Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Clintons and Class War

Hola mi Gente,

Funny thing about the claim that Hillary Clinton has a three million lead in the popular vote? It’snot true. Missing from that tally are caucus states totaling roughly 35 million people, some which Bernie won by 70%, in which he is given a total spread advantage of 160,000 votes. That's outrageous.

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The Clintons and Class War

I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with… I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl.

-- Hillary Clinton, NPRinterview, 1996

Hillary Clinton has allowed this primary, which should have been a coronation, veer out of control because she has failed to understand the power of the message of class war. When Sanders speaks of political revolution, he is calling for the disenfranchised -- especially younger US citizens like the crowd of New Yorkers in their teens and twenties who packed Sanders rallies in the South Bronx and Washington Square Park and across the nation -- to believe that they might actually change something. Sanders knows that won’t happen unless people who are frustrated and disengaged and disenchanted are able to envision and work toward a fairer, more benevolent society.

Somewhere along the lines, the party that once spoke of a Great Society, lost its way and in its place rose a new politician who dressed progressively, but acted regressively.

When I was a young child in the 1960s, my school took us on a class trip to New York’s World’s Fair. What I saw there was the promise of a future in which technology would make our lives easier and the increase of leisure time would free all of us to pursue the lofty goals of the further reaches of human development. There were moving sidewalks, automated homes, skyways, and trams. There was modern architecture and a moonwalk on a roof. At the same time, young president stood up and proclaimed to the entire world that we would set foot on the moon before the end of the decade. As a young child, I remember thinking this would be the world I would inherit.

It was a different time, a time of hope and optimism. 

And why shouldn’t it have been so? Our country had overcome a major depression, won (and paid for) a global war, created the finest educational structure the world had ever seen (at least for white people), financed an advanced education for millions of GIs, and built a large number of innovative and effective corporations.

People then still remembered the sadistic excesses of the wealthy and powerful of earlier times and, through visionary politicians and legislation, created an (albeit apartheid) economic system that was fair to both investors and workers. Not only did investors become wealthier and more numerous, but a typical working-class U.S. citizen -- working a 40-hour week -- could support a family of four.

The huge income gaps of the 1920s had been slightly reversed in the 40s and 50s, and were largely held at bay in the 60s and 70s. Except for black people and other people of color, this can be rightfully considered the greatest Golden Age for the middle class ever.

But that wasn’t all. In those days, corporations were more progressive in their thinking -- there was a moral force helping build a climate of fairness and openness. People took pride in and saw their organizations as part of their community. They saw closeness between their own interests and the interests of the corporations they toiled for. The implied promise of the corporate executive or business owner then was, “Work hard with me, grow with me, and you will share in my prosperity.” Of course, it was all capitalist bullshit, but the plight of the white worker during those days was considerably better than today.

Then in the 1980s, a new kind of political life form arrived with a vengeance. Apologists for the wealthy and the powerful sold a new set of values to the public that allowed pro-business, anti-worker politicians to get elected. They, in turn, changed our economy from one that benefited both the investor and worker classes, to one that today benefits investors at the expense of workers.

Today, investors regularly plunder the workers, the professionals, and low-level managers that have produced over the decades and they invest those stolen assets outside our country -- purely for their own benefit -- with no regard for those who work hard or for our society.

It gets worse. No matter how much time and effort workers expend in improving equipment or increasing efficiency, they don’t share in the benefits. As a group becomes more effective, it increases the chances that some of the other workers will be fired, and those who remain will have to work harder than they did before, with incomes that don’t keep pace with inflation. The middle class is told that “competition demands it” -- despite record corporate profits and astronomical incomes for investors and golden parachutes for corporate executives and trillions in bailouts for criminal financial entities.

Of course, the executives and finance class exempt themselves from the cost-cutting competition and get filthy rich in the process. As a result, between 1979 and 2000, the stock market rose over 1,100%, but real wages for the middle class didn’t keep up with inflation. In terms of opportunity, the U.S. no longer leads the rest of the world in terms of upward mobility. Several advanced nations leave us in the dust (the hated French being one).

This increase in the disparity in wealth and income between the ultra-rich and the poor-and-middle-class is not, as knee-pad neoliberals and other lower life forms will tell you, because the wealthy work harder or are more successful on a level playing field. It’s because corporations now have all the power, and they have conveniently shifted their values from fairness to survival of the fittest.

The Clintons, for the most part, have been on the side of the corporations throughout their political careers. They fashioned themselves as Third Way democrats -- a sleeker, more appealing conservatism that rode the crest of global neoliberalism. To this day, their connections to Wall St. are indisputable and Hillary’s penchant forchanging positions when it is politically expedient is by now well-known. This is why her favorability numbers are lower than even that of Bush II and other lower life forms. The deregulation that facilitated the economic meltdown that brought us the Great Recession can also be traced directly to policies championed by the Clintons. I won't get into their dismantling of social safety nets and their blood-lust for mass incarceration.

At the same time, millions of people, since before this election cycle, who have lost so much, are hungry for revolutionary change. It began with the Occupy Movement, many participants of which I saw at the New York rallies, and continues today with the Black Lives Matter movement. People are tired of an electoral process that disenfranchises them and politicians who are in the pockets the richest 1 percent. A change will come, the question is when.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

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