Last week I went to the Berkeley Public Library, looking for a book-on-tape to listen to while driving around town in my 1990 Toyota Tercel that gets 35 miles per gallon but still takes $45 worth of gas to fill up its puny little tank. But the only book-on-tape I could find there was John Reed's "Insurgent Mexico". Didn't they have anything better than that?
"John Reed is old hat," I said to myself. "That book was written in 1910. How could it possibly be relevant today?" Well it was. It turns out that John Reed was the freaking INVENTOR of Gonzo Journalism. And the Mexican Revolution? Aye, Carumba! Totally exciting. This revolution came about after Mexico's peasant class had been deliberately and systematically pushed to its very limits of endurance by wealthy land-owners, bankers, industrialists and government officials -- to the point where these hard-working bottom-of-the rung peons finally stood up to the rich dudes and said, "Basta!" Enough! "We can endure no more."
The book made for great driving entertainment. It's a wonder I didn't run any more red lights than I did.
Then a journalist friend called me this morning and we started chatting about Africa. "Let's talk about possible American military intervention in Darfur," he said. "Remember when Mia Farrow suggested that they should send in Blackwater? That was a crazy idea. Sending in Blackwater would just create another Somalia or even end up igniting all of Africa. What Farrow should have said is that Americans need to put economic pressure on China instead."
And why would that work?
"Because if China's economy goes too far downhill, then its leaders will have to deal with China's peasant class once again -- like the mandarins had to do back in the old days. You gotta remember that China's peasant class is still a major force to be reckoned with. Look how Mao was able to organize it and use it to take over the country. And the leaders in China today know this. At all times they are totally aware that this particular wolf is galloping along behind their sled, that their peasant class is already operating without a safety net, are the poorest of the poor and, if further bad times arrive because China can no longer sell its goods to the West, they might find another leader like Mao and stage another revolution."
That got me to thinking. "You know, there's no peasant class here in America, so American corporatists and politicians don't have to worry about that." Well, maybe we have some illegal aliens. And some homeless guys and some ghettos...but....
But what WOULD happen if American corporatists and their politcians in Washington continue to be allowed to chisel away at the American economy, and things really get bad here too? Would a new American peasant class be created? And if so -- and if things in America really got desperate enough -- would there be a revolution here too? "Insurgent America"? Aye, Carumba!
As American corporatists continue to work their little butts off in order to create their ultimate wet-dream of "cheap labor" here in the US as well as abroad, might they also be creating some kind of Frankenstein's monster peasant class that will eventually come back and bite them in said little butts -- when the villagers they are trying so hard to create out of America's former middle class start coming after them with torches and pitchforks?
American corporatists need to be careful what they wish for.
Perhaps they too would benefit from driving around town (past all those home-foreclosure signs and boarded-up banks) while listening to John Reed's "Insurgent Mexico" book-on-tape.
PS: A revolution in America -- either by peasants or not -- might be happening here sooner rather than later if the economy continues to fail at the startling rate that it is now bob-sledding straight down. According to Kitco columnist Darryl Robert Schoon, "Since 1913 when the Federal Reserve first issued its debt based paper money in the US, the paper US dollar has lost 95 % of its value, a loss of 95 % over 95 years. Perhaps in five more years, 100 years after the creation of the Federal Reserve, the US dollar will have lost 100 % of its value-which means in five years the US paper dollar will be worth nothing."
PPS: According to journalist Mike Whitney, our current banking system is also hard at work trying to create a new American peasant class. "As the bank-runs increase, the FDIC will be forced to admit the truth, that they don't have the resources to deal with a problem this big. Currently, the FDIC has only $53 billion in reserves to guarantee $4 trillion in total bank deposits. The entire system has a mere $267 billion cash in the vaults."
And Whitney is also pretty pissed off about that new housing bail-out bill. He claims that American homeowners probably won't see a penny of that money. "None of congress's back-room maneuvering has anything to do with 'providing a lifeline for the struggling homeowner', as Senator Dodd claims. That's all bunkum. The homeowner won't get a lick of help from this bill. Its just another handout for the brokerage fraternity.... The whole system has been rejiggered to serve the needs of a few greedy bankers on top of the food chain.... The truth is, the big money guys have taken a wrecking-ball to the financial system and now they've moved on to the real economy. By the time they're done, we'll be picking through the rubble just to feed our families."
Welcome to Peasantville, America.
My only question now is, "Just exactly how bad must the economy get before the soon-to-be-nascent American peasantry finally starts to wake up?"