The Law and the Algorithm: Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Curzio Malaparte

Kurt Erich Suckert escaped from his boarding school in Tuscany in 1914, at the age of sixteen, to join the French Army in the Great War. He quickly rose to the rank of Captain in the 5th Alpine Regiment, earning several decorations for bravery in combat. By 1922 he had grown close to the Fascist movement in Italy, taking the nickname of Curzio Malaparte: a play on Napoleon Buonaparte’s last name, and the moniker for which he is best known.

Two years after taking part in Benito Mussolini’s March on Rome, Malaparte founded the Roman periodical “La Conquista dello Stato”, which would inspire similar publications in other European countries. His literary and political activities drove him to study historical movements, in an attempt to describe how power could be seized by a revolutionary faction. The product of this study was a short book, initially published in French, called “Technique du coup d’État”.

The main thesis of this 1931 work was that the conquest of a State by subversive groups, and its defense from them, was not a political but a technical problem. Malaparte dissected several power struggles led by important figures in recent history, including Lenin, Trotsky, Piłsudski, Primo de Rivera and Hitler. The principles and pitfalls leading to a successful rise to power were carefully analyzed.

Malaparte found that a key to secure victory was to follow Trotsky’s way of organizing the Bolshevik revolution: to focus not on political maneuvering and mass protests, but on capturing vital state resources, such as radio stations, telephone lines, electricity generators and water and food reserves. It is said that the Bolshevik coup was so swift and smooth, that not even public transportation services were interrupted by the Revolution. According to Malaparte, Stalin’s later success was also a fruit of his pragmatic understanding of these technical aspects, as was Mussolini’s (who learnt them in his Marxist years). He attacked Hitler’s outlook, at the time famous only for his failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch; he described him as effeminate and a reactionary; an accusation which sparked his fall from grace in the Fascist movement.

If Malaparte were alive today, which infrastructures would he consider critical for the control of the State? Ability to enforce territorial control is the sine qua non condition for political power, something easy to do in barren, war-time Russia. In a country such as the modern US, split among political, racial, cultural and ethnic lies, infrastructure is so vast, rich and widely distributed that this is impossible without the acquiescence of local administrations. This is only achieved through the shared belief in belonging to a unified polity, the will of the political apparatus to stick together: E pluribus unum.

As these lines are being written, Biden has been proclaimed by the media as the victor in the presidential election. The accusations of fraud, which contrary to what it may seem have been commonplace in all recent elections, are nonetheless a sign of distrust in the System. Biden is being accused of stealing the election, but if he is, he’s not doing it for himself. The real coup is being carried out by the actual managers of belief and shared will in the current world: Big Tech companies, social networks and online platform consensus fabricators, who have an unchecked ability to define Truth and Reality.

Were Trump to win the legal battle that will doubtlessly take place in the next months, the question is whether his procedural victory will be translated into real control of the government and the country. Once the fact-checkers tell to a confused audience that, nonetheless, Biden still won, it’s unlikely that the judicial decision brings Americans together.And if Trump loses the litigation, his followers will not accept defeat either way. The outcome is the same: power belongs to those who can define reality. Precisely what NRx-type authoritarians defended ten years ago: a New Era of Techno-Utopian Despotism. It’s thus beautifully coherent that Mencius Moldbug ended up endorsing Biden.

This war is not being fought between two players of the same game. The regime change underway is more subtle: on one side are those who still believe that standing up and getting themselves to a voting booth is worth something, and on the other those who understand how to manage the flows of the attention economy. Just like the radio in 1917, the Internet is today’s critical infrastructure. Online frogs showed the world in 2016 what Meme Warfare can do, allegedly bringing Trump into the White House. They don’t want to accept Biden’s presidency now, but will the magic work this time?

Questioning the legitimacy of either candidate is the first flight test of a New Regime in real life conditions, because it challenges the democratic religious process itself. Online platforms contribute to disseminate at the same time stories of fraud and a pure Biden victory: they move the contest away from the ballots and into the mind. When the whole story unfolds and verdicts start coming out, what sphere will people chose to accept as the decisive battleground: the Court or the Cloud? Judges or blue-checks?

