Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday Reading Assignment


Bubba Muntzer said...

You linked to this article to rile me up, right?

It's valuable in that it points out the harmful effects of income inequality on an economy, how stinginess eventually comes back to haunt the stingy.

But she leaves it with the rich being responsible for our future, for realizing their selfishness. Wake up before it's too late, she pleads with them. Don't be like Venice. Be like Jefferson said. Be like the US is supposed to be.

The US has never been about equality. Only white male landowners had a say in anything until the power of people organizing forced them to let other white men, then women, then Africans and others vote, too.

This Jeffersonian economic utopia she hearkens back to, remember, was only possible because of the extra wealth that was being added to the economy by the unpaid labor of hundreds of thousands of enslaved human beings, which she conveniently ignores.

She says the "Middle Class", which is really just shorthand for the US working class achieving the highest standard of living in the history of the world, which standard is now in decline, she observes, in decline because Reagan changed the political culture and Democrats didn't and have not resisted it, she says this "Middle Class" arose because of education.

No, it rose because people sat down in auto factories in Flint and refused to work, because the people of Oakland went out in a massive city-wide general strike, because miners up the road in Ludlow, CO, faced down the guns of the national guard and Hispanic miners in New Mexico said no, we're not going down in the mine any more for anything less than anybody else does, and because of thousands of other examples, public and private, of workers exercising their inherent power, all of which you never hear about in corporate owned media like the New York Times, of course. It was because that movement, and the values it had, which were Socialist in origin and which were shared by wide segments of American working class society, forced Roosevelt and congress to change the laws that prevented union organizing, like laws allowing employers to fire people for simply joining a union.

Education? No. Power. People acting in their mutual self interest, as the rich do, but in the case of Labor, in a way that distributed wealth more broadly, that is all. She quotes Marx but she should have read Marx.

The issue is who has the power, and then the only question is, do you have a system to manage power fairly? We do not.

But of course pleading with the rich to not be so selfish isn't going to change things any more than just saying 'Go vote.' Both lead people to believe they don't have it in their power to change the situation as it is overnight.

Vote for who? Turn your power over to the Democrats, who have gone along with all the tax cuts for the rich, who have voted for the decimation of public education, who were so cowardly in backing down from the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have undone a lot of the barriers to union organizing that the rich have managed to put back in place over the years, the years since real working class power was last exercised?

The way out of this downward economic spiral for working people, which she does indeed lay out with facts and figures, won't be with the Democrats or pleading with the rich to let us have a little bit more of the wealth our labor creates.

It will come from us realizing that they have the power, and that we can take it from them. We have before, we can now. Everything that comes across your consciousness today will be designed to make you not realize that, from the ads promising bliss to the football game to the stories in the New York Times, all of which comes to you from an oligarchy simply acting in its self interest, an oligarchy which is no different than the one in Venice, and why should it be? We're still the exact same species.

But yes, a very thought provoking article. Thanks for making me aware of it.

Vicki said...

Food for thought with my breakfast this morning. Very appropriate comparison of 14th century Italian society with what we have today in the USA.

Bubba Muntzer said...

I just noticed that this article is being widely reproduced and referred to on the internet at the moment. It seems to have struck a chord. Just in doing my normal reading I saw it twice, on Facebook and at Reader Supported News, so I looked into it further by Googling the title and it's all over the place. It's been posted to Twitter 2,500 times and is in their top 100.

Derek Bill said...

$16T can come from only two places: the Bureau of Printing & Engraving and/or estates of dead (or wallets of living) rich people. In the former case everyone with assets loses. In the latter, those who benefited from the exploitation of man have it taken back.

Or maybe we'll borrow it all from the Chinese, then default. Que Lastima.

Of course we can leave this mess for our (great? great-great?) grandchildren to clean up. Maybe they'll be smarter than we are. Or maybe they'll spill each others' blood over it. One thing is certain...we lose all control over it if we don't do something while we're alive.