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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ferguson—the Race War Won’t Be About Race

I have heard a lot of commentators say that the police should not create the vision of a state of occupation in Ferguson MO. They say having police that look like soldiers gives the look of an occupier. I agree with this. There is no reason for the residents of Ferguson to be forced to live as if they are an occupied state. And I also agree with commentators who say that the battles by residents and activists against police are inspiring:
Seeing a community actually fight back is so inspiring. -ISH–Kasama Project
What really surprised me was an article from Time magazine, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race,” 

claiming that the war going on in Ferguson is class war. I rarely agree with an entire article in Time, but this one I do agree with.
For example:
This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.
And that’s how the status quo wants it:
The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.
And Abdul-Jabbar makes the same charge that many of us have made, many times, and that is the news media just plain lies:
One way to keep these 50 million fractured is through disinformation. PunditFact’s recent scorecard on network news concluded that at Fox and Fox News Channel, 60 percent of claims are false. At NBC and MSNBC, 46 percent of claims were deemed false. That’s the “news,” folks! During the Ferguson riots, Fox News ran a black and white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the bold caption: “Forgetting MLK’s Message/Protestors in Missouri Turn to Violence.” Did they run such a caption when either Presidents Bush invaded Iraq: “Forgetting Jesus Christ’s Message/U.S. Forgets to Turn Cheek and Kills Thousands”?
He also agrees with many of us leftists that the ruling class WANTS to keep poor people poor and in their place:
Worse, certain politicians and entrepreneurs conspire to keep the poor just as they are. On his HBO comedic news show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver ran an expose of the payday loan business and those who so callously exploit the desperation of the poor. How does an industry that extorts up to 1,900 percent interest on loans get away with it? In Texas, State Rep. Gary Elkins blocked a regulatory bill, despite the fact that he owns a chain of payday loan stores. And the politician who kept badgering Elkins about his conflict of interest, Rep. Vicki Truitt, became a lobbyist for ACE Cash Express just 17 days after leaving office. In essence, Oliver showed how the poor are lured into such a loan, only to be unable to pay it back and having to secure yet another loan. The cycle shall be unbroken.
Abdul-Jabbar looks at the sinking fortunes of the middle class and nearly everyone else:
That’s not hyperbole; statistics prove this to be true. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report, just half of U.S. households are middle-income, a drop of 11 percent since the 1970s; median middle-class income has dropped by 5 percent in the last ten years, total wealth is down 28 percent. Fewer people (just 23 percent) think they will have enough money to retire. Most damning of all: fewer Americans than ever believe in the American Dream mantra that hard work will get them ahead.
Most of all he notices the ruling classes attempts to divide and conquer the American people:
Rather than uniting to face the real foe—do-nothing politicians, legislators, and others in power—we fall into the trap of turning against each other, expending our energy battling our allies instead of our enemies. This isn’t just inclusive of race and political parties, it’s also about gender. In her book Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution, Laurie Penny suggests that the decreased career opportunities for young men in society makes them feel less valuable to females; as a result they deflect their rage from those who caused the problem to those who also suffer the consequences: females.
So I agree that this is class war. And what is happening in Ferguson is a part of that war. The ruling Republicans have attacked poor people relentlessly and now those people are fighting back. The poor have had their rights cut back, all government safety nets have been cut back and now they have had police murdering their own. They have had enough and they are fighting back.
- សតិវ អតុ

For the rest of the article click here.

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