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Anatomy of a Coup Redux: America’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

“Will Donald Trump be assassinated, ousted in a coup, or just impeached?” – The Spectator

“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? It’s been a while, and I think it’s time” – Johnny Depp

“I’ve thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” – Madonna

“I hope Trump is assassinated” – Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal

 

While its many covert actions aimed at altering or replacing foreign governments have been amply documented, names like Abe Lincoln and JFK serve to remind us that the US also has a long tradition of regime change at home. The last Republican president to substantially challenge the doctrine of global ‘free trade’ was William McKinley, and things didn’t work out so well for him either. Are we about to see history repeat?

From Kathy Griffin holding up a decapitated effigy of the presidential coconut in a controversial tweet, to the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar featuring a Trump-like rendering of the tragic Roman Emperor, the very public calls for the removal of the 45th POTUS by violent means are really quite astonishing. Of course in the land of the free such gestures are readily dismissed as expressions of ‘art’ and ‘free speech’, and not as incitement to murder. Are the American glitterati completely off their meds? At least we can rest easy knowing that – with the exception of one Democratic lawmaker – these calls have not come directly from the halls of power. Or have they? Perhaps before drawing any premature conclusions we should reflect on how power operates in a liberal society, particularly one such as the United States.

Liberalism is a totalitarian ideology which permeates not just western politics, but culture, music, art, and film. It is an ideology which since the fall of communism has ruled the public arena unopposed. This lack of pluralism is not just unhealthy from an intellectual standpoint, but a danger to democracy itself.

In Western countries, particularly Europe and the United States, the cold war period was characterised by ideological differences, and by a breed of capitalism which, despite its usual nasty habits, tended to have a positive impact on the lives of ordinary people. This was largely due to socialist and communist aligned labour movements contributing to a dynamic and robust political discourse. Since the symbolic end of the Cold War however, these socialist characteristics have been systematically stripped away, gradually replaced by environmentalism and identity politics. The social safety net has been dismantled; protections for ordinary citizens have fallen by the way. In place of a generally compassionate society with an upwardly mobile middle class, we now find record levels of mass incarceration and police brutality, and all manner of war being waged against the poor, the unemployed, the homeless, the disabled, the indigenous, refugees and the elderly. Not to mention the neo-colonial War on Terror, the very quintessence of class war.

“Who does not know that the question of the liberation of the colonies is essentially a question of the liberation of the laboring masses of the non-proletarian classes from the oppression and exploitation of finance capital?” – Joseph Stalin, 1924

Absent any countervailing narrative, we have entered what some scholars have termed a ‘post-ideological’ era, the End of History if you will, in which all the levers and mechanisms which propel society now work for and on behalf of capital. Thus Western media has become a propaganda tool for the rich, along with cinema and pop music, education and philosophy.

It seems no matter how many times we see the words oligarchy and plutocracy, we still have it set in our minds that ‘government’ is the ultimate seat of power. It’s tedious to have to repeat over and over that our politicians are just the brazen hussies of the global ruling elite; the one percent which includes not just the familiar big banks, weapons manufacturers, big oil, big pharma, agribusiness, and corporate giants like Amazon and Google, but also a massive nouveau bureaucracy of Hollywood royalty, sporting celebrities, and pop stars. The idea is best articulated by Frankie Boyle:

“Not only will America go into your country and kill all your people, but what’s worse I think is they’ll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad.”

The point here is that when Johnny Depp and Madonna call for Trump’s assassination, they promulgate a meme which you better believe originates from the highest ranks of the social order.

So what has the super-callous-fragile-racist-sexist-nazi-potus done to justify such extreme rhetoric? Has he not acquiesced to the political establishment by approving sanctions against North Korea, Russia and Iran? Was deploying the THAAD missile system into South Korea over China’s objections not enough to stand him in good stead with the Washington war hawks? Did lobbing 59 tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base not earn him the respect of the generals? Has his ‘tough talk’ on Venezuela been insufficient to appease the boards of Exxon Mobil and Chevron, Goldman Sachs and JPMC?

