There is nothing natural about much of the social and economic realities we struggle with. We can't conflate what is natural with what we have gotten used to. The social and economic order has been artificially altered for centuries for the convenience and pleasure of his majesty. Currently 'his majesty' is Barack Obama, the figurehead leading the Empire. Artificial contortions can only be maintained so long and eventually, something's got to give.
We are witnessing numerous fractures due to ongoing conditions of artificial social tension. North Africa and Middle Eastern States that have been carved up, artificially, by Western powers, whose populations have long been repressed are now demanding an end to the contrived dictatorships that have held them down. They want nothing more than a modicum of normalcy. They want their kids to be happy.
Western powers have a long history of creating conditions of arbitrary boundaries, malevolent alliances, and methods of turning local populations against each other. It is hard to think of a place, including places in close proximity to the core of empires that have not been victims of quite arbitrary social gerrymandering based on nothing more than cultural or religious differences. Even within national boundaries of the empire, people have been artificially pitted against each other. This was enforced and wilful favouritism to one group over another enhanced acrimonious relations. In most places on the globe, divide and conquer strategies ignited conflicts between people that had previously got along living in close proximity to each other.
What is happening today has been happening for a long, long time.
Historically, empires have favoured their own home team. They have been swayed by notions of patriotism and loyalty to some extent. Those of us that have lived within the belly of the beast, inside the Empire's hegemony have received favoured treatment until quite recently. To some extent, we have been a privileged class even if we were poor and unemployed. To be unemployed and poor north of the Rio Grande is nothing like being poor south of the Rio Grande. That is but one of many divisions that have set working class populations apart from each other. As a whole, we have turned a blind eye to the murderous rampages unleashed by politicians with the odd exception; like Vietnam. Generally, we gave the ruling classes a wide berth. The general consensus was, they know what they're doing and whatever it is they do, we're getting something out of it. Our standard of living legitimized them no matter how cruel and treacherous they were to people in the so called, third world.
But then came globalization and now that consensus is rapidly changing. The ruling classes and their political henchmen began to flirt with the Chinese, the Mexicans, and other third world populations. Those of us that read Marx knew they would. Like thieves in the night they silently and efficiently dismantled the manufacturing plants and stole them from under us. They took them to places where they could manufacture for less money. If we didn't see working class people in the third world as brothers and sisters before, we will now. Let's hope they forgive us.
We might want to look at the glass as half full. We might think for a moment, 'globalization will bring the people in the third world up to the standard of living we have become accustomed to'. A glimpse of our current situation shows that in fact, the glass really is half empty. Its only 'half full' for the banksters and corporations. Our current trajectory has non aboriginal North Americans entering, for the first time, the third world. It's a class thing. The original inhabitants of North America currently live in third world conditions in many areas.
If you had considered the ruling elites to be loyal to Americans, Canadians, or any other 'White country', a look at history shows that our standard of living was not as much a gift from the ruling elites as it was the result of long and hard struggles against them. It was also a conspiracy of sorts to dampen revolutionary sentiments. It was a very real fear. John Maynard Keynes exposed that fear when he spoke of the possibility of revolution within the heart of the Empire and the need to subvert it with redistribution mechanisms. Keynes was vehemently anti-communist. He said, "the class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie". He understood that the artificial social and financial strain that is a necessary condition to maintain wealth and power for the privileged few could give way to the citizenry taking control of the both the wealth of the land and the state. He worried, as did others, of the outcome that could result if this were to occur. To alleviate it, it was necessary to spend in order to develop healthy public infrastructure, especially when the going got rough. Keynes polices were a pressure relief valve. Between Keynesianism and intense unions battles, our standard of living had become the envy of the world and the reality of tension between the classes was out of sight - out of mind.
Since the 1980s, politicians, the media, and various collaborators with the ruling elites have managed to hide the increasing and latent enmity between the classes within the Empire's hegemony. They continue to do this as the strain increases to alarming proportions.
In the 1980s they began to dismantle manufacturing plants to send them abroad. That is when the politicians and mainstream media beat the free trade drum the hardest. The neo liberal economists said, in unison, America had been protectionist long enough, it's time to compete globally, to expand global markets. While the Empire's domestic leftists were screaming bloody murder, investors were making a killing.
