It’s time for the left to get off its duff and turn the tables on the radical right. And our history reveals that there’s an excellent method for accomplishing precisely that: a great march of the unemployed on Washington.
Recent polls reveal that Americans are decisively more concerned about the crisis of unemployment than the issue of our national debt. But as many commentators have observed in recent weeks, the results of the midterm elections, with Republicans gaining control of the House, and the associated rise of the tea party have pushed an agenda of austerity in government spending ahead of using government resources to fight unemployment.
Once there, these unemployed people would deliver a simple demand: The government must act immediately to give them back employment. They could invoke quite a number of interesting historical precedents: the platform of the pre-Civil War Whig Party, whose leaders, including Henry Clay and young Abraham Lincoln, urged governmental “internal improvements” — public works such as canal- and road-building projects — to give work to the jobless during a ruinous depression that followed a financial panic in 1837.
They would naturally invoke the great precedent of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, an agency that under the leadership of Harry Hopkins created jobs for the jobless almost overnight, thus providing some desperate and innocent people with a way to save their families and homes.
To be sure, the left has tried to address economics: It has protested repeatedly on the issues of out-sourcing, deregulation of the financial sector, and so on. But in the midst of the worst economic contraction since the 1930s, it has somehow allowed the extremists of the right to run roughshod over them.
That needs to change. Even many sincere and committed centrists admit that there are times when a disproportionate influence in one direction will require some vigorous counter-pressure if a wholesome balance is to reign.
A march of the unemployed might be the way to do it. And there’s historical precedent for this idea, too — not only in the still-remembered marches on the nation’s capital that occurred in the 1960s, but also in the largely forgotten marches of the unemployed that occurred both in 1894 and (more consequentially) 1932.
The preparations would have to start soon if such an exercise in grass-roots activism is to stand a real chance of affecting our political balance of power next year. Is the left prepared to rise to the occasion?
Showing posts tagged Tea party
Taking the Extremist out of the Apocalypse: The Republican Tea Party and their Corporate Benefactors
I have said that I would stay non-political on this blog and just present the stories. I may lose some readers by writing this, but it may not have been the right blog for you anyway.
I follow stories on lots of survivalist and financial blogs run by folks who think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and perhaps it is, but I don’t agree with many of their arguments.
Many of them seem to be heavily influenced by the Tea Party movement and express their anger at the gross expenditures of the federal government. I also see them frequently take up for the wealthy and perpetuate the system that enslaves them while railing against the elite and the NWO. It is a dynamic I don’t understand.
Let me get this straight. You rail against the “elite and NWO”, Wall Street Bankers, the Fed, and everyone else who is rich and in power, and then you take a stand on defending them when it comes to their money? We are being robbed blind and the Republicans lead the charge when it comes to protecting bankers, financiers, and corporate interests.
I am flabbergasted. I cannot understand why those of us who are hurt most by the manipulations of the elitists and super rich continue to perpetuate their survival and enable their tactics by defending them and electing them.
How many of you yelling about Government entitlements are using medical benefits and equipment funded by Medicare/caid?
Early on in Rand Paul’s campaigns
he denounced Medicare as socialized medicine. Then when confronted with reducing Medicare payments to Doctors, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. “Physicians,” he said, “should be allowed to make a comfortable living.”
I get it. You are angry. You don’t like the way things are going, but you’re still buying into the same bullshit and hypocrisy that got us to where we are today.
Mac Slavo at SHTFPlan shared this video of Tea Party commentator Bill Whittle criticizing Michael Moore’s anti-corporate and wealth rhetoric. He also points out that Moore is rich himself, an argument often raised by his opponents. Before watching the video, read Moore’s response to this criticism when asked about it by Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: But let’s talk about — most people going to see this movie who don’t like you are going to say, you know what? Michael Moore has done pretty well in this capitalist or free market system. You’ve become a fairly rich guy yourself.
MOORE: So, yes. Your point was, I have done well. Yes, for a documentary filmmaker, I have done very well.
MOORE: Isn’t the question better put — and I’m not trying to do your job for you — but wouldn’t the question better be, gee, Mike, you have done so well. Why don’t you just kick back at the lake and enjoy life? Why are you caring about all these people losing their health care and their jobs and all that? You’re not losing yours?
I wonder if there was like a Wolf Blitzer like 200 years ago who asked Thomas Jefferson or John Adams or George Washington, hey, you know, you guys are wealthy landowners. You have benefited from the king’s system. What are you complaining about? What is this revolt all about?
It’s like, sometimes, people, even people who have actually had the good fortune and blessings in life to not have to struggle with worrying about their health care, whether or not it’s going to be here tomorrow or the next week, sometimes, those people actually are willing to take great risks and create sacrifices for themselves, in the hopes that others will have it just as well.
BLITZER: That you have made a lot of money in this free enterprise, capitalist system, and now you’re railing against it.
MOORE: I know. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that amazing, that I actually — I actually, with a high school education, through my hard work and my ideas, have done OK, and then — and that I still want to do these things to help people who have it worse off than I, that I’m actually following through on the religious principles that I was raised with that I will be judged by how I treat the least among us?
I want an economic system that’s run with democratic principles and has a moral and ethical core to it. I want you and I and all the people watching to be able to have a say. And when you say, oh, we get to elect or representatives, well, you and I know the truth of that, that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on lobbying Congress.
And you and I don’t have that kind of money to spend on that. So, the average person doesn’t get to see the things they would like to see happen. Otherwise, the 75 percent who want universal health care would have universal health care right now.
At the :34 mark in this video the speaker calls the people in the Wisconsin protests “mobs disrupting the legislative process because they didn’t like the outcome”.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
This is the same rhetoric that could be used to discredit any protest. If this hyperbole were used against Tea Party protests you would scream bloody murder. Voltaire said “”I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”
Wake up! The more you back corporate power and super-rich politicians, the more they laugh at you as you enable them.
