Whenever murmurs among the people indicate growing awareness that they are paying an exorbitant price in order to enrich a tiny minority, the terrified cry of “class war” is raised by the poor huddled masses of billionaires, millionaires and their corporate servants in politics and media. This contradicts the fictional notion that there are no classes in American society, that we are all “middle class” and oh, a few unfortunates are poor but that’s only temporary. As soon as their investments pay off they too will arrive at the exalted status of “middle”. That would be right after the Easter bunny delivers chocolate covered Tooth Fairies to all the little boys and girls.
In truth, this nation has been a stratified class society since its origins under the rule of rich Europeans who drafted a constitution ensuring their rights of property and assuring that the majority rabble would not threaten those sacred scriptures. It was Shay’s Rebellion, an uprising of the common people incensed over debts and foreclosures — sound familiar? — that brought about the first ten amendments to that document and saw to it that human beings and not just their property owning masters had some rights.
Unfortunately, you still need lots of money to establish that equality in court but corporate mind management has done a great job creating illusions among a great mass of Americans that they are somehow equal to a very small group which earns (?) millions and even billions a year. In fact, while demonstrators at Wall Street and in other cities representing the 99% of us who live below the top 1% strive to create real democracy, it should be understood that only a fraction of that 1% are rich beyond the imaginations of ancient rulers who were seen as deities by the peasants of their times. That these modern god-like creatures can manipulate citizens of an alleged democracy into thinking they are just like common working people is indication of how successful their faithful servants in media and politics have been at warping the collective mind. But those days are nearing an end.
Even though the “class war” label still draws negative response from subjects who have been on their knees for so long they may never be able to stand up, a majority of citizens who refuse minority masters ruling their world into what could be a terminal state are indeed on their feet loudly saying, no way. That scares the hell out of rich owners of a fiction they have been calling democracy. It’s threatening to become just that and they and their minions are in desperation that the majority rule they fear may soon become reality.
In defense of inequality, hand-wringing pleaders for the opulent weep about their enormous tax bills, leaving out the massive amount of dollars they maintain after taxes. Even with the old 90% top tax brackets of the 1950s republican Eisenhower administration, a poor soul with a billion dollars would be left with a measly 100 million. Oh dear! And rest assured that after their well compensated accountants took massive deductions and did other book juggling, nobody ever paid anything remotely close to 90%. And now we have tax rates on the wealthy that are so low even some of them are embarrassed.
When the 400 richest Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans — about half the population — and use that wealth to buy politicians and government power, only corporate mind management and slack-jawed imbeciles can call that a democratic system. Our income disparity is greater than at any time since 1928. As evidence, over the past twenty five years 80 percent of increased income in America went to the top 5 percent, while the bottom 60 percent lost 7.5 percent. The US has the most billionaires in the world (413), and among those global deities with $5 billion or more there are 57 from the US. If you’re not weeping in pity but in rage, you’re part of the 99%.
The last major crisis of capitalism, the Great Depression, ended with what was called the New Deal. It simply replaced private investment with public investment in order to create jobs, avoid social revolution and save the capitalist profit system for the wealthy minority. This time the crisis is even more serious and it calls for something greater than a New Deal. In fact, we need a whole New Deck.
The increased problems of warfare, environmental destruction, unemployment, poverty and a besieged public sector cannot be solved by relying on the market lust for private profit which created them in the first place. These universal crises call for radical transformation of the political economics at their core. It does seem that more people the world over are demanding change but the forces of reaction will try to channel those demands into further acceptance of a status quo. We need a party that stands against the one percent capitalism that rules, and for the 99% democracy that should. Republicans boldly stride toward soft-core fascism while Democrats mince closer to hard core neo-liberalism. Not just America but humanity cannot accept anything less than wholesale, radical restructuring of the system that threatens all into one that benefits everyone.