Power & Social Control: How We Will Win Against It

Bourgeois democracy has failed us.

It has not failed us because it’s Utopian characteristics or attributes are completely misguided. No, it is wrong in that the 1% has manipulated the system so brilliantly that we are rendered unable to advocate for ourselves as a class. How? Marxist theorists call it “false consciousness “:

“…the notion that members of the proletariat [the working class, or 99%]unwittingly misperceive their real position in society and systematically misunderstand their genuine interests within the social relations of production under capitalism. False consciousness denotes people’s inability to recognize inequality, oppression, and exploitation in a capitalist society because of the prevalence within it of views that naturalize and legitimize the existence of social classes.” – “False consciousness.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopædia Britannica, 17 Oct. 2016. academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/false-consciousness/605373. Accessed 30 Dec. 2019.

Through this notion, most of us, the 99%, have been so manipulated through rhetoric that we cannot perceive reality as it truly is. We are not necessarily brainwashed, but rather so indoctrinated through various social means that we put the capitalists’ interests above our own, thinking that this is naturally right. But it certainly is not. The separation of society into the 1 % and the 99% is not a priori. Rather, it is created by the upper class in order to legitimate their own rule over us.

This is why I am calling for a group of leading far-left party members to be given temporary control over our government until this false consciousness can be eradicated. The capitalists will not go quietly and will even take up arms in the defense of this worldview. There is nothing the 1% will be shamed by; anything to preserve the status quo that will perpetuate our servitude.

V.I. Lenin called this group of leaders the “vanguard party”. They will lead us until the masses are ready to take over the reins of self-governance themselves. So in the meantime the vanguard party will install a “dictatorship of the proletariat, ” or the interests of the 99% will be enacted and defended despite all of the efforts by the 1%. The vanguard party will rule with no limits for the interests of the 99%. The 1% will no longer control us in any form or fashion. A true dictatorship of the many over the few.

What is to Be Done?.2020

To smash capitalism.

That is the central goal of the far/radical left movement.

Why is this our goal? This should be everyone’s goal in that the very rich, the 1%, usurp the labor value produced by the rest of us. They are society’s parasites contributing nothing to our material world. They have the most, we have the least…and we want it back.

This is not simple or easy. Unfettered, free market neoliberalism is the only thing we know here in America, and its cultural hegemony finds a no more welcoming place. So what do I mean by cultural hegemony? I take it to mean that our dominant American culture,all of our social constructs, which seep down into every subculture, function like the air we breathe. We never question its presence, it’s just taken for granted. We do not contemplate it’s existence or attributes. We just don’t.

So similarly, we rarely find any other avenue of thought outside of the capitalist system. Capitalism is so ingrained into our social milieu all alternative ways of organizing society seems ridiculous. The capitalist class has succeeded in making capitalism the best way to organize our society…the only way.

Few are firmly in control of the many. And they are successfully winning a class war that the 99% doesn’t even know is taking place. So our goal as the radical left is to tell the people how the capitalist class is thriving off the labor of the workers. To show how they contribute nothing while we contribute everything. How we suffer as a people as they prosper by what is ours.

As far/radical leftists, we must offer up an alternative reality to the masses. We must show how the system is rigged and how they are scammed every time. We need to expose them to another way.

The people are so drowning within the soup of capitalism they do not see these truths so apparent to you and I. It just plainly does not exist for them. And if anything does exist, it does not have their best interest at heart. Capitalism cares for everyone, equally.

We must show them another way.

Organized Workers Taking It to the 1%

In yesterday’s NYT there was a good article entitled “In a Strong Economy, Why Are So Many Workers on Strike?” It reported that from Chicago teachers, to GM workers, to Marriot International Hotel employees, labor is taking it to the capitalists through collective action. Even flight attendants and airplane mechanics are finding creative ways of sabotage (which they unconvincingly deny) due to the fact that they cannot legally strike without federal approval. It’s as D. Taylor, president of the UNITE HERE hospitality workers union, is quoted in the story saying:

“It’s about: ‘OK, the government is not going in to take care of us. Business is not going to take care of us. We’ve got to take care of ourselves.”

Why? The American worker took cuts to their pay and benefits in the wake of the Great Recession ten-years ago, but now their capitalist masters are making billions and billions while the proletariat is getting shafted. Due to the austerity measures they pitched in with during the 2007-2008 economic crisis which remain in place, they are not getting anything back as their wages remain stagnant in comparison to the ridiculous amounts of profits gained by Wall St.
It’s as D. Taylor is further quoted stating:


“It’s been bubbling up for some time. Now it’s come up to the surface.”

