A brief comment in the midst of the overflowing analysis of the US midterm elections. Sadly (maybe not!) the cynics among have been proven right after the ‘Change we can’ election of 2008: things seem to be even more fucked up in 2010. However, opinion is divided over whether it is more of the same, with poor working class voters systematically excluded from election processes while two parties of managers,owners and professionals fight it out – so an insightful analyis from Richard Seymour at Lenin’s Tomb. Similarly, but from a more specifically economic angle, Rick Wolf identifies a long-term from the 1970s in which things have been very, very good for the small group of owners of capital while wages have flatlined since then. (That confirms my own anecdotal experience of the USA as a country comprised of islands of extreme privilege surrounded by an ocean of systemic poverty, backed up by Ken Surin’s analysis of the US as a third world country that ‘succeeded’.) But both analyses suggest another possibility, namely the politics of decline. Deep down, the gut sense seems to be that the everyday situation is progressively, slowly, inexorably getting worse for most people. So you get Obama back in 2008 capturing a desire to recover a fading dream, the Tea Party seeking to recover ‘America for Americans’ and so on. A backward-looking utopia is also deeply reactionary. Not only do they clearly indicate a sense that the Golden Age is past (however contructed it might be), but their persistent failure and bitter disappointment is also part of the package.

Actually, I’m suprised someone hasn’t decided to blame the Soviet Union. Not for secretly implanting Obama in the White House, but for getting itself dismantled. Those were the good old days, two superpowers threatening each other, the USA the leader of the West etc etc. Damn the fucking USSR: now they are gone, the US has lost its way.

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