May 23, 2006
Relentlessly delivering the triphammer blows of a youthful Mike
Tyson, America’s imperialist ruling class of wealthy and corporate
elites has been pummeling the poor, minorities, and the working class
with impunity for years.
As some of my readers have aptly
pointed out, America and its White Christian patriarchy do not have a
historical monopoly on abuse of power or exploitation of "lesser
people". It is also true that Anglos have been victimized at various
points in history. Yet the United States exists and thrives almost
solely because it obscenely exploited Africans to attain economic power
and committed genocide against North America’s indigenous people to
obtain and expand its territory.
While other nations and races
have committed similar atrocities throughout history, Anglos have
suffered persecution, and slavery and the Native American genocide are
in the past, the actions of the United States and its White patriarchal
society were still morally reprehensible. Furthermore, many of the
beneficiaries and descendents of the perpetrators remain unrepentant.
Recent polls and events also indicate that about a third of Americans
still support an entrenched American power structure which flourishes
by practicing exploitation and conquest.
The United States is
not the only nation currently committing brutalities and injustices,
yet Washington is home to a government which claims to be the ultimate
moral authority on the globe. While invading and occupying nations
which posed no threat to them, slaughtering innocent civilians, and
torturing suspected enemies, the United States
continues to mouth empty platitudes about spreading freedom and
democracy, pompously lecture other nations on human rights, and
hypocritically determine which nations are too "evil" to be trusted
with nuclear technology.
In his recent book, Overthrow, Stephen Kinzer wrote:
is no stronger or more persistent strain in the American character than
the belief that the United States is a nation uniquely endowed with
virtue…..This view is driven by a profound conviction that the American
form of government, based on capitalism and individual political
choice, is, as President Bush asserted, "right and true for every
person in every society."
Time and again the
United States has acted on this pathological belief, almost always
spreading suffering and misery rather than democracy and freedom.
Little deters them
remarkable strides toward social justice achieved by powerful leaders
like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King, Jr.,
the advent of international humanitarian laws like the Geneva
Conventions, and the addition of amendments to the US Constitution
expanding civil rights, the relentlessly acquisitive individuals
manning the bulwarks of the Corporatocracy at Wall Street, Capitol
Hill, Langley, and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave have continued to find myriad
means to advance their malignant agenda on both the foreign and
They are employing direct intervention through
invasion and occupation in Iraq as I write. Indirect intervention by
the CIA has brought many ruthless dictators to power because they were
friendly to corporate America’s interests. Multi-national corporations
devastate weaker nations by grossly exploiting labor and resources. The
World Bank and IMF enable the ruling elite of the United States to
enslave developing nations economically. Nuclear intimidation rounds
out the vast array of weapons at the disposal of the power mongers at
the helm of the United States.
Consolidating power into the
Executive Branch, nullifying several Constitutional Amendments with the
Patriot Act, packing the courts with "their people", and conducting
pseudo-elections are currently at the forefront of the domestic arsenal
of America’s ruling elite.
Tell me lies....tell me sweet little lies
the corporate domination of the mainstream media and educational
textbook producers, the patrician class of the United States continues
to white-wash history and current events to perpetrate one of the
biggest hoaxes in the history of mankind. They have managed to convince
many of their plebs of the virtuous, benevolent, and "democratic"
nature of America, to the degree that some violently reject the truth
when confronted with it.
The under-funded No Child Left Behind
legislation ensures that educators lack the resources they need to
prepare their students for mandatory tests which emphasize rote
memorization and basic skills. Teaching critical thinking, history,
literature, and politics falls by the wayside in the mad scramble to
prepare students to pass government-mandated exams. Wouldn’t it be
wonderful for those atop the food chain in the American Empire if they
could virtually eliminate domestic dissent without resorting to mass
arrests or torture?
