Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Book That Helped Start the 99% and Occupy Movements

The People's Manifesto and Why It Matters

I would like to use this occasion to begin the explanation of my new book (I use the word “my” in the loosest possible terms because it is dedicated to the Lord and to the American people), “The Middle And Working Class Manifesto” (Salt and Light Publishing, 472 pages, $14.95). You can order it direct from the Second American Revolution website.

Basically, this is a book that spells out the basic human rights of the US middle and working classes while standing up for the rights of minorities and the poor as it speaks truth to power. The Manifesto itself is a simple and direct 39 page document, followed by a 400+ page explanation that is divided into two parts and thirteen chapters. It proclaims the foundation of what I call the Second American Revolution, and it advocates non-violent social change, an overhaul of the predatory capitalist economic system, and it spells out the rights of US workers and their families. It also predicted the start-up of social unrest leading to civil disobedience due to economic inequality more than two months before the Occupy and 99% Movements commenced. Why did I write this book? Simply put, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus – and a radical one at that, as my regular readers have no doubt noticed (such as my advocacy of the legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis for medical and personal use, my condemnation of war and my contempt for capitalism in its present form) – it is imperative that I take a stand against what I view as a series of gross social injustices currently existent in America. After all, what good is my faith and my ministry if I am unwilling to stand up for the rights of the oppressed? Also, what good is my faith and my ministry if I am unwilling to voice my opposition to eleven years of mindless war that is based on a series of lies? And what good is my faith if I do not stand up for hungry children and for the homeless? With that in mind, I will start this series with a sizable excerpt from the book's introduction.

With mass unemployment, a veritable storm of foreclosures, increasingly unaffordable healthcare, and with higher education rapidly becoming further out of reach for the middle class and particularly for the poor, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the middle and working class here in the good old USA is finding itself surrounded and besieged by an army of the usurpers of power in our country. As a direct result, more and more working Americans, the people who are the backbone of the US economy, are finding themselves moving in with friends and family members to stave off what would otherwise be a pandemic outbreak of homelessness and despair. In point of fact, there are now more college-educated people living in homeless shelters or in their cars – if they are lucky enough to still own a vehicle – than at any other time since the Great Depression of the 1930's. And that is a social injustice and a moral outrage. 

Indeed, the circumstances and situations that the middle and working classes in the US find themselves in today are a series of gross social injustices that demands a sharply focused and well-coordinated response from the entire populace, a rebuttal and decisive counterattack designed and intended to right, correct and re-balance US political power back into the hands of the overwhelming majority of American citizens to whom it rightfully belongs. There can be no doubt that class warfare has been declared in the US, perpetrated by the wealthy against the middle and working classes, for the sole express purpose of eliminating from society the constitutional majority of working Americans, with the end result being the complete and merciless liquidation of middle and working class wealth, general prosperity, and even our health. This has been accomplished by the largest transfer of wealth in all of human history, and it has been manifested in four different ways.

First, the employment of working Americans, particularly of the US working class, has been decimated by closing down manufacturing facilities and shipping jobs overseas to the third world for pennies on the dollar.

Second, the retirement savings of the middle and working classes have been severely compromised or even liquidated altogether by the crooked and devious manipulations of Wall Street bankers, market speculators, hedge fund managers and corporate boards of directors who engineered the largest swindle in human history back in 2008. This criminal act resulted in the US government bailout know as TARP, an $850 billion bank robbery of the US Treasury conceived and carried out by the same Ponzi-schemers who ran the US economy into the ground in the first place.

Third, the largest transfer of wealth in human history is being enforced by runaway prices for college and university tuition that are being deliberately engineered by wealthy elitists for the sole express purpose of putting higher education financially out of reach for an increasing majority of the American middle class.

Fourth, the largest transfer of wealth in human history is being reinforced by a healthcare system that has become so expensive that over 55 million Americans can no longer afford health insurance. This has left an increasing percentage of working Americans one accident or catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy, and all without remedy. As more and more US workers find themselves unable to afford health coverage, an increasing number of people are putting off doctor and/or dental visits and not refilling needed prescriptions for purely financial reasons, and the physical and mental health of these hapless individuals slowly erodes away as a direct consequence. 

I find myself among these people that I have just described, and so I decided to write this book as a way to fight back against an entrenched political and economic system that is rigged from top to bottom. I was a computer and information technology professional for twenty-four years, and I have five diplomas hanging on my wall that I have accumulated over the years of my employment. In spite of my professional success in the past, I did not have a regular 40-hour-per-week job for the final seven years of my career. These were a series of temporary jobs with lackluster pay and no employee benefits. As time went gone on, the duration of these temp jobs in the IT industry has become shorter and shorter while the periods of unemployment in between became longer and longer. This wreaked havoc on my life both professionally and financially. I am now on disability even though I wanted to return to work.

