The Conflict Between Cities & the Feudal System

The blessed western world is already practically bombing. The civil unrest that began just over a week ago with a single incident – excessive police brutality in Minneapolis, ignited not only the United States, but it also spread to Europe.

In agreement with the idea of protesting “black lives matter”, some police officers in Sweden have dropped to their knees. Although the local prosecutor’s office has started an investigation, the very fact of mass demonstrations by the Swedish is remarkable.

Especially in light of events in Britain, where local rebels stormed the country’s Prime Minister’s residence. And that’s despite his public statement that “Floyd’s death was appalling and unforgivable”.

In the United States itself, 140 out of 273 cities with a population of more than 100,000 people are already affected by riots. Including all the million-strong cities, state capitals, and Washington itself. On June 1st there was a moment when even Donald Trump was hiding in a bunker due to the real threat of protesters invading the White House, and 60 police officers and Secret Service agents were injured while defending the country’s main federal building.

The owner of the Oval Office threatened to “deploy troops”, but after the Pentagon refused to support his idea, several came back. He demanded that governors use the National Guard more decisively. However, in some places, including the capital, separate army units are already being used to ensure the safety of firefighters. As for the National Guard, it, together with the police, starts to fall to its knees en masse in front of the rebels as a sign of agreement with their position.

You might ask: why? The authorities recognised the inadmissibility of the incident. Police officer Derek Chauvin has been taken into custody and charged with the murder of African-American George Floyd. Three other cops are involved in the case. They will all stand trial. The unacceptable level of police violence is about a dozen and a half such incidents for about 70 million detentions per year.

And most importantly, not only black people are involved in riots, fighting, looting, and mass acts of vandalism. Everyone, including white people, protests no less. And that’s where the most interesting thing starts. What is happening today in the United States, and starting to happen in Europe, is not at all an outpouring of popular anger for an unresolved racial problem. And it is not a revolution against the system of capitalism that has fallen into a deep crisis. Everything is much simpler and more interesting.

The absolute majority of current US citizens have nothing to do with racism. According to the 2010 census, from the 300 million people in the country, 1% are “indigenous” (Aleuts, Indians, and Eskimos), 4.8% are from Asia, 12.6% are black, 72.4% are white, and 2.9% are mestizo.

Slavery in the United States was abolished on February 1st 1865 judicially and in the second half of the 1970s in fact. Although Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution only on February 19th 2013, in reality there has been no real problem for more than half a century.

From America’s 223.5 million white people, nearly 120 million were either born many decades later or emigrated from other countries altogether, so had no relation at all to the American history of slavery. The same goes for 80% of the 38.9 million blacks in the United States.

Judging by the current mass scale of non-white presence in the police, army, intelligence agencies, in the highest positions in politics and business, there is no real reason to consider that there is a problem with racism in the United States. To whoever is interested – ask about the race of former President Barack Obama and people like Michael Jordan (personal wealth 1.31 billion), Will Smith (2.5 billion), Oprah Winfrey (3 billion), Mike Adenuga (6.1 billion) or the founder of the cable TV channel Black Entertainment Television (BET), Robert Johnson.

Then why all? Because for decades since the 1970s flaunting the racial problem has been a convenient tool for personal and political struggle. A tradition has developed, through the efforts of some cunning guys, now taken as a convenient banner of protest to achieve a simple and understandable goal – the destruction of the institutional basis of the state system. All over the western world, but above all in the United States.

The fuel for protests has been accumulating for a long time and not in the racial plane at all. The problem arose from the progressive destruction of the foundation of the American democratic system – the middle class. In the mid-1990s, 74% of America’s population confidently belonged to it. It declined from 2000 to 2014 from 60 to 41%. Today in many cities of the country it has fallen to 37%, and in some cases to 6%.

Just as the “sheep ate the men” in England at the time, so in the modern Western economy large corporations are gradually winning competition from small businesses. Only a small, about 2%, share of middle-class people managed to grow to the top league and establish themselves there. Another 44% have become relatively impoverished. The rest, almost 60%, have become very poor, having completely fallen into ordinary employees. And up to 20% – to the level of poverty. Over the past 30 years, the poverty rate in the United States has risen from 11 to 41%.

These aren’t just boring numbers. During the period of dominance of the middle class, it formed and retained the lion’s share of the total profits of the aggregate economic system, which it spent in it. Thereby creating jobs and financing a promising rolling process that confirmed the advantage of the American Dream, according to which anyone could rise from nothing to a very well-off life via their labour, education, and talents.

Every percentage increase in the share of corporations actually resulted in the withdrawal of profits from turnover and its storage “somewhere out there”. Most often – in offshores, in which the first hundred leading corporations in America alone hold an amount comparable to half of the US GDP in 2019.

Socio-economic degradation has increased significantly since 2014. This is facilitated by the final exhaustion of free markets available for continued expansion and America’s loss of dominance in industrial production. Including defeat in the trade competition with China, the share of which in world industrial production is already 3 times higher than America’s by total volume of sales.

Thus, over the past decade, an increasing number of people have seen a downward trend and felt a lack of prospects for themselves. Especially the younger generation, even paying dearly for education, still ends up with no place except at the McDonalds checkout or as a cheap warehouse worker at Amazon.

