efforts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana as a war on the working
In the past. America often belonged to the wealthy, but the working
class fought for collective bargaining, the 40 hour work week, vacation
time, and work safety requirements. President Franklin D Roosevelt,
recognizing that the wealthy were lined up against him, asked for
support from the working class. Referring to "business and financial
monopoly, speculation, and reckless banking," FDR crowed, "Never before
have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand
today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their
President Teddy Roosevelt is described as both a progressive and a
Republican. He would not allow the wealthy to dominate, and is famous
for his efforts to break up the biggest monopolies in American business,
including Standard Oil.
This war on the middle class started in earnest when Reagan fired the
air traffic controllers, and began the long process of continually
giving the richest Americans tax breaks, while running the government on
borrowed money. Democratic President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore
supported the ruling class by joining in with Republicans to pass NAFTA
and WTO, and to deregulate the banking industry. Ross Perot warned us
about the "giant sucking sound" of job loss that would occur with NAFTA.
He was leading the Presidential race when he attended a meeting on Wall
Street, and suddenly quit the race after that meeting.
The Ruling Class took a giant step forward when the Supreme Court halted
the Florida recount which then allowed George W. Bush to assume the
Presidency. Bush and Vice President Cheney failed to defend America from
the 9/11 terrorist attack, and then used that event to start two
unnecessary wars, authorize torture, oversee an unprecedented expansion
of government. Potentially, the biggest sin of the Bush administration
was the enormous tax cuts for the very wealthy. As a result, the top 1
percent earn more income than the bottom 50 percent and the effective
tax rate for the rich is now lower than at any time in recent history.
The cost of the tax cuts and the costs of the war have led to the
current economic crisis and provided the Ruling Class a justification
for the current attack on the middle class.
In the waning months of the Bush Presidency, Secretary of Treasury Hank
Paulson asked the American people for 700 billion dollars to bail out
the failed banks. This notion was soundly rejected by the American
People and Congress voted down the bailout. After a weekend of heavy
lobbying, where Congress was told that "there would be people on the
streets" if this did not pass, the legislation was passed. As a result
of our bailout, the Ruling Class solidified their control over our
government and our lives.
I voted for hope and change in Obama's landslide win, only to find out
that President Barack Obama represents neither hope nor change but
instead more of the same. Among his many failures, Obama failed to come
to the defense of the people protesting Governor Walkers Union busting
bill in Wisconsin.
So here we are. We have become aware that voting does not change
anything, the candidates are pre-chosen by the Ruling Class. Prior to
the disastrous 2010 elections that put John Kasich (Ohio) and Scott
Walker (Wisconsin) in power, Obama had the chance to prevent the tax
cuts to the wealthiest top 2 percent from being extended, and he had
overwhelming public support for this position. But he folded his cards
and his party was slaughtered in the 2010 elections. The fawning
corporate media applauded him for it. The few who still represent us in
Congress--Bernie Saunders, Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown--warned us
that attacks on the middle class would be next.
In a heartbeat, just a matter of a few months, the Ruling Class attacked
the middle class in a way that was entirely unexpected in its
ruthlessness. The ruling class was and is entirely unresponsive to the
masses of people protesting. We can expect them to come after Social
Security next. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision will result in
enormous amounts of money being spent against the few remaining
progressive members of Congress, and in support of those candidates who
represent the ruling class who have attacked the middle class, the poor,
and the unemployed.
We have become aware that our leaders represent the wealthy. But we have
also seen Julian Assange and Private Bradley Manning fight back against
wealth and privilege. We should remember that the arrest of Assange on
trumped up unrelated charges and the terrible mistreatment of Manning
has prevented Wikileaks from releasing the documents it holds on Bank of
America, which presumably are directly related to the bailout.
We have seen peaceful protests in Egypt and throughout the Middle East,
throw off or attempt to throw off rulers friendly to the American Empire
and instead work towards the American style Democracy that we were all
taught to believe in.
Events in the Middle East, Wisconsin and Ohio remind us that we must
continue with direct action. We can no longer expect the electoral
process to stop the attack on the middle class. Chris Hedges reminds us
that "We will have to continue to fight the mechanisms of this dominant
culture, if for no other reason than to preserve, through small, even
tiny acts, our common humanity. As distinct and moral beings, we will
endure only through these small, sometimes imperceptible, acts of
So let us remember that the ruling class retained the massive tax cut
for the top 2 percent at breakfast, and then attacked the working class
before lunchtime. Before dinner, we can expect the attack on Social
Security. We must fight back.