The American worker needs to keep up the fight against their rich masters with strikes and sabotage. Organized labor, from Marx and Engels to the Russian Soviets, is an essential force with which to gain leverage over the bourgeoisie. Remember, the 1% are winning the class war while most of the 99% don’t even recognize that it’s taking place.

NYT: Many Top Corps Paying 0% Taxes Driving Some to Far Left Organization

We want what the people want:

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/democrats-taxes-2020.html

Proposed Tax On Million Dollar Living Spaces Serving As Second Home

“For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million.”

This would be huge in NYC where so many high end living spaces remain empty for they are just investments.

Would be great for a subway system revamp, and any leftover for remedying the housing crisis there.

www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/nyregion/mta-subways-pied-a-terre-tax.html

Minimum Wage Is Just Unfair

kshama-sawant-seattle-minimum-wage-victoryI’ve been reading about the minimum-wage increase to $15.00-an-hour in Seattle lately and the most important point made on the issue that I have read is in an op-ed by Will Hutton in The Guardian.

The campaigners had two important replies to the charges that this would make Seattle’s fast food, catering and hotel industries uneconomic. The first was that living on the old minimum wage of $9.10 (£5.41) an hour was scarcely possible; families depended on food stamps, homes were dark and the cheapest of presents for kids was simply unaffordable. Compare that with the profits of the corporations and pay of the fast food bosses: the CEO of McDonald’s is paid more than $9m (£5.3m). Maybe they could be paid less and their workers a fraction more?

The problem with living in the United States in an economic sense is the financial disparity. If you read Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, the numbers are vertiginous (a term Piketty often uses.) The difference between the national income of the top decile (10%), not to mention the top centile (1%) of the population, and the rest of us is simply sickening.

The powers that be want us to think about whether if we believe a low-wage, working citizen deserves that $15.00 an hour. Do they work hard enough? Did they work hard enough in High School? Do they? Did they?

But let me turn that argument on it’s ear: does the CEO at McDonald’s actually earn $9 million dollars a year? What about the Wall Street CEO’s who make $150 million or $180 million in a year? Do they deserve that? Do they work hard enough? I’m sure they get a lot more vacation hours than the people at the bottom of the ladder, with better healthcare and all the perks they could desire.

It’s an issue of fairness and the minimum wage does not provide some of our hardest workers basic human dignity.

 

 

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Countering the Right: Insidious Koch Brothers Attack on Detroit Bankruptcy Settlement

A prime example of the absurd economic inequality in the U.S. has reared its ugly head as the Koch brothers apparently got bored and have decided to throw money at the Detroit bankruptcy settlement in an effort to deceive the 99%.

Their first tactic of deception is to attack the “bailout”.  Just one issue with that: it’s not a bailout.  As noted by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in the article:

This is a settlement. This not a bailout,” Snyder said. “And I want to be very, very clear about that.” (Emphasis added)

The easy way to confirm that statement as true would be to simply realize it was an officially filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy and not a legislative decision to provide stimulus-type money to the city.

But that isn’t the really despicable attack by the Koch brothers group.  Take a look at their page at http://www.strongerdetroit.com/ (disgracefully named, as usual).  You’ll see this nugget of info:

Per capita state revenue sharing payments are over 3x what other cities receive.  In 2010, Detroit received $335 per capita in revenue sharing payments compared to $96, the average amount per capita all other cities over 50,000 in Michigan received.

Clearly, those greedy people in Detroit just upped their piece of the Michigan pie in the years leading up to this bankruptcy until they were all happy, fat cats.

Except they didn’t:

Between 2000 and 2010, inflation adjusted state revenues per capita declined by 13.7 percent in Detroit, while in Buffalo they increased by 45 percent.  In the recession period alone (2007 to 2010), state aid to Detroit went down by 8.2 percent, but went up by 7.2 percent in Buffalo.  Thus a big difference between these two structurally similar cities is the economic and fiscal environment and fiscal choices made at the state level.  Had New York treated Buffalo in the same way fiscally as Michigan dealt with Detroit, Buffalo, which is already teetering on the edge of fiscal crisis, might have been forced to declare bankruptcy as well. (Emphasis added)

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The per capita spending is still three times higher and some might be angry by this.  Unless they realized why.

