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Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:07 PM

Class Warfare

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all those little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.
Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
And they always have clean shirts to play around in.
And in their styes with all their backing
They don't care what goes on around
And in their eyes there's something lacking
What they needs a damm good whacking.
Yeah, everywhere there's lots of piggies
Playing piggy pranks
And you can see them on their trotters
Down at the piggy banks
Paying piggy thanks
To thee pig brother
Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.
-- George Harrison

My father's extended family included numerous activists in the railroad unions. His dad came to the US in 1879, when some absentee landlord from another land evicted the family from the land in Ireland where they had lived on since the beginning of time. Dad told me many of the stories he had heard as a child, about the often violent conflicts between the working class and the non-working wealthy.

My grandfather and his family came here during what Mark Twain called the Gilded Age. He told my father about two federal acts that had been started in the years before he immigrated: in 1862, the Homestead Act promised private citizens title to 160-acre lots out west, for a small registration fee; the second "act" was the government's giving a quarter-million square miles of land to the railroad robber barons. Between 1865 and 1900, this was a gift larger than the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin combined.

It was, my father noted, the American way of institutionalizing class warfare in a legal way.

In the early 1900s, many in the working class again began to think in terms of class warfare. Some, he said, were the "liberals," who felt the political-economic system needed fine-tuning in order to be fair to everyone; others were "progressives," who believed in a more complete change, to what people called "democratic socialism" or "communism." Unions were viewed as the vehicle that would lead to social justice. During the Great Depression, many liberals and progressives began to identify FDR's New Deal coalition. They began to see government, even more so than unions, as being able to protect individual and families' rights.

Obviously, there were still large groups being mistreated as "less equal" than others. In the post-WW2 industrial boom, more and more people (especially white folks) became suburbanites: dad worked, mom cooked and cleaned, happy children went to school, and the whole family enjoyed the miracle of television, and a summer vacation. This was the liberal version of the American Dream.

The pesky progressives shrank in number and influence. Any alliance with liberals disappeared with the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which progressives called the "slave labor act." Congress overrode President Truman's veto to inact what Harry called "a dangerous intrusion on free speech." Seven years later, Senator Hubert Humphrey devised and sponsored the "Communist Control Act," which would have criminalized political thought.

Adlai Stevenson, liberal, was more popular -- thus influential -- than Henery Wallace, progressive. Thus, my father said, the liberals either bought into the system, or were bought by it. People who were living in comfortable houses were unlikely to protest too much, especially if they were making mortgage payments. Only two US Presidents would really work to institute significant changes in "the system" after Ike eight years: JFK would run as a semi-liberal cold warrior, then attempt to make progressive change; and LBJ would try to update the New Deal with his Great Society programs, but folded under the pressure from the war machine in Vietnam.

I think that many of these same dynamics are in play today. Even on this forum, for example, we see liberals who are pro-President Obama, often without any question (bomb Syria? Sure!), and progressives, who want more significant change than this President would ever consider. Some of us were comfortable when the "Occupy" movement brought the idea of class warfare to the public's consciousness; others were uncomfortable. I thought it was a good attempt to bring about an updated version of the "Poor Peoples' Campaign" that Martin Luther King was planning, at the time of his death.




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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Class Warfare (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2013 OP
sabrina 1 Sep 2013 #1
socialist_n_TN Sep 2013 #13
sabrina 1 Sep 2013 #23
Warpy Sep 2013 #2
Egalitarian Thug Sep 2013 #3
kentuck Sep 2013 #4
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #14
kentuck Sep 2013 #19
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #22
furious Sep 2013 #5
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #6
Jackpine Radical Sep 2013 #9
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #12
socialist_n_TN Sep 2013 #15
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #16
socialist_n_TN Sep 2013 #17
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #18
sabrina 1 Sep 2013 #24
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #25
BOG PERSON Sep 2013 #26
Cryptoad Sep 2013 #28
BOG PERSON Sep 2013 #30
sabrina 1 Sep 2013 #27
WillyT Sep 2013 #7
bvar22 Sep 2013 #8
Jackpine Radical Sep 2013 #10
zeemike Sep 2013 #11
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #20
Raksha Sep 2013 #21
cantbeserious Sep 2013 #29
H2O Man Sep 2013 #31
malaise Sep 2013 #32
sabrina 1 Sep 2013 #33
annabanana Sep 2013 #34

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:15 PM

1. Excellent post as always, H2O Man

I wonder if it is ever going to be possible to have a truly fair and just system. Seems all the progress made by other generations, has been dissipated, or most of it.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:23 PM

13. That's why some of us are revolutionaries sabrina........

This is not the first time progress has been dissipated by the system. It's time to start over with something else. Yes, it's difficult and uncertain, but we KNOW what happens when capitalism has full control and it's MUCH less than pretty.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #13)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:13 PM

23. I guess we can never take the steps forward made by others for granted

and remain vigilant. We became apathetic, most of us. And while we were sleeping they were very busy.

Predatory Capitalism needs to be relegated to the dustbin of history like all the other 'isms' before it. Enough harm has been done.

Thanks for you comment, socialist!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:15 PM

2. The good news is that fewer people are kidding themselves

and labeling themselves middle class. More of us realize we've gotten poor over the last few decades, our purchasing power eroded year after year.

Realizing they're poor is the first step in recognizing the class warfare that has been waged against US labor over the last 40 years in the name of controlling inflation. They've controlled a lot of the normal inflation of fiat currency. They've just damaged or outright destroyed the lives of 99% of the population in order to do it.

