Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OBAMA LEADS WAR ON WORKING CLASS

Bowles (left) and Simpson (middle) scheme with Obama to destroy social progress


The more I think about Obama's deficit reduction commission the madder I get. I was talking with one person the other day about the proposal to raise the retirement age to 69 and the guy said it was fine because we are all living longer than ever.

What he didn't say, and likely didn't know, is that there is a class analysis to this increase in life span in America. It is the wealthy and the white-collar workers who are living longer. People who sit behind desks, paper pushers and money changers with good health care policies, are the ones who grow older. But working class people - construction workers, janitors, factory workers, maids, cooks, truck drivers, farmers and farm workers die younger. Their bodies wear out from a lifetime of hard work and a 69 year old retirement age is a death sentence for them.

The reality is that Obama's "commission" is nothing more than an attempt by the rich and powerful to sentence the working class to a lifetime of drudgery - a return to feudalism.

But who can be surprised by this? The co-chairs of this phony commission are former Bill Clinton adviser Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). Bowles is a Wall Street corporate Democrat and right-winger Simpson is the long-time buddy and political ally of George H. W. Bush. The arrogant Simpson sent an e-mail around this past summer complaining that the government is "like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"

The truth is that the rich don't mind a suckling tit, they just don't want anyone else crowding them as they feast away on the government's breast.

The job of these two guys is to prepare the American people for the collapse of social progress by keeping a steady drumbeat of worry about the deficit. Will they suggest that we end the war in Afghanistan and stop flushing $8 billion a month down a rate hole? Will they suggest taxing the rich and ending corporate welfare? No they won't.

In fact the Washington Post has reported that the staff for the "commission" are being paid by big time corporate entities that have long advocated for destroying the "entitlement programs" which officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what is left of the welfare program. The Post says:

For example, the salaries of two senior [commission] staffers, Marc Goldwein and Ed Lorenzen, are paid by private groups that have previously advocated cuts to entitlement programs. Lorenzen is paid by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, while Goldwein is paid by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is also partly funded by the Peterson group.

We'd better begin to inject some serious class consciousness into our organizing if we hope to prevent the total dismantling of social progress. There is a class war going on in America and it is coming from the top and Obama is helping to lead it against the very people who voted him into office.

Recent polls reveal that the public does not support the destruction of the "entitlement programs" and wants the rich to pay more in taxes. But don't expect this commission to reflect those views. Obama, always the magician, has willingly empowered another slight-of-hand game that will take from the poor and give to the already fattened rich.

Once again I say to my fellow citizens - it is time to rattle your chains.

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