USA HISTORY: A QUICK STUDY FOR STUDENTS
A summary by Dr. June Terpstra
Colonial domination, because it is total and tends to over-simplify, very soon manages to disrupt in spectacular fashion the cultural life of a conquered people. This cultural obliteration is made possible by the negation of national reality, by new legal relations introduced by the occupying power, by the banishment of the natives and their customs to outlying districts by colonial society, by expropriation, and by the systematic enslaving of men and women.
Steal the Land, Kill the Indians
When a powerful group of Europeans sent sailors, soldiers, settlers and spies to what is now called North America they mostly destroyed the lives, the land, the homes, and cultures of indigenous peoples in an aggressive imperial campaign of colonization through wars of invasion and occupation. The European invaders waged campaigns of genocide and holocaust against the indigenous North Americans. The Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades." (de Las Casas)
The Indians' attempts to defend themselves from invaders like Columbus and his soldiers failed. The invaders stole the land for plunder and profit and later forced those natives who survived onto reservations. At the same time the invaders proceeded to wage a second holocaust campaign which entailed killing, kidnapping and enslaving Africans to build what they called a "civil society" for land owning white men. This was and is the basic program of British and US domestic and foreign policy that is still operating today around the world. The basic strategies are to invade, steal the land, water, gold, silver, minerals, oil and kill or enslave the indigenous populations. They then proceed to “settle”, thus they occupy and eventually claim to “own” the country.
ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION AND SEPARATION OF POWERS
In James Madison's well known defense of the constitution--the Federalist #10 he states: "Extend the sphere (power and separating power) and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests...it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and to act in unions with each other." (Federalist Papers #10)
Most students in the USA have not been taught the essential features of the constitution (centralized power at the national level, a system of checks and balances which strengthens private power, a system of separation of power which prevents a simple majority rule by and for the people, with a bill of rights which protects property but which fails to guarantee participation by the people). The fairy tales told in the history classes of elementary and secondary schools in the USA tell a story about a system of "checks and balances" and a "balance of power" among the branches of government but they omit the truth about how these checks are to keep the people “in check”. The belief in "manifest destiny" which brought the founders who established the fundamental principles of profit, ownership and consumption which constitute life in the USA is glorified into a propaganda story.
The truth about the fundamental purpose of the constitution of 1787 is this—it was to effect a national political system in which commercial and financial interests were assured and new and potentially unpopular rules and practices would be enforced reliably and consistently so that the working and poor people united could always be defeated. In 1787 domination by a few and the subordination of the many was made the law of the land. A battle was waged by the framers to maintain between themselves as property owners (which included slaves held captive by most of the framers) and common people as non-property owners) a political separation which could not be bridged. (Fresia, 1998) The story tellers (his story tellers) call this relationship democracy. What this kind of democracy entails is that the people, the ruling class rules, not the people. The ruling class constitutes 4-20% of the world’s population.
The constitutional framers, as elites within the private economy, sought mainly to protect their individual freedom as property owners from state intrusion. So they checked the legislative branch as well as the other branches through the separation of powers to insure protection from a "misguided" executive (which very well could be an executive responding to the demands of the people). (Fresia, 1998) Thus, Madison argued in Federalist No.51, that "the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other--that private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights."...a majority of people who gain control of the house can easily be checked by men of property who are (or were) not directly elected by the people; the senate (elected by state legislatures then), the president (elected by an electoral college appointed by the states) or the judiciary (appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate." (Federalist #51)
Some historians mark that period of US history when the constitution was passed as a take-over by the rich and powerful! Even John Quincy Adams would write in his diary that the constitution was "calculated to increase the influence, power and wealth of those who have any already." In south Carolina, when the "back country" learned of ratification, some people held a funeral service with a coffin painted black, which borne in funeral procession, was solemnly buried, as an emblem of the dissolution and internment of publick liberty." (Fresia, 1998)
The framers wanted to create a political system in which the views of those men they believed to be the “better class” of human-beings (not red, black, poor or female); the ones whom they defined as "virtuous, more industrious, the better people, those with established characters, the rich and the wealthy property owners” could easily dominate and overcome popular will when necessary. The framers sought to design a political system that would end the opportunities of small property owners to meet at the grassroots level, engage in prolonged discussions, and exercise considerable political influence. This would be done through the creation of a system of representation in which, using Madison's words, the "opulent minority" would be protected from the majority by "isolated compartments, refinement, enlarged spheres, and filtration. (Fresis, 1998) They intentionally excluded the indigenous people who were here first, small property owners, non-property owners, laborers, the poor, the slaves, and the women in their infamous “democratic” checks and balance system. Having established the political supremacy of property owners, the constitution placed the state at the service of private elites and made the state an instrument of private power. Over time the systems of law, industrialization, militarization, education and corporatization would support global domination in what has become the New World Order.
This system of stratification of working and poor people into race, ethnicity, class categories (separating and segregating them) for the "opulent minority" or 1-4% who “own” the world’s resources is in full force today as a capitalist market economy creates a market society, where private property is not and never was a relationship between people and things, but a relationship between people. Historically, the creation of the capitalist market and private property system is a matter of getting the state to stand aside so natural greed based human propensities could unfold and hoard as much of the goods as possible. Private property in particular emerged with the support of an absolutist state controlled by men (gangsters who became kings and lords and dons) who took over land from others through force and who claimed unconditional rights over property which had previously been constrained by traditional obligations and social norms of the group and village. Those interests, backed by the state, forcibly stole the commons-lands formerly accessible to the community-for their exclusively private use. The need to reproduce these kinds of private property rights and the privileges they imply necessitated a permanently strong, active, and class/race-biased system which taught that the strong men (warriors) were gods and kings and the rest of the population were citizens and slaves. Today, the drive to deepen and expand such rights takes the form of neoliberal globalization. (Gindin, 2002) For example, this process of globalization includes big factory owners moving out of the USA and into countries such as Mexico or Indonesia to get cheap labor and avoid basic health standards or pay living wages in order to increase their profits. What does this mean for us today in our everyday lives? It means that wars (some wars you may be told about and others you are not told about) are waged with tax dollars in “our” name, using the bodies and blood of poor and working-class adults and their children in the USA to kill poor and working class adults and their children around the world. It means that jobs and job benefits are taken from people here and given to those in other countries for profit. It means no health-care for over 40 million people in the USA. It means that most people will do almost anything for a job and money.
Capitalism (a profit/greed based economic system) could not exist without a whole scale social program teaching people that some people are superior and more deserving than others. The triumphs of separation can be seen when, little by little as people, towns, and nations exist obsessed with individualism, property and consumption as the way to respond to sadness and fear. People are programmed to turn against each other in the "divide and conquer' strategy that works so well for the very rich minority. Nothing is easier to control than a group of sheep convinced that they are, each and every one of them, a wolf for the other. In other words, whites fearing black, brown and red folks, women fearing men, the poor fearing the rich, the “legal” fearing the “illegal” and on and on it goes.
Here is what political analyst Michael Parenti says about the affects of capitalist culture.
… as long as we value the accumulation and protection of property, and a judiciary to protect us from the government more than we value playing a meaningful role in the decisions that effect our lives, we obey. We don't ask questions. We learn to care more about how much we earn than about what we do and even less about the impact our work has on others. In fact, obedience implicitly means that when we go to work we leave our conscience at home. It also means that we agree not to care so much about the details of politics as long as the form of popular government and the appearance of democracy is maintained. We agree when we consider political issues to think primarily in terms of self-interest and consumer sovereignty. The middle east? That means the price of oil. Central America? There is the potential for more Spanish speaking refugees to pour across our border. Social programs? Unless I am a recipient, they have a bad effect on my taxes and interest rates. We learn to admit that we are materialistic and selfish, as though it could not be otherwise, and then take pride for being honest in this admission. But notice: it is the context of this obedience that I may claim my rights as a responsible citizen the real opportunity to acquire affluence and comfort. It is in this context of obedience my freedom of speech is protected. For if I don't obey, if I persist in valuing real democracy and community higher than the opportunity to obtain private power and affluence, then I am a subversive and my freedom of speech cannot be protected the truth is that if we insist that we, the homeless, people of color, women, native Americans, and workers--the majority--must govern ourselves, or for example, if we agree that we are willing to do less in order that we might genuinely share economic resources and power... live in a cleaner environment, then we threaten the privilege and power of a few who have it as well as the entire system that makes their privilege possible. The framers understood this leveling tendency, this distaste of empire. In 1798, the sedition act was passed which made it a crime to "write, print, utter or publish...any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the united states or the president...with intent..to bring them into contempt or disrepute."(Parenti, 1998)
Theories on Class and Race Structures
A very helpful book for understanding how the socio-economic class system works can be found in Robert Perrucci and Earl Wysong's book, The New Class Society. Their theory says that today, in the USA, class is structured into (1) those who own capital and business, (2) those who control corporations and the workers in those corporations, (3) those who possess credentialed knowledge, which provides a protected place in the labor market, (4) the self-employed, small business owners who operate as solo entrepreneurs with limited capital, and (5) those with varying skills who have little to offer in the labor market but their capacity to work. These segments of class structure are defined by their access to essential life sustaining resources and the stability of those resources over time. These resources include consumption capital, investment capital, skill capital and social capital. The class segments differ in their access to stable resources over time, and they represent what is, for all practical purposes, a two-class structure composed of the privileged class who have stable and secure resources that they can expect to be available to them over time and the new working class, composed of those who have unstable and insecure resources over time.
