By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
The actions of thousands of young people in New York City’s financial district, simply calling themselves “Occupy Wall Street,” is now entering a second week, with many camping out overnight in the area’s parks. How long its will continue and whether its numbers will swell is anyone’s guess, but the response of the NYPD in arresting and otherwise restricting them is already banging heads with our First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble.
“At Manhattan’s Union Square, police tried to corral the demonstrators using orange plastic netting,” reports the Sept 25, 2011 Washington Post. “Some of the arrests were filmed and activists posted the videos online. One video appears to show officers using pepper spray on women who already were cordoned off; another shows officers handcuffing a man after pulling him up off the ground, blood trickling down his face.”
Most of the youth are students, but many are also unemployed and underemployed young workers. And a small but important grouping of staffers and activists with NYC’s trade unions have also made their way downtown to spend a few hours helping out.
The students certainly have a just cause. While the denizens of Wall Street have bailed themselves out and paid themselves huge bonuses with trillions from the public treasury, these young people are saddled with a degree of crushing debt to pay for their educations that would have been unthinkable 40 years ago. If they manage to graduate, they face a financial burden large enough for a home mortgage-all before they start their first full-time jobs, assuming their lucky enough to find one that pays a living wage.
But these youth and students are fighting for more than their own immediate concerns. They have raised a whole range of demands-Medicare for All, defending social security, for passing the various jobs bills in congress, opposing racism and sexism, ending the wars, and abolition of the death penalty in the wake of the recent unjust execution of Troy Davis.
They are the cutting edge of a new popular front against finance capital.
Young rebels often manifest a moral clarity that awakens and prods the rest of us. Through their direct actions, they become a critical force, holding up a mirror for an entire society to take a look at itself, what it has come to, and what choices lay before it. The historic example is the four young African American students that sat at a lunch counter and ordered a cup of coffee in Greensboro, North Carolina back in 1960.
The Wall Street protests are thus a clarion call to the trade unions and everyone concerned with economic and social justice. While the youth are clearly a critical force here, when all is said and done, they are not the main force. That power resides in labor and in the wider communities. It’s in the hands of everyone that’s part of an emerging progressive majority for peace and prosperity, everyone that wants a U-Turn against the country’s current path to more wars and deeper austerity.
It’s time to exercise that power and lend a hand with active solidarity. More actions are in the works, including an occupation and encampment on Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC starting Oct. 6, following the ‘Rebuild the Dream’ DC conference focused on a renewed labor-community coalition for the 2012 election.
It’s going to take more than votes to push back the right wing and its Wall Street allies. It’s going to take some serious ‘street heat’ as well.
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
If you want to have your class consciousness raised a few notches, all you have to do over the next few weeks is listen to the Republicans in Congress offer up their shameless commentary rejecting President’s Obama’s jobs bill.
This week’s doozy came from Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who was outraged that capitalists were being restricted from discriminating in hiring the unemployed, in favor of only hiring people who already had jobs elsewhere. I kid you not. Here’s the quote:
“We’re adding in this bill a new protected class called ‘unemployed,’” Gohmert declared in the House Sept. 13, 2011. “I think this will help trial lawyers who are not having enough work. We heard from our friends across the aisle, 14 million people out of work — that’s 14 million new clients.”
One hardly knows were to begin.
First, the Jobs Bill does no such thing as creating a ‘new protected class.’ It only curbs a wrongly discriminatory practice.
Second, so what if it did? Americans who uphold the Constitution, the 14th Amendment’ equal protection clause, and the expansion of democracy and the franchise generally, will see the creation of ‘protected classes’ as hard-won progressive steps forward from the times of the Divine Right of Kings.
Third, if Gohmert had any first-hand knowledge of the unemployed, he’d know they usually can’t afford lawyers, especially when the courts are stacked against them.
Fourth, to create even more confusion, Gohmert raced to the House clerk to submit his own ‘Jobs Bill’ before Obama’s, but with a similar name. Its content was a hastily scribbled two-page screed consisting of nothing but cuts in corporate taxes.
What’s really going on here is becoming clearer every day. The GOP cares about one thing: destroying Obama’s presidency regardless of the cost. They don’t even care if its hurts capitalism’s own interests briefly, not to mention damaging the well being of everyone else. Luckily, Obama is finally calling them out in public-although far too politely for my taste.
