First, I want to frame this conversation by pointing out that there is a stigma and
mystique to the use of the words class warfare. When used, they are often associated with
Marxist Revolution, violence by the poor and middle classes against the rich, and
politically motivated propaganda campaigns to portray those who say the words as radicals,
extremists, losers, socialists, communists and people who want a hand out...
The truth is, class warfare has always been a tactic employed by leaders of nations or
those seeking power in order to cause economic and social conditions conducive to
retaining power, or to execute a particular social agenda.
When people march in the streets and talk about class warfare, the only radical concept
they are ultimately talking about is justice, and they are expressing their anger and
frustration at what is at least a perception that they are not being treated as equals,
receiving equal opportunity, truly being represented by elected officials or just plain
victims of crime and inhumanity.
The meaning and image association - as well as blame - has somehow been twisted around
as being a conspiracy of the people against the government. This twisting of the meaning
of words becomes useful because it allows the government of what is commonly referred to
as the "status quo" - the controlling authority - to identify dissenters and
those fighting class warfare as criminals and enemies of the state.
It's the same way the word and use of terrorism got turned around linguistically and in
the real world. Terrorism was originally used by governments to control its citizens -
those who would oppose or criticize it were subject to attack or death, at the very least
persecution and often exile.
Now, I will point out that there is a difference between fighting
class warfare and waging class warfare. And, that, like anything else, the intent
behind it means everything.
Class warfare, in its basic definition, is comprised of a technique of manipulating
economies and making investments in sectors for short and long-range economic goals, it
can be used to break the bargaining power of unions, or to effect legislation beneficial
to a particular group or income class or business sector in order to empower political
Depending on the purpose of the class warfare, as in any war, controlling
communications is paramount. Through the communications - through secrecy in leadership
and ownership or control of the media - they are able to frame world and national events
in such a way as to give the appearance of activity, action or position.
Now, I've said before that I believe the Bush Administration is waging class
warfare in order to implement an ideological agenda.
My real objection to this is because I do not believe the American people understand
the depth and impact these changes are having, nor where they actually lead.
To me, this shows up more like someone trying use misdirection to "slip something
in on us". I also believe that if Americans understood, they would not approve. And,
that is the reason for the penchant for secrecy in the Bush Administration.
Legal or illegal, ethical or unethical - maybe it's just politics or maybe it's not -
to me, it really isn't as important as acknowledging what is occurring, informing the
American people, and giving them the opportunity to make an informed choice, free of
glorious sound-bytes and demagoguery,
This is not an attack on George Bush. What I am going to describe is a tendency and
agenda that was most successfully and noticeably - maybe I should say aggressively -
inserted into the American culture by Ronald Reagan.
I'm going to outline what I see as some of the underlying goals of this administration,
as well as a brief discussion of the short and long-range impacts.
The Strategies of Class Warfare
The strategies and purposes are actually quite simple.
Ultimately, the purpose is to create a coalition of people who can afford to spend
money to elect leaders who will favor their economic and political interests. This allows
them to flourish, and political leaders or regimes to remain in power. It's a symbiotic
Small wars or social "enemies" (such as drugs or the threat of Communism) are
typically used to create an air of threat in order to galvanize public support around the
President, to unify us against an enemy, as well as to generate the loyalty of the
military (down through history, this also created a miltary force of citizens willing to
use force against other citizens in case of an uprising or coup against the ruler).
In order to force citizens to rely on the government for leadership, hyper-inflation
typically is used which is good for corporate interests, allowing and justifying
streamlining and demands for higher productivity. Corporate profits, and stocks, go up,
while employment and the value of the dollar go down.
At this point in time, whether through inflation, hyper-inflation or any number of
economic strategies, devaluation of the dollar would be beneficial to United States
manufacturers because it makes overseas buyers pay less for our goods.
That would be good, except that it requires that the relative value of American
salaries to go down. Fewer people have jobs. And even if we have a strong recovery, a
great deal of damage will have been done to people's lives. Jobs and careers lost.
Pensions lost. Governmental promises to its citizens broken.
Cavalier leaders would say "that's the price of managing the big picture".
People who think like that have no respect for the hard work and loyalty of the
people whose lives they are affecting. I can accept the concept of running a nation like a
corporation, so long as we remember that the mission of the corporation is to serve the
interests of the citizens as justly and frugally as possible, so long as it actually gets
the job done.
Socially, class warfare typically uses religious and highly emotional issues in order
to further divide citizens so that they will not band together for other issue in which
they have common interests. Unions are undermined, further weakening the ability of
citizens to organize in a meaningful way. These days, when unions bargain on behalf of its
members, manufacturers move their plants overseas. The bond of loyalty and unity has been
It's alo interesting to note that a group of 10 doctors in Texas were indicted for a
price-fixing conspiracy because they joined together to collectively negotiate payments
structures with an HMO.
Increasingly, if you objectively observe recent legislation, from tort reform to your
ability to challenge the care of your health provider or even laws that make it easier for
corporations to reduce or cancel pension and health benefits, and make it more difficult
for you to declare bankruptcy...
It's amazing to see how corporations, who complain about regulation, whose practices
have enraged people to the point of a ltigious culture, whose cause was undertaken by
Republican administrations, are now benefitting from laws that regulate the rights of
consumers to seek protection, compensation or even an honest broker in resolving claims in
a timely and just manner.
