The American Dystopia

[ ] via Truthout

Under the reign of Donald Trump, politics has become an extension of war and death has become a permanent attribute of everyday life. Witness the US’s plunge into a dystopian world that bears the menacing markings of what presents itself as an endless series of isolated catastrophes. All of these are inevitably treated as unrelated incidents; victims subject to the toxic blows of fate. Mass misery and mass violence that result from the refusal of a government to address such pervasive and permanent crises are now reinforced by the popular neoliberal assumption that people are completely on their own, solely responsible for the ill fortune they experience. This ideological assumption is reinforced by undermining any critical attention to the conditions produced by stepped-up systemic state violence, or the harsh consequences of a capricious and cruel head of state.

“Progress” and dystopia have become synonymous, just as state-endorsed social provisions and government responsibility are exiled by the neoliberal authorization of freedom as the unbridled promotion of self-interest: a narrow celebration of limitless “choice,” and an emphasis on individual responsibility that ignores broader systemic structures and socially produced problems. Existential security no longer rests on collective foundations, but on privatized solutions and facile appeals to moral character.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 8.16.38 PM

Under Trump, a politics of disposability has merged with an ascendant authoritarianism in the United States in which the government’s response to such disparate issues as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) crisis, the devastation of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and the mass shooting in Las Vegas are met uniformly with state-sanctioned and state-promoted violence.

In an age when market values render democratic values moot, a war culture drives disposability politics. Indeed, the politics of disposability has a long legacy in the United States, and extends from the genocide of Native Americans and slavery, to the increasing criminalization of everyday behaviors and the creation of a mass incarceration state.

.In the 1970s, the politics of disposability, guided by the growing financialization of a neoliberal economy, manifested itself primarily in the form of legislation that undermined the welfare state, social provisions and public goods, while expanding the carceral state. This was part of the soft war waged against democracy — mostly hidden and wrapped in the discourse of austerity, “law and order” and market-based freedoms.

At the beginning of the 21st century, we have seen the emergence of a new kind of politics of death, the effects of which extend from the racist response to Hurricane Katrina to the lead poisoning of thousands of children in Flint, Michigan, and dozens of other cities. This is a politics in which entire populations are considered disposable, an unnecessary burden on state coffers, and consigned to fend for themselves. This is a politics that now merges with aggressive and violent efforts to silence dissent, analysis and the very conditions of critical thought.

People who are Black, Brown, poor, disabled or otherwise marginalized are now excluded from the rights and guarantees accorded to fully fledged citizens of the republic, removed from the syntax of suffering, and left to fend for themselves in the face of natural or human-made disasters. And their efforts to mobilize have been met with murderous police crackdowns and deportations.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Disposability in the Age of Disasters: From Dreamers and Puerto Rico to Violence in Las Vegas


Interested in Nawa cosmovision? Check out my book “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” available on In it, I discuss basic themes of Nawa philosophy, and how these themes can be practiced in the modern age.

Click to Purchase

Kurly Tlapoyawa is an archaeologist, author, and ethnohistorian. His research focuses primarily on the interaction between Mesoamerica, Western Mexico, and the American Southwest. Kurly has lectured at UNLV, University of Houston, and Yale University on topics related to Mesoamerica. His recent book, “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” was published in 2017. In addition to his work in Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Kurly is a professional stuntman with over 35 credits to his name.

Follow Kurly on twitter @KurlyTlapoyawa

Enjoy this article? Become a patron and support independent, Indigenous media!

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Trump: Year One – [ ]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: