Friday, January 13, 2006

Class Warfare In AmeriKKKa

Class Warfare In AmeriKKKa

“In no other country is the existence of social class, not to mention class struggle, so vehemently denied as in the United States. But in no other country are the class divisions so deep. And nowhere else is class war practiced with a viciousness that equals that of the American ruling class. It has taken less than 24 hours for the strike of transit workers to expose before the eyes of the world the brutal reality of American society. The strike exemplifies the unbridgeable class divisions in American society, in which a corrupt and reactionary financial oligarchy utilizes the most brutal methods to smash all resistance to its lust for profits and personal wealth. One has only to look at the cast of characters leading the assault on transit workers to get a sense of the real social issues at stake in this conflict. First, there is Michael Bloomberg, who spent lavishly out of his vast personal fortune of more than $5 billion to buy the mayoralty. He had the effrontery to go before cameras Tuesday to denounce bus and subway workers as 'selfish,' 'thuggish,' 'disgraceful' and 'shameful.' Second, there is real estate mogul Peter Kalikow, with a net worth of more than $1 billion, who is negotiating on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Third, leading the anti-transit worker hate campaign of the gutter media is Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the New York Post and Fox News. His personal fortune is estimated to be approximately $8 billion. These individuals pocket in one day more than even the highest paid transit worker takes home in a year. These are the people demanding that transit workers—whose wages barely cover basic necessities in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world—sacrifice their wages, pensions and benefits in order to meet the interest payments to rich investors, who augment their fortunes by purchasing high-yield MTA bonds.”

As the corporate mass media pumps out pablum to keep the intellectually immature populous duped, distracted and bamboozled so the class warfare being waged against them in AmeriKKKa is not evident; the ruling elites continue to gorge themselves at the expense of the poor, working and lower middle classes. No clearer example is plainer than the recent New York transit workers strike. The local New York City media (and for the most part the national news outlets) demonized the striking workers as if they didn’t have a right to earn a decent living. Most media consumers are unaware the corporate media suppresses news and information that would reveal wages for most workers in AmeriKKKa let alone New York City the most expensive city to live in in AmeriKKKa, have remained stagnant or declined in recent years. Why is it the media suppresses this type information but readily promotes the silly affairs and goings on of celebrities and athletes? Because the media is in cahoots with the elites who control the economy and make public policy. “In a capitalist ‘democracy’ like the United States, the corporate news media faithfully reflect the dominant class ideology both in their reportage and commentary. At the same time, these media leave the impression that they are free and independent, capable of balanced coverage and objective commentary. How they achieve these seemingly contradictory but legitimating goals is a matter worthy of study. Notables in the media industry claim that occasional inaccuracies do occur in news coverage because of innocent error and everyday production problems such as deadline pressures, budgetary restraints, and the difficulty of reducing a complex story into a concise report. Furthermore, no communication system can hope to report everything, hence selectivity is needed.
To be sure, such pressures and problems do exist and honest mistakes are made, but do they really explain the media's overall performance? True the press must be selective, but what principle of selectivity is involved? I would argue that media bias usually does not occur in random fashion; rather it moves in more or less consistent directions, favoring management over labor, corporations over corporate critics, affluent whites over low income minorities, officialdom over protestors, the two-party monopoly over leftist third parties, privatization and free market ‘reforms’ over public sector development, U.S. dominance of the Third World over revolutionary or populist social change, and conservative commentators and columnists over progressive or radical ones.” Monopoly Media Manipulation Michael Peranti
The corporate media policy makers are committed to furthering the class interests of the media owners and shareholders. Thus, in a fascist climate such as we currently live in, the slant spin and focus will be decidedly anti- organized labor but pro wealth distribution policies away from the poor and working class into the coffers, bank accounts, portfolios and spread sheets of the ruling elites and their super rich associates. Recently the New York city press vilified the Transit Workers Union that went out on strike for increased wages and benefits but said little or nothing about the outrageous sums of money Wall Street paid in bonuses in December. “The news of the gargantuan payouts on Wall Street aroused little interest from the mass media. The Times, like New York City’s tabloids, relegated the story to its business pages. What a contrast to their reaction to last month’s New York City transit strike, when 33,000 workers making an average salary of $50,000 dared to walk out in opposition to management’s demands for concessions! For three days, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post and other sections of the mass media could not contain their anger. They denounced the workers as ‘rats,’ calling them ‘overpaid’ and ‘greedy,’ and demanding that they be fired and their leaders thrown in jail. Meanwhile, the media shed crocodile tears for lower-paid workers, portraying them as the real victims of the strike. It should be pointed out that the bonuses paid out by Wall Street for 2005 alone would be enough to cover the wages of every New York City transit worker—at the highest scale and with overtime—for at least 10 years. Where is Murdoch’s outrage and that of rest of the city’s media now? None of them are calling Paulson, Fuld and Mack ‘greedy rats’ for taking in tens of millions, while 20 percent of New York City’s population is attempting to survive on annual incomes of $7,000 or less.” Similarly little was said last November when Congress citing budgetary constraints cut $50 billion in funds benefitting college students, child support enforcement, Medicaid and food stamp programs while slashing taxes that will benefit primarily he richest one per cent of AmeriKKKans. “House Republicans, after weeks of negotiations, narrowly passed a budget bill early Friday to cut $50 billion from Medicaid, food stamps, student loans and other programs over the complaints of Democrats that Congress is squeezing students, the elderly and the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich. The House approved the bill 217-215, after GOP leaders agreed to demands from moderate Republicans to jettison a measure to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and to slightly reduce proposed cuts to food stamps. Still, the vote was so politically sensitive that House leaders didn't begin debate until 10 p.m. Thursday and didn't pass the measure until nearly 2 a.m. -- when most news reporters gone and only a few C-SPAN junkies could witness the fiery floor action. No Democrats voted for the bill, and 14 Republicans opposed it. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said in a floor speech that cutting money for Medicaid, child support enforcement and foster care as the House prepares to vote on $70 billion in tax cuts was a ‘sin.’”
The aggressive attacks on the poor and organized labor have been going on for over twenty years starting with the decertification of the US Air Traffic Controllers Union by the Reagan administration and not a whimper of support for the Air Traffic Controllers by the national leaders of the AFL-CIO. The disastrous and fiscally irresponsible NeoCon agenda George W Bu$h is pushing calls for a continuation of Reagan’s polices: tax cuts for the rich, cut backs and elimination of social welfare programs, erosion of the lower middle class lifestyle through outsourcing and job transfers, increased government expansion (Homeland Security) and a continuous bloating of defense spending to siphon off any possibility the money will be used for domestic improvements. Class warfare is taking the poor and working class out. This by design and unless there is a major shake up of the status quo from the bottom up, the trend will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. “The real class warfare in America today is top-down, as it has been ever since Ronald Reagan. The proposed Bush tax cut, which would bestow 43 percent of the money on the top 1 percent of earners [see Robert McIntyre, "Tax Wars," page 23] is just the beginning. The general conservative assault on social endeavor is occasionally principled and libertarian, but can be usefully understood in terms of class. The rich don't need government because they can simply opt out--to private schools, exclusive clubs, gated communities, personal physicians, nannies, limousines, and helicopters. The rest of us depend on basic public services and social infrastructure. Starve Medicare, and you ration health care for those with a limited ability to pay. Cut federal help to schools, and you deny upward mobility to the children of the nonrich. Refuse to address the job-family straddle faced by working parents, and you assault every child whose parents cannot afford expensive private day care. That's class warfare, big-time. Collective purpose is not just about social investment. Deregulation has been a back-door form of class warfare. A generation ago, industries such as airlines, electric power generation, trucking, telephone service, hospitals, and banks were all government-regulated. Supposedly, deregulation would help consumers, but its practical effect has been a mixed bag. Airline fares have come down on average (along with service), but prices today are a crazy quilt, and average prices actually fell at a faster rate before deregulation. The whole airline system is now a mess. Likewise, electric power. Ditto banks. Ditto telephones.” Top Down Class Warfare Robert Kuttner So don’t go for Bu$h’s okie-doke that the economy is getting better, yeah it might be for CEOs and shareholders but not for working folks. IBM which is in relatively healthy shape finance wise recently froze its pensions for long time workers. What does that tell you? What do you think companies like Ford and GM who are in deep trouble are going to do with their pension plans which by the way, are severely underfunded? How will IBM’s move impact hourly wage earners and working class folks in other businesses? Isn’t deliberate pension plan under-funding another example of class warfare? Is anyone paying attention?



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