We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute.

Whitehead joins many other members of the middle class in condemning the trend toward what they see as the rule of wealth, plutocracy, or an oligarchy of wealth. However, notice that nowhere in this essay will you see the system which make this development inevitable over time--capitalism. That is because the middle class are only starting to awaken that they too are dispensable in this system and they fear that their children will have little chance to secure a good living. Working class people have long felt this way as they fought to secure a living in a system that turned them into a commodity, a rental commodity for the rich to use and dispose of as they wished.  

The middle class has consisted of managers, highly skilled professionals and technical people. These people are truly indispensable to running a capitalist society. But their relationship to capitalists, who constitute the ruling class, is very much like the African-American concept of one type of slave relationship with the master of the house or plantation that existed in our period of slavery. Over 50 years ago Malcolm X expressed a metaphor that is very apt in describing the privileged position of the middle class (especially after WWII) when he spoke these words:
There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself. 
Now we are seeing that this class is being threatened by technological innovation in the forms of automation and artificial intelligence that this middle class created but under the rules of capitalism were soon "owned" by capitalists. Also people in this middle class are keenly aware that in this neoliberal world capitalists are erasing boundaries (for themselves), and they can easily recruit people with middle class skills from poorer countries at cheaper rates. Thus, they now feel the capitalist heel pushing down on them much like working people have for centuries.

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