the stream beds as they flowed in their tributary existence to the Housatonic, itself a tributary of the Connecticut River. Pavel is doing all the talking, rapidly, as if he were before a captive audience, but an audience that was listening in spite of being captive.

“Twitter limits speech, does it not?” He asks. “How extended can anything on Twitter be?” He asks. “Trump does twitter away the Presidency on social media–and I do not want to hear any of this shit about the deference I am supposed to have for the being of any man as President–he is not a private citizen, and ceases to be an individual as long as he finctions out of the Oval Office as the most Influential man on earth. “But there he is, the buffoon, twittering along in the old-fashined way, all the while limiting himself in the common meaning today, yes, everyone twittering on Twitter, double entendres intended,” he says.

He adds, “You do know that double entendre is not French, does not exist in French, is an English language pretense of creating meaning out of literally transposed words from one language into meaning something in another.” Words, words and more words spoken in-loud.

Pavel pauses in the imagined time, but not in the actual time of him speaking now in mind, sometimes the words creeping out of their imagined containment to be spoken out loud in his apartment, or among others in public, not as embarrassing for him as it might be for you, as it is sometimes for me..

“More absurdity I could not find?” He asks again in mock rhetorical inflection. “This of course is not to say that all such occurrences are pretentious and erroneous. N.B. still abbreviates Nota Bene which does mean ‘Note Well’ in Latin. But of course this was not an abbreviation used by the Romans,” he says.

He says, “Nonetheless, however, moreover, Donald Trump is exactly what the Power Elite and the Monied Elite need to make you and I believe that the former Status Quo is exactly what we should want again, should have wanted all along, but were too blind? to see.” He is talking to someone in his day dreamed context of giving this talk, these words, how they are formed by him in mind for speaking elsewhere, although, equally truly, now.

He pauses.

“Moreover,” he says, “when it returns, we will certainly be  inclined to embrace it and not question it. This is either designed by, or it becomes the in-effect that is used by, Power and Monied elites to further their hegemony, a shadowy hegemony, that is. Do not forget this–Power needs the darkness, shadows, like many fungi,” he says.

He recalls something that Andrei Andreyevich had said one day last week, that they were to, “remember that Donald had come along just at the time when Americans were fed up with both Democrats and Republicans,” yes, Pavel recalls then that Nikolai Nikolayevich had added that “both parties had just brought Government to a virtual halt,” yes, “both parties had just received their lowest approval ratings in a very, very, very long time,” Ivan Ivanovich had said, saying what he did in addition to what the others had said, all of them then as they are today, as they were for a few years studying together at Harvard, becoming friends there, the four of them meeting through one or another extended separations.

Pavel pauses.

“Yes,” he says to his friends in mind, simultaneously trying to read the cryptic menu chart at the counter everyone waits at to buy the highly overpriced items on sale, “the Donald seized this discontent and turned it into a more grotesque version of Change than that which Obama had stood for, which was the change of Power and Money wearing blackface,” Pavel said. “There had never been any man to occupy the Oval Office ever deeper in the pockets of the banks than Barack, and we thought Minstrel Shows were a thing of the past,” Pavel Pavlovich says. “And of course there are going to be some of you wondering how a black man qualifies as Black Face,” he says in address to anyone he could imagine objecting, as he has a set of fleeting faces passing him in montage.

Pavel Pavlovich says, “When real fascism comes to America–and I do not mean the grotesque parade of reactionary lunatics that American Marketing strategies opportunistically use to scare you into thinking the former Status Quo was alright and perhaps better, which of course it was–no one here is going to say that White Nationalists are not scary because they are. But when we say that the former Status Quo is better than Trump, what do we mean?” He asks.

“A guy being raped in prison once a month is better than him being raped once a week, is it not?” Pavel asks.

Pavel Pavlovich repeats, “So, when real fascism comes to America, it will be the Neo-liberal Globalizing Multicultural hegemony that comes to us with a renewed version of its Totalitarian Structuring as we have seen increasingly for decades now, that is, if anyone had been looking keenly enough to see. I have heard too many African American mediators and moderators on cable and off of Youtube, or on any one of any other podcast, website video or internet politicking network, say too much too many times about how we need to rethink these old laws that do not pertain to Now, of course meaning the First Amendment.”

He pauses.

“I know Charlottesville scared the hell out of us; it was meant to scare us, but even more so to make us long for the Neo-Liberal globalizers that were Ronald Regan, Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, Bush I and Bush II, as well as Obama, Hilary and anyone else from among the singularly minted political coin of American Politics, heads or tails, Democrat or Republican.”

“Yes,” Pavel Pavlovich says, “even the imbecile Trump is in this packaging because doesn’t he make some of us imagine that even Regan was better than him, even preferable, and so if a Ronald Regan wore black face and tweaked his campaign to look a little bit more like what might be liberal, we would vote for that candidate–oh wait! We did,” he says.

“That was Barack Obama,” Pavel Pavlovich adds.