As the capacity to squeeze a dime from a unit of labour diminished, the manufacturing heart of the Empire was contracted out . The catch phrase, 'what's good for GM is good for America' turned out to be a lie. Neither GM nor any other corporation has a patriotic bone in its ethereal body. Corporations are simple money making machines. It doesn't care how or where it does it. Those most loyal to the whole American dream must feel betrayed.
The whole thing was an artificial situation in the first place. There never was anything natural about the vast gap between the people of Tijuana and the people of San Diego. It was simply one more spurious division between people of what is in reality, the same working class. The fact that we were favoured by the hegemonic rulers does not change the reality that we all have far more in common with each other than we do with members of the ruling class. However, our realities are substantially different. It needs to be acknowledged that we have historically turned away from the plight of our brothers and sisters in the periphery of the American hegemony. Life for workers is very different, depending on what side of the Rio Grande you live on. But that is changing and it is changing fast. It is a matter of time when we all live in the same miserable circumstances.
The Empire has abandoned us after all the wars we fought for them, after all the wealth we created for them and after all the apologies we voiced on their behalf. In many ways, we had it coming. We should learn to be careful about the kind of scum we crawl in bed with.
While financial bubbles maintained an artificial economy, they only managed to hide the underlying rot beneath it. The bubble burst and the rot was exposed. And in spite of the fact that shocking and utterly soulless criminal behaviour was exposed, the criminals themselves were granted huge financial gifts from future taxpayers. The fact that the tax base has evaporated seems beside the point.
Currently, we hear the fantastic news that cars sales are up; which seems a mystery since jobs and decent wages have disappeared. Underneath the good news, again, we see they continue to try to maintain artificial economics and in so doing, they defy reality and increase strain. They can't keep kicking the can down the road forever. Subprime lending, quantitative easing and all the magic tricks and illusions they can come up with cannot defy reality. It's all over the place. And even though they continue, they can't change reality. Their latest magic trick is yet one more sub-prime scam. The same bubble strategy that caused the 2008 shock, is back. This time they are financing auto sales. The same slippery machinations are used to bury the risky credit and to repackage it as bonds.
In the USA, the jobs picture is improving, the recovery is taking hold, you might argue. The good news is that in February of 2011, 192,000 new jobs were created.
Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and past editor for the Wall Street Journal, points out:
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 152,000 of the jobs or 79% are in private services, consisting of: 11,700 jobs in wholesale trade, 22,000 in transportation and warehousing, 36,400 in administration and waste services (of which 15,500 are temporary help services), and 36,200 in ambulatory health care services and nursing and residential care facilities. Entertainment, waitresses and bartenders accounted for 20,000. Repair and maintenance, laundry services, and membership associations accounted for 14,000."
Roberts goes on to suggest that not only are the calculations way off but according to statistician, John Williams, "the reported gain was overstated by about 230,000 jobs. In other words, about 38,000 jobs were lost in February."
The Empire is constantly trying to create and maintain artificial social and economic mutations, straining her resources to the breaking point. Empires have historically put out enormous resources into plundering the periphery through the use of military or manipulative techniques. The USA is no exception and as Empires go, America outdoes all previous empires in its scope and greed. The United States of America outspends all other nations on the planet on its military, it's so called national security interests. (In fact it is class security they worry about.) They have over 700 military bases around the globe and have their fingers in the business in every country on the planet, including those that don't want them, like Cuba.
There was a time when we, the working classes within the hegemony, could turn a blind eye to all the harm the Empire had been doing, all over the planet. But now they have slotted the lot of us in the third world category. It is now more appropriate for us to refer to ourselves as 'working class' as opposed to, middle class. We need to make friends with reality.
They will try turn our attention to immigrants. They will do their utmost to have us wage war on each other. It is in their interests for us not to recognize them as the enemy. History shows this strategy works. Today however, we have the internet. We are getting quite familiar with each other. We cannot allow this tension to be reduced to mindless chauvinism and xenophobia. It is class war. That is reality.
And in reality, it is the labour of workers that has build their empires and wealth. Each and every dime the banksters own has either come from either the past toil of workers or the promise of future labour. We hold all the cards and we simply don't realise it. The war party and the capitalists that direct the politicians are nothing more than parasites. They owe us everything and give us nothing.
It is clear that the time has come for us to recognize that the working class is one. That whether we are workers in Iraq, Palestine, Israel, China or Wisconsin, we are all in this together. To quote anonymous wisdom on a famous poster, "Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you're on. Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you".