Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twilight in America

Americans are as hypocritical as ever (we consider ourselves more religious than Europeans, yet don't believe as much in safety nets to help our less fortunate neighbors). But here's the good news: we are getting rid of our smug snobbery in droves! More of us than ever have rejected the notion that this is the greatest country that was or ever shall be.The idea of "American exceptionalism" is going down the tubes at long last. Do you think this might have anything to do with another new finding showing that one in three of us is now either dirt poor or "borderline" poor? Contrary to the conservative mindset, meritocracy is a myth. Horatio Alger is dead, not that he ever existed in the first place. But try telling that to Paul Ryan or Newt Gingrich and the ghost of Ayn Rand.


The results of the latest Pew Poll, as well as a new study by the Census Bureau are now in, and they should not be surprising to anyone who's been a) Paying Attention; or b) Struggling to Make Ends Meet. 


Three years into the Great Stagnation/Long Depression/Prosperity is Just Around the Corner propaganda campaign, the "P" word is finally being uttered in the mainstream media. The New York Times, wishing to expand upon the latest poverty numbers coming out of the Census Bureau a few weeks ago, actually commissioned a supplemental study to find out just how many people are really poor when geography and cost of living and social safety net programs are factored in. Researchers claim to be absolutely shocked to discover that a growing number of people (100 million strong) are just barely scraping by, and are just a paycheck or illness away from being out on the streets. From today's Times article:


" 'These numbers are higher than we anticipated,' said Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician. “There are more people struggling than the official numbers show.”
Outside the bureau, skeptics of the new measure warned that the phrase “near poor” — a common term, but not one the government officially uses — may suggest more hardship than most families in this income level experience. A family of four can fall into this range, adjusted for regional living costs, with an income of up to $25,500 in rural North Dakota or $51,000 in Silicon Valley. 
But most economists called the new measure better than the old, and many said the findings, while disturbing, comported with what was previously known about stagnant wages.


'It’s very consistent with everything we’ve been hearing in the last few years about families’ struggle, earnings not keeping up for the bottom half,' said Sheila Zedlewski, a researcher at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social research group."
And this is the week that the Pew Poll released its figures showing only about half of us still feel ourselves superior to everybody else in the world.  "Only" half, huh?  Conservatism dies hard, though it's on the way out. Here's the chart:




In his New York times column this morning, Charles Blow bemoans the Great Decline:
"We are settling into a dangerous national pessimism. We must answer the big questions. Was our nation’s greatness about having God or having grit? Is exceptionalism an anointing or an ethos? If the answers are grit and ethos, then we must work to recapture them. We must work our way out of these doldrums. We must learn our way out. We must innovate our way out.
We have to stop snuggling up to nostalgia, acknowledge that we have allowed a mighty country to be brought low and set a course to restitution. And that course is through hard work and tough choices. You choose greatness; it doesn’t choose you."
Nice and noble sentiments, and reminiscent of many a presidential campaign speech, from Reagan's "Morning in America" to Obama's recent and now-abandoned "Win the Future."


The top-recommended Reader Comment is by Nan Socolow, who eloquently and concisely writes:


"As America is exceptional among nations, so was the Roman Empire exceptional among nations. So was the British Empire exceptional among nations, and the French Empire under Napoleon after the Revolution. It is wonderful to aspire to be Ronald Reagan's "shining city on the hill" again. But the time of that Shining City has come and gone, and so has morning in America. And now, because we have stretched the American Empire further than it can be stretched - with bloody wars in the Middle East, with crumbling infrastructure, with an economy that has spiraled down and down and circles the drain, with the gross inequality between the very rich and the poor among us, this century will not be the American century of Exceptionalism. Modern China is on the cusp of becoming an exceptional empire, as ancient China surely was. That President Obama is in Australia right now, agreeing to contain the growing Empire of China for the Australians, as America contained the Soviet Union decades ago, is telling. America has suffered for the past decades from egregiously sick government under the Republican party, from corruption and decay within, much as Rome suffered within in her waning years of Empire. Today, Americans, wired into the newest communications technology, are mindlessly dancing with the stars instead of working toward a rebirth of our exceptionalism. With ubiquitous noisy wire chatter of social media obscuring the facts of American existence today, how can we be exceptional? With our political and financial and cultural institutions as they have never been before - bereft and barren of compassion and empathy for the least of our citizens - we do not deserve to be called exceptional any longer."

