[lbo-talk] Krugman: The Road to Romneycare

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 28 06:54:57 PDT 2011

Wojtek wrote:

> I think the main reason is that capitalism as a system has never been
> seriously challenged from below in the US, or at least to the degree it
> had been in Europe

Phrases like "seriously challenged" and "or at least to the degree" leave a lot of wiggle room for subjective interpretation and evaluation. The upshot is that no matter what, any serious social movement in the United States will perform poorly in your eyes compared to an idealized European counterpart. Nevermind that W.E.B. DuBois considered radical reconstruction in the Southern states to be a form of dictatorship of the proletariat. Nevermind that while industrial workers in the United States in 1934 were leading militant mass strikes, the National Socialists in Germany were eradicating every last vestige of the German workers movement.

> Ideological hegemony that pro-business views, values and attitudes
> achieved in the US since its emergence as an independent nation.

Meh. Probably true 40+ years ago, during the golden age of the Fordist post-war boom. Definitely not true today. The pervasiveness of neo-liberal ideology in European universities, European media outlets, European parliaments, etc. is undeniable to anyone not living in a bubble. And I don't just mean the "hegemons", I also mean among the "subalterns".

> Weakness of the working class due to its internal divisions by racial,
> ethnic, religious, and geographical (North/South, urban country-side)
> identities

Right, because working class racism and religious divisions are entirely localized in the United States, and not in places like, say, Northern Ireland.

> instead of representing the working class as a whole (as aptly observed > by Robert Fitch in "Solidarity for Sale").

Right, like the valiant Social Democracies in Europe that voted for the First World War, or murdered Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

> Politics of patronage (aka political party machines) that coopted
> elements of the working class by tying them to business interests in
> certain jurisdictions.

Because of course IG Metall functionaries do not sit on the boards of major corporations.

Hey, how about that SPD member Peter Hartz, whose name is lent to a package of laws representing the most brutal onslaught against the European welfare state you still insist on idealizing?

> The availability of 'free" land that provided real or imaginary
> opportunity for "realizing the American dream" - which dampened labor
> militancy.

There probably is some truth to this, and also applies to other European settler states like Canada, Australian, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.

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