Despite the widening wealth gap, the
Wal-Martization of the economy, Katrina, Iraq, stolen elections, an $8
trillion national debt, tax cuts for the wealthy, and increasingly
rapacious acts by corporations, many Americans are still oblivious to
our descent into fascism. Sucking on the pacifier of conspicuous
consumption, they "shop til they drop", lining Corporate America’s
pockets and freeing the ruling elite to pursue world domination, as
outlined in the Project for the New American Century and the Bush
Certainly there are some decent human beings who hold
great wealth or positions of power in the United States, but their
voices and actions are readily neutralized by the far more numerous
spiritually hollow individuals whose existence is predicated on
attempting to fulfill their insatiable lust for money and domination of
Slaves to "human nature" we are not
argue that avarice, hatred, cruelty, territorial instinct, and deceit
are inescapable aspects of "human nature" and define the human
condition. Large scale human-inflicted injustice, misery, and suffering
would indeed be inevitable if one accepted the notion that we are
slaves to "human nature", our ids, and our Shadows.
I refuse to
accept this hypothesis for several reasons. Human beings possess highly
developed frontal lobes and opposable thumbs so that we can problem
solve and avoid subjugation to our animal impulses. As Scott Peck
astutely observed in The Road Less Traveled, it defies human nature to
use a toilet or a toothbrush, yet most people learn to do both.
spent some time acting on the dark side of my nature in the past, yet I
managed to undergo a profound moral transformation over the last
thirteen years, choosing to live a life based on basic human decency,
dignity, non-violent assertiveness, and compassion. My life is full of
family and friends who share similar values. While it is impossible to
completely deny one's id or Shadow, it is possible to manage them and
live a reasonably ethical life.
There are also numerous examples
of extraordinary people like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama who
achieved the peak of human moral development.
The masters' kingdom would collapse without the slaves
of the wealthy ruling elite’s most poignant victories against
progressive, humane forces has been their crushing blow to working
people around the globe. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution
and the birth of the prevailing virulent form of Capitalism, the
working class has been a festering thorn in the side of their masters,
motivating them to devote a great deal of energy to keep them subdued.
a necessary evil, workers in America and abroad are the engine of the
Corporatocracy, as both the producers and consumers who power the
Capitalist economy. While monstrous men like Henry Kissinger would move
to shrink their numbers through starvation (or perhaps carpet bombing)
if permitted, they still recognize that these "beasts of burden" are
Not surprisingly, political ideologies which seek
to empower the poor and working class have been heavily vilified by
those who hold a vested interest in keeping wealth and power in the
hands of a few. Americans are inculcated with the belief that men like
Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Salvador Allende, and Evo Morales are (or
were) our enemies. It is anathema, we are taught, to our "free market
system" and "democracy" when leaders of other sovereign nations end the
persistent grip of an entrenched oligarchy and raise a majority of
their people out of abject poverty. With such beliefs, perhaps
America’s moral deficit exceeds its fiscal one.
Can I interest you in selling Amway?
Capitalism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. For each of the four remaining
Walton heirs to enjoy their billions, millions of human beings have to
suffer abysmal poverty. Certainly, there are the occasional members of
the Proletariat who infiltrate the exclusive world of the Bourgeoise,
but they are so few and far between that they pose little threat to the
dominance of the filthy rich resting at the pinnacle of the pyramid.
Besides, thanks to Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and the inevitable
repeal of the inheritance tax, America’s wealthy elite will be further
insulated from threats to their virtual monopoly on excessive wealth.
a member of the working class, I am weighing in against the status quo
multi-level marketing scheme. Despite my lower middle class upbringing
and opportunity to obtain a college education, I went through hard
times and quit school. For the next six years, I faced
under-employment, unemployment and serious economic struggles.
