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Two Americas, John Edwards said, though he was hardly the first to say it.  And while Edwards turned out to be a tragic disappointment, it was refreshing to hear a prominent national Democratic candidate point out the obvious in relatively stark terms.  Who was the last high profile national presidential candidate to do so?  Bobby Kennedy?  

Like inhabitants of  some economic Lake Wobegon, most Americans identify themselves as “middle class.”  What a brilliant concept, this fictitious state of being!  Like Middle Earth, it’s inhabited by many amazing and equally fictitious characters.  It was sold, carefully and with forethought and intent, as a wedge to convince the working class that they, too, had a stake in the Horatio Alger constructed American dream.  Like “lace curtain Irish” and the more established German Jewish community, who sometimes looked down in horror at the poorer Irish immigrants and the Eastern European Jews as uncouth and trailing upsetting remnants of the sod and the shtetl, the “middle class” could comfortably separate themselves from their working class roots.  They were aspiring.  They were on their way to somewhere else.  And for some, at least, there were enough changes in the trappings of their lives to persuade them this dream was rooted in something other than fantasy.  

You can argue that the real changes in Americans standard of living came not from the Horatio Alger bootstrap pullers and the capitalistic system but the union movement (and you’d be right) but it’s not what really happened that counts the most – it’s what most people think happened that  holds the clout.  The system works!  Dad got two weeks paid vacation and the family really could take a vacation; a trip to the Dells or Mammoth Cave or Yellowstone.  Medical care was accessible and reasonably affordable; pensions were widely offered.  A (usually) man, if he worked steadily, might be able to afford to save enough to buy a home, one in the suburbs, where upgrading and maintaining that home became a kind of religious ritual, complete with the temple at the center of innumerable ceremonies.  College was within reach of many, students could graduate with little or no debt.  If parents could not foot the bill, part time jobs were plentiful and could often cover the costs.  

It was like Brigadoon, really, wasn’t it?  A fleeting moment in time where magical things seemed possible.  It lasted less than thirty years.

And now those living wage jobs seem as mythical and rare as the era that produced them, and all the trappings that the “middle class” believed were proofs of their separation from the working class have been proven to be, instead, chimeras.  We lost our mythology and are bereft; what will replace it?

History gives some hints.  Right wing populism (have a look at what is developing in Greece) may morph into fascism.  Or the working class may realize, to quote someone who was pretty well versed on all of this, that they have nothing to lose (but their chains) and unify, recognize those wedge issues for what they are and reclaim unity in a progressive way.  There’s a third choice, of course – we could continue to drift into barbarism.  We can accept poverty wage jobs, people pulling their own teeth in desperation since they cannot afford a dentist, our children collapsing in emergency rooms in late stage disease, with no access to medical care.  

But whatever the choice is to be, we’re running out of time to make some decisions, or the choices will be made by others.   The good and the beauty of this nation was not built by the “job creators,” that absurd euphemism invented by the right to describe the privileged.  It was created by the working people.  This is, as Woody Guthrie said, OUR land.  A course change is inevitable.   The choices that will produce social and economic justice are going to involve more commitment than casting a vote for the Democrat every four years.  There are policy makers out there - the real ones and their elected tools - who are determined to enrich themselves at the cost of everything that makes your life and that of your family, friends, and neighbors worth living.  As long as you have anything, they don't have enough - and even then, they tell you, you can borrow to give them more.  You are going to have to choose.  That choice may cost you the comfort of thinking of yourself as middle class, it may cost you a great deal more.  But it's time to choose, and to act on your choice. The people who are making this world worse don't take a day off, Bob Marley pointed out, so neither can we.  

Paul Robeson, HUAC testimony 1956, quoted in The Whole World in His Hands, p. 205.

ROBESON: I stand here struggling for the rights of my people to be full citizens in this country and they are not. They are not in Mississippi and they are not . . . in Washington. . . . You want to shut up every Negro who has the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of his people. . . . That is why I am here today. . . .

MR. SCHERER: Why do you not stay in Russia?

MR. ROBESON: Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country and I am going to stay here and have a part of it just like you. And no fascist- minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?



Originally posted to KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 07:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so here's some things (20+ / 0-)

    to do.

    1. help organize and contribute to a strike fund for retail and service industry and home health care workers, organize them into unions.