People are finally waking up to it and that's a good thing. Next step is being outraged and the step after that is activism.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:18 PM

3. There's #5 for ya. n/t

 

& R

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:19 PM

4. To deny class warfare...

...is to deny progress.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:23 PM

14. Democrats have been been

fighting class warfare long before "Occupy" !

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 07:12 PM

19. And your point is??

??

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Response to kentuck (Reply #19)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 07:52 PM

22. Just acomment

on who has been fighting class warfare for a very long time!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 04:21 PM

5. Rec. #7 for ya.

 

Great post.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 05:40 PM

6. How Funny

Friday the GOP pass a bill that will shut down our government if they can not deny American affordable Health Care. plus a bill to take food out of the mouth of Children ,,,,, yet the Obama Haters say nothing about the GOP but kick the President for all our Problems.....

Fools!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:10 PM

9. Evidence tha this is happening here?

" the Obama Haters say nothing about the GOP but kick the President for all our Problems..... "

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:22 PM

12. So you dont think it is happening here?

Critical Reading is Critical!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:28 PM

15. Was the OP about Obama? I didn't see that, but maybe I missed it....

The OP was about class warfare. Which to me has been a misnomer for what's been going on in the last few decades. It's a class massacre until we fight back, THEN it becomes class warfare. We haven't really fought back yet, although maybe that's changing.

Edited to add: Yes I see where Obama was mentioned, but Obama was NOT what the post was about.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:37 PM

16. Most of the Middle Class is gone!

Democrats have been fighting class warfare for over 30 years. The Median yearly income of wage earner has been dropping in every GOP admin for the last 35 years. and not is barely above the poverty level . Yet this number has increased when Democrats are in the White House....... The Real Enemy is the GOP when it comes to class warfare. If you want more change ,, elect more Democrats. It really is that simple!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:48 PM

17. Democrats like Bill "NAFTA" Clinton?.....

When one party is nuts and the other party "triangulates" (moves rightward) in order to take advantage of that for purely political reasons, there's not a lot of places for an actual left to go.

And since you brought up Obama while we were talking about class warfare, why does Obama support things like the TPP trade agreement? Haven't those neo-liberal abortions that have ALREADY been passed with support form BOTH parties been the biggest factor in the disappearance of the middle class?

I'm OK with putting blame on Republicans, I truly am. In fact, I'm actually researching a theoretical article on the Tea Party being a proto-fascist movement and that bunch are ALL Republicans. But I don't like Democrats who enable their nuttery either. Pardon me for wanting to point out the enabling in addition to the insanity.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #17)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 07:09 PM

18. I knew a guy once

who had gators chewing his legs off and he was worried about the skeeter biting his face!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #18)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:16 PM

24. Maybe he should have been watching out for the chameleon acting like

they had something in common.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:21 PM

25. Maybe he should have been fighting the gators

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:22 PM

26. maybe he should have stayed out of the swamp n/t

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Response to BOG PERSON (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:30 PM

28. maybe they let themselves in his Front Door!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #28)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:32 PM

30. maybe he should have changed his locks

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:22 PM

27. Maybe he should have been smart enough to stay away from gators.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 05:46 PM

7. K & R !!!

 


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:08 PM

8. Nice Essay!

Well written,
and thought provoking.

I disagree with only one statement:
"LBJ would try to update the New Deal with his Great Society programs, but folded under the pressure from the war machine in Vietnam."

LBJ didn't "fold".
Despite the VietNam War, he was still able to get a National, Single Payer, Publicly Owned, Government Administered Health Care Program (Medicare) enacted, and most of the Great Society & War on Poverty Programs enacted too.
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States announced by President Lyndon B. Johnson at Ohio University and subsequently promoted by him and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Some Great Society proposals were stalled initiatives from John F. Kennedy's New Frontier. Johnson's success depended on his skills of persuasion, coupled with the Democratic landslide in the 1964 election that brought in many new liberals to Congress, making the House of Representatives in 1965 the most liberal House since 1938.

Anti-war Democrats complained that spending on the Vietnam War choked off the Great Society. While some of the programs have been eliminated or had their funding reduced, many of them, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act and federal education funding, continue to the present. The Great Society's programs expanded under the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Society


It is sad to realize that that crusty old WarMonger was the most Liberal President of the last 1/2 Century.



"The Johnson Treatment".
http://thejohnsonpost.blogspot.com/2009/08/johnson-treatment.html





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Response to bvar22 (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:16 PM

10. LBJ was a bastard, a jerk, and an egomaniac.

He was also the most effective President we've seen since FDR. His administration was certainly flawed by Vietnam--and the dirty Gulf of Tonkin resolution in particular--but he also rose far above his origins as a corrupt buddy of Billy Sol and Senate sausagemaker to pass the most significant Civil Rights legislation and Medicare program that has ever been attempted in one big lump.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 06:20 PM

11. And extent post Mr Watterman...and as usual spot on.

And it is clear you are a student of history.

But in reading it I thought of Pink Floyd's album Animals...and Pigs on the Wing.

If you didn't care what happened to me,
And I didn't care for you,
We would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain.
Wondering which of the buggars to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing.

Pigs on the Wing (Part One) (Waters)




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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 07:15 PM

20. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 07:41 PM

21. K & R

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:31 PM

29. Kick And Recommend

eom

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 22, 2013, 08:42 AM

31. morning kick

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 22, 2013, 08:45 AM

32. Thanks for this magnificent post

Bookmarked

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Response to malaise (Reply #32)

Sun Sep 22, 2013, 01:54 PM

33. Worth bookmarking as are all of H2O Man's posts. THIS is what attracted

me to DU in the first place.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 22, 2013, 03:30 PM

34. As always, sir

Excellent post.

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