Intermittently working as an unskilled laborer in various manufacturing
and service jobs, I received wages as low as $5 per hour, had limited
or no benefits, endured miserable conditions, and suffered severe burns
on my legs in an industrial accident. I experienced life in the lower
stratus of the pyramid of American Capitalism first-hand. In a nation
as wealthy as ours, it is a travesty that some people remain trapped in
such wretched circumstances throughout their lives.
wife and I are fortunate enough to generate a middle class income
together, enabling our family to live a modest lifestyle and for me to
engage in my avocation of researching, writing dissident essays, and
publishing my blog. However, as members of the middle class, we are
part of a dying breed in America, balancing precariously on the edge of
an economic abyss.
Ethics, laws, justice? Who cares...
three examples of the fates of laborers who dared to defy the primary
beneficiaries of America’s predatory economic system.
peaceful pro-labor rally in May of 1886, anarchists were exposing the
recent Chicago police slaying of two laborers striking against
McCormick Harvesting. An unidentified individual detonated a bomb in
the midst of the crowd, killing eight police officers and three
demonstrators. In an effort to turn public opinion against the labor
movement, the Land of the Free committed state-sponsored murder against
four of the anarchists, publicly hanging them. The Illinois governor
later concluded the executed men were innocent, the Haymarket Martyr’s
Monument was raised in their honor, and wide speculation emerged that
the bomber was a corporate agent provocateur.
In 1894, when
workers became fed up with rail car manufacturer George Pullman’s
"welfare capitalism" (a euphemism for indentured servitude), they went
on strike. Eugene Debs led a sympathy strike amongst thousands of
railroad employees, whose refusal to handle Pullman cars seriously
interfered with national rail traffic. President Grover Cleveland broke
the strike with US Marshals and the military, leaving thirteen strikers
dead and Debs in prison.
It is small wonder that so many of
America’s elite genuflect to Ronald Reagan and want to see his
countenance emblazoned on the ten dollar bill. Reagan dropped a nuke on
labor in the ongoing class war when he fired the PATCO air traffic
controllers in 1981. When Reagan took office, union membership was 23%,
down from its 35% peak in the 1950’s. However, his withering blow
greatly accelerated the precipitous decline of organized labor in the
United States. By 2005 only 8% of America’s private sector workforce
Brute force, propaganda, illegal firings, and
state-sponsored murder imposed by the ruling class in the United States
were not enough to deter the American labor movement from its diligent
efforts to improve the lot of the working class. We can thank them for
the eight hour work day, an end to child labor, increased safety in the
work place, higher wages, and health and retirement benefits.
the majority of the population is a part of the working class, a
majority of people benefited from labor’s gains. Sounds like a logical
outcome in a nation which espouses democratic values. However, the
minority in the ruling plutocracy was not pleased. Determined as they
were to protect their interests, the modern day Money Changers
discovered new ways to impose their economic brutality. (Imagine what
Jesus would do on the floors of the stock exchanges).
Welcome to McDonald’s! Would you like fries with that?
that American workers are overpaid, corporate elites have slashed pay,
health benefits, and pensions. They contend that to stay competitive in
the new "global economy", they need to cut labor costs. Working people
are to sacrifice with a smile since it is in their best interest to
enable their masters to stay in business. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s,
massive layoffs pushed millions of middle class blue collar workers
into service sector jobs which cut their incomes in half. According to
Louis Uchitelle of the New York Times, 30 million Americans were laid
off between 1984 and 2004.
Starting in 2000, Silicon Valley and
the telecom companies began a trend of massive white collar layoffs.
Other industries have followed suit. In short, "overpaid" front line
American workers have become highly expendable.
America doesn’t care what color your collar is. Human beings are
commodities to them, and if an employee’s existence is too costly, they
eliminate them. Illegally firing employees who try to unionize, hiring
temps to replace full-time employees (to eliminate paying those damn
benefits), replacing seasoned employees with fresh college grads, and
"off shoring" American jobs to exploit cheap labor in other nations
exemplify the new paradigm in American business. While corporate
profits soar at an annual clip of 30%, employee wages crawl upward at
an average of 2%. Meanwhile, CEO’s earn an average of over 400 times
that of their employees.