    2. participate in the electoral system and follow up, regularly, with your elected officials to let them know what you demand and expect of them and that you are organizing in numbers

    3. support immigrant solidarity movements

    4. start New New Deal and Jobs with Justice chapters in your communities

    5. realize that the reason voting isn't changing what we need changed is because the other side has leverage that we lack.  They have money; we have numbers.  We can win - easily - but only if we follow Joe Hill's advice.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:46:33 AM PDT

    •  Jobs with Justice (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      asterkitty, catilinus, KibbutzAmiad

      is the group I marched with at OWS events in my city. I went to a union solidarity rally during the Madison WI demonstrations in Pioneer Square which is a public gathering place in our city center. I signed up with Jobs for Justice, they had organized the rally and I was impressed by what they had to say. They send me e-mails for all events, city meetings and other activities that they are participating in and national news from their organization.They had the best drummer and chants at the OWS marches. They are a good org. to start or join.

  •  here is Ted Pearson's (12+ / 0-)

    article on health care in Illinois prisons....

    http://www.naarpr.org/...

    In the US, you give up your human rights if you commit a crime (or even if you don't but are arrested for committing one).  

    Unless you are privileged.  Like, say, a former Illinois governor or two.  Or four.  Then, conditions are quite different.

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:13:01 AM PDT

  •  here is a link (7+ / 0-)

    for the Jobs with Justice movement.  In the Chicago area, the amazing and brilliant Dr. Bill Barclay runs a chapter.  This is how we will change this nation.

    http://video.foxbusiness.com/...

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:16:08 AM PDT

    •  if you are in Chicago, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Onomastic, NancyWH, Chi, shaharazade

      Dr. Barclay (of CPEG, chicago political economy group, and lots of other impressive financial credentials) will come speak to your community group free and no one will leave without being armed with amazing tools and facts - and inspired.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:17:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And then the question becomes, which... (12+ / 0-)

    ...side are our leaders on? And in the cases of those leaders who repeatedly, across a range of issues, show that they aren't on our side, the leaders we worked for, gave money to, voted for, how do we get them on our side?

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 10:29:57 AM PDT

    •  They aren't going to do (9+ / 0-)

      it unless we increase our leverage to match that of the monied powers.  It was done in the thirties because the union movement was increasingly radical.  

      Picket lines, serious organizing - the only thing that has ever worked.  They need to fear losing everything before they'll compromise.

      Leaders don't become leaders in capitalist imperialist nations by helping the working class.  FDR's bail out of capitalism wasn't, obviously, done out of a desire first for social and economic justice.  It was done to prevent the loss of private property through communism.  

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 10:32:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is Really UNBelievable (0+ / 0-)
      ...the leaders we worked for, gave money to, voted for, how do we get them on our side?
      Do you actually read and think about what you write?

      do you see the DISconnect here?

      "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

      by Superpole on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:34:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  could you amplify (6+ / 0-)

        what you mean by that?  I think that elected politicians will respond to power.  Right now, we have none and the monied interests have an enormous amount.  In the past, the Soviet Union acted as a counterbalance and there was a real fear of socialism in the US.  The trade union movement was articulate.  Now?  It's at its weakest point since the onset of the 20th century.

        But leaders can be elected who represent us.  It's just a matter of organizing.  It's been done.  It can be done again.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:54:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's Crystal Clear (0+ / 0-)

          MB just admitted (finally) the huge disconnect; we're giving our time and money to, and voting for democratic politicians who are not on our side.

          this is not clear to you?

          the next question is of course whose side are they on? if the answer is not crystal clear to you, that's a big problem.

          "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

          by Superpole on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:30:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Without an (0+ / 0-)

            organized labor movement, a mass movement, one's only rational political choice is to work through the least regressive of the political parties.  To deny there are differences is infantile leftism; there clearly are.  The union movement recognizes that there are, the CPUSA recognizes it.

            Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

            by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:14:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I know you believe there is zero difference... (3+ / 0-)

        ...between Democrats and Republicans. And on some issues, to be sure, the overlap is goddamned appalling.

        But I vote for and, in some cases give money to and work for, people who I believe will make an effort to hold the line on existing progressive policy and listen to progressives who want them to move in a direction they haven't yet moved. I also support street politics that I think may have some impact. If you think this doesn't work, you haven't been paying attention. It obviously hasn't worked on some issues, and many of those are extremely important issues.

        What I don't hear from you and others—who UNbelievably believe that withholding votes will actually have a positive impact now or later (rather than just add to the 132 million or so adults who already don't vote) or who believe a third party vote has any impact at all—is a path to power that produce something different than what we have.

