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Manhattan Transfer enero 26, 2010

Posted by Lodovico Settembrini in El Reino de este Mundo.

Material para Maese Manolo, para quien los arcanos de la política yankee no ofrecen dificultad alguna.

Consider our peculiar political situation at the end of this first decade of the new century. An African-American Democrat is elected President, following the collapse of the two great symbols of postwar prosperity, Detroit and Wall Street. Seizing on the erosion of public trust in élite institutions, the C.E.O. of World Wrestling Entertainment, Linda McMahon, announces her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, touting her opposition to a federal banking bailout whose principal beneficiaries include many of her neighbors in Greenwich, Connecticut. Another pro-wrestling eminence, the former Minnesota governor Jesse (the Body) Ventura, begins hosting a new television show called “Conspiracy Theory,” evincing a distrust in government so deep that it equates environmental crusaders with the Bilderbergs. A multimillionaire pornographer, Larry Flynt, is moved to branch out from his regular perch as an enemy of moral hypocrisy with an expanded sense of purpose, lamenting the takeover of Washington by “Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich,” in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, and calling for an unspecified form of national strike inspired by Shays’s Rebellion. And an obscure state senator who once posed naked for Cosmopolitan emerges, after driving a pickup truck around Massachusetts, as a leading contender to unseat the aforementioned President. American history is dotted with moments like this, when, as the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz says, “panic and vitriol come to the fore,” occasioning a temporary realignment of political interests. Flynt cited Franklin Roosevelt’s use of the phrase “economic royalists,” which was itself an echo of the moneyed interests targeted by Andrew Jackson, who earned the nickname King Mob after his Inauguration, in 1829, brought hordes of precursors of the Hustler subscribers and WrestleMania fans of our time to the White House lawn. Jackson’s staunch opposition to the Second Bank of the United States set a precedent for generations of Wall Street resentment to come. Between the demise of the Whig Party and the consolidation of the modern Republican Party, under Lincoln, there came a nativist movement of Know Nothings, as they called themselves—or “the Lou Dobbs party,” as Michael Kazin, the author of “The Populist Persuasion,” now says. Marx and Engels had just published their manifesto, and German immigrants were suspected of importing Socialist ideas. The new waves of Irish Catholics couldn’t be trusted, either: who was to say they wouldn’t take their orders from the Pope instead of the President? Gilded Age excesses gave rise to a new People’s Party, a movement of Southern and Western farmers and miners united in opposition to railroad speculators, and the panic of 1893 accelerated their cause. By 1896, William Jennings Bryan was addressing the Democratic Convention with his famous critique of “the idle holders of idle capital.” (The convention, held in Chicago, loosed “a wild, raging, irresistible mob which nothing can turn from its abominable foolishness,” as the Times put it.) “That basic kind of vocabulary, against the monarchy and the aristocracy, has informed every conceivable American dissident group in one way or another,” Wilentz says. “Lyndon LaRouche does that whole Queen of England thing. He’s still fighting the American Revolution.” The Tea Party movement, identified by some commentators as the first right-wing street-protest movement of our time, may be a reflection of how far populist sentiment has drifted away from the political left in the decades since the New Deal. “The original Populists were the ones who came up with the income tax,” Charles Postel, the author of “The Populist Vision,” said recently. “They were for the nationalization of everything. Their idea of a model institution was the Post Office.” Bryan believed that the “right to coin money and issue money is a function of the government,” and railed, most memorably, against the “cross of gold.” Yet few ideas stir the Tea Party faithful more than a fear of creeping nationalization and the dangers—both moral and practical—associated with printing money to suit momentary needs. The sponsors of Glenn Beck’s nightly history lessons on the depredations of American progressivism frequently include purveyors of gold.

Lo que se mueve detrás de las crumbling certainties caras al mediopelo. Después no digan que no avisé: a correr a conseguir las dos trilogías de John Dos Passos.

La excelente nota, completa acá.



1. Manhattan Transfer II « La Cola del Diablo - marzo 1, 2010

[…] del momento en la política de la zona del mundo recorrida por el Paralelo 42. Al igual que una edición anterior de este boletín, nos limitamos a pegar el link a la nota del New York Review of Books. El tono de esta pieza es un […]


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