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010. Source
Forgive my sarcasm, but by all means, let’s cut my 74 year old Mom’s Medicare and continue to protect the rich 10%.
I found this article about the Tea Party movement in Kentucky, my home state. It’s titled “Tea & Crackers: How Corporate Interests and Republican Insiders Built the Tea Party Monster” and I’m just excerpting the last few paragraphs, but it bears reading in toto.
I think it captures the zeitgeist of the conservative tendency to want to limit government spending, intervention, and taxes, while protecting the corporate wealth interests who continue to rape the working class on a daily basis.
In the Tea Party narrative, victory at the polls means a new American revolution, one that will “take our country back” from everyone they disapprove of. But what they don’t realize is, there’s a catch: This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change. The Tea Party today is being pitched in the media as this great threat to the GOP; in reality, the Tea Party is the GOP.
What few elements of the movement aren’t yet under the control of the Republican Party soon will be, and even if a few genuine Tea Party candidates sneak through, it’s only a matter of time before the uprising as a whole gets castrated, just like every grass-roots movement does in this country. Its leaders will be bought off and sucked into the two-party bureaucracy, where its platform will be whittled down until the only things left are those that the GOP’s campaign contributors want anyway: top-bracket tax breaks, free trade and financial deregulation.
This, then, is the future of the Republican Party: Angry white voters hovering over their cash-stuffed mattresses with their kerosene lanterns, peering through the blinds at the oncoming hordes of suburban soccer moms they’ve mistaken for death-panel bureaucrats bent on exterminating anyone who isn’t an illegal alien or a Kenyan anti-colonialist.
The world is changing all around the Tea Party. The country is becoming more black and more Hispanic by the day. The economy is becoming more and more complex, access to capital for ordinary individuals more and more remote, the ability to live simply and own a business without worrying about Chinese labor or the depreciating dollar vanished more or less for good. They want to pick up their ball and go home, but they can’t; thus, the difficulties and the rancor with those of us who are resigned to life on this planet.
Of course, the fact that we’re even sitting here two years after Bush talking about a GOP comeback is a profound testament to two things: One, the American voter’s unmatched ability to forget what happened to him 10 seconds ago, and two, the Republican Party’s incredible recuperative skill and bureaucratic ingenuity.
This is a party that in 2008 was not just beaten but obliterated, with nearly every one of its recognizable leaders reduced to historical-footnote status and pinned with blame for some ghastly political catastrophe. There were literally no healthy bodies left on the bench, but the Republicans managed to get back in the game anyway by plucking an assortment of nativist freaks, village idiots and Internet Hitlers out of thin air and training them into a giant ball of incoherent resentment just in time for the 2010 midterms. They returned to prominence by outdoing Barack Obama at his own game: turning out masses of energized and disciplined supporters on the streets and overwhelming the ballot box with sheer enthusiasm.
The bad news is that the Tea Party’s political outrage is being appropriated, with thanks, by the Goldmans and the BPs of the world. The good news, if you want to look at it that way, is that those interests mostly have us by the balls anyway, no matter who wins on Election Day. That’s the reality; the rest of this is just noise. It’s just that it’s a lot of noise, and there’s no telling when it’s ever going to end.
From Commondreams.org - Tea & Crackers: How Corporate Interests and Republican Insiders Built the Tea Party Monster
Meanwhile the Tea Party continues to be funded by the super rich:
Real Americans are mad as hell and want to take back their country from you-know-who.
There’s just one element missing from America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the Wall Street sugar daddies who are bankrolling it and who have been doing so since well before the “death panel” days.
Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch, who owns - among other things - Fox News via it’s parent company, NewsCorp.
The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers really are.
Their self-interested and at times radical agendas, like Murdoch’s, go well beyond and against the interests of those who serve as spear carriers in the political pageants hawked on Fox News. The country will be in for quite a ride should these potentates ever gain power, and given the recession-battered electorate’s unchecked anger and the Obama White House’s strategy, they might.
All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled “Invisible Hands” - those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. with a coup d’etat attempt.
And here’s more on the “big money” behind the Tea Party:
According to the nonpartisan website Source Watch, “Reports indicate that the Tea Party Movement benefits from millions of dollars from conservative foundations that are derived from wealthy U.S. families and their business interests. Is appears that money to organize and implement the Movement is flowing primarily through two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works.” Those two entities are “lobbyist-run think tanks” that are “well funded”, providing logistics and organizing for the TEA Party movement nationwide, ThinkProgress.org has reported.
Media Matters, a nonpartisan site founded by a conservative, reported that FreedomWorks receives substantial funding from David Koch of Koch Industries, the largest privately-held energy company in the country, and the conservative Koch Family FoundationsMedia Matters reports that the Koch family has given more than $12 million to CSE/FreedomWorks between 1985 and 2002. In addition, Media Matters lists the Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is financed by the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune, as having given a total of $2.96 million in funding to FreedomWorks, the major backer of the TEA Party movements.
This is why I started this blog. Survivalists and preppers are pervasively conservative and affiliated with the Tea Party. They encompass large numbers of religious fundamentalists and anti-Zionist conspiracy theorists. On the other side, the liberal “survivalists” are ecologists, organic farmers, and green activists; back to the earth people who think it can all be fixed by changing our lightbulbs, growing local, and using alternative energy.
Where is the moderate in the preparedness movement? Why is there such polarization? Why are those most oppressed deluded and persuaded by right-wing progaganda into believing that rich corporate power houses will work with their best interests in mind?
I maintain that one can believe that the situation is dire, and prepare appropriately without embracing extremism. That is why I write here. That is why I ever remain the Skeptical Survivalist.