“All of the former mentioned persons of political interest equally and mutually supported an American Neo-Liberal Globalization intent on bringing American Totalitarian Capitalist hegemony to all quarters of the globe. The coin flip at the Fifty Yard Line every Sunday is as much a representation of our National Politics as anything we see on TV,” he says.

Pavel Pavlovich says, “Neo-liberal is not a synonym for the Politically Scientific imbecility Americans engage when they say liberal, whether they be from among the conservative boobs or those who effetely and ineffectively say, I’m a liberal. Real multicultural democratic liberty will look nothing like the Totalitarian Capitalist masquerades we enjoy–and we do enjoy them as much as we did Obama’s grotesque minstrel show in the White (emphasis on the White) House, a man in the Oval Office who had deported more people than all other Presidents in US history combined, started more armed conflicts than Bush II, spread the drone assassination campaign to all quarters of the world, violated the sovereignty of more allies and foes than any other President would have dared. Yes, Barack, the Bankers B!$%h spent one TRILLION dollars upgrading and expanding our nuclear arsenal, making fifty years of arms talks irrelevant. He tried to broker hegemony in the Ukraine creating a fiasco he has not taken responsibility for, nor has the Press imposed it on him ‘and you do know that if Russia had tried to get into Mexico the way Obama had tried in the Ukraine, we would already be at war,” I remember Nikolai saying Pavel Pavlovich says.

Pavel Pavlovich pauses.

“But Obama is a Neo-liberal Totalitarian Capitalist Globalizer par-excellent,” Andrei Andreyevich said, Pavel Pavlovich recalls. “Trump is just an idiot–a dangerous one, but an idiot nonetheless; and as the KGB used to say, a useful idiot,” Ivan Ivanovich said, Pavel Pavlovich recalls. . . . “Only now in the cause of Neo-Liberal Totalitarian Capitalism, not Totalitarian Communism, as the KGB’s useful idiots were employed to manage,” Pavel Pavlovich adds to what he remembers.

“Don’t think we did not learn from our former foes the Soviets, all of us increasingly less and less free the further in mind and farther in time we get from the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Andrei Andreyevich said earlier in their conversations on the train begun in the waiting room of Penn Station. “Yes,” Nikolai Nikolayevich added, “With the absence of the Soviet Union in geo-politics, there is less and less incentive to manage freedom in the interests of the People,” he said. “Which is why the United States is looking more and more like a Third World country,” Ivan Ivanovich said. “An irony too many of us fail to see because for a couple of decades now I have been hearing how I should be thankful I live in America instead of Venezuela, Viet Nam, Rwanda, Burundi, or any other place the United States being the United States should never compare itself with in order to appear better,” Pavel remembers having said.

“For shame,” Pavel Pavlovich thinks. “But then more than 90% of all our media is owned by and controlled in their dissemination by only 6 corporations. Of course our media is not designed and meant–in its dissemination and by manipulation and framing of real news–to keep Power and Money in the shadows, you could only believe if you were naive, stupid or systematically under-educated.”

“Donald is too savvy about marketing and media strategies to believe that news is fake,” Pavel Pavlovich said while waiting for the train earlier. “No one savvy in marketing and the dissemination of images and text in the news is ignorant entirely of how propaganda functions,” he added. :”We are ruled by marketing and the strategies inherent from this, even if we do everything to curtail and control and limit markets,” he said.

“How can anyone’s appraisal of media in America not move too close to the press and broadcast media serving a propaganda function,” Ivan Ivanovich says.

“Advertising and Propaganda both serve one master when it comes to what is essential in mass dissemination,” Pavel Pavlovich says to himself he said. “Mass communication, Mass Media,” he concludes. “Mass society is the principle ingredient in totalitarianism,” he says.

Pavel pauses.

Pavel continues, I recall, “I do not care if Mussolini coined the term that gives rise to ours, totalitarian; Italy did not develop a totalitarian restructuring of society in the way that Russia and later the Soviet Union did or in the way Germany under the Nazis did as well. The United States is ripe for this reordering, and not only under Trump, more effectively, and within the Orwellian Prophetic paradigm, but under the Democrats and their Wall Street Hegemony. Bandy about different terms if you will, but we are becoming entirely, as we have been developing more and more greatly into a Totalitarian Capitalist Society,” Pavel Pavlovich says.

“Yes, totalitarian does not have to be authoritarian in exactly the ways Nazis Germany was, or the Soviet Union was, and in all the ways Fascist Italy was not, and in every way America can be,” Pavel Pavlovich says, said, will say as he has been saying and keeps on saying, words, words and more words, “it amazes me how much and how often Americans come out against free speech, hating it as much as it appears to me that they do, resenting it because it does not coincide with their love of determinism over free will, or their obsession with character assassination, as you see so often, the glee that the mob that the Public has become engages, abdicating their individual responsibility to We the People  . . . monstrously grotesque in how much closer they continue in becoming like their former foe, the Soviet Union, further and further from the  core defense of freedom since the collapse of the Soviet Union–Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist, for sure,” he said.

 

TWO

 

 

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Written by jvr

October 21, 2017 at 9:01 am

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on The Falling Leaf FICTION Review.

    jvr

    October 25, 2017 at 10:28 am


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