Friday, February 27, 2009

Carpe Diem - The bogey man IS under the bed.

Carpe Diem People! The time is right to kick the bums out.- all of them.

Not so slowly anymore, panic is spreading across Europe and the United States as it has been globally for some time now. Being the 'developed' world has given Westerners a stay of execution as far as the effects of its ill-fated capitalistic excesses. The other shoe is about to fall tho as millions realise their jobs, homes, pensions, social benefits, health infrastructue and their lives of Riley are about to kick the bucket.

In Europe there are riots from Romania to Ireland, in Greece and Iceland: now, the people of the USA begin to wake up and realise, 'Hey, these bad things are really happening to us!? Maybe we should do something?' The excesses and abuses of power using citizen's money for private elite agenda's and keeping the people mollified with mass marketing, is finally becoming crystal clear for anyone who is looking.

Ironically, the far left and the far right are both radicalising in their focus on bringing down the current system; tho the ideological underpinnings differ, the issues of revolutionary consciousness and their practical expressions can be quite similar. Survivalists and comrades have in common the loathing of the waste of capitalism and a desire to end the current structure of capitalistic oppressions. This is always the problem with labelling political preferences; sometimes one can't tell one from the other - it seems almost any governmental/economic system or doctrine can apply its principles to the detriment of the citizenry it is designed to serve. To simplify for the 'left' or 'right' semanticists, the term 'revolutionary consciousness' will emcompass both sides.

On one thing everyone agrees, the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer and the middle class is going bye bye. Exactly where and how the losers of the capitalist game decide to act is anyone's guess, but no crystal ball is needed to know it will be soon. Revolutionary consciousness is increasing at an accelerating rate; the people know it, and so do the Masters of the Universe.

What to do? What to do? No one has the answers to the problems we have created but, us, ourselves. Organic action based coalitions are springing up everywhere; to stop forclosures, and to protest savage budget cuts to public services, even in Ireland where the Gardai and pensioners have filled the streets of Dublin and made international news. (Let us not forget for a moment that riots in the 3rd world - which we rarely hear of - have been going on for 6-7 months....albeit for food and basic survival needs.)

The first thing we can do is to remove our blindfolds and take the cotton out of our ears...because this time, the bogeyman
really is under the bed. Hiding under the covers will not make him go away.

The next best idea is to scream for help: the people who live nearest will be the best source of help. If no one comes, you will have to do some quick thinking...jumping out the window, baseball bat, running as fast as you can. Eventually tho, you will have to do something.

Each person who realises this is a tiny pixel in the picture of revolutionary consciousness.
When enough of these pixels come together, left-right, conservative-liberal etc etc, a picture of class warfare will emerge globally; the people taking back their power from those they have trusted who have betrayed them. Here is California's bit of the puzzle and California: Laid-off Spansion employees outraged over execs' pay increases

Carpe Diem - The bogey man IS under the bed.

The California Budget and Class War

By Ann Robertson

February 26, 2009
"Information Clearing House" -- On February 19, the California legislature, after weeks of wrangling, passed a special budget to address the historically high $42 billion deficit. It represents an unadulterated washout for working people who are attacked on almost every front by the Democratic Party, which controls a broad majority in the legislature.
For example, public education’s $58 billion budget for K-12 (kindergarten through high school) will be slashed by $8.4 billion, even though California currently allocates less money than almost all other states to education.

The state college and university systems will be cut $163 million and $115 million respectively, resulting in many faculty and staff layoffs, despite the fact that both systems are currently turning away qualified students, due to lack of funding. Meanwhile, student tuition will be raised.
Regressive taxes will be imposed, meaning that they will represent a heavier burden on working people and the poor than on the rich, including a sales tax increase from 8.5 to 9.5 percent and a vehicle license fee increase.

But while paying more, working people will receive considerably less from the state. Public transportation will be slashed while health and human services will be gouged by a $1.6 billion cut. And state employees will continue to be forced to take two days off per month, with no pay, of course.
But what went unreported by The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle is that those on the other side of the class ledger – the corporations – enjoyed a startlingly different fate. According to the Los Angeles Times, “About $1 billion in corporate tax breaks – directed mostly at multi-state and multinational companies – is tucked into the proposal.”

Not only were corporate taxes not raised, they were actually reduced, thereby contributing to the deficit rather than alleviating it. And this corporate welfare comes on the heels of a steady decline in corporate taxes.
In the 1980’s, 9 percent of corporate profits were taxed by the states. In 2001, it dropped to 6 percent, meaning that in that year and every year thereafter, California lost $1.34 billion in revenue (see The New York Times, July 16, 2003). Evidently The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle viewed the corporate largess concocted by California politicians in this current budget as nothing new and consequently unworthy of reporting.

The moral of this budget is clear. Corporations are well organized and consequently have successfully pressed for their own narrow interests. Lacking any social conscience, which should surprise no one, they fail to pursue the common good but remain obsessively fixated on ever-greater profits for themselves.

In order to avoid a repeat of this disaster and actually reverse this course of events, working people will need to organize themselves in order collectively to insist that society operate in the interests of the majority. This should begin with a demand that the government tax the rich – who have acquired unprecedented wealth during the past three decades – in order to fund social services. Taxing the rich and transferring wealth to working and poor people makes both sound moral and economic sense.

When inequalities in wealth are allowed to grow unchecked, the moral fabric of society is strained. Members of the same society no longer find themselves sharing common interests or goals, due to their starkly different economic positions. When working and poor people have more money in their pockets, they tend to spend it immediately, thereby stimulating the economy. The rich, with their hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars, have a substantial cushion and hence are not compelled to curtail their consumption when their taxes increase.

And many of the rich are the bankers who triggered this economic disaster. They should be required to pay for it.
When working people are united, they have the power to take history into their own hands. After all, there can be no corporate profits, let alone business as usual, if workers collectively refuse to work. Now is the time to organize!

Ann Robertson is a teacher at San Francisco State University and a writer for Workers Action
( ). She can be reached at

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