        The Democrats we elect are on our side on some progressive issues; most of them are on our side on most issues. The question is how do we move them to our side on the issues where they have failed us.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 04:43:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  there are (4+ / 0-)

          significant differences between the parties, differences that can and should be exploited by progressive forces.  To think otherwise and not participate is a form of infantile leftism, as it's called.  Real people are hurt when more conservatives are elected.  

          The New New Deal movement is working to move elected Democrats left.  A transaction tax on Wall Street is being heavily promoted; John Conyers introduced a bill on this issue last year and it's being re-introduced.  

          It CAN be done.  It HAS in the past.  The ruling class has a lot to lose from unrest, after all.  A lot more than most of us do.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 04:54:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Obviously We're at a Huge Impasse (0+ / 0-)

          and ultimately we are the losers.

          Thanks for finally admitting there are democratic politicians who are not on our side.

          I vote as well, but it's less and less clear why since i don't see the economic progress we obviously need.

          I'm not sure where you get the idea that I advocate  people withhold their votes. I've asked again and again what the democratic party is doing to motivate more people to vote (particularly in key states like Ohio) and typically I get no response.

          Not long ago it became clear there are two million unregistered Hispanic/Latino voters in Texas-- again I will ask: what is the democratic party doing to get these people registered to vote?

          The onus is on those who support the current political system with all of the obvious large problems iinherent in that system to prove just how we are going to get solutions when it's clear we're nowhere near achieving those solutions.

          Regarding the notion of a third party-- this is a waste of time. You admit there's no difference between the current "two" parties, which essentially means we have a one party system.

          Your math doesn't work; I'll defer to former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder who when asked the third party question, immediatey fired back: "I question whether we have a two party system". this was over twenty years ago.

          Here's just one rather massive problem:

          http://nyti.ms/...

          I'll be diaring on this today.

          "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

          by Superpole on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:50:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our Democratic leaders (0+ / 0-)

            are members of a capitalist party - what degree of support for the working class do you expect?  That said, again, in the absence of a mass labor movement, one's choices are constricted.  You work where you are most likely to have success that helps improve the lives of working people.

            Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

            by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:15:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  people are generally more complicated (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KibbutzAmiad

      then a binary choice. Your congressman or congresswoman could be the greatest champion on ____ while supporting ____

      And no I'm not saying don't challenge our elected officals or people in general (in point of fact I beleive you should read at least 1 thing you're going to disagree with everyday) but let's also recongize that people are complicated.

      In the time that I have been given,
      I am what I am

      by duhban on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:07:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry italics acidental, seems i found a new (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KibbutzAmiad

        short cut

        In the time that I have been given,
        I am what I am

        by duhban on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:08:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes, though (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban

          there is a clear choice.  And you have to choose, for by not doing so, you are in essence making a choice.  

          In the class war, there may be lots to discuss about how to best change things.  But I don't think there should be much argument about who the enemy is.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:33:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sorry but personally I don't believe in clear (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KibbutzAmiad

            choices and if anything I think that if you think a choice is 'clear' then you need to take a step back and think it though a couple more times just to be sure.

            I recongize that this is a personal choice and one that is not that common but I think doubt is a much healthier state of mind and outlook then certainity.

            That said yes the wealth imbalance, wage stagniation, massive debts in healthcare and education and the growing and worsening issues with the stock market and banks are all things that need to be addressed but I don't think viewing any of that as an enemy is helpful or productive. Mostly what we fight is ego and greed and you can't 'beat' those you can only change them.

            At least that's how I see it and what I believe

            In the time that I have been given,
            I am what I am

            by duhban on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:41:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I usually exist in the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NoMoreLies, duhban

              gray areas, and do not believe in kicking down doors that might be opened.

              But in the past 40 years, things have been going in one direction, wealth being consolidated, workers rights being stripped, the reserve army of the unemployed being used to destroy organized labor.

              It's not a world I'm willing to leave my children.

              Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

              by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:45:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  isn't it obvious? our leaders serve/are the rich (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph
      And then the question becomes, which side are our leaders on?
      What have any of them said or done that gives you any doubt that this country suffers under government by the rich and for the rich?  Someone here once characterized American politics as a war between sane billionaires and insane billionaires - between people content to milk the cow and people drooling to eat it - with We the People as just another asset in that war.
    •  We use our limited time and financial resources (0+ / 0-)

      to promote and work for election reform instead of doing the same thing over and over again (working for, giving money to, voting for 'leaders' who oppose us) and expecting a different outcome.

