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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Shrinking middle-class shows us that modern capitalists are now sloppy drunk with power

Just the other day I wrote about the US ruling class; "As we all know the US empire is drunk with power —military power, economic power, technical power and there is little, if anything, to oppose it." I was writing mainly about imperialism in our foreign policies. It was today that I came across this headline in our local newspaper, The Wichita Eagle; "U.S. middle-class families are no longer in the majority, study finds." The article was written by Don Lee and it was also carried in The Los Angeles Times and probably several other newspapers across the country. The main point of this article was to show how the US middle-class is shrinking. As with the growth of imperialism being attributed the end of the cold war, these headlines may also be a product of such changes, along with the shrinking labor movement here in the US and elsewhere.
More than 100 years ago, labor unions rose to power as the exploitation of the working class was so bad that workers could no longer tolerate it. Just as Marxism rose in Russia in response to hideous conditions of Russian workers, the communist party and labor unions rose in the US as a backlash to the horrible way working people were treated. The ruling class in the US successfully decimated the ranks of the US communist party,  and similar socialist party efforts, through the use of the "Red Scare"[1] campaign. Since that time ruling class propaganda, spread with the assistance of our mainstream news media and our education system, has been perfected as a tool to prevent Marxist revolution of any kind. The Red Scare was also used to rid this country of left leaning unions. The unions that were then tolerated were pro-government kinds with such slogans as ​"A fair day's pay for a fair day's work."
That brings us to the middle class. More than 100 years ago the middle class was not that big. The largest class in the US was the working class, much as in all the other capitalist countries. The US ruling class carefully developed a large  middle class as a buffer from the working class.
In Marxist terms the class system looked a lot like a triangle, with a small ruling class at the tip, a small middle class in the middle and a large working class at the bottom.

But the American model changed to more of a diamond or oval shape with the middle class now being the largest class. The ruling class was still smaller than the working class, but the middle class acted as a buffer.
The middle class people had a lot of the same benefits as the wealthier classes, plus they would be more likely to believe that they may someday be richthat they could move up into the next class if they were careful and lucky enough. Since they could believe they might some day be rich, they were more likely to support all the privileges of the rich. 
As with imperialism, greed has taken over for the wealthier classes. Just as the power to oppress smaller countries has become harder for the wealthier to resist, just as they now ignore the contradictions that gave rise to Russian Communism, they have also ignored all the contradictions that lead to a successful labor movement. By the 1980s, with the election of president Ronald Reagan, the US ruling class found they can easily and legally out maneuver labor unions. They won challenges in the courts. They won popular opinion against the unions, using the same propaganda techniques they used to turn public opinion against communism and socialism. In many states unions are kept out of politics by forbidding them to give money to election campaigns. The ruling 1 percent has broken their power steadily since the 1980s.
With a dwindling middle class there is a growing possibility that our rulers will have to face an anti-wealth backlash some day.  There has already been an Occupy movement in 2011. It is over now, but another such movement could return and it could last a lot longer than occupy did.
Ever since the 1980s the ruling class has enjoyed tremendous support for its anti-union, anti-worker and anti-poor people's agenda. The mainstream news media and all the right-wing pundits have successfully protected our wealthy 1 percent. Most people don't seem to notice the lies and distortion, such as we saw with so many news personalities trying to portray Occupy as just a bunch of kids trying to relive the Woodstock years.
But as the middle class shrinks, the standard of living for all US workers and poor may reach a point of being unbearable. If that happens the US will be ripe for a revolution.
The end of the middle class as a buffer between the 1 percent and all the other poorer people will work to our advantage. It is just a matter of time before people realize their lives are getting worse and the usual boogie men that right-wing pundits try to use as scapegoatsteachers, unions, liberals, etc.will no longer scare people off. As Berta, (Conchata Ferrell), of Two and a Half Men once said: 'You can cover a piece of shit in powdered sugar, but that don't make it a jelly donut.'
So as the lies of both capitalism and imperialism become more obvious, it is our job to try and educate people as to their true class nature. The 1 percent are becoming sloppy like a drunk. They can't keep it up for ever.
- សតិវ​អតុ

[1] A massive campaign, in the 1950s, was aimed at people working for the government who might have suspicious ties to communists or communist type parties. The film industry was hit hard in an effort to set an example for those who did not comply with the anti-communist witch hunts. See Steve Otto, Can You Pass the Acid Test?, (PublishAmerica, Baltimore), 2007, pp. 34 - 37. 

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