The irony will likely emerge if and when they ever do take Obama down. I’d bet good money that a good number of the GOP bigwigs would then turn on a dime and support many of the same measures they’re now opposing.
But most of them, especially the far right, would still likely press on with their real aim, a full-throated neoliberal reactionary thrust that repeals the Great Society’s Medicaid and Medicare, the New Deal’s Social Security and Wagner Act, and every progressive measure in between. Their idea of making the U.S labor market ‘competitive’ and U.S. business ‘confident’ is to make the whole country more like Texas, with its record volume of minimum wage work and poverty, and then Texas more like Mexico-the race to the bottom. They’re not happy with 12% unionization; they want zero percent, where all of us are defenseless and completely under the thumbs of our ‘betters’.
In brief, prepare for more wars and greater austerity.
If you think I’m exaggerating, over the next months observe how the national GOP is trying to rig the 2012 elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan and a few other big states. Our Electoral College system is bad enough, but they are going to ‘reform’ it to make it worse by attaching electoral votes to congressional districts, rather than statewide popular majorities. This would mean Obama could win the popular vote statewide, but the majority of electoral votes would still go to the GOP. Add that to their new ‘depress the vote’ requirements involving picture IDs, which are aimed at the poor and the elderly, and you’ll see their fear and hatred of the working class.
We’ve always had government with undue advantages for the rich. But just watch them in this round as they go all out to make it even more so. We have to call it out for what it really is, and put their schemes where the sun doesn’t shine.
The Hot Potato Too Many Beltway Wonks Avoid:
The Need to Tie Job Creation to Industrial Policy
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
If you want to be a good policy advocate for jobs these days, two starting points will help you a lot. One is to take off your national blinders and see the economy globally. The second is to grasp how the need for revenues to finance the creation of new jobs can best be filled by increasing taxes on unproductive wealth.
A good example of the problem is Robert’s Samuelson’s ‘Job Creation 101’ op-ed column in the Sept 12 Washington Post. If we simply follow his lesson plan, we would end up creating new jobs in the third world—and doing so mainly at the expense of the wrong people at home.
Samuelson begins his argument wisely enough by stressing how increasing demand for goods and services creates jobs, and government has to have a hand in it. But then he goes astray:
“If government taxed, borrowed or regulated less, that money would stay with households and businesses, which would spend it on something else and, thereby, create other jobs. Politics determines how much private income we devote to public services.
“To this observation, there’s one glaring exception. In a slump, government can create jobs by borrowing when the private economy isn’t spending.”
On the first point, tweaking taxes so both people and businesses have more cash to spend glosses over the matter of where and how the money is spent. Using extra income to pay down your Visa Card doesn’t help job creation much. And if you spend it at Wal-Mart or other big box stores, you’ll create some demand to hire more workers in China or Malaysia, but not much here.
On the second point, it’s not always wise to create jobs simply by borrowing. It certainly adds to the revenues of the banks and bondholders. But it’s much smarter to go after unproductive pools of capital with progressive taxation. The proposal for a financial transaction tax on Wall Street speculators is an excellent example.
The rule-of-thumb is to tax activities you want to discourage, such as unproductive gambling in derivatives, while subsidizing efforts you want to encourage, such as new green manufacturing startups. It’s called ‘industrial policy,’ and it’s why some countries that have one, like China and Germany, are weathering the economic storms better than others.
If Obama’s new jobs program is going to be thwarted by a hostile Congress anyway, those politicians who are serious about creating jobs would do well to fight for the best options-direct government programs that fund increasing local demand for local labor and raw materials. If we had every county in the country funded to build a wind farm or solar array as a public power utility, it would be a good start. So would the building of the new and massive ‘Smart Grid’ power lines for clean and green energy.
When finance capital’s opposition in Congress rears its head to crush something that makes perfect sense to everyone else, then we’ll learn exactly who is part of the problem and who is part of the solution. If we get political clarity here in a massive way, we’ll be in a much better position to assemble the popular power required to get what we really need.
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
It’s hard to decide who has less shame, the Pennsylvania legislature’s GOP-led majority or the natural gas industry.
The question is raised by a Sept. 2, 2011 report in the Pittsburgh Business Times headlined, “Gas as alternative energy? New PA bill says yes.”
