The above is a nice quote, but after recent events, it's a little harder to believe than otherwise. Just a week ago, the course of history seemed to have been set inexorably away from its course circa November 8, 2016. Especially after the failure of the GOP's Obamacare replacement bill in late March, Trump was in many ways a lame duck president with approval ratings in the mid-30's, and the establishment Democrats were amid a similar state.
In this environment, Bernie Sanders and his agenda's supporters were truly starting to break through the staggering institutional obstacles set in front of them. Sanders himself had recently become the most popular politician in the country, though that's beside the point; he had been shifting in and slightly out of that position for the last year or so, but only now had his supporters been making the right moves themselves to get their agenda enacted. Thanks to both the unprecedented popularity of single payer health care (even among Republicans) and the social media-greased operation among so many of its advocates to pressure officials to adopt their position on health care, "Berniecare" was rising amid the ruins of Trumpcare and the disappointment of Obamacare as a viable solution. Add that to recent accomplishments such as the Berniecrats' takeover of a significant fraction of the country's state and local Democratic parties in a matter of the last few months, and we were very much starting to look like the real ones in charge.
But as we know, the powerful will never willingly give up their control. As I reported in my last article, following the chemical attack on a Syrian town which was supposedly blamed on Bashar al Assad, followed by a reckless and in the opinion of many unconstitutional Syrian missile strike from President Trump, the political landscape has suddenly turned back in the favor of the neo-fascists and the neoliberal Democrats-who are newly united in their mutual support for the insane war that's been set off. And worst of all, the majority of Americans are playing into the hands of these Orwellian manufacturers of perpetual war, because while Trump's approval ratings have barely gone up, 57% of Americans are backing Trump's Syrian air strike.
Meanwhile, we're as close to war with Russia as top Democrats' calling for Tulsi Gabbard to resign from Congress because she questioned the "Assad did it" narrative is close to members of Congress being actually threatened or removed from their positions for going against the president's wishes. Assuming this escalates to where we all know the fanatics fully intend to take it, the political revolution's best days are at first glance behind it. Well, I'm going to illustrate why if you think the fight is over now, you've succumbed to the famous "end of history" illusion.
Let's look at this more closely: while the parallels between now and the start of the Iraq War are numerous (and complete with the staggeringly disingenuous misinformation from The New York Times), things are not anywhere near as bad as they were in those days. Firstly, the American people seem to have gotten a lot wiser since then. The poll showing 57% support the airstrikes also says most don't want the conflict to escalate, with a glorious 82% being opposed to sending ground troops to Syria. The country would likely not be anywhere near as wary of military involvement were this before the long, hard lesson of the Iraq War. They wouldn't be so staunchly averse to corporatist policies were this before the 2008 Wall Street financial smash-and-grab. And they wouldn't be so disgusted with the Democratic Party were this before the Democrats' blowing their post-2008 election opportunity to bring about the New New Deal.
But as I said, public sentiment has looked this way for quite some time now. What's making the difference is that for the first time, enough people among this majority are actually stepping up to affect change.
And as one looks at the opportunities-and perils-this movement is likely to face next, it's easy to see why I'm optimistic about its chances. No longer are we constrained, as was the case this time last year, by a rigged-from-the-start game of vote and delegate counts set to expire on a certain day a couple of months from now. This non-presidential (for now) version of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign operates fluidly and without deadlines, and even if it comes up short in the official tally of victories because the oligarchy has set too many obstacles in front of it, it has the potential to ultimately take control of the political situation simply by popularizing the perception that it's won.
Indeed, even as unexpectedly successful but coming-from-way-behind Berniecrat James Thompson experienced an eight-point defeat in today's Kansas congressional election, the actions of other political revolutionaries are very much making it up for his loss. Thanks to the virtually leaderless efforts from supporters of Medicare for all to pressure their representatives into getting behind the H.R 676 health care bill, 99 Democratic House members are now opposing it compared to 120 a few weeks ago. And Berniecrats have today gotten members of their own into the highest ranks of the Wyoming Democratic Party, chalking up yet another gain in the mission to make the Democratic presidential primaries un-riggable in time for 2020.
Of course, 2020 is probably the earliest date we can expect the current madness to end. And despite the appearance of this article so far, I'm not exactly going to promise some shiny, easily walk-able path to systemic repair that will appear in front of us from now till then. The top-down power players here have a clear endgame, and while I'm not saying they'll reach, it, here's how it will be if they do.
To make the obligatory 1984 analogy, the scenario described in the 1949 novel is very much an accelerated version of what's actually happened since the end of World War II. Global society's road to virtually complete tyranny begins in the book with the detonation of many atomic bombs throughout the planet, which gives an opening for a group of utopian revolutionaries to persuade all the world's governments into handing them control.
What follows is a series of mass killings-off of unwanted individuals, which ultimately include every leader of the revolution save one (possibly metaphorical) person named Big Brother. By the mid-1960's, all reminders of past eras have been systemically erased from even the day-to-day landscapes, the flow of information and the texts of history books have been modified in total to fit the preferences of the state, and a technology has been developed that allows the thoughts of potential dissidents to be monitored should any further executions be necessary.
Real events have unfolded not too much differently. Immediately after the war ended, the business and government interests who stood to benefit from further conflicts planned out a new order to expand the U.S.' military dominance throughout much of the global south, creating the dynamic of the American "world policeman" and spawning an era where by 1984, the country had indeed been perpetually at war for the last several decades.
Thus in terms of foreign policy, the U.S. had drifted towards an oligarchy of sorts by the late 1960's, to be followed by a similar coup within the economic systems of most major countries ten years later. Since then, particularly in the last sixteen years, the paradigm of endless war has entered into a self-reinforcing feedback loop of invasions, power vacuums and jihadist takeovers, true economic security has become a privilege for not even most in the top 1%, and surveillance upon the citizenry has become as far-reaching as technologically possible while being sold with truly Orwellian linguistic packaging such as that of the "Patriot" Act.
The Trump era represents an opportunity for this takeover to be extended maximally. The Trump team's relationship with the Democratic Party elite and Deep State fascists is, at least not since the former did the Syria strike, one of partnership rather than combat. They are now working together, directly or not, to make both the left and the right coalesce around their plan for uncompromised rule. The operation of these real-life totalitarian revolutionaries is already starting with the tactics mentioned so far, and they'll be followed with pressures to get behind the president and be "patriotic," an incremental elimination of the already conditional constitutional liberties, and finally the establishment of a society where virtually all facts are malleable by the state, virtually all communications are monitored with the full intent of punishing dissidents, and resistance is thus next to impossible.
Don't think it can happen? Good for you-you're not one to assume the worst awaits us if we fail at any certain task. But as we continue our duties to this movement, we'll need to keep in mind that the forces we're up against are proven by history to have intentions far worse than they ever appear to be harboring. Which, of course, is just as important as remembering no matter how bad the clamp down gets, our fate will be decided not by poll results, new repressive policies, or the launch of war efforts, but by whether the small facet of the populous who will always oppose the regime steps up and takes action.