The New Regime will detach the question of sovereignty and right to rule from details such as the number of votes or the existence of fraud. When the lawfare is over, the time will come to demonstrate who has the last word: the Law or the Algorithm. So there you go, clap your hands if you believe.

Post-election ripples: Trump’s friends and foes accross the Atlantic

The world is holding its breath. The aftermath of the US presidential election has left many questions unanswered. One thing that made it notable was the polarization involved, which was even greater than in the last presidential race. In 2016, very few Americans declared in a poll that political violence could be justified. Four years later, this number has risen to about 30%: a worrying proportion, especially when taking into account the fact that the results have been much more contested this time, and are now clouded in a mist of rumors and explicit accusations of fraud.

This polarization is not exclusive to the mainland American Empire: exclaves from the Mediterranean all the way to the South Pacific are setting up the pieces, ready to move them according to the result. Spain, which started the 21st century as America’s best friend in the Old Continent, has changed a lot, and is immersed in a deep political crisis (or reform, depending on where you sit). The “extreme” right-wing party Vox, of which we have talked in the past here and here, initiated a no confidence vote against the Social Democrat government led by PM Pedro Sánchez. The main issue was its management of the pandemic, although deep political divisions and a lot of Kulturkampf came into play too. If the objective was to remove the Socialists from power, the motion was a resounding failure. Only congressmen of Vox voted in favor, while everybody else, both from Leftist and Rightist factions, voiced their support for the government’s measures, most making a point of distancing themselves from Vox.

It should go without saying that Vox is the American party in Spain, or more precisely, the Trumpist party. The initial contacts between both sides were done through and Steve Bannon and Rafael Bardají. Bardají is, like Bannon, a publicist. He used to belong to the People’s Party (PP), and had strong ties to ex-PM José María Aznar, whose hawkish loyalties to George W. Bush ran uncontested and got Spain deeply entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Aznar and Bardají were founding members of the Friends of Israel initiative. He also belongs since 2019 to the executive board of Expal, one of Spain’s most important weapons manufacturers, and a key provider to Israel’s (and Turkey’s) armed forces.

This means that Vox is also the most pro-Zionist party of Spain, by the way; a fact which explains why it’s not really popular amongst old-school, blue-blooded Fascists. In fact, Vox has good relations with Netanyahu’s Likud party, and has received financing from Iranian opposition forces with alleged ties to Israeli secret services. This is of course in line with Trump’s biggest successes in foreign policy: getting the Arabs and Israel to forget their mutual grievances against Iran, to Obama’s and the EU’s chagrin.

In any case: the no confidence vote promoted by Vox had only one function: to force supposed rightist allies to take a stand. The People’s Party, still the biggest Rightist party in Spain, and which since the 2008 financial crisis has been playing Merkel’s game, viciously repudiated Vox. Ciudadanos (Citizens), which would be the French, center-liberal, jacobin-jupiterien alternative, also sided with the government, next to all its former black beasts: Bolivarian Communists and even Separatists allies. This effectively makes Vox the only opposition party, not only against the Social Democrats, but also to what they represent: the Franco-German, Open Society axis, of which the EU is the most important project.

It should be said that the EU might be Western and Liberal, but it’s not necessarily a pro-US organization. From a trade and geopolitical perspective, it’s one of the main rivals of America, and both powers have shown some antagonism during Trump’s administration. This is one of the key issues of Trump’s support for euroskeptic elements such as Italy’s Salvini, Hungary’s Orbán and Poland’s Kaczynski. It also explains why most European leaders are happy with the prospects of a Biden victory.

The People’s Party and Citizens have shown their true colors. They’ve also stated their allegiance to their masters in Brussels, and their opposition to Trump’s geopolitical projects. If Biden becomes President, they may continue enjoying their survival in Spain’s rightist circles under Pax Americana; if not, they’re done for. Vox put all its eggs in one basket, and now its only option is to follow through on its bet. The next questions are if the basket was the correct one, and who in Europe will do the same.

%d bloggers like this: