by Matthew Hobbs
How best to convey the classless public at large? Our society, which has been firmly rooted since its inception as a deeply class-conscious culture (a fact no doubt celebrated by our founders) is dying. This is represented in earnest by our failing political institutions, and the seemingly endless drivel of trivia and celebrity sold to us by our media as a rational form of reporting.
The modern working public are literally next to powerless in this fight, and have only but a very few of the tools left associated with gaining leverage in class struggle. Drive up Second Street and take a look at the old AFL-CIO union building, you’ll see it’s for sale. It doesn’t take much more stimulus than it’s hollow shadow of a structure, unkempt and impossible for sale to any business, to discover that capital has won the battle against the American worker and his/her interests.
It’s not impossible to see that our government serves the business ruling class. For an example, take the lack of dialogue regarding the housing crisis and marginalized homeowners. The direct result is, as it always is when both parties come to an agreement in congress, the American people don’t receive any real response to our very real housing crisis.
Our society is one filled with withdrawn souls, careful in their untrustworthiness, and benign, yet scurrying, desperately searching for an identity, whether it be close to home or, if considered too ugly or meager a past to draw upon, simply contrived. We are doomed by a corporate state to be made passive, distracted by electronic hallucinations, and mere spectators to a foreboding ecological crisis, which will destroy any remaining hope left of any sense of harmony between us and nature.
Our spiritual lives, traditionally tied to the role of public service, have been mocked by a century of crafty public relations campaigns, telling us the quickest way to a place of identity is an even quicker buck, and all the identity it may this week buy us. One out of every six dollars in America is spent in some fashion to market to us, to make us believe what the leaders of the corporate multinationals believe, that capitalism serves not only them, but serves the greater good.
You don’t have to go very far to see social decay in Dayton, Ohio. The contradictions of poverty and the gospel of capitalism are self-evident, and so the people have lost their will to fight, and their will to resist the seemingly inevitable losses of their guaranteed rights, and maybe most depressing, their ability to have a common voice, one that they hear which, instantly recognizable, rings true to their culture, speaks volumes about their struggles, and provides relief to the shared sorrow of going unrepresented.
Dayton was once a powerful industrial center. My grandfather worked for General Motors 25 years after serving in the war and my father worked in the local tool and die industry for 30. If the adage of ‘work hard and success will come to you’ was true, then I’d be from a very wealthy family, yet the alternative reality rather boldly presents itself, the people who are wealthy, are the people who usually come from wealth.
We are a nation where 95% of all wealth is not directed at trade, or to say, the real economy, but to the short term, focusing on low growth, high profits and low wages. The ruling class is fascinated with speculation and profits for profits’ sake, not with jobs or workers.
So where is the worker in this capital tug of war? Where is his say? When does the working man have a say to where the capital should go, how the profits should be distributed and what the quarterly report suggests executives do to ‘earn’ their bonuses? Why for the past three years have we been presented as a picture of truth from our media institutions the wild importance of deficits and budgets, when for all intents and purposes, they have very little to do with our current situation?
The reality is that working people have witnessed a slow motion coup d’état taking place through our judicial, legislative, executive and religious governmental branches. It doesn’t take a degree in sociology to understand working people have little to no rights. In America, the constant fear of losing a job is what makes markets work best. Or that having to work two jobs to make ends meet is just a reality you are going to have to face.
How far is it down the road until people decide to grab the reigns and run their own society? It should be one with democratic action and civil disobedience—things to be exalted, not pepper sprayed and surreptitiously signed out of law by politicians. The concern should not be collecting wealth, forgetting all but self, but placing people over profits. We must revive demonstrating in town squares over issues that matter. The first step we must take to this idealized democracy is doing away with the totalitarian business class, which has dominated our society from foundation and has no respect for our environment—both natural and economic.