News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The lingering allure of slavery

"America is not broke," said Michael Moore to the protestors rallying in Madison, Wis., Saturday.

But the American GOP is morally bankrupt.  (My words, not Moore's.)

Progressives in America are so fearful of being accused of name-calling that they refuse to acknowledge that the Republican Party has been so emboldened that it now flaunts the mantle of fascism in which it has so tightly wrapped itself.

Designating the Republican Party fascist is a matter of accurate taxonomy, not name-calling.  The epidemic of anti-labor union, anti-worker efforts  at disfranchisement is classic fascism.

There is no doubt that the U.S. faces a fiscal crisis.  The GOP sees it as an opportunity to enforce deprivations and  extract subservience from the class which it wants reduced to a state of bonded servitude.  Nothing is more dangerous to a fascist state than a workforce which has a voice and influence in the market place.   The states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and others, are leading the assault on workers' right by denying its public employees and teachers the right to collectively bargain.  This is a major step in the war against labor unions and working people.  The imposition of corporate rule on the working people is part of a strategy to make swindling and loan sharking, which have become the standard for corporate business strategies, the law of the land.  An enfeebled workforce will have no recourse to the parasitical economic scheme in which it serves as the sacrificial host upon which the ruling class feeds.

Walt Whitman said the business of American democracy was to surmount the gorgeous history of feudalism.  He was referring to the displays of wealth and power and pageantry put on by royalty and the privileged classes, about five percent of the people,  which form the imagery of Camelot through which people regard the feudal past.  That imagery ignores the squalor, degradation, and desperation in which a majority of the people lived.  Whitman alludes to the fact the slave system in America was an extension of feudalism, wherein a small aristocracy held total and arbitrary control over the lives  of people over whom it assumed the role of  masters.

Although we've fought a Civil War, tediously worked to eliminate Jim Crow as a mode of American life, struggled to make civil rights a reality for minorities and women, a significant portion of Americans find a compelling allure in the vestiges of slavery.  Exercising power over a large class of people and extracting wealth from the labor of others defines success for many Americans.  These practices are marks of a superior status that descends from the Dark Ages and comprises the mindset and value system for  many Americans.   The promises of the Declaration Independence and the Constitution express concepts of liberty, equality, and justice that those Americans reserve for themselves, but resent deeply when extended to those over whom they would like to rule.  Their worldview is still centered in the Dark Ages.

The neo-fascist, neo-feudal system is operating in corporations and on Wall Street.  The best way to a burgeoning bottom line is to have dictatorial authority over a serfdom that has no rights in the market place or any voice in defining its status.  Labor unions are the single obstacle to that level of totalitarian control. Two political science professors in The Washington Post point out that labor unions prevent that totalitarian state not by "demanding concessions at the bargaining table, but by operating as a counterweight to the demands of corporations and Wall Street in the corridors of power. That is precisely why opponents of organized labor are seizing upon state fiscal troubles to try to destroy its remaining clout."  The authors state:

...the goal of union opponents is not to exorcise "special interests" from American politics. It is to protect the special interests that represent corporate America and Wall Street from any serious challenge.
 South Dakota is struggling with budget deficits along with all the other states, and the Republican attitude is typical.  The Democrats have proposed a staged response to the deficits which would prevent the mass reductions in education and services that a10-percent budget cut would produce.  The Republicans reject that.  Some legislators are proposing increases in some taxes, and some are suggesting it is time to look at an income tax to address the structural problems in the state taxation system.  That is rejected.  But the Republicans have no compunction about cuts that would require sacrifices from education and the working people in the lower income brackets.  They cling to the insistence that the rich and privileged should not have to shoulder any responsibility for the fiscal mess they have created, but the working people must bear the sacrifices.

The Baghdad Bob of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has demonstrated a typical Republican ploy and obeisance to corporate rule.  Soon after taking office as governor, he sponsored and signed off on  tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy that have contributed to the state's projected budgetary shortfalls.  As many observers have  noted, the battle in Wisconsin is not about budget as much as it is about creating a power class that exercises arbitrary and oppressive authority over the working people.  Wisconsin is the illustration of the drift of the nation into abject fascism.  The restoration of tax rates for the wealthy and the corporations could alleviate much of the budgetary shortfall and still leave the wealthy with plenty to play around with. What is significant in Wisconsin is that Scott Walker proposed and signed off on tax breaks for the wealthy and for corporations that added $100 million to the deficit he claims to be eliminating.

Republicans insist that asking corporations and the nation's wealthiest to contribute a fair proportion of the wealth the nation provides them is a redistribution of wealth that tends toward socialism or communism. Still, they advocate imposing deprivations and burdens on the working class and the poor that harkens directly back to the tenets of medieval fascism. The Republicans have defined the struggle taking place as a battle between the workers and the fascists as it was in the Spanish civil war.  It is the GOP choice.

A compelling irony is lost on the GOP.  While people in the Middle East are rising up against their nations which have held them in a state of serfdom, GOP governors and their national supporters want to impose that very condition on the American middle class. It is incredulous that anyone thinks American workers will humbly submit to a degraded subservience in which they have no  rights and no voice.

The demonstrations in Wisconsin have been peaceful, responsible, and purposeful, even though the fascist class has tried to present the participants a greedy thugs.  The tea parties have insisted that their demonstrations are based upon their First Amendment right to make their voices heard, but when 70,000 people gather in Madison, they are merely union thugs.  And the tea partiers have repeated many times that if their First Amendment demands are not acceded to, they have the Second Amendment in reserve.

So far, the protests against being disenfranchised have been peaceful..  The GOP apparently does not want it that way.  Ain't nobody going to submit to the wage slave status again. 

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States

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