In response to the mainstreaming of his disparaging remarks about the "47 percent", Mitt Romney is now drawing the curtain on all that inside plutocracy, vowing in his public pronouncements to be president of the "one hundred percent". In counter-attack, Romney campaign supporters have dug up a 14 year old audio clip, snipped Barack Obama's redistribution comments out of their context to reverse their intent, and asserted a false equivalency via Fox News and the Drudge Report.
Although Obama is accused by the faux horror-stricken right wing echo chamber of uttering the "R" word as dire threat to the entire empire, Media Matters provides the full context:
Drudge used the headline "I actually believe in redistribution" under a picture of Obama, which right-wing bloggers seized on to label Obama "America's Socialist in Chief."The "R" word – redistribution – is code for all of those nefarious socialist schemes which would seek to use some mechanism to enforce a more equal distribution of wealth. In spite of what we hear from the right wing echo chamber, Obama is no socialist. I contend that this defense of Obama, while important to set the record straight, is still a distraction from a far more important issue. Let us entertain for a moment an observation by one elected official who does not shy away from the "S" word.
Even that is a cropped version of what Obama said. The end of his sentence was, "at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot."
But the extended video obtained by NBC News completely debunks the idea that Obama was in any way expressing opposition to capitalism. His next sentence is, "How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities."
Media Matters for America: Extended 1998 Video Discredits Right-Wing Media's Portrayal Of Obama As A Socialist
Politifact evaluated this assertion by Senator Bernie Sanders, concluding that "Sanders’ claim is solid. We rate it True." Politifact's analysis includes this calculation:
...the Walmart heirs’ $89.5 billion "is still equal to the combined net worth of the bottom 33.2 million families (about 28.2 percent of the total).""33.2 million families". That's 33,200,000 families whose total wealth is matched by one family of just six individuals. That's breath-taking disparity, if you can even get your mind around it.
To the uninitiated, this might seem prima facie evidence that some sort of "redistribution" already exists in our society. Such neophytes must be taught that wealth transfer is only "redistribution" if it follows the scientific laws of entropy; i.e., tending toward a more even distribution.
Thus, redistribution (along with socialist, marxist, and more recently, Kenyan) is one of the buzz words frequently to be found bouncing around in the right wing echo chamber. Wealth that travels in the opposite direction is respectable, and may therefore be described by such esoteric terms as capitalist accumulation. Such a phrase is, of course, a taboo topic, lest someone might look it up and thereby comprehend its processes.
What could stand in the way of the economic stratification that socialist Sanders decries? I ventured into the bloviosphere to research just such terminology, and thereby discovered the ubiquitous right wing phrase "big government". Simply saying it aloud makes me shudder. Indeed, reciting such a detestable expression over and over, interspersed with terms such as socialist and Kenya, is sure to persuade us that they all mean the same thing. Thus, we can't have socialists anywhere near the levers of power because – you know – redistribution and all that.
One word that hasn't been much heard in the right wing echo chamber – not in recent decades, at least – was once uttered with all the contempt and ire with which modern day conservatives disclaim socialism, et al. That word is Wobblies. Yet the Wobblies arguably have the most succinct and coherent explanation for what happened at that exclusive Romney fund raiser. The Wobblies would leap to honor the eavesdropping food service worker as a fellow worker; indeed, as a veritable hero of the working class. Fellow workers are employees who intuitively perceive that there is something horrifically out of balance when one human making nine dollars an hour is obligated to serve other humans capable of dropping fifty thousand dollars a plate.
The subversive act of this fellow worker – surreptitiously recording a video that exposes utterly the concocted deceits of the ruling class – merits an even higher honor in the eyes of Wobblies, that of sab cat. Sab, of course, refers to sabotage – not so much in the sense of destroying property (the Wobblies WANT property via that sinister, despicable process of redistribution, why should they destroy what they desire?), but rather, in the sense of impeding the schemes of the bosses. Who, then, are these Wobblies – are they just more of these big government socialists, Marxists, or (gasp) commies?
Surprise! The Wobblies oppose not only big government, but any government at all beyond what is necessary to protect the interests of the working class:
"the Industrial Workers of the World would place an industry in the hands of its workers, as would socialism; it would organize society without any government, as would anarchism; and it would bring about a social revolution by direct action of the workers, as would syndicalism. Nevertheless, it claims to be distinct from all three.""Wobbly" is a nickname for any member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the colorful union briefly recapitulated in the Warren Beatty film Reds. The Wobblies believed (and still believe) that capitalism is nothing more than a system of upward redistribution of wealth from the working folk who create it, to those very plutocrats who scheme behind closed doors. And the goal of that scheming is, invariably, to use their incredible resources of wealth and power to maintain control over an economic system that rewards them far beyond the value of their own contributions. To the Wobblies, the millions of workers employed by Walmart have more to do with creating the incredible wealth of the Walmart heirs than do those six individuals themselves. Astonishing idea, eh?
Disclosure: I am the primary author of two linked Wikipedia articles.