Rob : (laughs) You know it doesn't go down easy, and Romney didn't go down easy, but Obama goes down smooth when you're taking in all that Republican policy, war, and bank caretaking, and what have you.
Glen : You know, beyond war and austerity, we just came across an item from Free Press that says that Obama's FCC (you know the Federal Communications Commission, is dominated by whatever president gets to put the majority on there), that the Obama FCC is now going to resurrect the same consolidating measures that George Bush's FCC tried to push through in 2003, allowing cross ownership of newspapers and broadcast media in the top twenty markets; the whole shebang that sparked a kind of movement against consolidation that swayed the US Senate. If you remember, back in 2003, when it was the evil Bush and his evil FCC that was pushing for further consolidation of media. Well, according to Free Press, those same measures are now on the agenda for Barack Obama's FCC, and they're being just as stealthy about it as the Bush FCC was. And, I have a prediction: We won't have that kind of groundswell of resistance, because it's Obama's FCC.
Rob : And that's the big problem. We need to get that resistance going. I did a poll on OpEd News, which is left of Democrat, asking what people expected from a Lame Duck Obama if he was elected to a second term, and something like 85% of them thought he would move further to the right. What do you think?
Glen : They're absolutely correct, and it's not that Obama is just some kind of weather vane that moves whichever [way] the wind blows. Obama really is philosophically a center-right corporate politician, and we've been saying that ever since before he was elected. And you know, in the first couple of months of his regime, even the New York Times described him as center-right, and this at a time when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, when the punditry were reading obituaries over the corpse of the Republican Party, just as some of them are doing now, when there were virtually no effective pressures coming from the Right, when Social Security was still untouchable -- George Bush in his second term having tried his assault on Social Security and having suffered his worst domestic defeat of his two terms. So Obama could have done just about whatever in the hell he wanted to do, and we saw what he did. He introduced austerity as the dominant and current subject of conversation when the Republicans were in no shape to push for it. He was calling for so-called entitlement reform in two meetings with the editorial boards of the Washington Post and the New York Times in the weeks before he even took the Oath of Office. And he immediately proceeds toward establishing his hand-picked deficit reduction commission, thereby mandating that austerity would be the reigning conversation. He did all that by himself [with] no Republican pressure betraying his own core philosophy. Remember that in early 2008, as the subprime mortgage crisis started being felt outside of the black and brown ghettos and barrios, it was Barack Obama who opposed even a voluntary moratorium, much less a mandatory moratorium on foreclosures, when Hilary Clinton was backing a voluntary moratorium, whatever the hell that is, and Edwards was calling for a mandatory moratorium. So, he revealed himself as the banker's friend, as one who would block any efforts to reign in the power and privileges of the banks, back in that time, before he was even elected.
Rob : Alright, so let me take a step back, because the question I asked you two questions ago was in terms of activism and things that you're doing, or that you're working on, or seeing even, that will bring about change.
Glen : Well, despite the bad prognosis (and it is poor) for any rejuvenation of a broad Progressive movement in the United States any time soon, that does not lessen the fact that Capitalism is in deep, profound, and I believe terminal, crisis. That deterioration of the system, and you know I'm sixty three now, I never hoped -- even back in the day when I was in the Panther Party -- I really never believed that I would live to see -- actually, when I was in the Panther Party, I didn't think I would live to many years at all (laughs)-- but I never believed that I would live to see the actual fall of US imperialism as the dominant power in the world, but I think that it just may happen in my lifetime. So deep are the contradictions, so frequent are the crises, so short the time between crises in this system.
Rob : Now you're talking about Imperialism and Capitalism exchanging the words. Are they the same?
Glen : No, I'm not. I said US Imperialism. (laughs)
Rob : At first you said Capitalism is in deep crisis.
Glen : Well Capitalism is in deep crisis, but I'm not predicting the end of Capitalism in my life. But US Imperialism, as the military structure that exists today, guarding the powers that be, the Lords of Capital who are in charge today, that is on its last legs, although it's going to be a very bloody end, and there is no guarantee that all of us will survive that demise either.
Rob : And what is the threat to US Imperialism? What is eroding it, or conquering it, or causing it to be in crisis?
Glen : Because with the triumph of finance capital, as with many things in history, it's very difficult to set a date, even a year, when that was accomplished, but I think it was pretty definitive by the 1970s, we now have the rule of a class that creates nothing, that only survives by manipulating markets, a class that actually inhibits the productive growth of the world, so they can't compete. And we see these rising regional powers, specifically the Brick Nations. You know, Brazil's International Development Agency is bigger than the IMF, and that's just Brazil. And so we see these basically Capitalist powers, but not headquartered in London and New York and Paris, we see them overtaking and certainly out-competing the United States and Western Europe. And increasingly, the only weapon that they have is the weapon -- all they have is their guns- in Africa, for example. The United States doesn't even pretend that it's in a trade war with China and Brazil and India. It's basically abdicated that, after all, Wall Street -- finance capital - is not engaged in trade. It's engaged in manipulation of currencies, and directing US militaries to use other means to block the peaceful growth of trade among nations. So in Africa, we see the US basically abandoning much of the economic sphere to these rising regional powers that I've just mentioned, but at the same time strengthening AFRICOMs penetration of African militaries as well as the actual US presence of militaries in Africa. And I think that that's the way we're going to see this play out in general in the world over the coming years. I'm not even going to project in times of decades, because the decline is so rapid. And this means that we're going constantly to have military kinds of crises that scare the hell out of us, but the general picture of US shrinking Soft Power will increase in pace.
Rob : "The shrinking of American Soft Power." Now, you know, last year I interviewed Joseph Nye who wrote the book on Soft Power. He's now editor of the Trilateral Commission. I don't think I'd have gotten him as a guest once he was Trilateral Commission editor. So, you see US Soft Power shrinking eh? Because it seems to me that it is. And that is why?
Glen : Yeah, yeah. Well, because it's economic power is shrinking, and that ultimately is the Soft Power. Even in terms of what the United States is trying to project as its moral authority, and that is its military intervention cloak on Imperialism - even though it's not a member of the International Criminal Court, the ICC actually is its creature - even that kind of what they would purport as Soft Power, is actually just a front for US military power. So we see that, ultimately, all this moralizing and humanitarian talk that masquerades as Soft Power and persuasion has to be backed up by the power of NATO, as with the murderous assault on Libya.
Rob : Let's get back to Capitalism. Now you say "Capitalism is in crisis." Let's talk about that. How is Capitalism in crisis?
Glen : Well, we can see that the lords of capital, Wall Street, the alternative economy that they have created, actually has an existence disconnected from the real economy. And we can see that most starkly in the very existence of derivatives, whose notional value -- and it's difficult to measure, because they come into being, and then they go out of existence, and pop up elsewhere -- but the notional value of derivatives is usually set around six hundred trillion dollars. The world gross planetary product is only ninety trillion dollars. So we have this alternative economy that only the biggest finance Capitalists can play in, which is seven, eight, nine times as large as the actual economy of the world. It hangs over us like a "Sword of Damocles." It certainly cannot be leveraging six hundred trillion dollars of notional values on a world economy that is only a very small fraction of that. And it inevitably is going to collapse.