So we’re now faced with yet another sweetheart deal concocted jointly by our two local big-time political hustlers. They want to declare natural gas as a ‘tier two alternative energy’ to get their hands on tax credits earmarked for real green startups. To add insult to injury, both are also blocking any extraction tax on the gas released from the Marcellus shale by the environmentally dangerous ‘fracking’ underground explosions.
That’s like someone picking your pocket with one hand while attaching your paycheck with the other.
Let’s get this straight. Taking any form of carbon from under the ground, burning it, and putting the resulting carbon dioxide in the air is not an ‘alternative energy.’ Claiming so puts you in the running for the George Orwell 1984 ‘War is Peace’ award.
There’s only one rational, strategic way to burn carbon for energy: set aside part of the profits from this decidedly un-green process to create the investment fund for true alternative energy systems. Over time, this will help phase out the burning of carbon as a primary energy source altogether.
Here’s something most kids learn in their high school Earth Science classes, even if our paid-off politicians and short-sighted and carbon-addicted business leaders are in denial:
Alternative energies, for the most part, derive from the interplay of the Earth, Sun and Moon. That’s solar cells and solar collectors, wind turbines, hydro power and wave generators taking advantage of tides and other ongoing movement of water. The few exceptions are geothermal sources, tapping into the heat below the Earth’s crust. All these are practically inexhaustible and leave a relatively low ecological footprint. That’s why they’re called ‘renewable’ and ‘green’.
When brought to scale and with the proper technology—almost all of which is already invented and in use in many parts of the world—renewable energies can provide almost all our needs, from running heavy industry and powering land-based transportation to turning on your porch lights. We’ll still need a small amount of hydrocarbons to power aircraft, but even that can be reduced with electromotive high-speed rail.
What’s more, making the transition to clean and green energy requires a massive but productive increase in modern high-tech, high-value-added manufacturing and the jobs that go with them. That’s why Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers has been hammering away at their importance for years now.
That’s also the high road to economic and energy development for creating new wealth here at home. But our legislature or at least a majority of it, along with the speculators bound up with the Marcellus Shale, want to take us down the low road to less sustainable low-wage growth and disaster-threatening ecological perdition.
This bill is simply the latest case in point. It’s time for the Blue-Green alliance and a job-building, progressive-minded majority to expose these shenanigans, get rid of the shale-related corruption and organize the independent political clout to put us on a proper clean and green course.
Walking my dogs in the woods today took me back in time. I was 12 years old, walking in the woods in those glorious end-of-summer days with blue skies, a few clouds, cool breezes and an tiny number of leaves losing their green color.
I always had mixed feelings in this season back then. I knew it meant school was starting, and I liked school. Who would be my new teacher? Would my old friends be there? New kids for new friends? New subjects to learn? Would I get that cute girl from last year to like me?
But my long explorations in the woods would end, too. I went into them then with my dog and my bow and arrows (not toys, but a 50-pound fiberglass recurve with aluminum arrows, a serious weapon). At one end of the deep woods back then was a dump from the mill with giant rats, my targets. The aluminum arrows were better. I could find them far easier than wooden ones after a missed shot.
With some anxiety, I’d have to set this familiar adventureland aside for the more alien and complex social adventures of the sixth grade.
Today my life is more integrated, but the smell of the woods, the scamperings of squirrels and wood chucks at the scent and sound of my dogs and my own footsteps, took me back to that younger boy, whose life was both more simple and more complicated.
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
“Newt Gingrich: Obama’s ‘Bureaucratic Socialism’ Kills Jobs” is one of many similar headlines appearing on dozens of web-based news portals in this 2012 election season. This one keeps popping up, and I’m getting sick of seeing it.
The reason? It manages to pack several major lies, each of which you could write a book about, into just five words-and hardly an editor anywhere takes a blue pencil to it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got no problem with ‘socialism.’ My shoot-from-the hip response when someone spits the ‘S’ word out in a political argument is, “Socialism? I’ve been a socialist all my life, and proud of it. We should be so lucky as to have some socialism around here. Unfortunately, we’re not even close.”
