America today feels like the last days of the Soviet Union

Umair Haque (previously) writes about how the last days of the Soviet Union were filled with "forced apathy" (an inability to care about what was going on because just surviving took everything you had) and "self-referentialism" (an obsession with domestic affairs to the exclusion of everything else going on elsewhere in the world)>

Haque also remembers those days for the "one party rule" and notes that while the US is dominated by a single party (one that cheated its way into control over the presidency, the Senate, the Supreme Court and many state governments), it is technically a two-party system, but any Democrat who offers real progressive policies is marginalized and backstabbed by the Democratic establishment.

Other similarities include "power seeking" or structural corruption (think of the establishment's refusal to enact popular programs like universal health care or network neutrality) and the silencing of dissenting voices and the lack of a real public discourse on the failings of capitalism and the ways that other countries solve their problems.

Friends across the world often ask me: "why don't Americans do more to fix their crumbling society?" They're aghast, astonished. I tell them the reality of American life: Americans would, if they could, but they can't, mostly. Apathy is forced on them by a predatory kind of capitalism that forces them to live something like poor people in a rich country. Breadlines — insulin lines — what's the difference, really? Americans are forced into being apathetic, weary, drained of energy and ideas and time, by a fatally broken political economy which makes them more and more of them live at the edge of ruin, more and more so every day — but that forced apathy, my friends, is the kind of trap that has led societies throughout history to collapse, whether the USSR or Rome.

What happens if you do try to change the system, though? Well — how exactly are you going to do it? The second way American collapse resembles Soviet collapse is through one party rule. I mean this in a subtle way. It's true that one party controls most of America's government — and its society, too — and that party has imploded into the kind of extremism that makes dictators proud. Still, think about the opposition for a moment. What do you notice? They don't oppose.

(How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse [Umair Haque/Eudaimonia and Co]

(via Naked Capitalism)