The statues weep salt as they topple. The barbarians are at the gates, but they’re inside the walls. The rivers run raw and jet black, the sky is burning bright and red, and the sparks dance minuet. Bombast and burst and crackle. The rockets stream white and black striped across the heavens. It is the end. It is the beginning. At the end of the game, the toys go back into the box. The pilgrims say a prayer for Absalom and prepare to depart. The beams shudder and crack under a weight they cannot bear. The stone is fracturing, dust spurts from open wounds. It is heaving, it is coughing bloody, faces are coated with limestone ash. A golden bull is melting.
Into the night goes a single spark, a torch passed to a distant and unknown future, given out of a single and solitary hope, the hope of man sitting alone in the wee hours of the night since time immemorial. The hope of not being forgotten. The hope of not being alone. The phoenix rising from a man who is sick but healthy.
The year is 1917. The year is 1956. Here is what the power elite did. The system of Capitalism 1.0, like all systems, had within itself the seeds of its own destruction, a set of internal contradictions that would destroy it and lead to the construction of a new system. The operation of unrestricted markets must produce a competitor which is more able than the others and which therefore comes to dominate the others, creating a monopoly. In this manner, competitive capitalism passes into monopoly capitalism. A monopoly no longer produces blindly for a market, but attempts to predict the entire social demand of a product. To this end, it must gather information and manage its response.
The ruling elite that was constructed as a response to this new form of capitalism was an amalgamation of different power bases. You had the powers of the military, the powers of corporations, and the powers of the old rich. These powers were bound, horizontally, through shared cultural connections and institutions, such as schools, universities, and social events. By this, they are bound into a single managerial elite for the whole empire with a shared class consciousness wrapped up in maintaining it. Above the managerial elite is an upper class of “rich kids” corresponding to these, the “smart kids”.
The “rich kid” strata, the upper class, is also a horizontal, bound by similar means. And they control their own operations of “smart kids”, which they move and deploy throughout the machine to contest various points of control and sources of power. The upper class strata is so small and concentrated that one node reaches to more or less every other node, allowing them to personally connect to all power within the empire. Each of these upper class families constitutes an organization similar in structure to a crime family. While younger families might be run by the house head, more commonly they are run by a chancellor serving the family’s interests. The organization is hub-and-spoke, with every upper class person as a hub connecting to the other hubs. Resources and capabilities flow up from their controlled verticals while protection and access flow downwards.
The endless subdivision of shares and ownership allows for increasingly small stakes to control corporations, because the wider pool of mass ownership is unable to meaningfully organize itself to contest anything, and the smaller the divisions, the more a single motivated stake can control a corporation’s formal sources of ownership authority.
This is one vertical. The other vertical is the NGO-political machine, discussed in Maw of the Machine. Upper middle class kids run each of these verticals for the benefit of their hub. In this manner, you have a variety of internal factions competing over hard power. Rather than weakening the system, this strengthens it, as iron sharpens iron, as power nodes become captured by the most ruthless operators. An operator can be deployed to capture a NGO through seizure of the board through large donations followed by a nomination of a director, or through lawfare. In the case of a corporation, loyal elements can be pushed upwards through the chain of command, or they can be installed by buying a directorship and then appointing a loyalist.
The largest of the hubs is itself an agglomeration of hubs as well as the decentralized consciousness of the government-mind. The larger the entity, the more fragile it is. Monopolies, being the largest possible sectoral entity, are extremely fragile. At the same time, the logic of competition means that monopoly sooner or later develops – if not everywhere, then at least in one sector. This is enough to bring about the next stage of capitalist development. The monopoly is powerful but fragile, and it wants to survive. And a monopoly is incentivized to form, sooner or later, because free competition is anathema to megafortunes, therefore a megafortune reward awaits the one who can first make and preserve a monopoly. The best way to survive is to transfer its exposures and its fragility to an outside entity – the state. In this manner, a monopoly comes to meld itself with the state apparatus in order to guarantee its own survival. The banks and fund-offices which control the monopolies through their ownership shares come to develop a close and tight relationship with the state’s central bank. The state, in order to safeguard the monopoly, must grow larger. Having grown larger, it becomes more profitable for each newly formed monopoly to exert its power to capture the powerful state and use that to make profits.
In this manner, the economy comes to be centrally planned by a managerial-bureaucrats running monopolies producing for all of social demand. This system is inefficient and is dissolving under the weight of its own failings. The US watched the USSR collapse and took it for a failing of Communism vs Capitalism, when it failed to realize its own economy was taking the same managerial-bureaucratic shape and is now facing the USSR’s same issues.
The keystone of the managerial-bureaucratic planned economy is information. This is why the masters are so-called technocrats and engineers have a special role in our current Second Technocracy. The more information, and the more this information can be parsed, the less wastefully the great planned machine can run. But the planners being distant from production, the knowledge problem must always rear its ugly head, and the information can only be a narrowing of the efficiency gap, not an abolition of it. The monopolies are inefficient but necessary because the long complex chains of late capitalist products cannot be reduced to smaller production combinations, so specialized is every node.