However, Marie Burns of the New York Times eXaminer sees reason to rejoice, noting that a closer reading of the poll results gives lie to the old adage that youth is wasted on the young: 
"Now, I see these results as a good thing. They show that young Americans are becoming less parochial. They reject the narrow ideology that the U.S. – whether because of its pioneer history or its form of government or its ethnic diversity or, worst of all, a divine preference – has a unique “spirit” that other cultures cannot hope to match. Instead, more young Americans now view their nation as one among many. They are citizens of the world; they respect and appreciate diverse cultures and customs. Unlike many of their elders, these young Americans are not provincial, flag-wrapped, imperious jerks. Good for the kids!"

You can read her entire piece here.  For more incisive articles by Marie and other anti-establishment writers, be sure to click the link to the eXaminer on my blogroll. (veer to the right of this page in order to arrive at Left).

So there you have it, folks. We may be poor, but damn! Are we beginning to wise up, or what? Occupy!

26 comments:

Marie Burns said...

For a somewhat different take on the Pew results, see my column in the New York Times eXaminer at http://www.nytexaminer.com/2011/11/american-exceptionalism-r-i-p/ While I agree with every word Garcia & Socolow wrote, and posted a link to Garcia's post on my Website, I actually see the poll results as positive. Of course I do occasionally have an annoying flash of optimism.

Karen Garcia said...

@Marie,
Thanks! Just added quote and link to my post. Needed that burst of optimism.

citizen625 said...

American Exceptionalism has long been an excuse for any behavior our government wants to engage in. Most folks whether here or in Seoul or Oslo or Seattle want to have food, clothing and shelter for their families. Exceptionalism was long easily perceived because we had lots of resources and few people using them. Now, that is decreasingly the case. And the 45% of the world's GNP we had at the end of WWll has been wasted and exported by the "Greatest Generation" and their kids.
The elderly are kicking back with defined benefit pensions which their Reagan did away with and talking about "Exceptionalism? They are selfish. And I, for one, don't think exceptionalism can thrive in a selfish environment.

Valerie said...

I think so many Americans are really just a pay check or two away from financial ruin - and they realise that, now that so many of their hard-working, play-by-the-rules friends and relatives are being laid off, likely never to find meaningful work again. It is a real wake-up call to Americans who have been sitting on the sidelines not having the time or inclination to get involved in politics. I think young people - like the ones involved in the Occupy Movement - who have gone to college only to find that they can't pay off their student loans because they can't find decent jobs are very aware of how hopeless the America of today is compared to the America of yesteryear.

It is high time the idea of American Exceptionalism - so promoted by the Reaganites - died a public death. It allowed us to be careless with the world's resources and as, 625 said - very selfish. We are all in this mess together - climate change, the world economy, energy and the shortages of fresh water and natural, nutritious food. We have to solve our world's problems in cooperation with other countries and can’t just take as much as we want of what few resources are available because we have the money and might to do so.

I am hoping the communal attitude of the Occupy Movement will be contagious amongst the young people because right now I see the powerful governments of the world using their power to take care of only themselves. Yes, Obama is in Australia offering to keep China (and Indonesia which Australians are quite worried about) in check militarily. But what you don't hear is what he wants in return - for Australia to sell uranium to India - which until now, the Australians have refused to do. Of course, Julia Gilliard (Australian Prime Minister) is falling all over herself to give Obama what he is asking for. I imagine this is in retaliation for Pakistan harbouring bin Laden and not dancing to America's tune.

Valerie said...

This is REALLY horrific! http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/uc_davis_cop_pepper-sprays_peaceful_protesters_20111119/

Watch the links - read the letter from Nathan Brown (and see his links) - and make sure you pass it on to everyone you know - Republicans and Democrats alike. The crackdown on protesters is escalating and shocking. All many of us can do is to keep getting the word out.

John in Lafayette said...

I'd like to be able to agree with Ms. Burns, but the Pew report states, "As in past surveys, older Americans remain far more inclined than younger ones to believe that their culture is better than others," but they didn't say whether the drop in the number was due to a change in any particualr age group. I'd like to think Ms. Burns is correct, as it would indicate a more lasting change in attitude, but whatever the contribution of each of the age groups, this is a welcome development.

