Aristotle, Niccolò Machiavelli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Adam Smith and Karl Marx grounded their philosophies in the understanding that there is a natural antagonism between the rich and the rest of us. The interests of the rich are not our interests. The truths of the rich are not our truths. The lives of the rich are not our lives.
Despite the illusion of adoption as an altruistic child-saving social service . . . adoption is deeply imbued in classism, nearly always redistributing children from economically at-risk “unmarried” or “too young” mothers and fathers, or those in temporary crisis, to adopters of higher socio-economic status who can afford the tens of thousands of dollars that babies cost.
By Staff of Stumbling and Mumbling - To which Tim Worstall replies that this requires serious infringements of freedom. I agree with Tim. Social mobility is the enemy of freedom. Enforcing it would require governments to prevent parents from doing their best for their children to stop them falling below the glass floor, and it would prevent firms from hiring whom they wanted. It seems, then, that we have a conflict of values. Except we don’t, because there’s nothing valuable about social mobility. A simple thought experiment tells us this. Imagine a dictatorial society split into three classes - slave labour, guards, and rich and powerful oligarchs - in which children of the slaves have good chances of entering the higher classes either through education or perhaps lottery. We’d then have social mobility. But the society would nevertheless be unfree and unjust. Social mobility, then, is no sign of a good society. In fact, there’s something downright dishonest about it. Social mobility pretends that if people from poor homes do well at school and work hard then they can escape their class. But they can’t. Four facts tell us this. One is that people from poor homes are more likely to die early, even if they get a decent job later in life.
By Staff of Anti Cap - President-elect Donald Trump has inherited an economy that is as divided as the electorate. The question is, what will that economy look like if and when Trump’s right-wing national-populist promises and post-election proposals are enacted? As I have shown in the three installments of the first part of this series, “Class Before Trumponomics” (here, here, and here), over the course of recent decades and continuing through the crash and recovery, the class nature of the U.S. economy was transformed in dramatic fashion. Capital was able to pump more surplus out of U.S. workers and, through the combined processes of financialization
By Dariel Garner for Common Dreams - America’s richest 20 people own more than the bottom half of America - 152 million people combined. That is just one of the startling revelations in a new report,Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us, just released by the Institute for Policy Studies. Wealth inequality has reached new heights. The wealthiest 100 people now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States. Among the Forbes 400, but not in the top 100, just two individuals are African American—Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.
By Immanuel Ness in Portside - In examining the long-term failure of organized labor, we must first note the alternative, organic, workers' movement embodied in particular by unions affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the early 20th century. From its inception in 1905 until the 1920's, the IWW represented a significant alternative to contract unionism. The IWW stood for the solidarity of all workers and it was fiercely opposed for that reason -- by capital, by reformists such as Daniel DeLeon of the Socialist Labor Party and by the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The IWW engaged in a genuine form of democracy and a mass industrial organizing model ultimately adopted by the AFL and the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO), which both utilized for very different purposes.
By Workers Struggle - 1) Class antagonism. There is no reconciliation possible between the workers and the capitalists (company/owners/bosses/management). Workers are not “exchanging labor for a fair wage” but are being robbed by their class enemy. Exploitation is inherent in the relationship. Even if we win concessions, we must never be satisfied. 2) Collectivity. There is no way to win this struggle as individuals. Working class unity is crucial. 3) Combativeness. There is no way to win by cooperating with the enemy, being subsumed by them, or avoiding confrontation with them, but it must be through struggle–whatever level of struggle corresponds to the capacity we have at a given time.
By Lawrence Ware and Paul Buhle in Portside - James was first and foremost a Marxist. In 1969 he said, "I do not know, as a Marxist, black studies as such . this is the history of Western Civilization, the history that black people and white people and all serious students of modern history have to know." James, much like Du Bois, saw the question of race through the lens of class. He fully understood that slavery in the Americas was fundamentally a capitalist enterprise. For him, if you dig deep enough, capitalism is at the root of all systems of oppression. Yet, unlike many white progressives, James was never blind to the reality of race. Acknowledging this, he said, "It is over one hundred years since the abolition of slavery. The Negro people in the United States have taken plenty and they have reached a stage where they have decided that they are not going to take any more." James understood very clearly that racism plays a unique role that fighting class alone would not remedy.
By Gina Crosley-Corcoran in The Huffington Post - Years ago some feminist on the Internet told me I was "privileged." "THE F&CK!?!?" I said. I came from the kind of poor that people don't want to believe still exists in this country. Have you ever spent a frigid northern-Illinois winter without heat or running water? I have. At 12 years old were you making ramen noodles in a coffee maker with water you fetched from a public bathroom? I was. Have you ever lived in a camper year-round and used a random relative's apartment as your mailing address? We did. Did you attend so many different elementary schools that you can only remember a quarter of their names? Welcome to my childhood.
By David Cay Johnston in Truth Out - Inequality is about much more than the growing chasm of income and wealth between those at the very top and everyone else in America. It's also about education, environmental hazards, health and health care, incarceration, law enforcement, wage theft and policies that interfere with family life over multiple generations. In its full dimensions, inequality shapes, distorts and destroys lives in ways that get little attention from politicians and major news organizations. How many of us know that every day 47 American babies die, who would live if only our nation had the much better infant mortality rates of Sweden? "Poverty is not natural," Nelson Mandela once said. "It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings." The man-made disparities between the rich and the poor are a threat to the liberties of the people. Plutarch, the Greco-Roman historian, observed more than 2000 years ago that, "an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."
Back in 2006, Warren Buffet, the notorious billionaire speculator, confessedduring an interview that: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Since then, that class warfare has been ever tougher in Italy. Since 2000, real wages have been decreasing, registering an even sharper downturn since the beginning of the crisis in 2007-’08. In real terms, wages nowadays are as high as in 1990. At the same time, unemployment has skyrocketed. The number of unemployed people was registered at 3.23 million in September 2014.
The result has been that Hong Kong’s so-called “left,” has for decades been dominated by a naïve discourse of “democracy” against mainland “authoritarianism.” Inspired by the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing and terrified by the ruthlessness with which it was crushed, most of Hong Kong’s radical students since 1989 accepted at face value the mainstream media portrayal of Tiananmen as a student-led movement for “democracy.” In Beijing, despite the widespread participation of non-students, the formation of the Beijing Autonomous Workers’ Federation, and the state’s decision to charge worker-participants with far higher crimes carrying much longer sentences than their student counterparts, it was the students who were able to dominate the messaging of the movement and appeal to western liberal audiences with calls for the liberalization of the political and economic system.
Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century? The answer can be found in May of 1970. You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment. You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.
Poverty in America is an enormous problem. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans, or 46.5 million people, lived below the poverty line in 2012. And the poor are increasingly isolated across America. As Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff have documented, between 1970 and 2009 the proportion of poor families living in poor neighborhoods more than doubled, from 8 to 18 percent. And the trend shows no signs of abating. This increasing concentration of poverty poses a host of problems to communities. Less advantaged communities suffer not just from a lack of economic resources but from everything from higher crime and drop-out rates to higher rates of infant mortality and chronic disease.