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Making Complaint Matter Part Three: Why Class-Action Lawsuits Cannot Replace a Class-Movement Uprising

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            This is third piece of a three-part puzzle.   First, this humble correspondent toured readers through capital's glitzy cultural wasteland, filled with the hue and cry of Sub-Prime Blues.  

            Then, in the last section, he introduced anyone following along to the lay of the law of the land, before presenting the characters caught in the maw of this crisis.   In all their varied, tawdry particularity, they are workers who, for the most part, have one of three ways of looking at their situation, none of which show much consciousness of their class position.   The prior narrative closed by examining the empirical sociopolitical reality that accompanies being an about-to-be-foreclosed worker.

            Today, the tale suggests what this reality mandates.   One way or another, things appear to be coming to pieces.   The only issue is whether working people will have any say in putting things back together for their own benefit.   While the prospects seem bleak, at best, a consciousness of what is happening is one step in the direction of empowerment.


*Why Legal Class-Action Can Never Replace Social Class-Movement & How Social Class-Movement Can Succeed

            THC has begun to vocalize this POV too--'no matter what, people need to show up, like troops, as recruits in an army of the working class.'   Of course, after forty years of such articulation, he has no more to show for it that he can lay his hands on than the recent order announcing a courthouse sale on March first.  

            Nonetheless, he stands by what he has been arguing since the late 1960's.   If working people like living in a culture of complaint, then they will have plenty of opportunities to rant and rave, basically forever.

            If, however, what working people want is some semblance of social equity, and common justice, and economic equality, then they are going to have no choice except to resist all moves to divide them into little 'identity segments' and thereby conquer them as a class.   They are going to need to 'skill-up' and analyze deeply and honestly past events and their current analogs in ways that are at once more probing and less 'all-American' than what has thus far passed as political analysis.   And they are going to have to face facts: an altogether more outraged, more vociferous, and deeper reaching action and protest are going to have to become their SOP.

            Here's what operationalizing such conclusions might mean.   All manner of creative alternatives might also be part of the queue of consciousness and power for wage-earners, the so-called 'middle-class' that is coming to pieces in contemporary America.   The point is this: none of these approaches even vaguely resembles a lawsuit.   That kind of action, though occasionally rational, is no more adequate than fighting H-bombs with prayers.



            In Metro Atlanta, an overwhelming prevalence of mortgage misery is taking place in certain towns and neighborhoods.   Central and South DeKalb are prototypical of such emiseration.   To a lesser extent, but still noticeably, parts of South Cobb, Douglass, and Paulding Counties are also becoming wastelands of foreclosure and loss of equity.

            Of the myriad ploys that people in such regions of dire straits might pursue, the only ones that hold out some promise of likely impact are those that involve direct collective activity.   Laws will be too slow, too easy to deflect.   Lawsuits will nearly never win.   Individual tricks either require peculiar confluences of luck and pluck, or they simply do nothing more than achieve 'YouTube's' promised 'fifteen-minutes-of-fame.'

            However, what would take place if a hundred, or a thousand, or ten thousand citizens converged on a dozen, or a score, or a subdivision's worth of evictions, which, like thunder follows lightning, must come to pass in the aftermath of foreclosure?   No one can say with certainty.   But, were a hundred, or a thousand, or ten thousand citizens--singing and marching and vibrant and brave-in-their-terror--to sit down when the marshalls showed up to clear their fellow workers out, something would have to give.

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The original 'odd bird,' my stint as head of High School ROTC included my wearing MFS's black armband just before I turned down an appointment to West Point to go to Harvard. There, majoring in bridge, backgammon, and poker for my middle years as (more...)
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