An obscure journalist in the Nineteenth Century, who became better known through his books and manifestos, once said that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. We are now seeing the truth of this dictum played out before us.
The Nineteenth Century journalist Karl Marx wrote a book called The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. People in the present mostly don’t recognize “Eighteen Brumaire” which for the educated European of the Nineteenth Century would be as recognizable as is 9/11 is today. It all has to do with the end of the French Revolution; perhaps if we called that date sixteen years ago the twentieth of Virgo it would not be so recognizable either.
After the French Revolution, many things were changed. For example, the customary methods of weights and measures were replaced by a more reasonable system based on units of ten, which was called the metric system and which I believe it is still in use in a few countries. And the calendar was changed. The French Revolutionary calendar had months corresponding to zodiacal signs, and Brumaire is Scorpio, so 18 Brumaire is 18 Scorpio or November 9. The year in question was 1799.
So What happened on November 9, 1799? It was well known again to European intellectuals of the Nineteenth Century. There was a coup in France by Napoleon Bonaparte against the Directory of the French Revolution that ruled France, essentially installing Napoleon as a dictator in France and ending the French Revolution. This was a big deal. So the date 18 Brumaire was when the French Revolution ended. Let us look at the chart for that date.
In this char Sun is conjunct Neptune, and it had passed over Neptune two days earlier, possibly when the planning for the coup took place, This conjunction suggest confused days in Paris. And it certainly was. The tightest aspect is the sesquiquadrate between Pluto — revolution, transformation — and Venus – justice. And it certainly was that.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
One of the contentions of this blog is that every time there is a midpoint configuration involving Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – – at most three per century — there is a major change in the zeitgeist of society, which could be called it a soft coup. We are living now under the combined impact of the three coups from the Twentieth Century, since the first from the Twenty First hasn’t happened yet. The one closest to us in time, and so the one we most notice since many are still alive who remember life before that event, is what I call in shorthand the Neoliberal Coup, even though the previous one, called the National Security State coup, is also very strong, and will be discussed in a later post, though it has been discussed before.
We have seen this played out in the present. The commanding issue of this time is Neoliberalism, since it originated with the midpoint configuration of the late Seventies discussed earlier. These midpoint configurations indicate such a large change in society that much is different afterwards, so much so that we find it difficult to believe that another world was once possible and may be again. This Neoliberaism coup finally crashed with the so-called Great Recession of 2007-2009, when Pluto crossed the cardinal axis and into the sign Capricorn. The hero designated to slay the dragon of neoliberalism was Barak Obama. And he appeared to suggest that he was the Champion who could do so — remember Hope and Change? I’ve discussed before the strong influence of Neptune in the election of Obama. But he proved not to be the Champion people wanted him to be, and this was the tragedy.
These two graphs illustrated what has been happening. The first one shows allotment of income in economic recovery — after each economic downturn there is a recovery when incomes increase. In the recovery after World War II, under President Harry Truman, 80% of the income increase went to the bottom 90 % of the population and only 20 % went to the top 10%. This ratio kept falling during subsequent recoveries after other downturns, and by the recovery under President Reagan the upper 10% got 80% of the income increase, leaving only 20% for the bottom 90% of the population, the reverse of what happened under Truman. But at least the bottom 90% got some income increase. This changed under the last recovery, under President Obama. In that case the bottom 90% lost about 15% of their income, while the upper 10% gained almost 120%, or in other words got some income from the bottom 90%, thus increasing the already massive inequality. This is unprecedented in the last 70 years.
The next graph shows the distribution of wealth — assets — of families over the last 100 years. We can see that the top 0.1%, that is the upper one tenth of one percent of the population, reached a height of 26% of the total wealth in 1929 right before the start of the Great Depression. Their share of total wealth then fell until the late Seventies and the beginning of Neoliberalism; at this point their share was only 7%. That share started to increase, but still the share of the wealth owned by the 90% increased until it was 36% in the mid-Eighties under President Reagan. It then began to fall, and of course the share held by the upper tenth of a percent increased until now they have almost met and crossed. We await newer figures with anticipation! But one can see from these two graphs that things have gotten worse for the bottom 90%, and this was foretold when newly elected President Obama told a group of assembled bankers, who expected the worst, that he was the only thing between them and the pitchforks. And now that he is ex-President he has been rewarded by those same bankers with two $400,000 speaking engagements and of course a $65 million book deal, and in early May he made a $3.2 million for a speech in Milan, showing clearly that he is not a part of the 90%
A recently published book by a Professor Emeritus in Economics at MIT called The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy by Peter Temin lays in out. He says that American society is dividing into an upper 20%, in the finance, technology, and electronics sector, and the lower 80%, and that those two groups are increasingly divided from one another. Those in the two groups live in different countries, and do not communicate. Needless to say, those running the media – newspapers, television — live in only one of those worlds, unlike many years ago before the Neoliberal Revolution when many journalists were from the 80% that are not in the FTE sector.
Barack Obama was chosen to run since he was a much better mask to hide America, a biracial mask that was more glamorous than the one offered by George W. Bush, whose behavior had damaged Brand America. And he promised Hope and Change (TM) which people believed somehow would solve the problems that Neoliberalism had brought into their lives. But as we have seen by these graphs, and many studies, not only did things not improve, but they got worse. Inequality increased over the last eight years. So the mask has been ripped away, and America is seen as it truly is. Now things are blatant with a louche businessman as the face of America.
One clear sign that the current populace of the United States is not happy with the current government, current President, and in fact all of what was called in a simpler time the “Establishment” was shown obviously by the transit of Pluto opposite the United States Sun, depicted above by a chart for an exact pass and below by a graphical ephemeris for a five year period. The Sun represent the President, etc. and revolutionary, transformative Pluto is opposite it. The last time this opposition happened the Sun represented the King of England, Georrge III; the result was the American Revolution.
So next comes the Farce. In a farce, situations are often exaggerated so that people understand what is going on, since the situation under the tragedy was somehow too subtle for people to comprehend, or the influence of Neptune was too strong. Often the protagonist in a farce is indicated by some outward comical characteristic, say to pick an example totally at random, flaming orange hair. The real problem in this farce is that people may not understand that it is a farce, and they will either attack the messenger — always a bad idea — or believe if only the farce stops things will go back to normal and everything will be as it should be. One can imagine people demanding that the previous mask be returned to them, that if only the mask comes back things would be well. One would think by now people would realize that the farce is just an exaggeration of what was the situation before. To be more specific, Donald Trump is not sui generis, but rather an exaggeration for emphasis, as is usually the case in a farce. But of course the Powers behind Neoliberalism are only too happy if you attack the Protagonist of the farce rather than the men behind the curtain, themselves.