While the corporate press paints a picture of an ineffective and chaotic presidency, Trump has in fact achieved quite a lot in a short period when compared to previous administrations, fulfilling much of his ambitious policy agenda in his first six months of office. He’s had a record breaking 43 face to face meetings and 102 phone calls with foreign heads of state. He’s cancelled the TPP and forced the G-20 to reconsider its opposition to protectionism and temper its support for free trade. He’s literally ordered the Saudis to cease their support for takfiri terrorists in Syria, and terminated the CIA program which armed and coordinated so-called moderate rebels.

Looking at the larger picture, these decisions seem to reflect a strategic retreat from the much more aggressive economic and foreign policies of his predecessors. Leave it to a six-times-bankrupt billionaire businessman to know how to assess risk. With the neocons and the AIPAC lobby leading a frantic war whoop which can only push the world closer toward a disastrous confrontation between nuclear superpowers, and an internal economy collapsing under the weight of financial globalisation and de-industrialisation, strategic withdrawal makes good sense.

Alas the career politicians and associated elements of finance and industry which effectively govern the United States have not been quiet in their displeasure. Last week saw a mass walk-out of CEOs from Trump’s manufacturing council including Brian Krzanich (Intel), Elon Musk (Tesla), Kenneth C. Frazier (Merck), Kevin Plank (Under Armour) and Bob Iger (Disney), and Travis Kalanick (former Uber). Clearly these captains of industry have little interest in making America great again. Having worked so hard to export jobs, what is the point of bringing them back home, only to drive labour costs up and share prices down?

Trump’s inner circle have also come under heavy artillery fire, with key advisor Steve tax-the-rich Bannon the latest in a long line of recently departed senior staff. With Bannon, Priebus and Flynn now out of the picture, and Trump himself only six votes away from impeachment, many are speculating that he could be forced to resign, or simply call it quits. Failing this, there is still the ‘magic bullet’ option. Will the president who promised no more regime change now find himself on the receiving end of US interventionism? Are the events of Charlottesville a prelude to a Maidan style coup?

“I have an impression they practiced in Kiev and are ready to organize a Maidan in Washington, just to not let Trump take office”– Vladimir Putin, January 2017

For all his bloviating narcissism, Trump clearly has designs which put him very much at odds with the political establishment. Make no mistake, the man is demonstrably a racist, a bigot, a sexist and arguably a fascist, but as Luciana Bohne correctly points out, “they need an INTERNATIONAL fascist, not a stupid, parochial, provincial national one.” And so he will be neutered, or removed, and US imperium will continue its ceaseless march toward its own inevitable collapse.

As far as modern tragedies go, I would have probably chosen Death of a Salesman over Julius Caesar, and where historical parallels are concerned, perhaps a more accurate comparison could be made to the lesser known Romulus Augustus, who ruled Rome from 31 October AD 475 until 4 September AD 476. A diminutive figure who would earn the nickname ‘Augustulus’, meaning ‘little Augustus”, he was widely ridiculed and seen by many as a usurper due to his father’s half-German, half-Roman extraction. Throughout his brief 10 month rule many patricians questioned his legitimacy and authority, choosing to remain loyal to the exiled Emperor Julius Nepos. His short career is generally considered to mark the fall of the ancient Roman Empire.

20 comments

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  1. David Bruce

    What sort of world are we living in, when people openly call for the assassination of a “democratically” elected POTUS? If I didn’t know this was all planned and published nearly 300 years ago in the “Protocols”, I would think the world has passed the point of no return. The main parts of the “Protocols” were achieved by 1976, so now we are seeing the true colours of the deep State and the zionists who pretend to be muslims, christians or judaists. I wonder how long before this madness appears in Australia with similar calls to delete our political representatives too?

  2. Roswell

    A well-written, and thought-provoking article, Sean.

  3. Corinne

    David Bruce

    Are you for real? Are you seriously responding to material analysis with immaterial theories? If you’re genuinely wondering why nothing changes and why people resort to fantasizing about offing leaders, you’re own comment is evidence of the lack of education about our reality and class consciousness that would solve these problems.