      Our 'leaders' have to fear loss. This is a pipe dream while sufficient numbers of people continue to give their unconditional support. From their point of view, assuring them they'll have your vote because "those other guys are evil-er" is effectively the same as giving them unconditional support. So, effectively, people such as yourself give these 'leaders' unconditional support. You can make all the noise you want after the election and pretend it means your support wasn't unconditional, but once you make it known you're going to vote (or, worse, donate to or work) for a politician your 'noises' cease to matter.

      I find it difficult to believe you don't already know that.

  •  What I find peculiar is what we as a community (6+ / 0-)

    value and pay a lot of money for. Why is it so much more valuable to be a venture capitalist, or to market a pastry, than to teach, build homes, or nurse our elders? Why are those professions worthy of private flights to attend high level meetings and the latter can barely feed themselves? When did we come to value destruction of community?

    I was so impressed by Ed's interview with the bartender who shot the famous video. What an outstanding example of a human being.

    Never underestimate the hired help.

    And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

    by TheFatLadySings on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 01:26:39 PM PDT

    •  Where you treasure (8+ / 0-)

      is there is also your heart, to paraphrase.  We are a society with some truly messed up values.  Some of this is not of our own making, in regards to working people.  But Americans are taught to hate the poor, to blame the victim, and to champion the winner.  It's not a coincidence that these values fit nicely into a narrative that brings great profit to the already powerful and prevents working class solidarity.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 01:30:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what's preventing working class solidarity? (5+ / 0-)

        that question is the most important to be examined and answered, for if we, the ones that have the conscience to keep informed, and are unafraid to see reality, could figure that out, we could have the velvet revolution

        there are signs that many people who consider themselves "middle class" are recognizing it's a farce

        in the 50's, when "the war" was over (that was before war became a constant), there was plenty of work, education and health care was readily available and affordable, and unions were an acknowledged feature of a healthy industrial climate;

        the answer to the question in the title of this comment is that in the same time television, which took no effort, unlike books or hand-made projects, became the most "popular" media

        today many of us who think they're in touch with the latest and the greatest are spending their days fiddling with tiny keyboards, vicariously living exciting lives

        all those sops, dreamt up by brilliant minds who were neverthess corruptable, to beguile a population

        •  I agree that (5+ / 0-)

          bread and circuses are now, as they have ever been, extremely useful tools of the ruling class.  "Dancing with the Stars" is a far more popular topic of conversation at my workplace (and I work at a library) than any issue of actual import.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:52:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  many cherished things prevent workers' solidarity (3+ / 0-)
          What's preventing working class solidarity?
          Long story short, it's anything that causes people to think of themselves as anything other than worker drones: culture, religion, politics, ethnicity, race, nationality, age, sex, etc., etc. ... these are the things that divide the working class.  Any identification with or loyalty to any group other than people in your same economic boat, especially because those groups are shaped by people with the wealth and the idle hours to indulge in aesthetics and philosophy in the first place.  Marx called it "false consciousness".

          At the end of the day, you're either rich or you're not; you're either in charge or you're not.  You either own things and extract profit from them, or you sell your labor-power in exchange for life.

          •  good points (0+ / 0-)

            americans have been convinced that being a "worker" isn't good enough to provide him/her with an identification that gives them pride

            and the rest of the culture which is owned lock stock and barrel cultivates the lowest forms of "entertainment"

            •  red baiting (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              isabelle hayes

              is still a huge problem.  Obama gets called a socialist when he's a center-right capitalist.  These movements require organization on a mass scale to challenge an existing order - otherwise you work as best you can to get that going while participating in the current system if possible, to ameliorate damage.

              Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

              by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:17:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  meant to add (8+ / 0-)

      that even the language we use to describe workers is reflective of some pretty effed up values.

      "Human resources" - is there a more grotesque phrase in English?  You are not a human being, you are a resource.  Like coal, only with blood pressure.

      We are fractured and weak right now, but this is fixable.  And even a fractured vessel is valuable.  I like your Leonard Cohen quote, the best verse from that song, I think (so many leave it out) but here's another one:

      "Ring the bells that still can ring
      Forget your perfect offering
      There is a crack in everything
      That's how the light gets in."

