The Double Horseshoe Theory of Class Politics

This is simply a great thought-provoking article by Michael Lind.

It explains why a lot of people flipped out when I supported Universal Basic Income

The Bellows:

“While the professional bourgeoisie, based in the public sector, universities and nonprofits, is the social base of progressivism, the social base of conservatism is the small business bourgeoisie, particularly those in this group who are native, white and suburban or exurban, as opposed to immigrants who run small businesses. Like the professional bourgeoisie, the proprietarian bourgeoisie wants to enlist the power of the state to protect its members from proletarianization.

To avoid being squeezed out of existence between big business and organized labor, the small business bourgeoisie has fought for generations on two fronts, demanding subsidies and exemptions from government regulations, while insisting on anti-union and anti-labor legislation and a reliable supply of cheap labor (preferably guest workers or illegal immigrants who cannot vote). The lobbies for the small business sector naturally oppose any “decommodifying” social insurance reforms. Examples are longer periods for unemployment insurance or universal health care, each of which can increase the bargaining power even of non-unionized workers by allowing them to hold out longer until employers are forced to make better offers.

The upper horseshoe schema explains American political factions in terms of different combinations of its elements. When the professional bourgeoisie allies itself with the Managerial Elite, you get Clinton-Obama-Biden left-neoliberalism. When the small business bourgeoisie allies itself with the Managerial Elite, you get George W. Bush-Paul Ryan-Nikki Haley right-neoliberalism.

When the professional bourgeoisie and the small business bourgeoisie unite with each other against the oligopolies and monopolies that dominate modern industry and finance and the managers who run them, you get the neo-Brandeisian, small-is-beautiful antitrust school. Their anachronistic small-producerist ideal, in which everything big has been broken up by government antitrust litigation, is an economy of small shops, artisanal craft breweries and independent doctors and lawyers.

In addition to clarifying the constituencies and goals of contemporary American political factions, the double horseshoe theory helps explains what might be called “the two reopenings” during the COVID-19 pandemic, between March 2020 and July 2020.

The protests associated with the first reopening were led during the early stages of the lockdown by conservative members of the small business bourgeoisie. Many of their undercapitalized storefront businesses, like hair salons, and restaurants, and car repair shops, were threatened or wiped out by city and state shut-down orders. The protests were dominated by petty-bourgeois business owners, and not their low-paid employees—some of whom might have been endangered by a premature return to their workplaces during the pandemic.

The initial response of the progressive professional bourgeoisie was to ridicule and denounce the right-wingers for endangering their own lives and those of others by ignoring the advice of credentialed public health experts.

Then, during the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the same progressive professional bourgeoisie concluded that systemic racism was a greater threat to public health than COVID-19, which—mirabile dictu!cannot be spread at left-wing demonstrations.

I am not the first to observe that what were initially legitimate protests against the use of excess force and racism by particular police departments have turned into a campaign for greater funding for social-services jobs and diversity officer jobs for members of the professional bourgeoisie in their twenties and thirties. …”

Antifa are the Hub City Riot Ninjas. Lind recently wrote about how they are the offspring of the professional bourgeoisie. As for the two reopenings, it has made controlling the virus seem futile given our politics, which is why I have largely given up on writing about the subject.

Tablet Mag:

“The hub cities have a radically different social structure than the heartlands. At the top are affluent members of the managerial-professional overclass, which includes well-educated immigrants as well as natives. Their incomes vary, but people with college or post-graduate educations dominate the upper rungs of corporate management, finance, business and professional services, government and the nonprofit sector in hub cities like New York, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, and Austin.

As young adults, the children of the overclass often spend their 20s in the same few cities, living in gentrified bohemian neighborhoods that used to be factory or tenement districts. Often as they work their way up the cursus honorum of their class, they benefit from elite apprenticeships in the form of unpaid or underpaid internships, which are not available to young people whose parents cannot afford to subsidize them. …

For the most part, the members of groups like Antifa, the latest incarnation of the violent left, have always been the pampered children of the white overclass. Twenty-somethings who are poor and working class lack the money to buy fancy black ninja outfits and the leisure to spend time plotting in advance of demonstrations. This is nothing new; as a veteran ’60s leftist told me, “Your Mom and Dad had to have a lot of money, for you to take part in the Summer of Love.”

This group of 20- and 30-somethings in the new urban bohemia are the constituency for the new progressive left. Children of the managerial overclass join the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and engage in purges and cancellations on Twitter and move to Brooklyn on allowances from their parents. They demand that the billionaires be soaked to pay for socialism (translation: Mom and Dad need to increase my allowance). …

Dressing up as revolutionaries like children on Halloween, the sociopathic heirs of the overclass, already living in neighborhoods from which the working class was forced out by economic privation, take part in the vandalization, looting, and burning of local businesses, many of them owned by immigrants or members of minority groups. If they get arrested, the fortunate among them can count on being bailed out after phone calls to their indulgent liberal or moderate conservative parents, who live in expensive, nearly all-white urban and suburban neighborhoods and denounce racism and fascism on their Facebook pages. ”

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12 Comments

  1. I have never seen the problem with people taking unique positions varying from a particular party orthodoxy. You can be an anti-immigrationist and proud to be white while also supporting universal healthcare and unions. Being a vegan or having a particular take on birth control or abortion doesn’t define who you are.

