Monday, December 06, 2010
Working Class Heros...Or Else...
I read the news today, oh boy.
-- The Republicans are holding unemployment benefits hostage to make sure the ultra-rich get to keep their tax break...and Obama seems to be willing to pay the ransom.
-- The "elite can’t easily visualize the pain of Social Security cuts" on those earning far less than they do, so that's why SS is a favorite target of those earning over $250k a year.
-- That tax cut for the Fat Cats will cost us $60+ billion a year - imagine what else it could buy instead.
-- "Many state and local governments have so much debt — several trillion dollars’ worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view — that it could overwhelm them in the next few years." That means, of course, that the poorest and least able suffer most: cutbacks in food stamps even though food assistance claims are way up, reductions in Medicare coverage, fewer cops on the beat and teachers in schools, shortchanged pension funds, cutbacks in mental healthcare services.
-- Meanwhile, the elite are more worried about the deficit, because that potentially effects returns on their investments, than on whether the economy is recovering. "Deficit hysteria is just a pretext for ideological and class warfare by 'bipartisan' means."
-- And don't forget the big picture of wealth inequality that's fuelling all this. :
Forget the poor souls who had to try to make ends meet on a dole of $320 (£200) per week for a family of four...Wealth in America is now concentrated to a degree unprecedented since the Great Depression. The top 1 per cent of taxpayers – roughly those making $500,000-plus annually – now receive almost a quarter of all national income, and own more than a third of the country's private sector assets. The same pattern is visible in the financial sector, whose recklessness was the main cause of the crisis. Since the crash of 2008, the concentration of power in a handful of giant financial institutions has only increased.
As the Middle Class continues to shrink and we wonder who will stand up to the super-rich, it's time we admitted that America is in the midst of a full-on Class War.
That war can be waged with rhetoric, with protests and strikes, with support for a true party of the labor movement instead of wasting our time voting for the whiggish Dems. But we also need to gain popular support, a pop-culture realisation that something is rotten and needs a revolution. Without that, it'll always be a minority of activists pitting themselves against an overwhelming national preference for Apathy and Ignorance ("I don't know and I don't care") created by the corporate media. As long as we're kept divided by the manufactured bigotry of "social issues" - guns, Gods, gays and faux-patriotism - the people will always be defeated.
Yet nothing seems to have really changed since I lamented in a 2007 post that all the good working-class protest songs were from yesteryear, that few modern bands were writing songs that could be the soundtrack to a revolution. If I'm wrong, please educate me in comments.
In the meantime, here's a soundtrack for the Class War and a song that is over 40 years old that could serve for orchestral background music of tomorrow....It's a snappy little number with really catchy lyrics....