Once upon a time a real novelist wrote 1984, giving humanity an Orwellian view of post-WW2 politics. By the time 1984 arrived in our Gregorian calendar, the Democratic Party had completely collapsed, with Mondale/Ferraro winning only 13 electoral votes (Minnesota & DC); to 525 for Republican incumbents Reagan/Bush. No one ever mentioned Walter Mondale or Geraldine Ferraro again.
In 1980, Democratic incumbent President Jimmy Carter was routed by Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush, sweeping anti-working class conservatism into the 1980’s. Ronald Reagan began as a Hollywood B-movie actor (mostly westerns), who is clichéd & tiresome in every performance– and there were far too many. No one watches his movies anymore, and very few ever did in the first place.
Anti-communism was Democratic President Harry Truman’s post-war doctrine, a pivot from FDR’s alliance with the Soviet Union. Containment became rollback, and Ronald Reagan & John Wayne were the Hollywood faces of this ideology. Actors suspected of socialism were blacklisted by Hollywood & the music industry in NY, LA & Nashville. If you wanted back in, you had to go to both their mansions and kiss their rings while pleading for mercy. It wasn’t pretty for those who did. Many talented blacklisted actors left Hollywood, or committed suicide. It was an ideological war back then, and it remains that way today. Inane performers write silly songs longing for these good old days to return…
In the 1980’s, Paul Voelker and the Federal Reserve were in step with Reagan/Bush, jacking up interest rates to 20% and bankrupting huge swathes of American industry. They were “fighting inflation” they claimed. Farmers lost their farms, auto plants shut down in Detroit/Flint, steel manufacturing left Pittsburgh & the Ohio valley, etc. This was a capitalist era of de-industrialization by exploiting modern globalization to pit one nations’ work force against another in a race to the bottom in terms of wages & working conditions.
By the 1980’s, China’s super-cheap & ultra-exploited work force in capitalist-allowed zones produced record profits for auto manufacturers, electronics, the fashion industry, etc. For example, a small shoe company Nike, became an industry giant and made a fortune off the toils of Chinese workers when Air Jordan took off.
Capitalist rule was consolidated during & after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Chinese workers were (still are) organized under a brutal Maoist bureaucracy (mirroring Stalinism) which super-exploits the vast majority who must work. The corporate mantra is: US workers need to catch up to the Chinese to be more ‘competitive’. Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk have been working on this, and are hailed as entrepreneurs & visionaries in the fake press.
Reagan/Bush triumphing in November 1980, mirrored Margret Thatcher becoming the UK Prime Minister in May 1979. In this era of modern globalization, where technology had advanced to the point where computers were beginning to become mainstream, global production & distribution made a qualitative leap. By the mid-1980’s, computers were being introduced in schools, universities, public libraries, etc. This replaced typewriters, card catalogs, cash registers, paper appointment books, etc.
The modem was being introduced, meaning a user had to attach a touch-tone phone’s receiver & microphone ends to suction cups in order to send & receive data. It was slow & unreliable. A few years later, Microsoft’s Windows95, AOL, and the Mac came into existence. The information superhighway & Napster succumbed to iTunes, MySpace & Fakebook. It all started with Pong, Star Wars & Space Invaders.
China’s ruling bureaucracy reunited with capitalism when Richard Nixon formally recognized them as a nation at the UN. Before this, the official US policy on China since 1949 had been that China didn’t exist. This denial of the elephant in the room was part of the ruling establishment’s virulent anti-communist campaign.
In popular music, the Weavers were blacklisted because Pete Seeger was a socialist. Red Scare anti-communist campaigns, red-baiting of anti-war protesters, blacklisting artists, HUAC, etc, were tenets of good government in Washington, New York, Hollywood & Langley back in the day. Nothing’s really changed with those institutions, who maintain their 20th-century backwardness into the 21st century. Today, American politics is a two-sided bitcoin with Democrats/Republicans. When they flip it in cyberspace, it’s heads they win, tails you lose.
Richard Nixon’s China recognition strategy outflanked the liberal hippies, and got him easily re-elected in 1972. It should be noted that this is when the DSA came into modern existence, organizing around Michael Harrington, a supporter of US imperialism. Despite all the so-called ‘left-wing’ hype, populist Democrat George McGovern never had a chance– Electoral College results: Nixon 520, McGovern 17 (Massachusetts & DC). For the record, Rolling Stone magazine was all-in on the McGovern 1972 campaign. In fact, it established the publication as a major cultural & political influencer, a status it maintains up to the present.