While I agree that there is cause for optimism in the results - some numbers are, indeed, improving - there is still cause for serious concern. For example:

1. Nearly half of all American Christians (46%) see themselves as Christians first, Americans second (more than double the rate of any other country surveyed).
2. Over half of all Americans still believe it is necessary to believe in G-d to be moral.
3. While three-fourths of all Americans believe it is sometimes necessary to use military force (more than any other country surveyed), only 39% felt the US has any obligation to help other countries with their problems (fewer than any other nation surveyed).
4. Only 35% of Americans believe the government should be active in ensuring that nobody is in need; barely half the rate of the other nations surveyed.

I have a feeling, though there are no data from the Pew report to support this notion, that one's belief in American exceptionalism is inextricably linked to one's own position within American society. As more and more people fall into poverty it's easy to see why people might not feel we're special. What's truly confounding is why Americans still believe, in very large numbers, that their success is not determined by outside forces and that government should not exist to help the less fortunate. Hopefully these attitudes will evolve as the Occupy movement picks up steam.

Anne Lavoie said...

@Valerie

Thanks for the link to that video.
Outrageous! Staying peaceful is a really HUGE challenge. Not sure how I would have reacted to having a cop spray me directly in the face as I sat there peacefully. Peaceful no more, I suspect. I had to admire their fortitude, taking it like they did.

Yelling 'Shame, Shame' by the students struck me as being so naive and innocent, as if the police could feel any shame. So civil of the students, so uncivil of the cops (who did they imagine they were protecting?). Someone needs to show those kids photos of the Kent State students dead on the ground to remind them of what is going down.

There has been an economic war waged against us by the aristocracy for years and we didn't recognize it until it was lost. Now there is a war on Occupy. I wonder how long or what it will take for people to realize they intend to crush us like the flea and lice infested vermin they say we are.

It's unrealistic to believe the police won't use whatever means available to them, just because they can. I don't think that being a sitting duck is an appropriate technique now in our Brave New World. Circumstances have changed and so should the resistance techniques.

The police have more 'less-than-lethal' pain weaponry to punish us with. They have the consent and encouragement of the power elite. They always get away with whatever they do - even murder on video with witnesses. Their thuggery won't even be shown in the national news unless it carries the usual label - 'Occupy Violence in LA', or wherever, so as to bias people against us. It is working.

I hope those students grow up fast and study their history. There's no time to lose. I guess they'll learn either way, but it does go to show the benefits of having mixed ages in a movement - others might have the benefit of experience and knowing history, firsthand in some cases.

I hope this movement doesn't move off the streets and onto just the college campuses for just that reason.

WestVillageGal said...

@ Valerie -
thank you for the truth-out videos from UC Davis and the associated letter from Nathan Brown . . .
flashbacks from my own campus years, in unison with Reagan's National Guardsmen at San Francisco State, the shootings at Kent State, et al.
content so deeply disturbing.
content so "good" to disseminate.
WestVillageGal

Patricia said...

Puritanism is alive and well here, in the so called "Land Of Freedom" How many citizens of the USA have ever traveled anywhere? How could they possibly know how unexceptional they are? We are no more "exceptional" than anyone anywhere, probably less so. When you sit in your living room and never break open a book, or change the channel from Fox news. Pass the Tea! Or maybe I should drink the Kool-Aid.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

@Valerie

Thanks, Valerie, for the link showing that jackbooted pig (no nicer way to say it) massively pepper-spraying demonstrators who were absolutely peaceful. He should be locked up and the key thrown away --- but, as we all know, that's unlikely to happen.

What I'd really like to see would be a decent cop (assuming that any remain on the police forces of this country), present and on duty at that type of situation in progress, get into a standoff confrontation with a police-thug of higher rank engaged in such blatant abuse of power. (I'm thinking of the type of courage demonstrated by Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Thompson,_Jr. --- acting to prevent the continuance of the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War). Not until I see something like that will I have any trust whatsoever in the police of this nation.

As that old saying goes, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem". (Whatever doubts I had about the absolutism of that statement evaporated upon seeing behavior such as was documented on that video link provided by Valerie). I believe that old saying applies equally to members of the police who stand by when such abuses of power occur.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Went over to the NYT eXaminer to read the rest of Marie Burn's comment on the Pew Poll. Her take is rewarding, as usual.

http://www.nytexaminer.com/category/us/

But there's more: an exceptional comment following Marie's essay. It's by 'Isaiah,' who went to the source document and now reports on other categories within the poll.