The finance capital-central bank machine has the mechanisms of direct control, through the aforementioned share pathway. But it also has an indirect means of discipline. The C-M-C cycle is dependent on the ability to convert capital back into money back into capital. In the modern economy, this is done by lending. Large corporate loans bear debt covenants which restrict and mandate a certain course of actions, set of behaviors, and key metrics. In this way, finance capital doesn’t even need to directly own a company to control it. The economy runs on debt to convert capital back into money, and debt is controlled by the banks, and the banks need the guarantee of the central bank as a backstop.
The Green New Deal and Great Reset are intensification of this trend, by further integrating the global economy into a more cohesive unit and by bringing production planning to an even more centralized cabal of bureaucrats, not realizing the inherent fragility of this system must only exponentially increase the more integrated and centralized – larger – it becomes. To cope with the even larger efficiency losses, labor must be stripped of even more amenities, reduced to pod-living, bug-eating inputs to the capital machine.
It is not a matter of decadent elites or wickedness. The material conditions of monopoly capitalism give rise to this power structure. Indeed, the material conditions of an era give rise to the power structures of that age. The Military Revolution creates absolutism by making it impossible for fortifications to withstand a strong central power, but also forcing that strong central power to be strong because a mass gunpowder army could not be deployed by a weak state. The castle-logic is undone by gun-conscript logic. The French Revolution was a fundamental incompatibility between the forms of the Ancien Regime and the material realities of the forming industrial-capital age. And when I say forms, I do mean forms. It is a classic middle class error to mistake the forms for the essence. That is why they believe the French Revolution was the overthrow of the aristocratic families rather their ultimate strengthening. The aristocratic families became richer after the Revolution – the Revolution brings about a new social order in which their power can be operated in a manner more aligned to the material realities of the day. The essence of the class is the continued rule of these families, not the aesthetics of the Ancien Regime, not its forms.
This is also why certain strains of NRx are fundamentally revolutionary, not reactionary. The Kshatriya, as a new self-appointed nobility, are really expropriating the descendants of the Ancien Regime, not restoring them. An analysis which focuses on the battles of forms in the superstructure misses the real families (which would like to go un-expropriated), the real bonds of loyalty and mutual affinity within these circles, and the material interests they pursue. It is fundamentally the same as the liberal notion of families of choice, people bonded by the same taste in Marveloid mass culture – aesthetic bonds are superficial, and wrapping one’s self up in the clothing of the Ancien Regime will only attract the wrath of its inheritors.
There is no going back to the old forms, and that is a place where classical reaction fails. The classic reactionary fetishizes the old forms, such as the ermine cloaks and court balls and swords belted to waists. But that order was born out of older material conditions, and any attempt to resurrect it will find it destroyed by the still extant modern material conditions. You can’t restore classical feudalism by just building new castles, because gunpowder will demolish them again. The free bourgeois has no answer to monopoly-capitalism and state capture by finance capital.
That is why Trotsky rightly said the Russian Revolution was betrayed. Because the essence of “Communist Revolution” was the abolishment of class society, but the USSR became a vehicle to adapt elite rule to the new material realities of monopoly capitalist production, which allows the old elite families to preserve their rule rather than abolishing it. Lenin was not a class traitor but ultimately his class’s greatest champion.
This is the secret of Burnham’s Machiavellians. This is the secret of Lenin in the dusty volumes of collected works. This is the realization of the Duke of Wellington in his old age. Translatio Imperii. It’s not just a dusty old phrase, nor is it merely a matter of piddling legitimacy. It is the means by which old wine can take new bottles. It is the process by which Cthulhu’s long swim can be yoked to the engine of power. It is the left-hand path of reaction.
Through leftism, ensure you and yours rule for ten thousand years. The House always wins.
Can there be anything more fundamentally *conservative* than that?
The pilgrims filed out of a forgotten and untended side gate, marching in a thin, narrow line, cloaks clenched tight to their bodies. And on their tongues and nestled behind their lips was the unspoken promise of Ethiopia distant. The hills were small, the city loomed large behind. Soon enough, the hills were large and the city was shrinking. First it was a bonfire, burning bright. Then merely a flame. Then only a spark, a single ember, reaching out to the spark fleeing it, one spark listlessly, longingly trying to recover a lost child, and then it was gone. Their number was 3 and 14, the flat circle, and to Jobela they gave gold and rubies and emeralds until he was laden thick, and he went back towards the city armed with a twenty-four inch gauge. Under the canopy of an acacia, they rested, and there they broke bread and salt. They slit the throat of a goat and let the blood bleed gently into the earth. Their names were Jobela and Jobelum and they set out on their bizarre adventure.
They went south, following the Wormwood Star.
Does the world revolve around the pendulum?
Running from the skifree yeti,
Monsieur le Baron