Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Class Warfare

I am irritated gentle reader. I have been watching, reading and listening to the news and I keep running into this notion of “Class Warfare.” To quote the great Spanish Philosopher Inigo Montoya, “I do not think those words mean what you think they mean.” Placing a extra tax on millionaires may be class conflict, it may be punishing the job creators, that is debatable; but it is no way, shape, or form is it Class Warfare.

I wish I could round up every politician and political pundit that vomits the term into the public debate and have them actually endure Class Warfare. When those who survive tell their stories of what real Class Warfare looks like, then we will be done with the hysterical drama queen and drama kings who toss this term about like so much confetti.

First Class Warfare involves real warfare. We’re talking people with murder in their hearts, and the tools to bring their heart’s desires into reality. In much of history this went by the term of “Peasants’ Revolt.” If you have the stomach for such thing, peruse any history book that you might fancy. Those books will be chock-a-block full of harrowing tales of slaughter and rapine indulged by the lower orders, and the counter-reaction by the nobility. Such tales are soaked in blood.

But if clubbing and swordplay are not your milieu, perhaps something from the wrongly named “Age Of Reason” is more to your liking. Wander about the descriptions of the French Revolution, it's a barrel of laughs. Don’t forget to think about the horror of what Napoleon's “whiff of grape” really meant.

But if being shredded by shrapnel spat out of cannon does not sound very pleasant, you can always fast forward to the Russian Revolution, and the horrors performed by both the Red and White forces. Now that Lenin, he really knew how to do class warfare on an industrial scale. Stalin learned from the master, and wiped out millions of class traitors and other undesirables as routine.

But that is wholesale matters, in our own great nation of the United States, we were strictly retail about such things. There were the sundry butchering of the odd Labor member, or the judicial lynching of the odd anarchist, but the US preferred the slow genocide of Slavery and the fast genocide of the First People to the messy business of class warfare.

If brutal murder was needed to keep the lower orders in line, the elites could always fire up a race riot.  Divide and conquer was always the preferred method in the US, where the lower classes did not enjoy the homogeneity of the European agricultural workers.

The institutionalization of racism also explains why a true class war never broke out in the United States. Poor whites could always look down on the blacks and find false kinship with the Captains of Industries that shared their Caucasian coloring. Toxic racism, and even more toxic misogyny insured that the poor whites always had someone they could look down upon, and who was in worse state then they were.

But there are limits to such skulduggery. Looked at in the perspective of Class War, one can see the US Civil War as such a phenomena. At the end of the struggle a whole class of people, the Plantation Slave Owners, were crushed. For almost a generation enormous social, political, and economic changed occurred because this block had been eliminated.

Eventually the progress ended, and the next uprising did not occur until the turn of the Century with the excesses of the Gilded Age in clear view. Granted, the anarchists of the Victorian Age made things very dicey for the political leaders of the time, but they never set off the revolution that they dearly desired. Class conflict got brutal, but there was never a real danger of class warfare until the Bolsheviks popped up in Russia.

Ironically, it is with the end of the Communist regime in Russia that class warfare became a talking point again. When the only nation in the world that could actually foment real class war was tossed into the dust bin of history, the threat became alive again--passing strange.

I have no patience with the meme, as I hope you have gathered. It is an over-the-top bit of hysterical heavy breathing. No one in the US is rallying the lower orders to fetch their weapons and torches to burn down the residences of the new Robber Barons. No one is advocating that the 0.1%, hyper-wealthy billionaires be chopped up into cat kibble. No one is advocating that the women-folk of this subset be raped, or that the even smaller subset of pregnant hyper-wealthy be cut open, or their infants be beaten to death before their mother’s eyes. Wall Street was temporary occupied, it was never burned down to its foundations.

I wonder when or how the super-wealthy became so thin-skinned. When did they come around to the notion that they should never, ever, hear a discouraging word? What weird form of egomania makes them need to hear how marvelous, great, wonderful, munificent, and super sexy they are? When did they become so thin skinned?

I guess it comes from believing in the utter garbage their paid sycophants in the Hoover Institute, the AIE, the Cato Institute, and other organizations feed them on a 24/7 basis. I get the need for the hyper rich to fund wing nut welfare to confound and confuse the masses. I just have issues with the hyper rich actually buying into the bilge water propaganda that Wing Nut Welfare pumps out. The ideological insanity that the Koch brothers fund, and actually believe in, is gob-smacking. Ditto for Richard Mellon-Scaife; and the others of the inner circle. The cluelessness mixed with the excessive self-regard is incredible. It would be the stuff of farce if the damage it was doing to the republic were not so real, so massive.

By blocking minor and popular fixes to the economic disparities that warp and twist our nation, these proud few are actually bringing about the class warfare they decry. With participatory democracy blocked, the pressures will only grow. Society will warp and buckle as frightened citizens look for more radical solutions. We see this in Europe already where the austerity craze is causing the rise of fascist, anti-immigrant, ultra-right wing nationalist parties. The elites insistence on perpetuating bad policy, because that is what “the market” wants, is causing nations like Hungry to go off the rails. By tearing up the social contract, by racing to the bottom, the Transnational Corporatist Elite are undermining the very stability that Capitalism needs to thrive.

I have no idea were this temper-tantrum of the pseudo-libertarian right is going. I have no idea how long the super-rich can scotch the will of the people by purchasing politicians by the bucket loads. I don’t  know how long low-information voters will buy the crap of protecting the “job creators” when too few jobs are being created. Let’s ignore the fact that the jobs being created pay less than jobs that were eliminated; and the middle class keeps getting vaporized, that only adds insult to injury.  I have no idea how long the citizens of the US will put up with no jobs, no benefits, no prospects. That seems the perfect recipe for revolt.
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