Death of a Salesman

In a scripted display of official grief and mourning the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the introduction of the 8 hour day, the bourgeoisie, small, big, bigger, and biggest, lined up like…. well, they lined up like the bourgeoisie at a free meal, for a chance to network, globally, at the bier of that empty-headed lout, that spokesman for 20 Muleteam Borax, General Electric, and death-squad capitalism, Ronald Reagan.

The current administration, realizing that riding the coattails of dead man was preferable to presenting a live candidate, mugged for the cameras and hugged the casket for all it was worth, which, given the current condition of the national treasury, isn’t all that much. The current empty-headed lout, the chief occupant of SUV 1, illegitimate offspring that he is, love child of a drunken coupling, a swapping of former presidents and former presidents’ wives, is the legitimate heir to the ignorance, the vicious venality, the torture of language, bodies, and souls so essential to today’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob capitalism.

And so they filed by; current and former officers of government, industry, foundations, institutions, domestic and foreign (with some notable exceptions– those not requiring a rollover of debt from the IMF, those too drunk, or like the guest of honor, those already dead); checking themselves and the cameras, for just the right profile for just the right photo opportunity– thinking one and all and almost out loud, if only we could prop the old geezer up and get a shot with his arms around us.

This is what all bourgeois politics becomes, an exercise in reverse resuscitation– those still ambulatory convinced that by placing their lips against the stone cold mouth of a corpse, the stiff might blow some life into them. It was a parade of dead men walking; a zombie jamboree.

Grief, mourning, sadness — the bourgeoisie regret nothing but the loss of market position. Nostalgia is their remedy, where fondness for the past is the program for today. Reagan in his mortification is the embodiment of that truth. So it’s the very immiseration of society the bourgeoisie uphold as progress. It’s the absolute decline in wages, the absolute increase in child poverty, the absolute re-distribution of income, assets from the poorest to the richest, the arson economy of leveraged buy-outs, the absolute wealth of poverty, fraud, swindle, bankruptcy, corruption, deceit; the assault, fire-armed in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Argentina, Nicaragua; court-armed in the United States; it’s the actual offensive against living standards, against the working class, the bourgeoisie beatify in the current spectacle.

Who better to introduce this offensive into the living rooms, the small-holdings, the workplaces at home and abroad, than the man who only read what was written for him; the man experienced as a pitchman for soap and light bulbs, those measures of progress created by rendering human labor into the private property of others? Who else could proclaim poverty as wealth, dismemberment as accumulation, war as peace, ignorance as strength, slavery as freedom? If Nixon was the Bartleby the Scrivener of terminal capitalism, haunting his own employers by his very service, then Reagan was their Orwellian totem, draining all significance from the spoken word in order to provide cover for the liquidation of assets.

S. Artesian

address all comments to: sartesian@earthlink.net

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