The American condition, compared to that of other Western democracies, comes off looking stunningly UN-exceptional in the categories highlighted by Isaiah. Numbers can be mean. Isaiah ends with a backhand to the poll takers themselves:

"It was a complete sham to compare America to other first world countries. That is simply not where we belong when statistical comparative analysis is done about America in important areas like poverty rates, gender disparity indexes, economic mobility, the GINI index, and access to higher education. We should be compared to Turkey, Uzbekistan, Chile, and throw in Somalia so we don’t get last place EVER."

Valerie said...

Before you guys give up on peaceful protesting I should let you know that the video is “front page news” on my Yahoo “News” Australia. OK - I don't normally read it but Yahoo is my e-mail carrier so I know what “news” they carry. I will keep you posted on what the Australian newspapers say. This is the kind of thing that makes America look REALLY bad to the rest of the world and I can't believe the politicians want that – especially with Obama trying to woo the Australian public. The more publicity on this attack, the better I say. Obama can hardly excuse it as the old, “Well, the police are just doin’ their job.”

I really believe that cops beating up on peaceful protesters only makes the cops and the people who sent them look like a bunch of villains. I must confess that I am starting to doubt the police have any good guys among them. I really wanted to believe that some of them were decent folk but I am really shocked at the blatant bullying I am seeing and the escalation of violence against people who are doing NOTHING to provoke it. You are right, Fred. Where are all those police officers with scruples? Why aren’t they challenging this over the top rough behaviour?

But when I see those films of Civil Rights marchers in their Sunday best getting blasted with fire hoses - well it leaves an impression. I say stay the course - keep it peaceful and much gratitude to the young people putting up with the violence. Bless their hearts; these protesters sure are taking a big one for the team!

Denis Neville said...

Former British Labor MP Tony Benn once said that people in debt are hopeless and hopeless people don't vote. But, “If the poor in Britain or the United States turned out and voted for people who represented their interests it would be a democratic revolution. So they [the ruling oligarchy] don't want it to happen. See I think there are two ways in which people are controlled. First of all, frighten people. And secondly, demoralize them. An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern, and I think there's an element in the thinking of some people - we don't want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out of control. The top one percent of the world's population owns 80 percent of the world's wealth. It's incredible that people put up with it, but they're poor, they're demoralized, they're frightened and they think perhaps the safest thing to do is take orders and hope for the best.”

People are now getting tired of being afraid and hopeless and being screwed.

The grassroots of a revolution is in its infancy.

As Michael Hudson writes, “There is no solution within the existent system. This is a revolutionary, radical situation. The longer that the OWS groups can spend on diagnosing the problem and explaining how far wrong the system has gone, the longer the demonstrators can gain support by showing that they share the feelings everybody has these days – a feeling of being victimized. This is what is creating a raw material that has to potential to flower into political activism, perhaps by spring or summer next year.… the important task is to explain to people how many possibilities there are to make things better. And of course, this is what frightens politicians, Wall Street lobbyists and the other members of the pro-oligarchic army of financial raiders.”

http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/11/some-modest-proposals-for-reforming-us.html#more

Twilight in America at long last.

“We may be poor, but damn! Are we beginning to wise up, or what? Occupy!”

Indeed!

eaveltri said...

I love all you guys. I read Karen's post, Marie's post and watched the videos of the pepper spraying and yes, Fred, it reminds me also of Kent State and Jackbotted thugs is about the best way to describe those pigs.
There are millions who will support the status quo. I've said before there will be blood and believe that we are seeing just the beginning. Also, as Anne said, they have the full backing of the corporate elite. There will be a lot more violence.
Anne says that staying peaceful is a huge challenge in the face of such violent thuggery. I think that if you keep turning the other cheek to thugs you can be sure to get both sides of your face smashed. The police have the guns and will support the corporate power. Mao, not a shining example of compassion, had one thing right, he said,"Power comes out of the end of a gun."
Perhaps it is time that things started to get brooken. The corporations have no compunction about ruining peoples' lives and the people should have no compunctions about hitting back. If enough stuff gets brooken it really hurts their bottom line. A little sabotage can go a long way and you don't appear so clueless and powerless either.

Anne Lavoie said...

@eaveltri

Here is a great piece from the Adbusters people that says it all.

Towards the end of their piece they mention precision, non-militarized non-violence, including flash mob disruptions. Those are the tactics that are now more appropriate to circumstances in the corporate militarized police state we live in, as opposed to the historical sitting duck approach, having both sides of your face slapped, as you describe it.

For an inspiring read, go to:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-occupy-wall-street-will-keep-up-the-fight/2011/11/17/gIQAn5RJZN_story_1.html

Occupy!