First of all, Barack Obama is not a socialist. Even back in his more youthful years in Illinois, at best on a good day, he was simply a neo-Keynesian liberal with a few high tech green ideas. Keynesians believe, among other things, that when markets fail, government has the task of being the consumer of last resort, even hiring people directly to build infrastructure and put people to work,
But these days, surrounded by a ‘Team of Rivals’ largely from Wall Street, Obama has set aside any earlier Keynesian policies he held and has been, wittingly or not, sucked into the black hole of the prevailing neoliberal hegemony.
What’s ‘Neoliberal hegemony?’ That’s a shorthand phrase for the current domination of our government by Wall Street finance capital. It simply wants to diminish any government initiatives or programs, except for those that line their own pockets.
Keynesians and others, in and out of government, have opposed the neoliberals. They’ve advocated a range of reasonable proposals for getting us out of the current crisis-ending the wars, Employee Free Choice Act, Medicare for All, the People’s Budget submitted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. John Conyer’s HR 870 Full Employment Bill-but they all keep getting declared “off the table” by the neoliberals.
On Gingrich’s second charge, far from being ‘bureaucratic,’ Obama, wisely or not, has actually reduced the number of federal employees, and made other cuts that will cause the states to do likewise.
On the third charge, far from ‘killing jobs,’ Obama’s initial proposals regarding employment have actually created a few jobs, but not nearly enough. Why? Because of the real job-killing votes of Gingrich’s Republican allies in the House.
It doesn’t take a chess champion to figure any of this out. Any decent checker player could make an honest call of the false moves in the ‘socialist job killer’ gambit of Gingrich and other GOP presidential pretenders running the same rap.
But why distort the truth this way? Newt Gingrich is a smart man. He knows that Keynesianism is designed to keep capitalism going, and that socialism is something quite different and has very little to do with this debate. So why does he keep this ‘Big Lie’ business up?
It’s a smokescreen. At bottom, Gingrich, the GOP and the far right are promoting a grand neoliberal project to repeal the New Deal and the Great Society, the primary past examples of liberal government dealing with market failure.
The right’s problem is too many things that came out of those periods had some success and are still popular with a majority of voters-the elderly like Medicare and Social Security, labor likes the Wagner Act and the right to bargain collectively, Blacks and other minorities like the Voting Rights Act, and women like Title Seven. To take them all down, which is what the neoliberal-far right alliance wants, means you have to attack them indirectly, rather than directly.
So how does it work? You have to start with what most people fear most-losing their jobs-and then combine it with the darker demons of our past, such as anti-communism, racism and sexism. Next you mush all your potential adversaries—the socialist left, the liberals and progressives, and the FDR-loving moderates—into one huge combined bogey man. You make it into a hideous package that’s going to scare voters into casting ballots against themselves. To put a fancier term on it, it’s called manufacturing consent to combine with outright coercive force in getting you to submit to a renewed hegemonic bloc.
That’s what Newt is doing here. In short, it’s when they get you to think all your neighbors and co-workers are your enemies, while all the guys on Wall Street are your friends. You’re going to hear a lot of it over the next year. Don’t fall for it.
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By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
Our regional daily newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to its credit, came out with an editorial today, Aug. 22, 2011, urging President Obama to push for a substantial jobs program over Republican opposition.
“Action on jobs: Obama must push hard to get people back to work” is the headline, and a key point stresses “Mr. Obama now needs to offer proposals equal to the size of the problem. That means bold strokes, not half-measures. If his Republican antagonists in Congress are determined to stand in the way of getting Americans back to work, the president must say so publicly — and then go over their heads to enlist the nation in his effort.”
Terrific, a good framing of the question. Unfortunately, however, once you get into the substance of the piece, it turns into a muddle. The Post-Gazette offers up a hodgepodge of proposals that tinker around the edges of the problem-more tax cuts and credits for jobs created, more unemployment benefits, and oddly, more trade deals, even though these deals mostly result in net job losses.
Here’s the heart of the matter. In a down economy, jobs are created by increasing demand, by more customers with bigger orders coming to a firm’s doors. The problem is that consumer demand has taken a nose dive when the credit bubble burst. People don’t have money to spend. They’re cutting back on everything, and trying to unload their debt. This means business-to-business orders shrink as well. Companies may be cash-rich and have high profits, but with no increase in orders or customers at their door, they aren’t likely to hire people to do nothing just to get a tax credit.
This is where government has to become the key customer. It has to make huge productive purchases for local work and local materials to build productive infrastructure-county-owned green energy plants, new and improved schools, modernized locks and dams, Medicare for all, investment in young students and veterans like we did with the GI Bill, investment in research in new industries, and so on.
