With Cries of Storm the Bastille, Some Are Content to Live Off of the Very Working Class They Profess to Support
Okay, maybe I do need more bran in my diet. Perhaps I should even start wearing pants in which the waist sits north of my navel and complain about taxes and the weather. I am more than willing to concede this and even more as a explanation for my occasional grumpiness but . . . and it is a BIG BUT, sometimes an unbridled rant is not only in order but justified.
Such was the case earlier today when I came across the following Facebook social dissertation by one Joshua Flaugher, a transplanted American who has been living in this country for more than a year without a smidgen of interest in pursuing any form of gainful employment.
Now I must admit in the few times that I have had the opportunity to personally talk with the “intrepidly void” Mr. Flaugher his intellectual musings and ideas reminded me more of the Michael Keaton character from the movie Night Shift than that of a true visionary thinker. If you have seen the movie you will immediately know about what I am talking as Flaugher is a “feed mayonnaise to tuna fish to cut out the middleman” kind of guy.
In fact just recently, when I had occasion to see him for the first time in over a year, he had made the suggestion that a great premise for a new television show would be one where a serial killer hunts serial killers! Wow, amazing . . . but isn’t that kind of the same premise as the HBO hit series Dexter which has been on the air since 2006? What’s next, suggesting round wheels on automobiles!
I guess as you read Flaugher’s post that cries out how the working class is being oppressed by the self-serving interests of an elitist few – something that might carry a little more weight if Flaugher were actually part of the working class versus being merely an observer of it, you may or may not see why this got under my skin . . . the absence of bran notwithstanding.
So here it in all its glory, along with my response. By the way, Flaugher’s follow-up piece titled “Embracing the Spirit of the Hero Outlaw” champions the idea of a modern day Robin Hood emerging on the scene because, and I quote “there’s a need for a hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor.” Can you say pass the unemployment check!
by Joshua Flaugher on Friday, December 3, 2010 at 2:00pm
It has been commonly observed by political commentators and satirists that the economic crisis which dominates the arena of American life has been precipitated by three factors: The determined resistance of reactionary elements in the House of Representatives and Senate to the need for increased social programs like universal healthcare and a well funded welfare system; the unwillingness of liberals and progressives within Congress to fight and push for these social programs; and a propaganda campaign that has increasingly convinced the working people of this land to continually vote against their own interests. In a time when the legislative halls of Congress ring with open defiance in the form of the Tea Party’s battle calls of “block,” “nullification” and “filibuster”; in a time when a modern version of the robber barons have arisen in the form of Wall Street executives who hypocritically fight tooth and nail to not pay their taxes while demanding government handouts in the billions; in a time when millions of American families are going to bed jobless, homeless and broken because their unemployment checks have run out and Welfare only pays $290.00 per month a revolutionary change is starting to take place within the working class’s conception of its own economic importance and value.
The United States has a long history of exploiting its work force. The first exploited workers landed on American shores in 1619, one year ahead of the Pilgrim Colony at Plymouth. They were brought here from Africa, and unlike the Pilgrims, they were brought here against their will as slaves. Throughout American history – from the slave era up through the industrial revolution to our contemporary era, the American worker has been treated in an inhuman fashion by his/her employers. S/he is considered a thing to be used, not a person to be respected. S/he is seen merely as a depersonalized cog within the vast machine of American industry. In some ways the system of slavery wasn’t abolished in 1865. In many ways the system has been expanded to include the whole of the American workforce. If anything has become clear over the past 30 years is that the Wall Street executives and politicians in Washington see the American working class, in substance, as non-citizens but merely as property subject to the dictates of their owners on Wall Street.
There was a brief period of emancipation starting in the 1930s under the presidency of FDR up to 1980s when Ronald Reagan presided over the wholesale dismantling of our industrialized infrastructure and broke the backs of the labor unions. Soon Wall Street profits grew to record breaking levels as the average American family income was cut in half, forcing many Americans to buy things on credit – thus enslaving themselves to their Wall Street owners in order to pay off their debts and plunging the American worker force into the abyss of exploitation where it would experience the bleakness of an ever growing economic injustice.
Meanwhile Wall Street’s propaganda machine was rolled out under the guise of the “liberal media” convincing many of America’s working class that it didn’t matter how little they were getting paid they were simply lucky to be working. And a lie was perpetuated stating that if the American worker was loyal, dedicated and worked hard s/he could rise through the ranks and become one of the Wall Street owners too. However, during the current economic crisis a myriad of financial and political factors came together to cause many American workers to reevaluate the situation. Slowly the American worker is beginning to realize that s/he is a person worthy of respect and is of invaluable importance to the overall economic health of the United States and the world.
This awakening sense of self-respect and dignity on the part of the American worker undermines Wall Street’s view of peace and stability, since Wall Street and their politicians refuse to accept the fact that changes must be made. The growing tension in class relations today can be explained in part by this revolutionary change in the working person’s evaluation of him/herself and his/her determination to struggle and sacrifice until the walls of exploitation that have fortified Wall Street for over a century and a half have been fully crushed by the battering rams of justice.
The determination of working Americans to win freedom from every form of oppression springs from the same profound longing for justice that motivates oppressed peoples all over the world. The struggle for freedom on the part of oppressed people in general and the American worker in particular is growing and developing slowly and is not going to stop suddenly. Privileged groups rarely, if ever, give up their privileged positions without strong resistance. But when oppressed people rise up against their oppressors there is no stopping point short of full emancipation. Realism compels us to admit that the struggle will continue to grow until genuine freedom is a reality for all the oppressed peoples of the world.
If America fails to deal equitably with its working class and other victims of its economic policies unborn generations of American citizens will inherit a desolate nightmare of bitterness and violence and this generations chief legacy will be an endless reign of lawlessness and chaos.
And my response . . .
I came across your post by chance Josh and I have to tell you that your text is more reflective of a Jacques Mallet du Pan memoir, when oligarchical rule by a detached upper class was much more clearly distinguishable and decisive in terms of the chasm between the different levels of society and its subsequent impact.
While there is to a certain extent elements of that time in the present day as demonstrated by my interviews with author’s such as John Berling Hardy who wrote The Hidden Game (Revealing The Secrets of “The Hidden Game”), said elements of corrupt control by a few has been around since the beginning of time and quite frankly is not indigenous to America or any other country. It is a human character flaw not a political or nationalist one.
Yes, in America there were to be certain Robber Barons as were there questionable dealings underneath the Buttonwood Tree in the pre-NYSE days of Wall Street.
I have covered these as well as current stories extensively both in my blogs and over the virtual airwaves including Coffee Under The Buttonwood Tree: Wall Street 218 Years Later and The Failings of Institutional Advisers and How You Can Grab The Bull by the Horns!.
However to resort to a French Revolutionary-type rhetoric which blames all the woes of the “working class” as you call them, especially as it relates to one of the greatest countries in the world, on a flawed class structure is more deflective than it is inspirational or insightful.
Behind the floriferously plagiarized prose you fail to mention that you are not nor have you been for some time gainfully employed. Nor do you discuss the reality of your reliance on the taxes paid by the very working class for which you profess to be speaking by way of the social aid you receive. An added insult to injury given that you are of both sound mind and sound body and are therefore quite capable of getting a job.
Is America perfect. . . absolutely not. Nor is Canada or for that matter any other country in the world. But your flaying pontification would likely carry more weight if you were actually part of the working class versus being merely an observer of it.