Anne Lavoie said...

For all you who live in NYC, check this out:

Bloomberg Drum Circle

'Word on the street is that Bloomberg loves hippies. So now, finally, a drum circle you don't have to be high to enjoy: this Sunday at 2pm, for 24 hours, bring the love to Mayor Bloomberg's personal townhouse: 17 East 79th Street.

Tie-dye, didgeridoo, hackeysack welcome! No shirt, no shoes, no problem! And if you don't have talent, don't worry: FREE DRUM LESSONS offered! Also on offer: collaborative drumming with the police!

Even though this is a 24-hour drum circle, don't be late! The mayor loves evictions. Who knows what'll happen? But no matter how long it lasts, there'll be an afterparty and love-in in world-famous Central Park just next door.

Please spread this announcement (www.yeslab.org/drumcircle) as far and fast as you can!'

James F Traynor said...

The interests of the majority are no longer being represented in government, many are not or only vaguely aware of it. We are rapidly approaching a political situation in this country where violence may have to be resorted to, in one manner or another, to restore representative government. But only the 1% should be targeted if such a situation arises. Violence against the police is stupid. Perhaps showing that 1% the stick, in some way, will do the trick. OWS has made them nervous, but it apparently is not enough.

Valerie and others have made strong and humane arguments for non-violence. But it is getting late in the game and the 1% should be shown the stick. Thought must be given as to how to do it without actually resorting to its use.

Anne Lavoie said...

Correction to my comment. I meant to write that the Adbusters recommended 'militarized non-violence' in their linked piece. I mistakenly said non-militarized.

Neil said...

@Fred Drumlevitch

For a decent cop, see Phila Police Capt Ray Lewis (Ret) who was arrested in his full dress police uniform, then appeared on MSNBC with Chris Hayes. This is as good as it gets. http://youtu.be/wdkd2adjjUw

From MSNBC, Up With Chris Hayes:

"Ray Lewis has been making news this week at Occupy Wall Street. As a retired Philadelphia police captain, Mr. Lewis joined the protests in New York City wearing his officer's uniform. He gave up a peaceful Walden-like existence living in update New York to join the occupation because, as he told Chris, "Their conviction for social justice inspired me."

http://upwithchrishayes.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/19/8896942-retired-police-officer-and-occupy-wall-street-participant-ray-lewis-on-up

This is on my homepage, click my name above. http://yousue.org/

Valerie said...

All of you arm-chair observers advocating violence, this message is for you!

Do you really think that “police” pepper spraying the Davis students video would have gone viral if those students had been violent? Do you really think the Civil Rights Protesters would have gotten what they wanted with violence? We are trying to draw decent, law-abiding, fair-minded average Americans into our movement. We want their sympathy and support and the minute we turn violent, people will stay home, avoid our protests and we will lose their sympathy and support.

You are advocating violence WAY too early in the fight! And it can only back-fire on us! This will NEVER be a fair fight. The police backed by Homeland Security can out-violence us a hundred fold. It would be stupid to give them that excuse. While being pepper sprayed and pushed to the ground by police cannot be pleasant, it could get A LOT worse for the protesters if they retaliate.

And to whom shall we direct our violence? The small shop owner who has store front windows we can break? That will really score us some points. Shall we attack the police? That will only scare people sitting on the side-lines into thinking we need more law and order. How exactly do we direct our violence at the 1%? Have you ever gotten close to a rich person? I haven’t. They surround themselves with bodyguards and lackeys. They hide behind tall walls and in buildings with security staff to keep people like you and me away from them. The closest any of us will ever get is a drum circle outside their castles. We can annoy them but there is no way we can take them on face to face because we can never get within any close proximity.

Violence will cost us EVERYTHING we have gained so far and have the potential of gaining through peaceful means. And quite honestly, it is a stupid idea that needs to be squashed right now.

BTW - Obama's Supercommittee is going to come out with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - count on it. The politicians chosen for the committee are too isolated from real people. This “legislation” will push more people in our direction - inspire more people to think, "This is what the Occupy Protests are about." It is a chance to bring more of the 99% into our movement. Our power is not in violence – it is drawing more and more people to the cause.

eaveltri said...