While American workers struggle,
multinational corporations, which are often guided by American
executives and extremely wealthy share-holders, have introduced human
beings in developing nations to the profound misery of Dickensonian
Capitalism. When laws in the United States began making it prohibitive
for the Social Darwinists to exploit employees and the environment to
the extent that it engorged their bank accounts, they began moving
their operations to countries which did not have these "harsh
It is time for labor to unite on behalf of humanity
In a 1978 letter of resignation from his position of president of the UAW, Douglas Fraser wrote:
believe leaders of the business community, with few exceptions, have
chosen to wage a one-sided class war today in our country --a war
against working people, the unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the
very young and the very old, and even many in the middle class of our
society….I would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children
of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a
better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose
goal is profit and whose hearts are cold. We intend to reforge the
links with those who believe in struggle: the kind of people who sat
down in the factories in the 1930's and who marched in Selma in the
Unfortunately, Fraser’s inspiring words
have gone largely unheeded. The two party American Duopoly continues to
represent the interests of their wealthy and corporate benefactors.
Grass roots mobilization and efforts to advance the interests of social
and economic justice for the poor and working class have virtually
fallen from the radar screen of organized labor. The larger labor
unions continue their close ties with the Democratic Party, apparently
believing the fiction that Democrats have the spine or the will to
advance the interests of the working class.
In July 2005,
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern took
his 1.8 million members and broke ties with the AFL-CIO, an
organization which has achieved few tangible advances for labor or the
working class in recent years. A former social worker and present
activist for social causes, Stern was recently profiled on 60 Minutes.
Organizing workers, many of whom are minorities and women, in
previously under-unionized industries such as day care and janitorial,
Stern has created an agenda of global worker cooperation to end the
disturbing trend of corporate exploitation.
Stern and his
followers have set out to rectify the gross economic injustices facing
the working class and humanity in general. They recognize that
collectively, the working class wields great power. Unionizing,
strikes, and boycotts are the potent weapons they employ against the
seemingly overwhelming forces of Capitalist domination.
week, I asked SEIU’s online campaign manager, Anders Schneiderman, to
share his thoughts on labor taking the lead in advancing the causes of
social and economic justice.
members believe that the only way we can build a better world for all
of us is if we unite with workers across the globe. When corporations
move around the world looking for opportunities to maximize their
profits by driving down pay and benefits standards, no one is safe
unless we work together. That's why school bus drivers, are joining
together on both sides of the Atlantic to hold First Service
accountable, and why on June 15 janitors from around the world will be
celebrating International Justice Day and discussing where their
campaigns to raise standards should go next.
the ruling elite have done an exceptional job of employing the concept
of divide and conquer in human society (gay vs. straight, pro-life vs.
pro-choice, red state vs. blue state, Christianity vs. Islam), a
majority of the global population shares at least one common interest.
Almost all of us need to trade our labor for our means of sustenance. A
global unification of working people of all stripes is what we of the
poor and middle classes need to overcome the tyranny of the moneyed
ruling class. These modern day monarchs thrive by keeping their
peasants in a perpetual state of unnecessary poverty, ignorance, war,
and human suffering.
Contrary to the lies of the elite, human
nature does not doom us to high degrees of injustice and misery. Human
beings are blessed with free will. As individuals, and ultimately
collectively, we can choose to act in mostly reasoned, honest and just
ways. We can avoid resorting to impulsive, reactionary responses to
primal emotions like fear, lust, and anger (feelings propagandists love
to trigger and manipulate). No one will make reasoned, fair choices all
of the time, but I know from my own experience that through conscious
effort, it is possible to do so much of the time.
labor movement on a global scale could very well be our means to snatch
victory from the pitbull-like jaws of Capitalist Imperialism and to forge a reasonably just and humane society.
Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical essayist with a degree in
liberal arts and an extensive self-education (derived from an
insatiable appetite for reading). He is a member of Amnesty
International and an avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human
Rights Watch. He welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/