Most important, to work well, it can’t be nickel-and-dimed to death. It has to be on the scale of the expenditures for World War 2. That’s when the ‘multiplier effect’ can kick in, and related growth in manufacturing can take off in turn. And it has to be paid for by going to where the most appropriate money is, imposing a financial transaction tax on unproductive and destabilizing speculation by Wall Street.
The best the P-G does on this matter is to support Obama’s proposal for an ‘Infrastructure Bank,’ but urges him to find a way to bypass a GOP roadblock in Congress.
But even that is too passive. It says, in effect, here’s a small pot of money. If you want to repair some roads, come and get some.
What we really need is something like the New Deal’s Tennessee Valley Authority and Works Progress Administration, but on steroids, a TVA-WPA-CCC 2.0. We need to pass John Conyer’s HR 870 Full employment Bill. We need the Dept. of Energy and the Dept. of Labor to go to every county in the country with a fully funded proposal to build new green energy wind farms and solar power arrays as public energy utilities, hiring local workers at union scale, with no obstacles to a union election. And that’s just for starters.
Yes, we need a serious jobs program. But it’s time for everyone who utters that phrase to get serious themselves. Why? Because it’s going to take a massive upsurge in class struggle to get it by removing those standing in the way.
[Carl Davidson is a Steelworker Associate and a retired computer technician living in Beaver County. His ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ column appears in Beaver County Blue, website of the 4th CD Progressive Democrats of America.]
Progressive Cynicism and Misplaced White Anger:
The Far Right’s Two Magic Weapons for 2012
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
If you want a Republican sweep in the 2012 election, follow this simple formula: Keep blaming the White House alone as the main cause of every problem the country faces, and ignore the Tea Party as overblown has-beens.
That’s not advice from me. That’s from Richard Viguerie, who some might remember as the think-tanker and skilled pollster of the 1970’s New Right that helped usher in Reagan and the era of neoliberal hegemony we’ve suffered under ever since. That’s what he hopes the center and left will do over the next year.
An Aug, 10, 2011 syndicated column by Viguerie reminds us that presidential elections don’t require a majority of popular votes, but only a majority of votes in the Electoral College.
“The Aug. 8 Gallup tracking poll shows that Obama is at 50 percent or better approval rating in only 16 states, the majority of which are normally considered Democratic bastions. Those 16 states represent 203 electoral votes of the 270 needed to win the presidency.” Then he adds: “Key states, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida that contributed to Obama’s 365-to-173 blowout of the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, are in play at this time. It gets better. The states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, which are now in play, were three of the top states where the tea party wave swept new constitutional conservative members into Congress.”
Viguerie goes on to discuss the role of the Tea Party insurgency in Michigan and California among angry white voters. He adds an astute point: if the GOP puts up a ‘moderate’ like Romney, Obama wins narrowly. But if it plays its ‘wild cards’ like Bachmann and Perry, the far right’s activist base is energized-and at a time when Obama’s strategy is dissing his own left-progressive base for the wimpy and ever-narrowing ‘center.’
In short, keep the left inactive, the progressives and the center divided, and the Tea Party energizer bunnies get their 270 electoral votes.
It’s not a bad projection for the prospects of a neoliberal alliance with proto-fascists, with the latter in the driver’s seat. The alternative view is that the majority of serious Wall St finance capital is circling the wagons around Obama. They’re not interested in the wilder instabilities that would be fueled by Bachmann or Perry White House.
Maybe so. Serious money matters in American politics. But the far right has some serious money too, and they can combine it with an army of insurgents.
Therein lays our problem. At the moment, we have no candidate for peace and prosperity at the top of the ticket. But we need candidates of that sort at any level if we are to unite and mobilize a left-progressive base in 2012. We have the negative motivator of a possible Tea Party win, but only if we take them seriously. But we need more than that. We need candidates that will fight positively for what working-class people need, not what Wall Street needs. The People’s Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is a good starting point. We’ll have some candidates who will back it, but we’ll need them placed in the states with clout in electoral votes. We don’t have enough at the moment.
Don’t expect much help from the Blue Dog and upper crust Democrats. No matter how you slice it, it’s going to be a tough fight. So organize your co-workers and neighbors independently, and prepare for some fierce battles.
