American pundits are missing the bigger point about the Republican shutdown of the U.S. government and the GOP’s threatened default on America’s credit. The real question is not what policy concessions the Tea Partiers may extract, but rather can a determined right-wing white minority ensure continuation of white supremacy in the United States?
Today there is a New Confederacy, an insurgent political force that has
captured the Republican Party and is taking up where the Old Confederacy
left off in its efforts to bring down the federal government.
The most apt historical precedent for today's marauder Republicans is
the old Confederacy, where the provocateurs are not merely intent on
stopping federal governance, but withdrawing from it or sabotaging it if
they can't get their way. Today's Tea Party darlings like Texas Sen.
Ted Cruz and the House right-wingers driving the federal shutdown are
cut from the same disunionist cloth as the old Southerners who fomented secession and the Civil War.
The reason why the Civil War was declared finished, according to the
history books, is the military defeat of the South and its secessionist
forces. But can anyone seriously doubt that the same anti-Union spirit
is still to be heard loud and clear in the halls of the U.S. Congress
The government shutdown only formalises the dysfunction that has been
hurting ordinary Americans for decades. It is not a political shutdown
but a social breakdown. Fixing it requires a reassessment of value – and