My story is not unique – far from it. There are tens of millions of formerly middle class people just like me all across the country who find themselves in similar circumstances to mine to varying degrees of severity. Many have not been as fortunate as me. They have lost jobs like I have, been forced out into the street due to the epidemic of foreclosures throughout the land, had their cars repossessed leaving them with no way to get to work assuming that they are lucky enough to still have jobs, and are hounded by collection agencies for debts great and small. They have no access to health care except to show up at the local emergency room with no way to pay the bill, putting them even deeper into debt than they already are. They have watched their pensions and their retirement savings evaporate due to market manipulations by unscrupulous “financial managers” who earn obscene bonuses whether they succeed or fail, and all at the expense of their clients. Either that or they have spent their savings during interminably lengthy periods of unemployment after their jobs were downsized or out-sourced overseas to the third world, never to return again. And their children, the ones lucky enough to be able to go to college, are graduating with crushing student loan debts that will take decades to repay if they can be repaid at all, depending on whether they can find suitable work or not. What good is a four-year degree if you wind up flipping hamburgers, selling shoes or digging ditches? Meanwhile, the best jobs, the best educations, and the best incomes are reserved for the wealthy and their families.

The same goes for the best health care, the nicest cars and boats and even airplanes, and the best retirement plans. All of this and more are systematically being procured by the top 1% of wage earners in the US at the expense of everybody else. It's steak for them and beans for the rest of us, and the portions for the middle and working classes are getting ever smaller each day. There is no question whatsoever that class warfare has been declared by the rich, powerful and well-connected, and all at the expense of over 99% of the rest of America. I think it's time to fight back, and that is why I wrote this book. This book and its author are the new voice of dissent in middle America. It is not right-wing nor is it from the left, but rather it is written from from the standpoint of middle America and from the vantage point of the oppressed multitudes who are crying out for relief and rescue from the perilous circumstances and life-threatening situations that working Americans from all walks of life find themselves in. This book is a wailing civil defense siren ringing out across the land that I love. It is a warning buzzer on the basketball court of life signifying that a new middle class team of endless depth is now taking the court, sending the wealthy and powerful to the showers so that the stench of corruption can be washed from them because they so desperately need it. It is the national anthem of true American patriotism being played before the start of a baseball game signaling that the new expansion team from middle America is about to take the field. This book is an air raid siren sounding out across the land of the rich and powerful as a warning that the middle and working class counterattack is about to commence.

No more will we stand and stare or sit and grumble about having our houses, jobs, cars, savings, health, higher education and our retirements forcibly taken away wholesale while an ever greater portion of American wealth is concentrated into the hands of a small minority of multimillionaires. It is time for the middle and working classes to put our collective foot down and say”no more”. The time has arrived for us to take back our country by any and all means possible. It is time for political power to be taken out of the hands of corporate America and their invading hordes of lobbyists who would presume to take over our country by means of economic warfare, and to place it back into the hands of “we the people”, the true owners of this great country of ours. And we will do so knowing that history and our founding fathers are on our side, because they left us with a sacred document known as the Constitution of the United States that guarantees us that right. Our free speech and freedom of expression that are guaranteed under the First Amendment, as well as our right to keep and bear arms and to form militias that are guaranteed under the Second Amendment, will not be compromised or trampled upon. We will demonstrate in the streets, we will besiege government buildings, we will bombard our congressmen and women with phone calls and emails, we will form new political parties, we will organize and build labor unions, we will blockade wealthy neighborhoods, we will organize peaceful public events and non-violent sit-ins, we will call general strikes and consumer boycotts, and we will not stop until the balance of power in this country undergoes a paradigm shift back into the hands of hard-working Americans, as well as the millions of people who want jobs and can't find them.

We will fight from the highest mountains, from the lowest valleys, from the rooftops of buildings, we will fight in the cities and in the countryside, from the Jersey shore to the beaches of the west coast, and from the Canadian border down to the border with Mexico. We will not stop until we get our country back, and we shall never surrender. If the government mistakenly labels us as domestic terrorists, which we most certainly are not, then we shall call ourselves freedom fighters and American patriots. We shall fight with non-violent civil disobedience, we shall – so far as it is possible and provided that we are not physically attacked – demonstrate and march peacefully throughout the land, until we get our country restored to us, the workers of America, to whom it rightfully belongs.

Let there be no mistake, America is ripe for mass civil disobedience, even for outright revolution. The conditions and circumstances in which the middle and working classes find ourselves has become intolerable. Personally, I am a very patient and thoughtful man. I work hard each day to be slow to speak and quick to listen because I know from experience that there is much wisdom to be derived from living my life this way. But by the same token, I am a Christian man whose patience is at its end. Just as surely as Jesus preached against the political and religious establishment of His day, in like manner I will do the same in the present day in order to emulate the man I regard as my personal Savior. So, if you truly care about the deteriorating state of our nation, if you are really concerned about the issues that we are faced with collectively as a people, and if you want to make a stand against social and economic injustice, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It is my sincere hope that, after reading it, you will be inspired to take decisive action against the rich and powerful who are slowly enslaving us all.

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