Photo: Wasted War Junk in Iraq
More Taxes for More Wars?
Scrambled Brains in High Places
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
Members of Congress had best be careful. If it hasn’t already done so, the ‘deficit madness’ virus circulating in those hallowed halls will turn your brains into scrambled eggs.
That’s the conclusion to draw from the latest bright idea from Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass) reported in the Aug 16 Washington Post-a new tax surcharge on taxpayers across the board to pay for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
”These wars ought to be paid for and not put on a credit card so that our kids will have to pay for this in the future,” McGovern said in a recent telephone interview. It’s morally wrong for members [of Congress] to call for support of our soldiers and then not ask the rest of us to pay for it .?.?. or have it left to the poor and middle-income and seniors to bear the sacrifice along with our soldiers and their families. That’s wrong.”
McGovern wants the ‘Super-Congress’ Deficit Commission to take it up.
Only the last phrase about putting the burden on the poor contains any sense, especially since the overall costs, not to mention lives lost on all sides, is approaching $3 trillion. The rest is just screwy.
But I have a better idea. First, end the wars immediately, and only allocate enough money to get all our troops and contractors back home lickety-split. Second, pass a bill to pick up the tab by doing away with the oil depletion allowances and all other tax breaks on the oil companies. If that’s not enough, put a tax on transfers of oil stocks and the profits of military contractors. And if they try to jack up the price of gasoline to cover their war expenses, nationalize them. After all, they’re the only ones really benefiting from these foreign policy disasters.
Once that’s out of the way, we can turn to the more strategic solution: a job creating financial transaction tax on all Wall Street gambling to fund the clean energy and green manufacturing revolution we need to move away from fossil fuels altogether. There are all sorts of places to begin, from ‘shovel-ready’ low-skilled jobs repairing the locks and dams on our rivers, to higher skilled jobs building and installing county-owned wind and solar generators as public power utilities.
In short, ‘Jobs, Not War!’ and ‘Windmills, Not Weapons’ are much better alternatives every which way than more taxes to pay for more wars. Back to the drawing board, Congressman McGovern.
Shock Doctrine as a Two-Way Street:
The Approaching Winter of Our Discontent
By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On
Watching the rebellions of the young and poor continue in London and now spread to other industrial centers in the UK raises an interesting question: Will the Arab spring and the European summer lead to a fall and winter of discontent here in the USA?
All the makings for it are here. We have impoverished communities of the unemployed where there are huge numbers of young people who have never had a regular job of any sort. Now that any form of taxing the rich for funding a jobs program like that proposed by Rep. John Conyers’ HR 870 has been declared ‘off the table,’ it doesn’t appear likely to change, either.
Add to that the GOP’s ‘Shock Doctrine’ (with an assist from the White House) of creating a neoliberal deficit hoax to take from the working class and give to Wall Street, and you spread deeper misery across all of Main Street.
Now the AFL-CIO, thank goodness, is calling for a new round of mass actions against austerity and in defense of the tattered safety net. Add to that the October2011.org project, where the peace and justice movement is planning to camp out in downtown DC’s Freedom Plaza until all the troops are brought home from the wars.
It’s a perfect storm shaping up. Hopefully, many of our young unemployed and under-employed will be drawn to these events. But any police outrage could set off a chain reaction like those in London-we’ve seen this many times in our history.
We have a few decent politicians facing up to the problem, like the 80 votes of the Congressional Progressive Caucus behind the People’s Budget. But our top political class has declared their efforts ‘off the table,’ too.
In brief, they’re telling us our views don’t count and we have nowhere to go.
That’s what the bigwigs in London thought, too. Now they’re all in a tizzy about riots and violence. In contrast, in one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:
“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you? Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”
Of course, many small shops and working-class homes, unfortunately, are being harmed in the UK events. Street heat is best when the target is narrowed on the upper class, and you keep the moral high ground. That way you can draw even more millions into relatively peaceful assembly with powerful and lasting implications. But when long-ignored social dynamite explodes, things don’t always work out that way, with the well-controlled niceties of a tea party, no pun intended.
It is right to rebel against outrages and unjust conditions imposed from above. The ‘Shock Doctrine’ is a two-way street, and once it erupts, more than you might think will know which side of the barricades to gather on.