|Old_Zircon - 2012-10-22 |
|Binro the Heretic - 2012-10-22 |
They act like we can change things with politics and regulations, but really, the only way this sort of thing truly ends is with angry mobs, pitchforks, torches and guillotines.
Here I'm actually not convinced. I do think that politics and regulation won't fix the problem, but there are very promising ideas starting to emerge from the left on transformation of business structure in ways to effectively combat inequality. Richard Wolff just released a book, Democracy at Work, which makes the case for worker directed businesses based on the Mondragon cooperative model in Spain. In essence, the workers, instead of stock holders, democratically elect the board of directors, and share in the profits. The result in Mondragon's case is an 80,000 person business conglomerate where the largest difference between highest and lowest paid worker is 6.5x. They also rarely lay workers off, remain highly competitive, and have a functioning pension system.
Eventually, enough of these worker-directed enterprises could tip the balance culturally to the elimination of the current authoritarian and highly unequal business culture without a shot being fired. That's by no means a sure thing, but I think the focus needs to be on giving people alternatives in any case.
In this day and age, I think this quote from "The Science of Discworld, Volume II" is more appropriate:
"You have forgotten that there is no narrativium in this world. It does not know how stories should go. Here the third son of a king is probably just a useless weak prince. Here, there are no heroes, only degrees of villainy. An old lady gathering wood in the forest is just an old lady and not, as in your world, almost certainly a witch. Oh, there's a belief in witches. But a witch here is merely a method of ridding society of burdensome old ladies and an inexpensive way of keeping the fire going all night. Here, gentlemen, good does not ultimately triumph at the expense of a few bruises and a non-threatening shoulder wound. Here, evil is generally defeated by a more organized kind of evil. My world, gentlemen. Not yours. Good day to you."
This sort of thing doesn't end it just takes breaks.
It doesn't matter how wildly we swing our pitchforks when it's obvious who we're going to all vote for. Our mechanics in their game is sewn up, debugged, and now ready for release.
I don't remember many torches and executions in the transition from the robber baron age to the new deal.
What fucked us is the wildly successful effort of the Republican party in aligning themselves with bigots in the 60s and religion in the 80s, then harnessing their spite so the rich can get away with anything as long as minorities and affronts to god suffer.
Not much is going to get done as long as the boomers are still around (they're the largest voting bloc and they're all old and cranky) and young hipjaded people buy the whole libertarian lie thinking the perfect third party candidate will sprout up as long as they keep not voting.
That transition to a social democratic welfare state in this country was actually marked by massive amounts of violence by workers on one side and the state and large private interests on the other. We just aren't taught to remember it that way.
I grew up a few hours away from the site of the largest land battle on continental U.S. soil since the Civil War. It was a fight by miners against hired thugs backed by the threat of the U.S. army in West Virginia during 1921 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain. The mine company's private security forces actually dropped bombs and gas left over from WWI on the miners from planes. I doubt many people born nearby could even tell you about it. It's been erased from mainstream history.
There are too many instances of similar conflicts to count. The Bonus Army (a sort of proto-Occupy consisting of WWI veterans crushed by Douglas MacArthur), the Homestead Strike, Great Railroad Strike of 1877... People fought and died to make policy like the New Deal possible. In that way, it can best be understood as an armistice between workers and large capital.
So yes, political influence matters. Having a radicalized population willing to fight for a better future matters. Having ideas worth fighting for matters. Let's all do what calls to us, because it's all important.
|jangbones - 2012-10-22 |
"the inevitability of plutocracy"
the plutocracy controls the political parties and they have a significant control over the message, and those things will only grow as more wealth is concentrated
|memedumpster - 2012-10-22 |
Rich people are institutionalized manchildren who are generally miserable. We're really more alike than different.
Rich people are more terrified at the prospect of becoming less rich than middle class folks are of the prospect of becoming homeless.
|That guy - 2012-10-24 |
Thanks wackyakmed, and for your comments. I will get to this when I have the heart for it.
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