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 01:38:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (3+ / 0-)

        I spent 12+ years working in "Human Resource" Management departments.  At first, it was "Personnel" Management.  From the day the label changed, I saw a difference.  "Raw materials," "human resources," it's all expendable, to be used up and thrown away.

        To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. -Abraham Lincoln

        by Eyesbright on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:19:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, it is (3+ / 0-)

          clear that human resources are given the same respect as the natural ones.

          Political Economy regards the proletarian ... like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle.

          Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

          by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:36:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, shaharazade

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:03:37 PM PDT

  •  I entirely dislike the idea of 'sides' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad

    I realize to an extent it's unavoidable both because of how humanity is (we easily fall into an 'us' and 'them' mentality) and because to an extent there are sides (people have their convictions and choices and most do not easily change those as they probably should) that said I think that we should continually reach out and continually try and persuade.

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am

    by duhban on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:04:32 PM PDT

    •  I hope that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, RJDixon74135

      the ruling class proves you right and me wrong - I truly do.  I just don't see any historical or current evidence this will happen.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:46:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I fundamentally think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KibbutzAmiad

        that people mean to do right and well generally it's just that greed, selfness, ignorance and other things get in the way

        This might be a fundamental point of disagreement but for me it's nonnegoitable. It's just a fundamental part of how I have to view the world to remain here and sane.

        In the time that I have been given,
        I am what I am

        by duhban on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:55:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well written Kibbutz. Wish I could write as well. (3+ / 0-)

    And... throwing in my two cents on the topic:

    Per capita GDP (constant dollars) has doubled since the sixties.  It took a small hit in the recent Great Recession, but it's back to near record levels, and continues to grow.

    The U.S. economy now generates more money per person than it ever did.  Yet the claim from the right is that somehow we are going broke and can no longer provide a safety net for the poor and elderly, or support good schools, roads and other public goods.  That makes no sense at all.

    •  It's not too hard (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, shaharazade, Paulie200

      to see where the money is going, but it's hard to convince people of the factual nature of this.  Of course, there is an enormous motivation on the part of the ruling class to make sure that confusion and disinformation reign on this issue.

      The graphic that was viral recently demonstrated the reality of this; most Americans imagine that the distribution of wealth is far more equitable than it is.

      We run a small CPA firm.  People get into debt and think they can get out, even though you can demonstrate that it would take enormous amounts of time (far longer than their lifetime) to do so barring some huge jump in income.  They can't accept this - cognitive dissonance.  How can this be?  How can their house suddenly be worth far less than they paid?  There is enormous resistance to rejecting the narrative.  It's understandable but it has to be fought.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:51:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  along these lines (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, Paulie200

      this came to mind, by W.E.B. DuBois

      “Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.”
      I am convinced that a majority - a significant majority - of Americans, if presented with the facts about the nature of the economy, would make choices that promote significant economic justice.

      They lack facts, and there is a huge industry financed by those highly motivated to make sure they don't get them controlling much of the mass media.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:57:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this diary KibbutzAmiad. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad, shaharazade

    This is very important stuff.

    we’re running out of time to make some decisions
    I couldn't agree more.
    •  there is an old saying, (3+ / 0-)

      purportedly from the Chinese: "There is always a way when the rich get too rich and the poor get too poor."

      Something is going to change; the center can't hold much longer.  I don't want to slide irrevocably into barbarism.  I think there is really one other other rational choice.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 04:18:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks this is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, prfb, catilinus, KibbutzAmiad

    a good dairy. I appreciate people who throughout history have been on the side of human progress and economic justice. I have no idea how we can ever get any economic justice or any justice from our totally broken system. The current electoral process and our two parties offer no parliamentary means for us to address our grievances. I think it is up to us the people to find a way to take back our country. I feel at this time that the Democratic party may be teh lesser evil but frankly that's not enough and it certainly isn't on the people's side.          

    •  It's not enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      and it's not preventing further slide.  Working through the political system as it stands will never get us real change because we have no leverage in the absence of an organized mass movement of working people.  That is what has worked in the past.  Even during the Depression (talk about a reserve army of the unemployed!) progress began locally, with the Unemployed Councils - and had a huge impact.  Evictions were prevented.  People were educated.  People were fed.  And became militant.  And the government sure as hell noticed.  The result was the New Deal.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a liberal (0+ / 0-)

        from the Democratic wing of the party. I have a hard time letting go of the 'hope' that the left ( there is a left regardless of it's much touted demise) which has been bamboozled into thinking that this democratic farce of New Democrat's, The Third Way, is inevitable and it is the only 'way forward' available.  It's going to take a critical mass of people who get to the point where they are willing to let go of the fear that's pumped at them daily.