Perruci and Wyson describe "the rules of the game" that are the foundation for class structure as designed primarily to transmit advantage and disadvantage across generations and are based on three principles---1. Class structure has intergenerational permanence in other words if you were born rich it will be passed on to you and your children; if you were born poor that will be passed on, 2. there is no middle class anymore, and 3.classes have conflicting interests, under capitalism it is not in the interest of the rich to care about the poor or working people. These principles provide a basis for understanding the central defining features of the American class structure. In their view, the two classes of privileged and working-class people have fundamentally different and opposed objective interests, so that when one class improves it's situation the other class loses.
Social control is maintained by the super-class or super rich through domination in the economic, political and cultural arenas yet they still do not have complete and total control. The sites of class warfare and struggle for these authors are found in alternative-power-network actors in the economic, political and cultural arenas, with labor unions serving as the core alternative organizational force. Among organizational alternatives to corporate power, trade unions possess the greatest concentration of human and economic resources and represent the most significant alternative organizational force countering corporate dominance. But this recognition does not diminish the importance of other organizations in the alternate power networks---some of which are linked to leaders and funding sources associated with privileged-class backgrounds. Some of these individuals and groups , alternative national circulation magazines, research policy groups, and some religious organizations often in conjunction with trade unions, also challenge the strategies, objectives and policies of the dominant power networks. ( Perrucie and Wysong, 1999) In this analysis sites of struggle are based within unions and alternate power networks such as non-profit programs with a supportive base of privileged class allies.
The ruling class; the bankers, the oil owners, the weapons manufacturers, etc., the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the country, rule the world. Its members control the top corporations and foundations and they appoint the presidential cabinet members and top ambassadors to the most powerful countries. These men and their few select women are chosen from groups which promote the illusion that positions of power come through merit and everyone has a chance at becoming rich and powerful. This is a myth. Michael Parenti says that you are a member of the ruling class when your income is very large and comes mostly from the labor of other people--that is, when others work for you, either in a company you own or by creating wealth that allows your money and realty investments to increase in value. Hard work seldom makes anyone rich. The secret to wealth is to have others work for you. The top 10 % of american households own 98% of the tax-exempt state and local bonds, 94% of business assets, 95% of the value of all trusts. The richest 1 % own 60% of all corporate stock and fully 60% of all business assets, while 90% of american families have little or no assets. The greatest source of individual wealth is inherited. (Parenti, 1998)
Parenti says that if you are not rich it is probably because you lacked the foresight and initiative to pick the right parents at birth. Who are the privileged and powerful? Those who own the banks, corporations, factories, mines, news and entertainment industries and agri-business firms of this country are what is meant by the "owning class" or the "rich". The "ruling elites" or "ruling class" are the politically active portion of the owning class. They and their faithful acolytes and scribes compose the business roundtable, the business council, the trilateral commission and the council on foreign relations, organizations started by the Rockefellers, Mellons, Morgans and other economic royalists. From their ranks are recruited the secretaries of state, defense and treasury, national security advisors and CIA director, and indeed, US senators, presidents and vice presidents. For the very top positions of the state, the ruling class is largely self-recruiting. That is how the privileged and powerful operate. They denounce government handouts to the poor and needy, while themselves feed shamelessly at the public trough. They denounce government regulations, then rig the regulations to suit their own interests, otherwise known as corporate welfare. (Parenti, 1998)
There are two major events that combine to make what is called, class formation (the formation of classes into collectively organized actors). These are, class struggle (the practices of actors for the realization of class interests), and class consciousness (the understanding of actors of their class interest). Resistance can come from the various actors in either specific classes, power networks, and groups. A key theme for social justice is the responsibility of the politically conscious person to act in solidarity with others for economic, social and cultural justice.
This leads us directly to a contemporary theoretical analysis of class, race and colonialism. In Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race, philosopher Charles Mills explains how European expansionism in it's various forms---expropriation, slavery, colonialism, settlement---brings race into existence as a global social reality, with the single most important conceptual division being that between "whites" and "nonwhites". (Mills, 1999) Those termed white have generally had a civil, moral juridical standing that has lifted them above other "races". They have been the expropriators, others have been expropriated. They have been the slave owners; others have been the slaves. They have been the colonizer: others have been the colonized. They have been the settlers; others have been the displaced. Hence, the construction of formal ontological patterning in the population of the planet, signified by race. (Mills, 1999)
Mills says that one's being and consciousness is shaped through the assigned category of race despite scientific evidence that there are no biologically determined characteristics of race, save phenotype. However, there is a pervasive social construction, a set of positions in a global structure, for which race will be an assigned category that influences the socialization one receives, the life world in which one moves, the experiences one has, and the view one develops. This white racism so structured the world as to have negative ramifications for every sphere of black life---juridical standing, moral status, personal racial identity, epistemic reliability, existential plight, political inclusion, social metaphysics, sexual relations, aesthetic worth. The dominant moral code within liberalism and democracy is based on a racialized anthropology, or a Herrenvolk ethic. Thus, we must bring to consciousness the assumptions and mechanisms of this ethic, and ultimately to subvert it so that " the white eye can thereby learn to see itself seeing whitely. (Mills, 1999)
Mills battle to bring such a moral code to the fore of people's consciousness, is however, uphill. The mainstream view in American society is that race is an anomaly, which is to say that racism is generally seen to be insignificant although historically present. Mill's claim goes far beyond asserting that racism was and still is an historical fact. He argues, that race structures our values, our morals, and our self-conceptions; indeed, our liberal democratic society is based on---and depends on---the perpetuation of this racialized ethic. Herrenvolk democracies, like the USA, are democratic for the master race, the herrenvolk. (Mills, 1999)
One major problem of white supremacism is that of cognition: whites do not see themselves as racist. Our moral education forms a cognitive structure to see whiteness as the norm, and Mills points out general societal discomfort (even hostility) toward interracial marriages. Despite this fact, most whites do in fact have good intentions, but Mills argues that white supremacy was and still is an integral aspect of U.S. history. Such assertions are sure to make whites uncomfortable, because most whites do not “feel”racist. White supremacy, however, is independent from feelings of racism. Whereas in the past, white privilege was asserted through blatantly racist acts and political policies, eventually liberal, Enlightenment ideas about the “equality of man” were spread and officially proclaimed. Rather than weeding out notions of racial superiority, the result was that the mechanisms of white privilege became more complex and more firmly entrenched. Whites today are heirs of this same system-the Herrenvolk ethic-and, despite a lack of “racist feelings”, whites perpetuate this system simply through their desire for privilege, their desire for what they feel is their “due.” (Mills, 1999)
The moral import of this racialized notion of the human person is clear. Mills points out that our moral education is structured to reflect the bifurcated ethic of the racial hierarchy. We learn about love, equality, and the Golden Rule, but also the importance of “keeping Negroes in their place” lest we create a “terrifying disaster ( p158, quoted from Lillian Smith’s account of her Southern upbringing, "Killers of the Dream" in Mills, 1999)).
Equality among members of the dominant race is based on their common and equal superiority to the subordinate race, and those whites who question this experience isolation and accusations of being a "race traitor".
Mills makes a strong claim that in current U.S. society-our values, our morals, and our self-conceptions-rests upon a racial hierarchy, which, through the generations, has become more and more firmly entrenched. I believe Mills is correct, and those who benefit from this society aremost often blinded by privilege and at times unable to accurately judge the true situation. Once the cognitive dysfunction is recognized, especially by members of socially priveleged epistemic communities, Mills advises a self-conscious reflection on the ways in which their very social advantage may have fostered epistemic disadvantage in the goal of attaining moral truth. (Mills, 1999)
THE PEOPLE DIVIDED HAVE THUS FAR BEEN DEFEATED
The claim that common people govern ourselves in a democracy called the United States is a false claim. And the claim that common people can freely and fundamentally criticize our political and economic system and work to build one that is more democratic without reprisal is a lie.(Fresia, 1998) In fact, an examination of historical movements ranging from the Bolshevik revolution to anti-globalization protests shows that the learning curve of the New World Order masters is way above that of those engaged in the struggle against oppression. In fact, repeatedly, movements have been infiltrated and destroyed when effective groups began to effect real change. Secret services such as the NSA, CIA and the Mossad (Israeli version of the CIA) historically have developed front organizations to “front off” those innocents who unknowingly join social movement groups thinking a different world is possible. Many well meaning people seek social justice reform work in non-profit, non-governmental or university programs hoping that change can come from with-in the system. A revolutionary named Frantz Fanon talked about how the “change from within” really works in his ground-breaking book, The Wretched of the Earth. He described how when those who get paid by the sytem to “make things better” or to “reform” speak about human rights and equality until the real poor and wretched of the earth (the unemployed, the homeless, the illegals, etc.) get serious about breaking down the structures of power and wiping out the elite. When real revolution begins those people collaborating and “working within” the system for the elites, will support the man who provides a paycheck. When the revolution begins the educators and social workers say,the natives are going too far! (Paraphrasing Fanon, 1961) Just take a look at the American Left and Liberals and their response to the war on terror as they say "Yikes, those Arabs are going to far" while USA, Britain and Israel plunder, pollute, kill and steal as much of the Middle-East as possible.
In the 1960s the FBI stated their goals to stop people organizing for social justice. The FBI called the program “Cointelpro” and said it was meant "to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” those people they defined as enemies of the state (recall that these are the people who try to unite against oppression). Today, the FBI now runs similar programs across the globe as do the CIA and NSA. (Wolf, 2001)
An example of serious FBI infiltration programs were those directed against those they called the "Black Nationalists." Agents were instructed to undertake actions to discredit these groups both within "the responsible Negro community" and to "Negro radicals," and in white communities., A 1968 memo from J Edgar Hoover to FBI field offices laid out the goals of COINTELPRO: "to prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups;" "to prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement;" and "to prevent violence on the part of black nationalist groups;" and "to prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining respectability;" and "to prevent the long-range growth of militant black nationalist organizations, especially among youth." Included in the program were a broad spectrum of targets included Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, etc. (Wolf, 2001) This infiltration is underway once again in the so called “war on terror” as is evidenced by the recent case where a group of Black men in Florida,“led” by an government agent posing to be an Al-Queada representative were arrested for allegedly plotting to blow up the Sears Tower. It is said that this alleged plot was the “leader’s”, the poser government agent, idea.
It has been said that the greatest enemy of government is it’s own people. In the past decades a whole new slavery program has been developed in the USA and is being marketed globally---wage slavery, tax slavery, debt slavery, and new laws which criminalize people and place them in privately owned prisons funded with tax dollars. It is the people who will rise up against a government which is enslaving them, hence, it is the government who will do all in it’s power to keep the people distracted and down.
CRIMINALIZATION OF THE PEOPLE
The privatization of the prison industry (corporate owned prisons funded with tax dollars) creates an entirely new industry in the USA which is dependent upon filling prisons cells to make a profit. This is accompanied by the equally disturbing trend towards the use of extremely cheap prison labor forces who make more profits for private industries such as Starbucks and Victoria Secret. These trends prevent some of the outsourcing of jobs out of the country and into slave-labor markets in the USA so that corporations can make record-breaking profits. Of course, sustaining those profits will require a steady flow of prisoners, creating a self-sustaining system that, once built, is becoming a permanent part of the landscape. (McGowan, 1998) The constitutional imperative that a few "better" people rule in the interest of economic development today requires the establishment of prisons to house those who may rise against the government. Thus, we are witnessing today para-military operations to check the so-called threats to democracy (which is really just plain old fascism of the Christian democratic variety).
Today, the new FBI building in Washington devotes 35,000 linear feet to domestic intelligence files...in the case of the FBI one could argue that it is a front for political surveillance and repression. (Fresia, 1998) The U.S., which had 5% of the world population, had a quarter of the worlds prisoners in the year 2000. (Justice Policy Institute, 1999) In prisons today, 84% of offenses nationwide are non-violent. Only 3% of all crime results in physical injury. Homicide arrests constituted 0.2% of all arrests in America (National Criminal Justice Commission, Feb, 1996). In actuality, violent crime has been decreasing in the USA yet incarceration has become one of the fastest growing businesses generating large profits. Every day in prisons and jails across the USA the human rights of prisoners are violated. In many facilities, violence is endemic. In some cases, guards purposefully fail to stop inmates assaulting each other. In other cases the guards are themselves the abuser, subjecting their victims to beatings and sexual abuse. Prisons and jails use mechanical, chemical and electro-shock methods of restraint that are cruel, degrading and sometimes life-threatening. The victims of abuse include pregnant women and the mentally ill. (Amnesty International, 1998)
Some of the country's largest and most profitable corporations have quietly begun to use prison labor forces, at wages up to 80% below the national minimum wage. Among those reportedly contracting to employ prisoners, either directly or through subsidiaries include: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, Costco, Dell Computers, Eddie Bauer, IBM, Business Machines, Micro-Soft, Starbucks, Texas instruments, TWA, US West, Nordstroms and Victoria Secrets. (Moore) In addition to the companies that directly manage America's prisons, many other firms are getting a piece of the private prison action: American Express, General Electric, Goldman Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch, and Smith Barney have made huge sums by underwriting prison construction with the sale of tax-exempt bonds. This is now a thriving 2.3 billion dollar industry. (Counterpunch, America's Private Gulage, Jan. 1997)
CORPORATE WEALTHFARE (Welfare for the super rich)
In the 1980’s and 90’s congress waged another historical war against the poor through what they called welfare reform. They slashed and eliminated the meager benefits received by the poor in the USA. In fact, the USA is spending far more to subsidize wealthy corporations and individuals each year. Wealthfare comes in five main varieties which include: 1. discounted user fees for public resources; 2. direct government grants; 3. corporate tax deductions and loopholes; 4. giveaways of publicly funded research and development to private profit-making companies; and, 5. tax breaks for wealthy individuals.
The largest and most invisible part of wealthfare is tax for corporations and wealthy individuals. The federal office of management and budget estimates that these credits, deductions and exemptions, called "tax expenditures" will cost 440 billion in fiscal 1996. This compares, for example to the 16 billion annual cost of child support programs...were corporations paying as much tax now as they did in the 1950's the government would take in another 250 billion a year--more than the entire budget deficit...tax breaks...depreciation...will cost 164 billion over the next five years...foreign tax credit which allows U.S.... based multi-national corporations to deduct from their U.S.. taxed the income taxes they pay to other nations...by 1990 this write-off was worth 25 billion a year...oil companies have used it to avoid most of their U.S. tax obligations...many corporate salaries...counted as deductible expenses...the ration today of the average top executive is 140 times more than the lowest paid worker...subsidized use of public resources...the U.S. forest service undercharges timber companies for the logs they take from publicly owned land...also builds roads and other infra-structure needed by the timber industry, investing 140 million last year...U.S. department of agriculture and the department of commerce...underwrite private business....spends 110 million a year to help U.S. companies advertise abroad. In 1992 sunkist growers got 10 million, gallo wines 4.5 million, m&/m mars 1.1 million, McDonald 466,000 to promote chicken mcnuggets, and American legend fur coats 1.2 million...the progressive policy institute estimates that tax payers could save 114 billion over five years by eliminating or restricting such direct subsidies...farm subsidies, for example, could be limited to only small farmers...wealthy individuals "entitlement"...mortgage interest is currently deductible up to 1 million per home, justifying the term "mansion subsidy" for its use by the rich. The government could continue to use this deduction, but limit it to 250,000 per home. This would affect only the wealthiest 5% of Americans but would save tax payers 10 billion a year...welfare is something a humane society guarantees to people facing poverty, unemployment, low wages, and racism. "Wealthfare" in contrast, is the fees and subsidies extracted from the public by the wealthy and powerful--those who are least in need." (Andersen and Hill, 2000)
Who constitutes the 1-10% of the ruling class and how do you know if you are one of the "elite"?
You are a member of the owning class when your income is very large and comes mostly from the labor of other people--that is, when others work for you, either in a company you own or by creating wealth that allows your money and realty investments to increase in value. Hard work seldom makes anyone rich. The secret to wealth is to have others work for you. ..the top 10 % of American households own 98% of the tax-exempt state and local bonds, 94% of business assets, 95% of the value of all trusts. The richest 1 % own 60% of all corporate stock and fully 60% of all business assets, while 90% of American families have little or no assets. The greatest source of individual wealth is inheritance. If you are not rich, it is probably because you lacked the foresight and initiative to pick the right parents at birth...who are the privileged and powerful? Those who own the banks, corporations, factories, mines, news and entertainment industries and agri-business firms of this country are what is meant by the "owning class" or the "rich". The "ruling elites" or "ruling class" are the politically active portion of the owning class. They and their faithful acolytes and scribes compose the business round table, the business council, the trilateral commission and the council on foreign relations, organizations started by the Rockefeller, Mellons, Morgans and other economic royalists. From their ranks are recruited the secretaries of state, defense and treasury, national security advisors and CIA director, and indeed, U.S. senators, presidents and vice presidents. For the very top positions of the sate, the ruling class is largely self-recruiting....that is how the privileged and powerful operate. They denounce government handouts to the poor and needy, while themselves feed shamelessly at the public trough. They denounce government regulations, then rig the regulations to suit their own interests. (Parenti, 1998)
SCHOOL DAZE AND STUDENT MOVEMENTS
Historically university and college students across the globe have formed revolutionary movements in struggles against oppressive external and internal regimes. A funny thing about knowledge and truth is that once people acquire some they are less willing to accept oppression. In order to counter this historical trend educational institutions themselves were designed to be centers of indoctrination. From 1952 to 1966, the CIA spent $3,300,000 on the national student association in an attempt to favorably influence the student community toward CIA policies. The CIA monitors faculty members under consideration for grants and recruits professors, administrators, and other covert allies within the university community for purposes of political control. The CIA also funneled 12, 442, 925 to labor, business, church, and cultural groups. One million dollars was given directly to "intellectuals, writers and artists." between 1949 and 1972, the CIA spent $25, 000,000 on mind-control and brain washing techniques. (Fresia, 1998)
The Church Committee investigation on the CIA revealed that 140 of CIA personnel consisted of professional propagandists who fed false stories about Cuba and the Soviet Union to the press, the state department and the ambassador of the UN. The CIA co-opted several hundred journalists, including some of the biggest names in the business to pump its propaganda stories into our media. Today, they work for all the major media networks spinning the doublethink and doublespeak ( a program described in detail in George Orwell’s novel titled, 1984). In today’s media lingo, freedom isn’t free, and we fight over there so we don’t have to fight here, war is peace and safety/security is better than freedom. This is an example of how doublethink and doublespeak works.
A program called MK Ultra of the CIA operated during a 20 year period through 200 medical schools and mental hospitals including those at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. They experimented with disease and drugs on citizens without their knowledge. They dragged a barge through San Francisco bay, leaking a virus to measure this technique for crippling a city. They launched a whooping cough epidemic in a Long Island suburb to see what it would do to the community if all the kids had whooping cough. (Fresia, 1998) Today's suspicious epidemics include but are not limited to AID's, SAR's , anthrax and Bird Flu (in which the corporation Donald Rumsfeld was CEO holds the patent on the anti-virus, Tamiflu)!
Many people have been programmed by the propagandists to react negatively when they hear the word "conspiracy." They treat anyone who investigates actual conspiracies as an oddball and call them "conspiracy buff" in an attempt to dismiss what is being said and what is being investigated at times with thorough and revealing research.
The conspiracy phobics believe that conspiracies do not exist, or if they do exist, they are of no great significance...those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: " do you actually think there's a group of men sitting around a room plotting things/" for some strange reason this image of a group of men ( usually with no women present) actually sitting around a room is considered utterly unbelievable...of course they sit around in rooms. Where else would they meet? They are constantly conferring and they have plenty of rooms at the CIA, the white house, the state department, the FBI, the pentagon, the NSA, and where ever else. And yes, they consciously plot to make certain things happen, to overthrow governments, to set up systems violent repression against reformist or revolutionary governments and movements, to ship arms to clandestine armies. They don't call it plotting, they call it "planning." they have a whole vocabulary to designate their state-sponsored conspiracies: "secret operations", "covert actions", 'deep operations", " off the shelf-operations", black book operations...at the broader policy level, no one confabulates and plans more than the political and corporate elites of America. No one does more consciously self-interested policy studies--most of it in secrecy- they have whole professions dedicated to special planning. They spend billions of dollars each year of our tax money to make the world safe for their interests. Yet we have our conspiracy phobics asking us, with incredulous and patronizing smiles, if we really think that the people at the top actually talk to each other about their mutual interests and agendas, and intentionally act in pursuit of their interests...these elites get to know each other. They plant words of ambition and promise in each others ears. They solicit support, offer reassurances, reach understandings. They meet, talk, and plan--yes, in rooms. Their meetings are usually kept private, as are their agendas. They conspire regularly and frequently. The word "conspiracy" should not be used to dismiss the actuality...in sum, public policy should be directed to the needs of the many rather than the greed of the few. The problem we face is that the ruling interests are profoundly committed to a vision of the world that is ruthlessly exploitative, hegemonic, self-serving, and ecologically unsustainable. Our only choice is to expose and oppose them with all our concerted effort...the conventional view is that power is anti-thetical to freedom, a threat to it. This can be true of state power and other forms of institutionalized authority. However, popular power and freedom are not anti-thetical but complementary: if you do not have the power to limit the abuses of wealth and position, you do not have much freedom. In order to wrest democratic gains from entrenched interests, we the people must mobilize a countervailing power. " the concessions of the privileged to the unprivileged" wrote John Stuart mill in 1869, " are so seldom brought about by any better motive than the power of the unprivileged to extort them"...rather than saying you cannot fight city hall, we might better say that we cannot afford not to. It is often frustrating and sometimes dangerous to challenge those who own and control the land, labor, capital and technology of society. But, in the long run, it is even more dangerous not to do so. (Parenti, 1998)
RESISTANCE AGAINST GLOBAL FASCISM, IMPERIALISM AND CAPITALISM
The dehumanization that is fostered by the present system fosters a response to our pain destroying what is human within us. In other words, we are taught to think that certain people, such as Arabs and Muslims, are less than human, so it’s ok to kill the “hadjis” and steal their lands, oil and water. Revolutionary action means that we cannot exist in relations of domination, not as dominated nor as dominator and not as oppressed or oppressor.
A revolutionary educator, Paulo Freire said that the essence of the kind of dialogue that brings real social justice are words is more which make praxis possible (theory informed action and action that informs theory). Thus, to speak true words is to transform the world. (Friere, 1970) True words means communicating so that people know their history and understand how it is that 4% of the people in the world control 96% of the people in the world and its resources. We have to see how it works in order to take it apart and make something that is good for all people and the planet.
Resistance to oppression must include the creation of ties to people who, through a love of life of people and the planet, overcome capitalism (greed), the economic system which promotes the rule of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Resistance involves giving a place to the real needs of the earth’s majority of men, women, children and the planet. Thus, resisting is creating the new forms, the new theoretical ideas and practices that will meet the current challenges.
Social justice action means dare to take the risks to enter into relationship with each other for liberation from a dehumanized state of consciousness (that which labels people in such a way that we can justify killing them and taking their lands, water, oil) to a humanized state of being. We must take responsibility to respect each others rights to choose the manner in which we want to live and use our resources (self-determination) for the benefit of the people and the planet.
Social justice action means overcoming the capitalist separation between theory and practice. This means don’t just talk about changing the world, do it by living responsibly to your self and your family and your neighbors here and across the globe. Resist the belief that you can go into someone else’s country and kill the people and take their stuff under the disguise of something called democracy. If you believe in ideals such as democracy than fight for it in your own country, state, city and neighborhood.
Resistance means rejecting the temptation of a retreat to identity, which separates people along boundaries of race, ethnicities, gender, etc..,Don’t believe the hype, where ever it comes from. Every group of people have the abilities towards goodness and toward evil. Their environments and systems will push people one way or another, towards humane responses or towards murder.
Resistance means creating relationships among those who are "without" - without homes, without work, without papers, those without land, all those without who do not have the "right skin color," or the right creed (such as Muslim’s or anarchists), or the right capitalist credentials ( like a lawyer or doctor). By creating unions among those people who have little to nothing and standing with the poor and the wretched of the earth we begin to build a better world where those without and those with too little no longer exist.
Federalist No. 10
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Friere, P. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
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