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War-gaming the counter-revolution

I hadn’t seen this before I wrote a piece for Crikey today on the return of Pauline Hanson but it illustrates the general point. We’re only a few months into an Obama administration and the recession hasn’t even properly hit yet but they’re already talking on prime time about militias rising up to take back America. It’s gonna get really bad.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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  1. It seems to me that this kind of apocalyptic speculation is very American (and as an aside, it’s reflected in a lot of American literature, such as the discussion we had Jeff re Cormac McCarthy), partly because America is already a society in significant social decay (just travel around the poorer areas of the US to see what I mean). But there’s some terrible truth underlying this wild right-wing speculations, which is that the U.S. is a terribly fractured society, and that any significant change (towards the left or right) would spark social conflict at a level no one’s ever seen. The analogy to the French revolution doesn’t seem to me to be out of place. Which is scary. But it’s all futuristic speculation at the moment. Isn’t it… ? :)

  2. Well, as Glenn Greenwald said in Salon, it’s just bizarre how the people who declared any opposition to Bush’s Patriot act to be tantamount to treason are now openly talking of the need for an armed uprising.
    Mind you, a lot of this is classical projection, I think.
    And yes, it’s speculation. There’s not going to be a militia-led insurgency. But there easily could be right-wing terrorism.

  3. Media Matters has a good summary of the lunacy in the US. http://mediamatters.org/columns/200902230016

    In terms of speed and efficiency, the right-wing collection of bloggers, AM talkers, pundits, and yes, newspaper cartoonists, may have set a new land speed record for becoming collectively unhinged, as they wail and moan about how the new Democratic president’s turning America into a fascist state, or communist, or socialist, or whatever other bugaboo claim Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham are tossing out to viewers and listeners on a daily basis.

    Barack Obama is “arrogant,” “dishonest,” and “radical,” Fox News’ Sean Hannity announced during a single 10-second chunk of prime-time TV last week — a casually hateful appraisal that didn’t even raise eyebrows, simply because that kind of blanketed disdain for the new president has already become so commonplace.

    Rush Limbaugh’s original anti-Obama proclamation at the outset of his presidency — “I hope he fails” — already seems benign in retrospect. Since Inauguration Day we’ve learned Obama has “Marxist tendencies” and is “addicting this country to heroin — the heroin that is government slavery” (Glenn Beck). That, “there are eerie, eerie similarities” between Obama and Nazis” (Michael Savage’s guest host, Chris Stigall). And of course, Limbaugh himself famously bemoaned that “[w]e are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles … because his father was black.”

    Meanwhile, last week widely read right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin was seen smiling while getting her picture taken with an Obama hater who proudly brandished a swastika placard at an anti-Obama rally in Denver. And the following day, Rupert Murdoch’s far-right New York Post published a grotesque cartoon that seemed to associate Obama with a bullet-ridden monkey who’d been shot by two white cops on a city sidewalk.

    If we just pause and take one or two steps back from the daily/hourly barrage of hate, it’s obvious that faced with the new Obama presidency, the Republican Noise Machine has already lost all perspective — has gone totally loco — and it’s only February, a mere month into Obama’s first four years in office. Who dares to even imagine where the right-wing “conversation” goes from here?

    Recaptcha = ‘Speak Moses’

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