@ Valerie et al, I am not saying that the movement should give up on its essential character of being non violent but rather suggesting the addition of an element that demonstrates to the many in the community that the left isn't clueless and has teeth that so that it can't be trivialized. Like how the Black Panthers and Weatherman underground operated outside Martin Luther King's non violent protests and helped improve to a degree the plight of blacks all over the country.
Valerie's comment about not striking at small shop owners is correct. They should most definitely not be the targets. In my post I specifically stated that the problem is the corporate elite and corporations which have taken over our government and corrupted it. They should be the targets. Like the Boston Tea Party, the target was the biggest British corporation fixing prices in the colonies and causing taxes to be levied without the input of the local citizenry. When people of those times saw this show of power it was a rallying call for those who prior had been too afraid to challenge the status quo. The recent bank withdrawal day was a good example of a mass method to hurt the big financial institutions. More of these types of action would be helpful.
I also used the word sabotage because particularly at this point a direct challenge to our police state apparatus would be suicide (and Valerie not a hundred times over but probably thousands). The somethings that get brooken have to be those of the corporate elite and also have to be of the nature that they will generate news coverage and be viewed sympathetically by the average person.

Valerie said...

@Eaveltri

I think closing the Port of Oakland was a pretty big slap in the face to the 1%. What can we do - peacefully - that isn't already being done? Do you have some suggestions? How do we punish the corporations?

Great comments and links all around!

Anne Lavoie said...

@Valerie

What can we do? Go to your local Occupy and attend General Assembly.

That is where the ideas and plans are generated. Even at our local level with our once a week, one hour protest in snow, wind, and 15 degree weather, we meet afterwards indoors for discussion and plans. We all have different roles to play, depending where we are. Here it is mostly to keep the message out there, visible and alive.

Don't worry. Occupiers will have plenty of tricks up their/our sleeve as time goes on. Trust especially in the youth - some teachers like you, and some parents and other adults did something right, because they are the Next Greatest Generation.

Keep being supportive in whatever way you can, such as keeping the non-violent face on this movement. That is critical to our success - thank you for doing your part! We could use our own public relations campaign: 'This Is The Face Of Occupy', showing that we are all ages and races and professions.

This is just the beginning and we should not succumb to pressure to hurry things along, or to respond to violence with violence. It takes time and a lot of maneuvering to get Goliath to trip himself and topple over, but the beauty of it and the bottom line (hint) is that he will do it to himself.

eaveltri said...

@ Valerie et al, I am not saying that closing the port of Oakland for one day was nothing at all but, I will say that it was very close to that. It was kind of like urinating in the ocean. It was iritating while it lasted (one day) but I doubt that any of the 1% had to face foreclosure on any of their mansions. More effective was the massive numbers who withdrew their money from banks. That at least hurts theri bottom line to greater extent.
I used the terms sabotage, breaking things and multinational corporations. Sabotage and breaking things have been effective in the past in generating change. I think that all agree that the multinational corporations are the source of the trouble our country's people are in. therefore they shoulld be the targets of remedial attempts to bring change. I think those of like mind in this war and the courage to act have good imaginations and can connect the dots.
All that said, I still agree the the major thrust of the opposition must be non violent. To attempt to go head to head against the massive police state of the multinational corporate empire is suicide. Any righteous militancy and sabotage must be surreptitious.

eaveltri said...

You know I just listened to "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie the other day and it gets me to thinking now. Suppose that one or two, or three, or a dozen, or a thousand (you get where I'm going here) were to do something destructive, I mean constructively destructive, to a right wing multinational corporation, then it might just become a national movement!
But this time we just don't force them to stop the wars in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq and then quit the pressure. But, keep it on to: abolish private health care and make medicare cover all; abolish Free Trade and substitute Fair Trade (why should we allow foreign nations to exploit their and our workers by using their work force like slaves); Reregulate industry to guarantee that these private companies do right by America and Americans first, not their major stockholders and CEOs and, guarantee that their actions have a neutral or beneficial impact on our environment; guarantee free and fair elections by outlawing all corporate contributions; insist that those who benefit most from society pay the highest tax rates because they wouldn't have gotten there without the rest of our help. And finally give up our do it our way or we'll "Bomb you into the Stoneage" mentality and embrace enlightened self interest and mutual respect with the rest of world's nations.

Anne Lavoie said...

@eaveltri

To paraphrase John Lennon in the Beatles song Revolution, 'If you go around quoting Chairman Mao, you ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow'.

Your statement: "Mao, not a shining example of compassion, had one thing right, he said, "Power comes out of the end of a gun."

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. You might end up in China. Oh, wait.

And thanks, Jay.