Insurgencies: 1968 and 2016

Historians will draw parallels between two years of US political insurgencies: 1968 and 2016. I was a witness to 1968 in Europe: the Paris Uprising that delivered nothing as De Gaulle used it to boost the Right. In the US it was the year Robert Kennedy was assassinated (funny no one bothers about conspiracy theories on that) and this took away politically savvy leadership of the Left. The Left duly lost its political mind, had a riotous Democratic Convention in Chicago (yes the whole world was watching and American voters didn’t like it at all), and President Nixon was elected (and it was only close because George Wallace the racist took 15% of the vote), and so started 40 years of rightward march towards inequality, only stalled in 2008, from a Gini Index of 35 to 45 today.

The Left meanwhile forgot about economics, haven’t had an original economics idea in decades, and ignored the real world of jobs and deployed the massive threat of sulky post modernism and culturism as its strategic response.

2016 will probably be known as the year of two insurgencies: one extreme reactionary and one faux revolutionary. They will change nothing. Trump will win the Presidency and the GOP will simply carry on plutocrating, making abortion illegal, deporting immigrants and business as usual, Wall Street will wobble and then realize the rich are still in control with one of them in the White House. With a few wars thrown after “deal making theater” from Trump in for the defense pork. All dressed up Nixon did as populist in “silent majority” garb. Fascism finally arrived in America wrapped in the flag holding a check book and a cross. Whether it’s 40 years of reaction, who knows.

And Bernie will have split the Democratic progressive opposition, as happened in 1968 and cost the election and objectively (whatever his subjective desires) delivered this. Mainly it is his “disciples” who have the “Messiah” complex; but I see signs the Ralph Nader virus is even getting to the otherwise decent Bernie, whose biggest real job has been Mayor of Burlington in a quiet year. Unlike Robert Kennedy (who had the Cuban Missile Crisis under his belt) he’s not used to this sort of pressure or power potential, I guess.

And historians may well repeat Karl ‘s comment Marx from the 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon on these two years: “History repeats itself. The first time it’s tragedy. The second time farce.”

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict History, Conflict Processes, Economic Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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