In theory, I am in agreement with a number of elements of the ideas behind
privatization. However, the form that it is taking is clearly that of turning over the
management of this nation to corporations whose primary interest is not in the delivery of
services, but of making a profit.
The checks and balances that would have made privatization a good idea have been
removed. They now pose a danger.
The final, more contemporary display of class warfare is the use of propaganda. As
Ronald Reagan would say, say it often enough, and they'll believe it. Consider that in any
war, it is always considered of primary importance to disrupt or control communications.
In the Iraq conflict, we seemed to consider ourselves tricky and clever for the
propaganda and psychological war we were waging with the people there.
Class warfare is a methodology that has been used since ancient times in all parts of
the world. It is rarely associated with an honest government with honorable intent.
With all of these factors established in a nation, and many more facets, a government
can persude its citizens to adapt to any circumstances or accept divised misfortunes as an
expression of a nation standing firm in the face of unfortunate adversity.
After all, the people are dependent upon the government for its security, as well as to
lead them to renewed prosperity and to empathize with them in a time of trouble.
Meanwhile, the various economic and social classes begin arguing with each other,
dividing the citizens even more as one class gets more and another becomes and less
secure. Businesses becomes adversaries of the citizens instead of loyal partners. Poverty
increases and violent crime increases because of the social tension that is created.
Citizens are encouraged to enter into greater debt, as this causes them to conentrate
their efforts toward economic conditions, work more for less, and makes them less likely
to "rock the boat" for fear of losing their job and possibly facing financial
All in all, out of a pure animalistic instinct to survive, people begin to hord and to
fend for themselves. To protect their territory.
That's when you know that class warfare is being effectively waged. It becomes
seemingly impossible to have an intellectually honest discussion, people treat each other
like stereotypes instead of individuals, and demeaning linguistics are used to diminish
opposing views. Even the tactic of calling people un-patriotic is a classic method of
It becomes impossible to make sense of anything or to get anything done. And, fear of
losing their rights or the right to their own preferences causes people to seek victory
instead of true resolution. It becomes a culture of domination. We are at war with each
other. It is the war we are having with the world that can not actually succeed if it
continues on this path.
Historically, under these conditions, the people turn to the leader. The strategy has
succeeded. Then, it becomes a simple question of what will the leader do, because the
citizens are powerless and divided, and can do nothing meaningful to oppose him.
History does repeat itself, and class warfare is one of the classic signs of leaders
and eras in history where people and nations have declared themselves empires. It's the
way they acquire the control and power required.
If you take an objective look around you, you'll know why the strategies of class
warfare relate to you, and why you feel you have no choice but to go along.
They say "don't change horses in the middle of a stream", but I can assure
you, when you're on a horse in the river just above the falls, you'll do anything to get
off a horse that won't stop going the wrong way. It's the only smart thing to do.
The Bush Tax Reform Plan: Greener Pastures
vs. the Road to Perdition Blinder also took issue with another aspect
of the Bush economic plan. With the baby boomer population aging, budget problems loom
large after 2010, he said. The burden on the federal government is tremendous and the need
for revenue will be intense. Whatever budget condition were in will
deteriorate [in 2010], he pointed out. This represents a main challenge for fiscal
policy. He then went for the jugular. He noted that the United States is the least
redistributive capitalist country in the world. Budget cuts tend to come from programs for
the poor. The 2001 and 2003 proposals are regressive. This is class
warfare, he noted. Its the haves against the have-nots.
8 million may lose OT pay Bush administration proposal would dramatically alter rules for paying
overtime, study says The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington think tank,
examined a March proposal by the Labor Department to change the criteria for paying
overtime and found that it would cost 2.5 million salaried employees and 5.5 million
hourly employees their right to overtime pay. The proposal could also cause them to work
longer hours, the group said in a study published on its Web site.
get richer IRS says growing wealth for 400
top taxpayers outstripped increases in their tax burdens. Though its share of total
reported AGI more than doubled... The average tax rate for the group, meanwhile, declined
to 22.3 percent in 2000, from 26.4 percent in 1992 and a high of 29.9 percent in 1995.
Very Richest's Share of Income Grew Even
Bigger, Data Show The data, in a report that the I.R.S. released last night,
shows that the average income of the 400 wealthiest taxpayers was almost $174 million in
2000. That was nearly quadruple the $46.8 million average in 1992. *
States' Fiscal Crisis Persists for
2004 If the economy worsens, the high priority given to education, health
care and public safety programs that have been spared severe budget cuts of the past year
will find their funds imperiled, the National Governors' Association and National
Association of State Budget Officers report said. *
Fate Worse than Debt: Can the U.S. Deficit
Rise to $45.47 Trillion? The U.S. governments future obligations outweigh
its projected revenues so heavily that it would need a permanent income tax increase of
66% or the immediate elimination of all federal discretionary spending to put it on track
for balancing its finances. Such is the startling conclusion of a report by Wharton
insurance and risk management professor Kent Smetters and
Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank economist Jagadeesh Gokhale. The two argue that the
governments accounting system is backward looking and so has failed to properly
account for future outlays such as Social Security and Medicare.
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