  4. FightClubber

    super-callous-fragile-racist-sexist-nazi-potus

    This is so good, I’m gonna nick it!

    Well said

  5. Ill fares the land

    The perverse irony, perhaps even a delicious irony, is that the call for the assassination of the most dangerous Western leader in recent decades, is that his election as POTUS and the public calls for his assassination from air-headed celebrities are both a product of the world we have all played a part in creating – arguably since Woodstock, although perhaps that is a bridge too far. Nevertheless, Woodstock seems to be the high point for the cultural and social revolution that made it de rigeur to eschew the greater good in favour of “bein’ an individooal man”.

    That selfishness, allied with an inability to look inside ourselves (in fact there is no place now for introspection in a world where everyone needs to be seen as an extrovert), meant that our selfishness was focused not on a genuine sense of self, but a manufactured sense, derived from “things outside ourselves”. Once marketers realised that this made us even more susceptible to devious advertising that played to our insecurities, we were, to put it mildly, toast. We now focus exclusively on how we appear to the rest of the world and infuse that insecurity with the delusion that the world is looking at us, so we madly accumulate “stuff”.

    Combine that selfishness with the rampant growth of neo-liberalism and out of that primordial cultural ooze comes people like Trump. And out of it also comes this adulation of “celebrities” and their every utterance, so people like Depp, deluded as they are about their importance and their intellect, think it is clever to issue threats of assassination. It’s not obvious to me how they are any different to Trump.

    We created the conditions that enabled such people to rise to positions of power, despite that they are simply reprehensible in every way (but then, a by-product of neo-liberalism is the growth of a class that think like Trump and look to the Trumps for their guidance and their cultural benchmarks). Trump is totally like Wally Carr – an utterly vile individual back in the 1980’s who had a moderately successful TV talk show. He would fill the audience with stupid rednecks (not like him – he was a more astute redneck – awful yes, but inflated by the adulation his absurd followers gave him). He would then invite guests on to his show to be interviewed. Generally, they were, for the most part, lambs to the slaughter – they were fodder to be ridiculed and pilloried by Carr and his crazed audience. This is Trump. His neediness compels him to surround himself with cronies, a**-kissers and sycophants, who submit to his “power” and inflate his pathetic ego and he talks their “language” – as happens with the equally repulsive Hanson. That was the sole purpose behind his rant in Arizona – Trump knows only his supporters listen to him and blindly accept his ravings as “fact”.

  6. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    jfk was assinated because he printed up $5bill in treasury dollars rather than fed reserve money to pay off national debt thereby challeging fed reserve power and decision making. that five billion was never circulated. he was kilked before it was. treasury dollars are called ‘greebacks’. thats where that word comes from.
    lincoln was assinated because he was set to cancel the contract of the then central bank – the union bank – after the civil war.

    jackson was assassinated because he wanted a bi carmel monetry system where treasurary and central bank both issued currency.

    all who have opposed the monopololy power of the existing privately operated central bank have been assassinated.
    the current banking cartel that runs the fed reserve control the imf and world bank via the usa veto on the decision making of those two organisations. the fed reserve cartel is largely old european money. most banks on the fed reserve are or were originally subsidiaries of european banks – of rothschilds etc- except maybe jp morgan. the usa veto is exercised by the delegate appointed by the president of the usa. if the president does not exercise the veto in ways that favour the fed reseve cartel by, for instance, prohibiting country to country loans or any other loan that does not set up a fed reserv bank as the lender, that president will be cut down to size. ukraine borrowed $8 bill in a country to country loan from russia which used its national sovereign fund. since the cia inserted their puppet in kiev the imf veto has been exercised by obama to declare that the loan from russia to ukraine was invalid so ukraine does not need to repay it. now the banks on the fed reserve provide the loans to ukraine and russia has been defrauded of $8 bill.

    the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are now establishing their own world development bank to escape the clutches and control of the corrupt world bank, imf and the usa fed reserve bank cartel.

  7. diannaart

    A very interesting and thought provoking article, Sean.

    Am pressed for time ATM, therefore keeping this brief.