The problem was exacerbated by two things. Increasingly clear confirmation that the state does not protect the entire society, but only large corporations, and of the total expansion of attempts to buy off the budget through social programs, money for which was taken out of nowhere.

Theoretically — from taxes. But as scandals increased, such as Amazon’s failure to pay a dime from its billions of profits to the treasury, there was a feeling that the printing press was covering everything. This isn’t without reason, because from 2008 to the present, the Federal Reserve has printed about $8 trillion, and by the end of this year, it will add at least $5 trillion more.

For reference, the GDP of the US in 2006 was $13.8 trillion. After that, should we be surprised at the rapid growth of popularity abroad of “socialist”-radical ideas, most clearly embodied in the “Green New Deal” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

Just a little remained before the launch of the synergistic effect in the form of the launch of a mass protest of a significant part of society against the state, already as an institution that finally broke down.

The first missing step was made by the neocons, who started to actively destroy the foundations of social (conceptual, moral, ethical, systemic, legal – all sorts) foundations in an attempt to first keep Trump out of the White House, and then to somehow dig him out of there. Without shunning forgeries, treachery, high treason, and direct slander densely mixed with hysteria.

They also prepared the second step, which finally brought American society to a seditious deadlock. Having frankly failed three strategic attacks to seize control of key points of the federal government system (the CIA, other law enforcement agencies, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the FBI, the Army, and the Senate), these guys shifted the focus of their efforts to maximise the emphasis on the independence of territories from the centre, by intensifying overt sabotage of Donald Trump’s administrative decisions at the government level of individual states.

As a result, the deep state has developed suitable conditions for an attempt to collapse the very institution of the state as a conceptual system in general. The deep state is the owners of big money, including the multinational corporations.

The current situation is very similar to the revolt of cities against the system of feudal relations that started around the 10th-11th centuries AD. When some cities (and there were quite a lot of them) grew to a significant level of concentration of human and, most importantly, industrial resources, which allowed them to carry out their own trade, the income from which they no longer wanted to share with the feudal lords. And they were already able, if necessary, to put ‘in the field’ an army that was superior in number and combat capability not only to the brigades of local feudal lords, but also to the king.

It remained only to achieve public recognition of the official status of extraterritoriality – to legally exist in addition to (!) feudal political and economic relations, including with the right to mint their own coin and to independently establish the rules of the game. And they achieved it. As an example of success, it is possible to read the history of the Hanseatic League, the Commune de Laonnais, or the Republic of Venice.

Now the same thing is happening in the United States, only multinational corporations are in the role of medieval cities. But the essence of the process remains unchanged. The new “cities” of multinational corporations are fighting for the right to be officially considered equal in public rights and territorial status with the state as an institution, except that they are largely network-centric due to successfully conducted offshoring. At least in the political and economic space of the western world.

For them to win, it is critical to destroy the state’s monopoly on the supremacy of power in mass public representation. To do this, the state must publicly admit its systemic and organisational impotence in solving national and general social issues. First of all, in providing conditions for a normal, safe, and secure life.

The incident in Minneapolis just happened to be in the right place at the right time. A white savagely killed a defenceless black, who systematically used drugs, and in the past had been condemned five times, including for robbery — he put a gun to the stomach of a pregnant white woman. That the reality there is very much different – for example, that George Floyd died much later, already in the hospital, and not from the effects of strangulation, but from an officially proven heart attack – now does not concern anyone.

For the crowd storming Boris Johnson’s residence, he generally remained just a recognisable brand, legitimising the protest itself, as such. The revolt evolved into a protest of “outraged honest citizens” against the inhumane and rotten state system – a system that should be completely crushed – as such a long time ago.

Moreover, they are almost not interested in the answer to the question “What should replace it?”. So far it is difficult for the crowd to think organically. Vandalising, robbing, asserting yourself against anyone who comes to hand, destroying everything that can’t be dragged away — it is much easier, more convenient, and more accessible for understanding.

Whether the state institute will be able to resist or descendants will read in history books about the 2020s as a period of the corporate revolution (by analogy with the feudal, bourgeois, or socialist ones) now depends on Trump and the abilities of the group of the American ruling elite that he represents and personifies.

So far the situation balances at a point of unstable equilibrium. But Trump is gradually losing control over it. The revolt is spreading to all states. Half of them refuse to use the National Guard. The army refused to help the President restore order. At least at the level of the Pentagon.

Although just two days ago, the President of the United States weightily referred to the right, according to the “Insurrection Law” of 1807, to use infantry, tanks, and paratroopers against rioters. However, today he explains why he changed his mind about sending troops.

Although he started the withdrawal of army troops from neighbouring territories. In particular, until September of this year, 9,5000 of the 34,500 American military contingent stationed there should return home from Germany. Probably, in order to accumulate forces for decisive actions to stabilise the government before the election.

But it does not yet mean a convincing victory for corporations. They have considerable resources and serious influence. However, at the same time, they are forced to act covertly. In addition, they also do not have a sole General Staff commanding and clearly managing the protest. This leaves the official authorities a fairly serious chance of success.

Another question is that this is all a huge and complex game, where the parties make both strong moves and mistakes. Now we are only seeing its debut, the limit of moves of which has not yet been chosen. So long-term estimates will have to wait. But we can already say for sure that this is a new reincarnation of the conflict between cities and the feudal system.

Aleksandr Zapolskis

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