A facebook discussion

by fp on March 4, 2010

in Class struggle,Democracy

If you were writing about class warfare in modern America, what topics would you cover?

Fran: Corporate and big ag receivers of government largesse in the form of bailouts and subsidies (BIG welfare) vs. individual and family assistance programs (teeny weeny welfare) would be a good place to start.

Karl: I’d write that both Class Warfare and Generation Gaps are passe to GenX and GenY because of marketing. Check Craig Feguson here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFQkMAPVoIo&feature=player_embedded – We’d be a hell of a lot more activist if we were more awake. But we’re not any more. Even with information all around urging us to be.

Frank: Karl, that’s pretty much what Euan said on a Buzz thread on this topic. The Ferguson clip is to the point. Thanks. “Class warfare sounds so dated,” Euan said. Yet the optimism of the millions of young people who moved in support of ideals that Obama represented, environmental concern, economic reform, all that… that optimism–now betrayed–needs some kind of organizing principle. Historically one perspective on that was “class war.” What do we call it today I wonder? The Economist’s democracy index reflects one facet of what I’m on about…

Fran, I think corporate control of the tax revenue flow is part of that picture… are Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland too big to fail?

Karl: I’m not sure what to call it. I think its an important discussion however. And the time has been right to have it.

Karl: Some subjects: Decreased class mobility, the changing of the rules for those ‘well off’ versus those not, the lack of accountability for leaders in finance and government, risk being propagated further and further among those who have the most to lose and being decreased as a factor among those who have the most (callback to accountability perhaps?)

Jd: I would discuss Karl and Groucho.

Frank: I’d give you low marx for that answer JD.

Jd: What r u talking? The marriage of Duck Soup ridiculous leadership (the haves) married with Karl Marx’s self aware classes. I think that would make for most excellent discussion.

Frank: Deep. Important clue for me there… “self aware classes.”

Fran: Your’re right about corporate control of tax revenue being central to that picture. But, look at Enron and other biggies who were “too big to fail” that have gone down in the last few years.

Fueling the class war is the propaganda machine. The blue collar (what’s left of them) and working poor taught to hate the people on welfare programs and the hispanics (“they’re taking all our jobs”). The propagandists tell us that those lazy slobs on welfare are dragging down the economy. That is such pure, utter bullshit.

Our governator, who apparently wasn’t able to find enough money at Cash Advance to fund the state, is now proposing to eliminate all aid programs to families and In-Home Supportive Services (for seniors and severely disabled people who need help in order to stay out of nursing homes).

That is laughable. If you take away all the poor people’s programs it wouldn’t come anywhere near balancing the budget, because those programs don’t get enough money to begin with.

But the insidiousness of pointing fingers and getting different sectors of the poor to hate each other is real enough. The working poor hate the welfare recipients, the white poor hate the hispanics, the asians, and so on. Meantime, the rich folks are ripping us off while we point fingers at each other. Clever, and old as the hills.

Frank: It’s so easy for a billionaire to make a virtue of “self reliance.” What baffles me is that there are so many people of modest means who buy into the idea that by virtue of hard work and honest competition they too could become fabulously wealthy. Ain’t gonna happen folks. Nothing wrong with hard work and honest competition but who speaks for the 85 year old blind man who is evicted from his decent assisted living facility because during the recession his finances evaporated?

Fran: Yah, read about Ward Connerly, a UC regent who was instrumental in eliminating affirmative action. HE didn’t need affirmative action! He became Sacramento’s H.N. by hard work, etc. etc. Sure! As Pete Wilson’s right hand oreo neocon, he wrote the state’s housing laws, and then built himself a nice financial empire servicing HUD loans. Ugh, I could go on and on, but I won’t…

Frank: oooo… there’s a Carolina usage in there that’s a tad outre. I’d phrase it, “He won his fortune by hard work, etc. etc.”

Fran: Yes, I know it’s politically incorrect, but…if the shoe fits…

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