    I believe Trump is as much a part of the plutocracy as Murdoch. In fact, Trump is very much a part of the swamp he claims to be clearing.

  8. Kronomex

    I don’t see The Donald being assassinated. Impeachment is a possibility but his increasing insanity and unhinged behaviour may be what gets him removed from office. Then the Americans will have to put up with a religious loony as his replacement.

  9. diannaart

    Indeed. Kronomex. Like pulling out couch grass – there’s always more to take its place.

  10. Phil

    Very interesting indeed. Trump seems to be everything that people claim him to be despite that being impossible in reality. Game of Thrones has absolutely nothing to offer compared to the games in the White House.

  11. Aortic

    Bring out your dead indeed.

  12. lawrencewinder

    A nice analysis of insanity.

  13. ceridwen66

    I’ve always enjoyed your insightful, wonderfully written articles, and have on occasion cited you in assessments. You are an incredibly relevant wordsmith, and I thank you for continuing to provide important, thought provoking and courageous essays.

    This analysis is one of my favourites,

    “It’s tedious to have to repeat over and over that our politicians are just the brazen hussies of the global ruling elite; the one percent which includes not just the familiar big banks, weapons manufacturers, big oil, big pharma, agribusiness, and corporate giants like Amazon and Google, but also a massive nouveau bureaucracy of Hollywood royalty, sporting celebrities, and pop stars”.

    Bravo for your constant hammering against the toxic, corrupt filthy system

  14. Mark Needham

    The powerfull, will never be brought to justice.

    To even think it possible, is delusional.

    Deluded,
    Mark Needham

  15. @RosemaryJ36

    Mark: have you perhaps overlooked the French Revolution?

  16. John Lord

    Thought provoking piece. Thanks.

  17. Kaye Lee

    That skit from Kathy Griffin was appalling but I found the reaction to the staging of Julius Caesar surprising. It is a political play about authoritarianism, populism, manipulation of public opinion, loyalty, betrayal, patriotism and personal power. Caesar is the good guy in the play and the message is that political violence is the wrong way to go. In 2012 they did a version which featured black actors in both the Caesar and Brutus roles, in a DC-esque Rome “rocked by Occupy Rome protests”, an obvious Obama reference.

    But in a country where everyone owns a gun, even Shakespeare must be careful. Did Sarah Palin’s map with crosshairs and tweeting “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD,” about the healthcare reform bill contribute to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords?

    And I have to agree….

    super-callous-fragile-racist-sexist-nazi-potus is very clever. 🙂

  18. Sean Stinson

    Your reading is more nuanced and something I should probably have considered – would have made for a good point. My take on Trump as Julius Casear was that Roman sentaors plotted and assasinated him.

  19. Kyran

    Having forgotten much of the detail in “Death of a Salesman”, your article took on a different complexion after reading the Wiki for it. Oddly, Trump’s persona fits the worst aspects of most of the characters. For what it’s worth, “Catcher in the Rye” (disenfranchisement of the young) and “The Grapes of Wrath” (disenfranchisement of ‘labour’ when competing with ‘capital’) are equally note-worthy.

    “It’s tedious to have to repeat over and over that our politicians are just the brazen hussies of the global ruling elite;”

    Removing the Trump personality leaves the office he holds as the only constant through so many generations. All to the same effect. The office, rather than its occupant, seems designed to protect the global ruling elite.
    As others have noted, a thought provoking read.
    “super-callous-fragile-racist-sexist-nazi-potus”
    As others have noted, brilliant.
    It’s such a pity that the chickens have come home to roost but were well and truly plucked along their journey.
    Thank you Mr Stinson and commenters. Take care

  20. randalstella

    Overbearing by transparent deceptions, a Putin shill warps debate and disables truth.
    He gets acclaim for it. This is a lot more deplorable. It turns an odious oddity into a legitimised player.
    His applauders don’t know toxic danger when it is looking right at them. They would drink from the last poisoned waterhole and abuse those who warn them.
    Willy Loman was desperate to be a moral individual. That was a modern tragedy.
    This however is a pretender’s farce, with truth its deliberate victim.

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