On Class WarfarePosted: February 6, 2012 | |
Ever since Obama took office, everyone on the far right seems to bleat endlessly about ‘class warfare’. Mitt Romney does it when he talks about the politics of envy. Newt Gingrich does it when uses Dinesh DeSouza’s bullshit line about Obama being a Kenyan anti-colonialist. Paul Ryan does it when people call him on his shit-awful Medicare plan. All the various bloviating Fox News talking heads go on and on about it whenever a moderately fair tax rate is proposed for the wealthy.
I want to make something perfectly clear: what Obama is doing isn’t class warfare, at least not in the way they think. For the record, this is what class warfare actually looks like.
On Saturday, workers violated a court order preventing them gathering within two hundred metres of the factory. The protests turned violent, workers set company cars on fire, and clashed with the police. The Police used sticks to beat back protestors, and then opened fire when their initial attempts at dispersing them had failed.
Murali Mohan a union leader and main agitator in the dispute was attacked by the police. Has was battered with batons, and died from his injuries whilst in police custody.
Nine workers required hospital treatment due to receiving bullet wounds, all of whom are said to be in a ‘critical’ condition.
After the news of Mohan’s death reached the workers, four hundred of them stormed the house of senior company executive, K. C Chandrekhar, and beat him to death.
Please note that there’s not a single mention of higher taxes or increased regulation in this story.
The far right is trying to tar President Obama, and it’s somewhat successful because no one in the American polity actually knows what class war looks like. This is mostly because what remains of the Left in the US is relatively quiescent or blends into the background whenever a larger issue comes to the fore until very recently. As examples, I’d point towards the lack of strikes by labor unions and the gays rights movement, respectively. Likewise, their rhetoric completely ignores the fact that there has been a sustained class war waged since 1980, only it’s been top-down as opposed to the scary bottom-up class war that has all the various Fox News luminaries so concerned.
Reagan breaking PATCO and advocacy for supply-side economics was class warfare. Clinton’s destruction of welfare and deregulation of financial derivatives was class warfare. Virtually the entirety of George W. Bush’s presidency was class warfare. Obama’s deficit commission and support for cuts to Social Security and Medicare is class warfare. The police repression of Occupy across the country is class warfare. It’s all class warfare, only waged against people like me on behalf of people like Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfein and not the scary kind that’s the other way around.
That said, I think the era of an inactive Left is coming to an end. The mass protests in Madison was just the first hint that things were shifting. Then Occupy came about and now there’s an uptick in activity by and interest in the unions that can only do some good. And while the employing class continues to attack the working class (most recently in Indiana with their bullshit union dues freeloading law), you are finally starting to see those attacks galvanize (instead of shred the morale of) the Left.
We’re a long ways from India and storming an executive’s house to beat him to death with lead pipes (and I don’t think it’s really necessary to do that here unless you see striking workers get gunned down), but I think showing whiners like Romney and Ryan what class warfare actually looks like is coming so long as we get off our asses and get down to the hard work of waging it.