In an interesting interview, Afshin Rattansi spoke with William Robinson, author of The Global Police State. They discussed how capitalism's crises have fuelled the rise of the global police state. The drastic inequality and poverty that has become a theme of modern capitalism which necessitates the global police state. Also, whether there is class warfare on the poor and the growing industry of militarism and oppression.
As Robinson points out:
The global police state has been on full display in the United States in the uprising that took place in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. But the largest story here, of course, is the mega cities of the world. Not just the hot war zones such as in the middle east.
The mega cities of the world are now the theaters for this global police state. And it's where these inequalities are so incredibly acute. And so all of the panoply of what i'm referring to as global police state is unleashed in these mega cities. And I keep on wanting to emphasize here that part of that is to hold down the mass of humanity from questioning this system.
As we wrote back in 2014, when the arms industry will fully automate the new weapons, private armies will only serve as assistance to fully automated war machines. We already see the test fields of the weapons of future˙ the drones in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
It's not accidental that the arms industries demonstrate new weapons designed to be used inside urban areas for suppression of potential riots. There will be no "outside enemy" in the future. The threat for the dominant system will come from the interior, the big urban centers. Soldier-robots will protect worker-robots and resources.
|The first dimension of the global police state is this repressive element. The second is simply that it's enormously profitable to invest in wars and repression and so forth. The third dimension is this threat of what I refer to as 21st century fascism. But the confusion here, is that's just like the extreme far right wing - these far right-wing neo-fascist parties in Europe, or Modi in India, or Trump in the United States. On the contrary, these repressive systems and the investment in them is Democratic and Republican in the United States. It's completely bipartisan. The liberal elites have been deeply invested in global police state.
In short, the liberal elites are now activating a global authoritarian system in full mode for profit and also in an effort to maintain the neoliberal order.
As David Harvey pointed out in one of his most recent interviews:
When the neoliberal ethic was first being proposed, it was very much being proposed to the generation of 68 and saying to that generation, 'Look, you want individual liberty and freedom. OK, we'll give it to you in this neoliberal form, which is a very political, economic form, and you have to forget other issues, like social justice and the like.' So, it seeped its way into the discourse of much of the Left and this creates a sort of tolerance for some neoliberal practices.
It seems that the time has come for neoliberalism to take back individual liberties and freedoms too through this global police state. And this is a necessary transition in order to maintain power because its narratives have been exposed as completely fraudulent. People, and especially young generations, are losing faith on neoliberal orthodoxy because the reality they experience is completely different of what they expected under free-market capitalism.
The time has come for neoliberalism to expose its true nature as a kind of refined fascism.
The mess we witness globally, especially in the extensively neoliberalized economies of the West, is not due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has just exposed an extremely unstable form of capitalism a little bit more.
At this critical moment, we witnessing a weak attempt from the real global Left to revive and form a serious power. These first attempts are evident through grassroots movements and some level of political action.
Yet, the liberal elites have to deal also with another problem.
As we wrote recently, both Donald Trump and Boris Johnson represent the capitalist faction which senses an existential threat from the globalized capital represented politically by the neoliberal center. Inside the capitalist civil war, both Trump and Johnson are essentially the tools of a tough bargain between capitalists. Capitalists around Trump and Johnson are using these phoney fascists to sabotage, for example some international treaties, like NAFTA, which are critical for the complete domination of the globalized capital. They present these actions as a "patriotic" stance to lure conservative voters who are angry and feel that globalization is the key cause for the loss of jobs.
In this triple conflict the liberal elites have to deal with the potential Leftist threat and with the far right. The far right sees the Left as the greatest threat and at the same time has to fight the liberal elites on behalf of the capitalist faction it represents. The real left has to deal with both the liberal elites and the far right.
In this increasingly chaotic situation the real Left is, for now, in the most disadvantageous position. First, because the grassroots movements are poorly organized and not aligned globally. Second, because the real Left has no serious financial support as it is not connected with any capitalist interests. Third, because both the liberal elites and the far right (as representatives of the capitalist factions), are seeing the real Left as the primary threat which must be dealt at all costs.
Obviously, only the real Left represents the interests of the majority through proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. The other two are fighting to maintain, or gain more privileges for the capitalist class they represent. They are only manipulating people in an effort to secure political power.
It remains to be seen whether the real Left will manage to become strong enough in order to seriously challenge the neoliberal and the far-right monsters across the globe.