Detroit’s poverty rate is a whopping 38.1%, according to the Census Bureau, more than double the Michigan state rate of 16.3%.  Add on the fact that Detroit is Michigan’s largest city by a lot (more than three times the size of second place) and the picture starts to come together.  But just to drive the point home, let’s give an example to further explain the disparity.

Suppose you have two cities in a state and both have a population of ten people.  City A has one person (10%) living below the poverty line.  City B has three people (30%) living below the poverty line.  If the state spends $100 per person in various ways on people below the poverty line (education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc.), then City B would be receiving three times more ($300) from the state than City A ($100).

The reason for Michigan’s spending on Detroit is not very difficult to figure out.

The reason the people of Michigan might fall for the Koch brothers heinous attack on the city’s bankruptcy settlement is also easy to figure out: brainwashing.

Some Very Informative Charts on Growing Income Inequality

The Census Bureau released data on income inequality recently and Mother Jones put together some charts showing the results of the research (linking one here but more good ones in the article).  It’s very clear how this is continuing to shrink the middle class and, if not for the social safety nets we have had in place since the 1960s and before, the poverty rate would be tremendously higher.

The Atlantic also added a chart to this data that should be noted and I’ll include here.What should be pointed out in this chart is that the S&P was doing just fine in the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s when inequality was nowhere near the levels it is at today.  This is important since the typical argument from the right as to why we can’t have higher taxes on the wealthy that would lessen income inequality is because of its crushing impact on investment which, in turn, would cut economic growth.  Clearly, not true.

EU Makes Another Interesting Move to Balance Income Inequality in Times of Crisis

The European Union again proved they are willing to take much more aggressive action than the United States when it comes to putting the burden of financial crises on the backs of the wealthy instead of on the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.  They announced today part of the responsibility for bailing out banks when they fail will be placed on large depositors.  From the article:

The plan stipulates that shareholders, bondholders and depositors with more than 100,000 euros ($132,000) should share the burden of saving a bankThe rules break a taboo in Europe that savers should never lose their deposits, although countries will have some flexibility to decide when and how to impose losses on a failing bank’s creditors.

This seems to be a little bit of a check on banks acting badly since big investors will be watching their actions more closely in the interest of not losing their money.  And as the piece further illustrates, some bankers just didn’t care when it came to dealing with the crisis and what was done with taxpayer money:

Earlier this week, Ireland’s deputy prime minister attacked “arrogant” executives at a failed bank who had mocked government efforts to tackle the country’s banking crisis.

In the tapes published by an Irish newspaper, the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank’s then-head of capital markets was asked how he had come up with a figure of 7 billion euros for a bank rescue, responding that he had “picked it out of my arse.”

I could see some flaws with the policy in that it could lead investors to put their money elsewhere or create a problem for an individual bank when a wealthy investor gets nervous and starts a run taking money out of a bank.  But the pro seems to outweigh the con here and this policy is a step in the right direction of a more stable economy in times to come.

It would be nice to see the U.S. actually take some steps like the EU when it comes to income inequality.  As we previously noted, the EU sees the problems that come with too much imbalance in income and they are taking action to remedy the situation.  Here’s hoping the U.S. can eventually follow in their footsteps in the interest of long-term economic stability.

Former Enron Exec Uses $$$ to Reduce Sentence

I didn’t believe this one when I saw it but former Enron criminal Jeffrey Skilling received a decade off his sentence for surrendering assets the government had already seized. From the article:

Pay and go free sooner!

Enron’s collapse wiped out more than $2bn in employee pensions, $60bn in Enron stock and cost thousands their jobs. The $40m seized by the government will be distributed to victims of Enron’s fraud.

Yet another case showing the huge difference between when a rich person deals with the justice system and when the rest of us deal with it.  I wonder if a person convicted for possessing, say, $100 worth of illegal drugs on them could just pay a small portion of that and receive a reduced sentence?  No?  Didn’t think so.

And let’s do some quick math here.  $62 billion in damage caused to thousands, and maybe tens of thousands, of people.  He pays $40 million back.  That’s roughly .06% of the damage caused.  I wonder if I can pay that percentage of my next traffic ticket and the government will accept that as basically all square?

The one positive from this was the simple fact he did go to prison over the massive fraud he committed and will serve a good chuck of time.  Still waiting for the folks responsible for the bigger financial crisis to see some prison time…