Friday, September 30, 2011

Comes the Revolution?

I don’t have much information about what is actually occurring in New York City and elsewhere as the news is by no means generous about what is happening. I do know that what began with a relatively small number of protestors has grown into a much larger protest movement. And now it appears some of the unions are going to join. The protestors have been occupying a square in Wall Street for almost two weeks and there is no sign they are about to give up very soon. Their cause has been aided by the unnecessary brutality of the New York Police that finally resulted in at least some coverage by the MSM. What is probably of more importance is that this protest movement appears to be spreading to other cities. Washington, D.C. is to be targeted tomorrow, there are, I believe, incipient movements in Los Angeles and elsewhere that might easily grow into more important protests.

The protestors in front of Wall Street are most specifically angry with Wall Street for having created the recession and bringing about the shameful imbalance of wealth between ordinary citizens and the Wall Street “Barons.” But it seems not all protestors share the same goals and many are there for different reasons. But all are there because they are basically fed up with what is happening to our country and especially to the middle class at the hands of Wall Street and the Corporations that now control the world.

While the Wall Street situation has now become perhaps the most important protest movement it is by no means the only one. Thousands of nurses, for example, have already been marching in California and I believe there have been other smaller strikes going on here and there. Some of the Longshoremen have been threatening and I believe GMC has recently reached a settlement with their union. It does seem that protest movements (“strikes”) are “in the air” and growing. I don’t see how these various protests can be described as a “revolution” but they may be the forerunners of a genuine revolution, something that has always been described as not possible in the United States. I suppose it depends upon what one might describe as a revolution. We did, of course, have a revolution that brought us our independence from Britain, but that is not at all similar to our present problems. A better example would be the labor unrest and strikes of the early 1900’s that involved a great deal of violence before unions made significant gains against management. Remember that miners in North Idaho commandeered a train in Burke, Idaho, ran it several miles to Kellogg, Idaho, where they blew up the Bunker Hill Smelter, and this was only one incident among many. This period of serious unrest and labor troubles is not usually referred to as a revolution but in many respects it was a revolution.

Could what is happening at the moment in New York and beginning to happen elsewhere develop into a genuine revolution? Perhaps not, but do not think it would be impossible. The citizens are angry, very angry, as is apparent not only by their taking to the streets but also by the name-calling and animosity within the Congress and the media as well. It is clear that bipartisanship is virtually non-existent and both sides are growing farther apart. Members of Congress, virtually all millionaires, show no apparent understanding of just how angry ordinary citizens are, nor do they seem to understand the reasons for this anger. Republicans, especially of the Tea Party variety, have been opposed to anything that might possibly help the middle class and the poor, and in their zeal to defeat Obama have blocked everything that might give him even the semblance of a victory no matter what that means for ordinary citizens or even the country. If they continue in this vein it could very well lead to some genuine unpleasantness. If the greed of the wealthy and the corporations is not tempered, if they continue to cling to their obscene wealth and privilege, refusing to make any concessions whatsoever, there may well be rioting in the streets. This would not be unprecedented as the early 1900’s have shown us (if anyone is willing to listen).

We are, I believe, seeing the demise of “free-market capitalism” as we have known it for the past couple of decades, and with it the demise of “the American century,” the demise of our “empire,” and the demise of our previous high position in the pecking order of nations. I know that many do not want to acknowledge this, and many are denying it, clinging to the belief that with a few adjustments here and there all will be well. It is true that things could get measureably better, but I fear “the good ol’ days” are just that, and “You can’t go home again,” so to speak, is just too true.

What I fear will happen is there will be some minor concessions, the wealthy will agree to paying another two or three percent in taxes, the Republicans will drop some of their more outrageous demands, and things will then basically continue as they have been for the past few years. Once again the proletariat will be bought off with “a six-pack of beer and a long-legged whore on Saturday night”), while the basic system remains unchanged and the powers that be will continue laughing all the way to the bank and their offshore shelters.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

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