Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Greetings, freedom fighters! Bragging time-I have a volume of poetry, titled Mutterings, which I put on CreateSpace, a self-publishing website affiliated with Amazon.com. I went through the process of downloading the text and using the template for creating the cover, and it's now available on createspace.com, and amazon.com; it’s also available on Kindle. This new technology-YouTube, internet radio, print-on-demand publishing-is great for working people to get our message across; we don't have to worry about the corporate bureaucracy rejecting us and/or editing our messages to the point of distortion. Still we have to do the job right, pay attention to our writing skills and keep our facts right, so that the world knows we can speak eloquently about ourselves and our lives. As the old Wobbly Big Bill Haywood said, "The brains to run society is under the cap of the worker." Needless to say I’m overjoyed with the results of the presidential election. I wish President Obama all the best for the next four years. The House, alas, is still Republican, but the Senate is still Democratic. However, same sex marriage was voted on by referendum, in Maryland and Maine-by popular vote, in spite of what religious rightists say about same-sex marriage being unpopular. A referendum in Minnesota that would have declared marriage as a union between a man and a woman was voted down. Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana, challenging the so-called “War on Drugs,” which has been a backdoor attack on minorities. It has proven no more successful than Prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s and ’30s, which led to the growth of both organized crime and municipal corruption, as well as cynicism-people knew the law was nonsense, so they went into the speakeasy. (I myself had a few tokes in my day.) PLUS-Puerto Rico passed a non-binding resolution calling for statehood. The political establishment has long resisted this, since it would challenge the idea of the United States as a nation of Northern-European descended peoples. My confidence in the Democratic party as a vehicle for social change, alas, in next to nil. After we treat ourselves to a well deserved celebration, let us get back to the business of social change; it’s always bee grassroots movements of downtrodden people that have created anything positive in this country, and not any benevolent state acting on its own. The right-wing movement acts as if the “big government” things they hate so much, such as occupational-safety and health, regulation of the financial sector, Civil Rights legislation, Social Security, etc., have always been there, and they never confronted why they were instituted in the first place; and they want us to rely on the “free market,” and we would, each of us, be left on our own. The talk of “rugged individualism,” of people going out by themselves, is simply a propaganda tool dressed in intellectual-historical garb by hired tools in academia and the media. It is perfectly natural for people to unite with each other, for whatever reason. Disturbing development-Such corporations as Papa John's Pizza and Applebee's Restaurants are planning to lay off workers, in retaliation for the Obama victory, supposedly over paying health insurance to the workers, without whom these firms would never run. (Can you say boycott?) Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company, laid off 156 workers supposedly because of the Obama administration’s “war on coal”; this was the same company that ordered its workers to stand as props for Mitt Romney at a campaign rally-without pay. Corporations spent up to billions of dollars towards the Romney campaign -money that could have been spent on such luxury items as health care, increased wages, and occupational safety for their employees, plus paying a lit-tle more in taxes to pare down the deficit they worry about; all of these things they whine will bankrupt them. But noooo, they have to spend their money on political candidates they pull from out of nowhere, pay for their campaigns, and when they get elected return the favors by voting for the corporations’ favorite causes, like slicing their taxes; allowing them to move their factories to poorer countries where they can pay their workers pocket change for a day’s work, and union organizing is a crime; and where they are free of regulations so they can pollute the air and water, overcharge for utilities, discriminate against women and minorities for ANY reason, commit stock fraud (I’m thinking Enron)-the list is endless what would happen if corporations got free reign. These are the geniuses running our economy? The creative minds celebrated by Ayn Rand? They do SO need regulating, we cannot trust our economy, our society, or our lives with such “persons” as these corporations, or the people who run them and are bred by them. This is the terrible “class warfare” the Republicans have accused somewhat leftward Democrats of waging, if they proposed even the slightest increase in taxes for the corporations. But they have been the ones waging class warfare on working people-I WON’T use the mealy-mouth phrase “middle class.” Ever since the end of the New Deal, they have fought to regain the plutocratic privileges they justly lost, after they led the country into the 1929 Depression. I guess these laying-off corporations expect their workers to come crawling back on their bellies and beg for their jobs back. I say stand up to them, as you would any bully. Get in touch with a union that is appropriate to the industry you work for, so you can fight back. After all, the corporate executive can’t dig the coal, wait on the tables, and cook the food themselves. They need the workers more than the workers need them. Get on the AFL-CIO website, aflcio.org, to find a suitable union. Another worrisome thing-There have been petition drives in several states, with signatures in the tens of thousands, to secede from the Union, after the Obama reelection. The one from Texas attained around 60,000 signatures. Would these states actually try it? What should we do in this case? Let them go? Another Civil War? I remember during the Viet Nam war, the “patriotic” slogan was “America, love it or leave it!” (Don’t you love it when complicated issues can be boiled down to bumper stickers?) But how did they define “America”? A white, Protestant entity, comprised of small towns and farms, where people didn’t have to confront serious issues as racial-gender-religious discrimination, class dominance and poverty, or unnecessary war? Where they defined “democracy” as going along with whatever the Leader said, and expressing opposing ideas was a sin and a crime? I believe America is being remade into its better self, a country where education, health care, and public safety and not luxuries, where workers use their brains and their skill for the betterment of their communities, and which actually believes that all persons are equal, in the law and in society. I laugh at Victoria Jackson’s tweet, “America died last night”, the night of November 6; I say, with our minds and work, we can bring to birth a new, better America. Bye!