Politics 101: Welcome to Amerika, Last Bastion of Communism

Pyongyang, North Korea: City without cars…

If it seems unbelievable at first, that the bastion of Capitalism is really not much different from Communism, then consider the following: freedom is illusory and our lives are largely programmed. Most American cities have been reduced to hulking shells of their former selves, vast and brooding, devoid of any life, or not much, anyway. The fact that this is by and large a civilicide sui generis accomplished by volunteer transmigration to suburbs and gated communities is irrelevant in my humble opinion. Suicide is no better than homicide.

The typical American city resembles nothing so much as the typical Communist city, with broad avenues and pompous statues, monuments to nothing so much as collective national ego. There are few if any people in the parks, few if any tacos on the streets. You can see this today in many a leftover satellite of the USSR like Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as easily as you can see it in many a leftover satellite of the USA like Shreveport, Alabama (yeah, I know; I’m making a point).

Outskirts of town: Welcome to America

Outskirts of town: Welcome to America

In both cases, Capitalist and Communist, it’s all about control and submission—mind and body—that and Bigness, i.e. size, magnitude, grandiosity, pretentiousness, as if size implied value. In both cases the constipated sulking heaps of rigor-mortified cities are chiefly characterized by large empty spaces and a dearth of people. In this case Corporatism and Communism are not mere philosophical abstractions, but in fact quite concrete: 10-15% cement, 60-75% aggregate, and 15-20% water.

In the case of the former USSR the people would have been hidden away in large bureaucratic offices, of course, while in the case of the former USA they would have been hidden away in large corporate offices. The main difference is that the former Soviets were sour surly and filled with vodka and propaganda, while Americans are fat sassy and filled with beer, chips, pizza, Pepsi, fried chicken, burgers, donuts and propaganda. Is that a significant difference? Maybe…

The Big Myth of course is that ‘they’re jealous of our freedoms’, but what freedoms are those? We Americans can’t do anything without governmental permission or corporate admission, not even so much as grow a tomato plant in the front yard for fear of offending public sensibilities. You can hardly hire a maid without filling out forms in triplicate and submitting to city, county, state, and federal government, all of the above. You can say that’s all for the public good, and that well may be, but it’s not absolute freedom. You can’t work in your home except under strict limits and limitations. And don’t even think about ‘going off the grid’.

Houston, Texas USA: City of cars

Houston, Texas USA: City of cars

Most importantly we tend to do what we’re programmed to do—that and little more, only the bare minimum, doing this or that job, buying this or that product. Fortunately things are changing. Uber and Air BnB are examples of a new democracy, a new free enterprise, like taco trucks and fruit vendors in McArthur Park, bringing their little bit of Mexican street life into downtown LA, something we long ago forgot, like the homeless people camped out in downtown parks reminding us that housing is expensive and boarding houses don’t exist anymore and not many people could build their own house even if they had a place to put it…

So why do we officially demand this corporatism, these concrete nightmares, this illusion of perfection, this illusion of abstraction, the American dream, the American nightmare, the necessity of success at all costs or death by the cross? Isn’t life itself enough by itself, the simple act of living and dying, farting and f*cking, breathing and coughing, loving and lying?

We castigated the Commies and we castigate the jihadis for their gratuitous violence and brutal behavior, but are we really any different? We slaughter people of color like so many jackals and coyotes stealing chickens and eggs, leave them lying in the street and begging for aid, and all we can offer is forgiveness, we standing there laughing and smiling and singing sweet serenades, hand in hand with the lay of the land, wearing smells from laboratories, and grinning like Cheshires under the influence of catnip, imagine ourselves in bed with starlets on broad ways with palm trees below and holly trees up the hill…

Bottom line: American cities are dead or dying, though there is a minor trend in the opposite direction, toward revitalization. This is good, but a long ways from America from its headlong slide into complacent stultified suburbanized nothingness. And you can’t legislate urban renewal. Some things are organic and spontaneous. Communism is not; neither is advanced capitalism. We should change that, before it’s too late. We could start by not zoning poor people into the street.  Add life and season to taste.