        What will it take to wake people up to the fact that they really are 'the change that they have been waiting for'. For many it's easier to go along and not get pepper sprayed, arrested or lose what little they have. It is hard to not be in denial when confronted with a global display of power and evil as this so called inevitable NWO.

        'The world as we find it' says Axelrod. The only hope I have at this point is that they go too far and people lose their fear and stand up. The arrogance of 'oligarchical collectivism' seems to be there weakness. They are not to big too fail they are too top heavy and unwieldy not to. History is littered with these inevitable would be rulers of the world.

        'When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.'    Mahatma Gandhi    
  •  At some point we will need to jump off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad

    the wagon of the "lesser of two evils".  It has been the "carrot and the stick" for years. Democrats dressed in the "I feel your pain" campaign rhetoric and then do nothing they promised. It's a hard decision, they pretty much have us cornered. This keeps me awake at night and as yet I can not resolve. It's a sad state of affairs and it leaves my mind blank for a solution. Where to turn? OWS? Letting the right blow themselves up? We all know which side we're on but no one will want to give up the crumbs they've amassed now for promises of a better future by letting go of the "carrot and the stick"...

    "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM"

    by FakeNews on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:08:24 AM PDT

    •  I am not, as I am (0+ / 0-)

      guessing is obvious, a Democrat.  However, I currently vote for them and work to get them elected.  The two American political parties are both capitalist parties, one far right, one center right.  

      What is the point one must abandon the electoral process?  I think there are a few things to look for.  Is it subject to influence by good forces?  If so, that is key to continued participation.  And as you point out, where does one turn?  Well, to organizing a mass movement, and that means labor unions.  Nothing else has ever worked.  But currently there is no mass movement.  So you fight regression, which means voting for Democrats, in my view.  But you organize.

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:20:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KibbutzAmiad

    the globalists don't seem to be on the side of US workers, yet they continue to get into or re-elected to political office.  We have been on a 20 year globalism binge that hasn't done one thing to benefit workers in the US that I can detect.  
    It would really nice if a good candidate could run for office and get the needed exposure without having to be a multimillionaire and/or have to perform 'favors' for monied interests backing him/her.  This seems to be a huge problem and, imo, an inherent conflict of interest.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:10:34 AM PDT

    •  It will be difficult (0+ / 0-)

      but can be done.  However, such a candidate has to be backed by a mass movement, lots of grassroots support, to counter the huge opposition they will face.  This is possible but requires people getting involved on a local level.

      In DuPage County - one of the reddest in the Chicago area - there was a grassroots movement to "Turn DuPage Blue" and it has been very successful.  My former representative was Peter Roskam and then, after redistricting, Joe Walsh.

      It's now Tammy Duckworth.  

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:33:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Trying to "kick start" the old paradigm of the (0+ / 0-)

    "workers united" is NOT going to work this time around. Other than gov't unions (which are dwidling), the union movement is going down fast. We have service workers who may or may not be willing to stick their heads up and become members of a working class movement. The right has made it abundantly clear to the lower class service workers that if you want to become part of the voting class you will be subject to "show your papers please" or look into your arrest record. or look into your "deadbeat dad" status, or "welfare history" - they become frightened to even interface with power least they be nabbed on some long forgotten legal entanglement with power. As for the middle class - most of what I observe in the middle class is an illusion on their part that they are, in fact, part of management - to join a union is the last thing they would be willing to do - to do so would surely risk their careers. In short. good luck resurrecting Joe Hill - without a cause that brings in the middle class you only have "frightened children"...

    "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM"

    by FakeNews on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:17:35 AM PDT

    •  we are not in a unique (0+ / 0-)

      time and the early 20th century was probably even harder in terms of getting people to organize - yet it was done.  What are your suggestions?  "Workers United" is the only thing, in the history of the industrial world, that has ever resulted in positive changes for the working class.  Being persuaded that it is fruitless is exactly where they want you...

      Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

      by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:31:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't live in the industrial world any (0+ / 0-)

        longer. We (in America) live in a post-industrial world riddled with the baggage from the social injustices that characterized it.

        "Workers United" as a concept may work, but not in the forms we've ever seen, historically, in this country.

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