In 1972, Hunter Thompson wrote whacked-out essays for Rolling Stone that were presented as “Gonzo counter-culture” in the mainstream. DSA supporters would pontificate on them from the fake left. Jan Wenner, Dave Marsh, Robert Fricke, etc, never had talent, but they became rock stars in their own minds. In reality they were/are misinformation influencers. Rolling Stone magazine is still a major industry player, even though no one reads it anymore. They control the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, by deciding who gets in, and when. Once your act has that union card, it’s cha-ching when you tour. Every music act covets that.
Rolling Stone magazine’s coverage of the George McGovern presidential campaign influenced a generation of writers, actors, musicians, etc, in the same way William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, etc, influenced the beatnik/psychedelic generation before them. Rolling Stone was the first monthly publication dedicated to recognizing artistry in popular rock music & such, and in that sense it was progressive. It had sexy images, and it’s critical reviews were (are?) considered classic rock gospel. To dispute them critically & publicly is considered heresy within the industry.
Music & television became forever degraded when American Idol (2002-2016) became the industry Death Star. This is American entertainment after the stolen election of 2000, and post-9/11– the era of ‘war on terror’ propaganda. The Masked Singer is perhaps the nadir culmination of all this. Oh look– it’s Sarah Palin… it’s Rudy Giuliani… it’s Adolph Hitler! Who knew they could be so foppish & lovable in costume?
If Simon Cowell disapproves, you’re out forever. That is the modern incarnation of a music industry gatekeeper. Industry power players must look good on TV. This is where the mafia goombas who control the music business need pretty faces & squeaky-clean front men. It’s kinda been like ever since MTV came along.
To illustrate how censorship works in the online age, “Atheist Psalm” is now labeled ‘explicit’ by all the streaming services even though there are no swears in it. It used to be one swear got you banned, then they relaxed that so the Steve Miller Band’s “Jet Airliner” can be played on classic rock radio without having to be patched with funky kicks. Now you’re allowed a swear or two, if it isn’t too explicit [?!]. Multiple swears are explicit. Got that? It’s “Pay To Play” it’s always been that way, so “Obvious.” Indie artists can’t compete in the capitalist market with the industry’s “Millennial Whoop” machine.
Getting back to our political fairy tale, those in Generation X have been bombarded all their lives with state propaganda which declares the Democratic Party is progressive in its liberalism and pro-worker in its unionism. In turn, there is nothing to the political left of the Greens & DSA. Of course, the trade unions from the AFL-CIO, to the UAW, Teamsters, AFT, etc, are entirely staffed with corporate-oriented bureaucrats, backed by organized crime, and infiltrated by agents of the state, who sell out the rank-and-file. This enforced arrangement ensures those who faithfully pay their dues every paycheck always get fucked.
In this information age, where the internet can change everything in a hurry, the ruling classes of all nations, and the US most acutely, are preparing for all-out war on their working populations. Police and paramilitary groups such as the MAGA’s who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 are Nazi shock troops charged with terrorizing workers and keeping them in line. The Coronavirus War has raised fascism as the bourgeois political order of the day to be carried out. The rest is just hot air and only adds to global warming, misinformation & the criminal conspiracy against the international working class & youth.
Perhaps the biggest myth is to promote the Democrats in November as the only practical political solution to oppose fascism. The Democrats have been funding & supporting MAGA Republicans in their primaries, calculating they’ll be easier to defeat in November. This strategy of betraying the will (& donations) of ordinary Democrat voters, to give a microphone & platform to right-wing filth, is contemptible. That is their response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. No consideration is given to promoting left-wing policies within the Democratic Party. That is a fiction Joe Biden is having a difficult time maintaining.
For instance, a wildcat railroad workers strike could really mess up the Democrats in the midterms. Democrats funding pro-Trump candidates in Republican primaries is a warning to workers– don’t trust the Democrats! Workers must be vigilant and organize rank-and-file committees to take control of their workplaces. Once the Democrats lose the illusion of union control, all they have for a political base are a bunch of useless upper-middle class philistines & bureaucrats. A wildcat railroad strike could kill the Democrats and they know it. That would end their fairy tale.