    Political parties represent an overall ideal with compromise on secondary issues

  2. He brings up some interesting ideas, but he’s incorrect to group rich whites in the cities with those outside of them. Whites in the suburbs, small towns, and countryside have always leaned more Republican and Trump won their votes in 2016. But whites in the suburbs are trending more Democratic now because the Republicans are getting too conservative on some of the social issues and favoring the rich a little too much. If the Republicans become more moderate and maybe tougher on immigration, they could save their party and the country at the same time.

  3. Rather interesting. Reminds me of a theoretical dispute.

    A bunch of black teens and early twenties are playing bakkaball in a suburban subdivision that requires residency permits to legally access the tennis court basketball court and pool community outdoor facilities.

    A retired working class father tells the blacks to go away as it is getting dark. The blacks claim one of their number live there. Turns out to be bullshit. Cops are called. Other neighbors arrive to discuss it. Various suburban whites join in the discussion and split in their opinion much along these lines. It could almost be a Spike Lee film.

  4. Lind is a Jew and this is nothing more than rehashed Marxist class struggle, but class struggle is a Jew thing because Jews at the top are pigs who always want more and are never satisfied. When the top is dominated by Christians there is no class struggle, there is largesse to others less fortunate. The Jews are the problem, and even if they are too blind to see it for themselves the rest of us do.

  5. The small is beautiful ideal is absolutely beautiful, and good. I see no counterargument from Lind against small businesses and use of the state to destroy big detached corporations. He just dismisses it out of hand as if this ideal hasnt been employed in large sectors in the past with success.

    If the industry is simply too massive and costly for small and medium sized businesses to fill the need, nationalize them. Simple.

    Otherwise, regulating the growth of big business and maybe even doing away with the fiction known as corporations generally is a path forward.

    There is nothing anachronistic about that ideal, and combined with immigration shutdowns, seems vastly preferable to the exploitative and culturally destructive mcdonalds and home depot on every corner garbage.

    Lind’s liberal nod to valid protests over false narratives and “racism” being a real issue undermines any complaint he may have about those industries and programs being funded to assist with eradication of these problems. Its stupid on its face.

    Also, eradicating racism is like eradicating gravity. We all know this.

  6. It’s one thing to advocate for a UBI in the ethnostate. It’s another thing entirely to advocate for a UBI that would only help prop up the Judeo-liberal regime.

  7. Tablet mag is just trying to blame White people for everything antifa and the neo-liberal ruling class does.

  8. i’m just old enough to remember the late sixties. the big difference now is the age group. today the “youth” aren’t really young. i’ve noticed a trend in that those being arrested are often late 20’s to early 40s. these are 21st century versions of peter pan and the lost boys. adults that refuse to grow up mentally. the live off their parents health insurance, often in their parents home. they still play the same video games they played as children. most are not married. those that are often don’t have children. their entire life has been dominated by virtual living. they are like animals set free from their cages for the first time.
    they have few, if any, of the responsibilities associated with being an adult. it should not come as a surprise then when their behaviour mirrors that of infants! to them this is all just a game. they have already practiced this with the cosplay and halloween costumes. that, for them, was pre-season. now they get to ‘play’ at real life. they break stuff, make a mess and just like always, somebody else picks up the pieces.

  9. “a lot of people flipped out when I supported Universal Basic Income”

    I was never a fan of Andrew Yang, but I did and do support a UBI, for many reasons. Firstly, a UBI will finally put to bed the Cold War “conservative” “capitalist” and “libertarian” brainwashing that has infected the US since the FDR era.

    That would be a sufficient reason to support UBI, but it will also force into public debate the reality of the financial system and the creation of money to enrich the oligarch class.

    Right now, conservatives, who are the dumbest political actors, actually believe that the taxes taken out of their paychecks are then deposited into the bank accounts of poor black people. It’s a way to scam poor and middle class whites in the exact same what that poor and middle class blacks are scammed by the “racism” and “BLM” nonsense..

    “Capitalism” isn’t a force of nature, nor is it an ancient “Free Market” system, it’s a modern social construct based on control of monetary systems and “usury.”

    If you try to justify capitalism by talking about two shop owners selling their wares – congrats, you’re a dupe of Cold War propaganda (from both sides.)

    It’s 2020, the USSR hasn’t been relevant for nearly 50 years.

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