Why are American workers seemingly so emotionally attached to the capitalist system – a system that exploits them every single day of their working lives; pays them a fraction of the value of what they create with their labor power; whose middlemen rob them of the measly wages they do get paid, squeezing profits out of every retail transaction; and that denies them anything like a decent education for their kids or healthcare or a decent life after retirement? It’s a raw deal all the way around compared to what workers get in other industrialized capitalist countries, and even some socialist countries. So, what gives?
Is it just that we accept capitalism in spite of its obvious flaws because it is “the devil we know”? Is it because we attribute all the finer things in life that many of us (though not nearly ALL of us) enjoy on a daily basis? If that is so, we must wake up from our fantasy world and come to realize that it is not now – and it never was – capitalism that provided us with our limited ability to enjoy the “American Dream” lifestyle.
All these finer things in life that some of us are lucky enough to enjoy – our own cars, homes, big-screen tvs – a lot of stupid shit, really, when you come right down to it – none of these things were not allowed to us out by the capitalist system out of its inherent, fundamental fairness. Far from it!
Our ancestors – workers, peasants and slaves – had to fight like hell – and died in large numbers – for every crumb that they were able to snatch from the well-stocked table of the capitalist class. Nothing was given to us without some organized workers, somewhere in history, having fought like hell and risked their lives taking it from the rich man. The myth of “the Good Old Days” is just that: a myth. There never were any “good old days”.
Having participated in the massive destruction of the industrial plants of practically every one of its major competitors in World War II – without having to suffer the destruction of even one of its own cities during that conflict – the United States’ “good old days” lasted from 1948 to about 1968. Twenty years. Twenty years of the “American Dream” of upward mobility for the working class, after two world wars and a decade of the Great Depression. Hundreds of millions dead from war and starvation. That’s all it took to purchase twenty years of economic boom times for the American working class.
Before the depression was the “Roaring Twenties”. Big profits for the big capitalists. Crappy wages and working conditions for us. If it wasn’t for the rise of the Communist-led CIO unions in the thirties, the American Dream would have remained a dream. All the capitalist press can lie all they want about it. It was the rise of the trade unions that created the American Dream, and gave it its brief, shining life. For maybe 30 percent of the working class. For twenty years.
The American Dream was never a dream dreamt by the big business people. They never gave a damn about sending any workingman’s kid to college back then, and they care even less about it now. We have to stop kidding ourselves about this. The “American Dream” has always been the practically unattainable dream of the working people of this country. It has nothing to do with capitalism at all! It has to do with our desire to see our kids decently clothed and educated, and housed in clean, spacious homes where they have room to play and grow and can go outside and not have to worry about getting hurt playing in broken glass or getting shot to death by some stupid punk – or stupid cop! – on the corner!
Do the capitalists care about the future of our children? Every bit of evidence that can be found on that issue would argue that they certainly do not! They’d see all our kids dropping out of school in the 8th grade rather than take a percentage of their profits out of their pockets to pay for decent public schools. The list of things they “can’t afford” gets longer every day: public housing, Medicare, Social Security, pensions, public schools, unemployment benefits – everything we need to keep ourselves and our families from moving to homeless shelters! Who are these people? Why do we, in our hundreds of millions, have to take orders from them, in their tens of thousands? Is this democracy?
So why do we act so stupid whenever someone starts talking about socialism? About creating a fair distribution of the fruits of our labor for the benefit of all of us, instead of for the benefit of the rich? Are we stupid or something? Can’t we see how badly brainwashed we have become, that we immediately, reflexively and totally rule out that one political philosophy – socialism – which, alone has for its fundamental basis the demand for the brotherhood of the workers of all nations, an end to all wars and the equitable distribution of food, clothing and all the “finer things in life” amongst us, the working class?
Until the workers of this country get their heads out of their asses and start using their brains for something besides thinking up new ways to win at “Angry Birds” – and start getting serious about dedicating part of their lives to studying political science and the history of the workers movement, which fought and won for us us everything we own today – until we are willing to do that, we are going to be stuck on this capitalist “horror-go-round” of war, poverty and starvation!
Do you want to know what lies in store for you and your grandchildren and great grandchildren if we stick with this decrepit capitalist system instead of forging ahead and building an egalitarian socialist future for descendants? The capitalists do! Read this:
“A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
“The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
” ‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’ ”
This report is from the Pentagon. It was written during the last Bush administration. This was – and still is – their careful analysis of what the world will look like – in 8 years! Wars over water supplies, oil, raw materials – war “as a way of life”! This is the future they predict if the world’s nations remain as they are: economically competing capitalist nation-states hell bent on making sure that THEIR “fatherland” will prevail militarily over everyone else’s “fatherland”!
And what are we, as workers doing to stop this hellacious future from coming to pass – a future in which our grandchildren will be fighting war after war until the Big One – WWIII?
We’re sitting around as if nothing was happening! We shop, eat, sleep, work, shop eat, sleep. We’re as politically conscious as a bunch of junebugs. Eat fuck procreate drive shop drive work drive eat fuck eat drive shop drive videogame movie sleep eat drive work eat drive fuck.
Until the end of the world? In just eight years?
Wake up sisters and brothers before it is too late! Jesus is not coming to save us – we have to do it ourselves!