Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Idiocy that is Life in the US in the Early Twenty-First Century...

You gotta love these right wing claims that a left wing liberal, commie, nazi conspiracy is afoot. I mean there is a conspiracy, a concerted attack, on "democracy" and "freedom" but it is not liberals who are engaged in it. It is many on the right...

We have seen in the US since the New Deal a concerted attempt to roll back the democratic gains made by workers since the nineteenth century against difficult odds (difficult because the government, for the most part, used the power of the state to back the corporate elite). More than anything else it has been the right workers gained to collectively bargain that the corporate elite and their business and political allies have attempted to roll back since the New Deal. They have been increasingly successful in their campaign to do this particularly since the fall of Richard Nixon, an event which marks the demise of the social or progressive liberal consensus (which was always limited anyway) which was set in motion by Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson who destroyed the Democratic coalition FDR put in place thanks to the former's integration of the US military and the latter's passing of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. Republicans took advantage of this by, over time, incorporating the Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party within the Republican Party as Nixon and Republican strategist Kevin Phillips had foreseen and planned. As Dixiecrats (a wing of the Democratic Party dominated by a states rights mantra, the right of the states to maintain slavery and later to institute discriminatory policies against Blacks) became Republicans social and progressive liberal Republicans were ostracised as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), were banned, or left the party creating the new Republican Party we have now, a Republican Party that has been taken over by the ideology of neoliberalism, a party which has become the mouthpiece of Big Neoliberal Business.

There are a number of myths, myths which parallel the myths Nazis told about Jews, the political left, gypsies, and other "decadents", that have been propagated by the right about unions. The first myth is about the power of unions. The reality is that the number of workers in unions in the US has never been as great as in unions in Western Europe and union membership has been on decline for years in the US. Only 9% of workers in private companies and businesses are unionised. Only around 35% of public workers are unionised. The South has never had a worker friendly economic or political environment (which is why the South "profited" from deindustrialisation in the North and Midwest). It is and has long been difficult for workers to organise in the South and bargain for better wages, better benefits, and better working conditions.

Another myth is the fairy tale that that unions and their political allies are singlehandedly responsible for the demise of American manufacturing. The reality is that unions have never determined management practises in American corporations or businesses. In this right wing dreamworld unions are the reason that fewer fewer buy American cars. Yeah, like globalisation (including the demise of nationalist protectionism), a globalisation the economic elite supported, had nothing to do with anything. Yeah like management design and the quality of the automobiles designed and manufactured by the management elite has nothing to do with the demise of the automobile industry in the US.

What is really going on here is those who control industry in the US and those economic elites who control this country through their lobbying power, their political contributions, and their close ties to political powers that be are concerned largely with only one thing, PROFIT. Over the years they have successfully lobbied against the protectionism that made the US into an economic giant (the creation of international financial and trade organisations and NAFTA were important turning points in the demise of US economic nationalism). They have moved manufacturing out of the US to increase their profit margins. They can do this because they pay lower wages to workers in "developing" countries like India, Mexico, Indonesia. Duh. And now their political puppets, most of them Republican, are using the "financial crises" in states across the US (a financial crises caused largely by big finances love for increased profits) to try to break public service unions while at the same time giving tax breaks to their corporate buddies. By the way, one report by a nonpartisan group in Wisconsin indicated that the financial problems in that state were made far worse by the passage of tax breaks for the wealthy passed by the Republican dominated legislature and supported by the governor. Can you say cynical Machiavellianism?

That so many in the US don't recognise what is going on here and mouth the banal and insipid platitudes of their corporate masters, platitudes like unions are ruining America, liberals are socialists who are ruining this country (laissez faire ideology is liberal dudes and dudettes) raises questions about human intelligence, the abilities of humans to reason rationally on the basis of empirical evidence, and the role demagogeury plays in the socialisation (brainwashing) process. Well I guess we will see how the less well off among these folks enjoy a return to the bah humbug Ebenezer Scrooge state. As for me I am looking forward to being enslaved to Mr. Burns. Take that Watson.

No comments:

Post a Comment