Saturday, September 1, 2018

Let’s Think This Through

Walter Reuther, left, and Richard Frankensteen, after being beaten bloody by Ford Motor Company's anti-union thugs at the "Battle of the Overpass," an incident depicted in the new documentary Brothers on the Line. (Wayne State University Reuther Library Archives) 
Most of us know it is time for a major change — that it is time for our nation to apply our vast resources toward serving the interests of our people; to move toward a ‘Peace” economy and away from a “Continuous War” economy; to emphasize people over profit; to establish a balance between corporate interests and the welfare of all the people; and, toward protection from our current “Predatory Capitalistic” system.

Unfortunately, this realization is not a new thing. People have come to that conclusion from time immemorial.

And, in their time, countless heroes have given their lives trying to move the ball an inch or two forward toward obtaining “Natural Rights”, those our nation’s founders called, “unalienable rights”. You no doubt recognize this declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Back then, a few rich white guys convinced enough of the “Joe-&-Jane-lunch-bucket” colonists to fight a revolution against King George. For various reasons the revolution succeeded and the rich guys got a lot; the Joe & Jane workers got some potential and a chance to dream sbout making the bigtime like the rich guys, otherwise known as, the “American Dream”.

Fast forward a few hundred years and, we, the American Joes & Janes, the 99.9%, are still trying to dream that American Dream. Our ancestors did make some progress in their time. They paid the price in blood, achieving things that we take for granted, among them:

  • Eight-hour work days
  • Child labor laws
  • 40-hour work week
  • Vacation time
  • Sick time
  • Minimum wage
  • The Right to Vote

What about that “Pursuit of Happiness” thing?

Well, on this Labor Day, 2018, it is obvious that it's going to take a lot more than dreaming to find our chance at happiness.

Still, we can dream. Can’t we?

The Collapse of the Middle Class and the Rise of a New 'Precariat', Robert Scheer, Truthdig, 31 Aug 2018. Robert Scheer interview of Alissa Quart, Squeezed: The High Price of the American Family.

"And what your book really gets into in a very deep way is self-blame andif you fail–and this is the most powerful, corrupting message this society puts out: if you fail, it’s your fault. And you better go to a self-help group, or you better have a better attitude, or embrace your inner blah blah blah. And the whole idea that maybe the game is rigged–rigged–is, you know, that’s considered radical and negative thinking. And when you mentioned the housing meltdown, the Great Recession, and debt–debt, this incredible debt that people inherited on every level–and the fact, you know, you have to pay so much to go to college now, there wasn’t public money for doing something like free tuition, as Bernie Sanders argued for. There isn’t public money for helping people get job training for the jobs that are needed. There isn’t–there isn’t public money for health care. All the things you say these European societies have, and manage to fund. And what did they do? Under Barack Obama, the great president of hope, they bailed out the banks for destroying the economy. Right? And they didn’t bail out homeowners. They didn’t do anything fundamentally to help homeowners who lost their houses, not through any failure on their part, because the game was rigged by these, basically, thieves on Wall Street. So, I mean, isn’t it really cutting to the chase the issue, are you going to blame yourself, or are you going to blame the system?"

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