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The Very Recent War On Us

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

February 22, 2010

By Perry Redd

I wrote a song a few years back that I never really warmed up to, until I recorded it.  It was written while I sat behind the walls of a federal prison.  It was fueled by the reality of, not only the place where I was sitting in American society in July of ‘07, but what I had to look forward to upon re-entering that society.  In my life prior to prison, I worked tirelessly for workers rights, against police brutality, for government accountability and against attacks on the poor.  How prescient; for that song is more relevant today than when I wrote it.

The Right-wing is on the attack…the attack on us—the poor, the low-wage worker, the women of America, the youth, the minority classes.  It is a concerted, deliberate attack on the rights, status and gains that these classes of people have made.  During the election season of 2010, the intentional smear of the political climate by the likes of the Tea Party and pro-gun, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion groups have placed this country in a state of emergency…there is a war in play—not a “culture war”, but a physical, covert, hand-to-hand war, using the tools of culture, law enforcement, media, language, military loyalty, culture and legislation.  What am I talking about?  Let me tell you:

  • Legalized Abortion: When President Obama was working on reforming healthcare, the Republicans said he should be focusing on jobs…remember that?  Now that he focuses on jobs, they shift the goalposts to abortion.  Planned Parenthood is under attack. Together these bills would cut off women from the private health care they have today, limit the ability of women to get the care they need on their health care plans even if it threatens their lives; allow public hospitals to refuse to take necessary steps to save a woman’s life; and allow the states to deny Medicaid coverage for care to save a woman’s life.  The Right is inundating the public psyche with  undercover videos.  Nevermind that they’re bogus.  They’re labeling judges “activist” and re-defining “rape”;
  • Media: de-funding The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which of course hurts poor people who rely on untainted information sources.  “The attack on Big Bird” has re-appeared.  Saturating the public with biased, one-source reporting by conglomerated media outlets, is a tried-and-true Right-wing method of attack.
  • Isolation of the poor: the proposed budget cuts of 2011 by House Republicans is an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, if they care about balancing the budget at all.  We know their goal is to take money from government programs that empowers to lower classes of our society. Cuts to subsidized housing (while subsidizing corporations) is an attack on the poor.
  • Education: Cutting programs, Pell Grants (growing student debt is not fostering a competitive class); championing charter schools is not only de-facto segregation, but it weakens the very systems that educate the very people who cannot afford to pay;
  • Returning Citizens: probationary sentences, selective rules on hiring, only keep men & women incarcerated—outside of prison walls.  With the barriers to obtaining gainful employment in place, the only other options to survive are crime.  They know it…this condition creates jobs for law enforcement.
  • Alternative Families: single-parent, gay couples, and extended families are non-traditional in nature, and thus fall outside the parameters and expectations of the neo-Right.  Being non-traditional is fodder for conservative attack.
  • Employment: The theory of Republican rule that “smaller government” means the private sector can be free to hire more people is a farce!  What they really mean is that more government money shall go to the private sector…a tenent of capitalism.  What they don’t tell you is that they, corporations, don’t have to hire.
  • Housing: de-funding subsidized housing means less affordable housing; Eliminating Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae means less access to manageable home mortgage loans, which in turn, create the condition for a larger “renter class.”  This condition creates a smaller—and more elite—owner class, concentrating more wealth in the hands of fewer people.
  • Law Enforcement: creation of academic disciplines, separate rules for releasing relevant prosecutorial evidence, and protecting their jobs gives them all the more reason to attack the people if they ever choose to dissent
  • Collective Bargaining: Right-to-work is where the Right wants the working class.  They complain about profits, but management is never poor.  The assault on Unions is real and in play; the Wisconsin teachers are the tip of the iceberg.  The Republicans have thirsted after Collective Bargaining since Ronald Regan’s demise of PATCO in 1981.   Like other conservative Republican governors, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio, Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Rick Scott of Florida, the Wisconsin governor wants to sap the power of public employee unions, especially the teachers’ union, since public education is the single biggest expenditure for every state. Didn’t Obama say we should invest in education so we could innovate and compete with the rest of the world?

Through this era of assault, something should not be lost on us: that banking, communication, oil corporations (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco-Philips), Wal-Mart, General Motors, do well while the rest of us fight over crumbs.  The guise that “the business sector turn the wheels of the economy”, is a lie.  The working class turn the wheels of this economy—or any economy.  People give labor, create products, manufacture goods, deliver services and purchase the products.  Where the people miss out is on the collection of the revenue.  Without the revenue (money), the people make no decisions.  The only means of balancing that equation, is mass organizing…”the only thing that beats money is people.”

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