Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Immorality of Inequality (part 2)

The Ticking Time Bomb of Inequality
(excerpt from, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto”, by Paul J. Bern)

Where will all of this inequality lead the American people, or at least the overwhelming majority of the population? What do you get when you add the lack of meaningful employment with the apparent inability for the US economy to create new jobs because they are all being out-sourced overseas? What do you get when you add the rapidly increasing phenomena of middle and working class homelessness with the organized theft of homes and cars due to foreclosure and repossession so they can be resold again and again? And what do you get when you add the economic elimination of retirement pensions and affordable health insurance? What happens when a formerly comfortable – even prosperous – segment of the US population is sent crashing downward into poverty, a poverty from which there is little chance of escape unless you win the lottery or some meaningless game show on TV?

I will tell you exactly what will occur. As more and more people become disaffected and disenfranchised you will see increasing anger, unrest, and overall dissatisfaction until this ticking time bomb of inequality reaches a tipping point. Once this tipping point is reached – and it is almost there right now – you have the perfect recipe for civil unrest, rioting and demonstrating in the streets, wildcat strikes and consumer boycotts, the spontaneous blocking of major highways plus well-to-do subdivisions and wealthy neighborhoods, the burning of government buildings and police stations, and the takeover of radio and television stations and the looting of grocery and big-box stores. Look at the current civil unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Palestine, and let's not forget about what happened in London and in Spain last summer and what is happening now in Greece. Anyone who thinks that this kind of social and economic upheaval – this high degree of civil disobedience – can't happen here in the USA simply hasn't been paying attention to current events.

Speaking as a minister of the Gospel, human equality is Scriptural. “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written, 'He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.'” (2 Corinthians 8: verses 13-15 NIV)

If we are going to be successful in our people's revolution, we will have to do so in a peaceful and orderly but very organized way. I think the best way to accomplish this is to imitate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by employing his tactics of non-violent marches and protests. I would caution all of you to not be confrontational and to never carry weapons, because that is not my way, not is it God's. But more than just imitating King, who I regard as one of the mentors of my youth, I want to make the lack of jobs, affordable housing, vocational/professional retraining and affordable medical care into 21st century civil rights issues that will take up where Rev. Dr. King left off, reigniting the twin flames of human equality and full employment into the bonfire that this modern civil rights movement is destined to become. If he were alive today, Dr. King would observe an America increasingly divided into two distinct and unequal classes: the rich and powerful, and the rest of us. He'd see bankers prospering as foreclosures increase; insurance executives reaping profits as people die for lack of health care; and the military-industrial-prison complex advocating and perpetuating endless war (and enjoying the spoils) as the underclass fights, suffers, and pays the costs. Rev. Dr. King understood completely that the people must take charge if anything of importance needs to come to pass. He also understood that civil rights issues are really economic issues of enforced inequality. Today in America the working and middle classes are finding themselves relearning these lessons a generation after the King assassination.

Under no circumstances should we fear the inevitable end of the American empire or the demise of free market capitalism, but instead we should regard them as opportunities to build a better world for our kids and grandkids. There are too many people sitting around muttering and complaining about how bad things are, with much pessimism about the future. We need to stop saying to ourselves, “OMG, we're totally screwed”, and start looking around for ways to take charge of our own situation. The days of waiting around for the government to act are over and done with. It's time that “we the people” retook the reins of power from the rich, powerful and well-connected who stole them from us. After all, our Constitution says it is our country.

Some may ask if there are any legal implications to this. Can protesting against the system in a peaceful way get us/myself thrown into jail? Let me just say quite plainly that there is no law against lawful assembly, the organizing of workers and peaceful protest, all of which are rights guaranteed under the first amendment to the US Constitution. You have every right to take back your country and to reclaim your former position as a productive member of the middle and working classes provided that you refrain from engaging in acts of violence (excluding matters of self-defense) and vandalism. The US Constitution guarantees this freedom we all share. The truth of the matter is that things here in the US have deteriorated economically and politically to the point where concerned Americans from all walks of life have no choice but to begin protesting, demonstrating and marching for human equality beginning with a twelve dollar per hour minimum wage, free lifetime health care and public education, ending the endless foreign wars that we can't afford, for ending homelessness, poverty and crime, and for full employment. But it is a sad reality today that we middle and working class Americans, in solidarity with the poor, have none of the above while every other developed country in the world already has all of the above. Well, if our government isn't doing one freakin' thing to uphold those whom it governs, then we have a government that has no purpose for existence. And a government that has no useful purpose, or who has abused their authority by oppressing or attacking the citizens instead of governing as is currently the case, must be “altered or abolished” (according to the US Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson) by “we the people”.

We can't afford to sit by like sheep meekly waiting for slaughter. We must find ways to hinder and obstruct the corporate state at every turn. Nothing will change unless “we the people” begin to organize radical acts of civil disobedience to disrupt our current political system, upping the ante until this massive flim-flam operation known as the US government is thoroughly exposed and replaced. We, the people, must take back our government by peaceful revolution because it will never be given back voluntarily. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." – John F. Kennedy

Americans of all backgrounds and colors regardless of social, religious, marital or economic status have a right to be angry and dissatisfied about the current sorry state of US affairs both domestically and abroad. Therefore, it is our patriotic responsibility to do something about it, to force the system to change. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Instead of racial oppression as was the case a generation or more ago, the civil rights issues of today have to do with economic oppression that knows no racial boundaries. But because this is the case, untold multitudes of oppressed, besieged, disenfranchised, disillusioned and exasperated Americans will rise up together as if on cue against the incurably corrupt, basically unfair and irreparably polluted US government. The fundamentally flawed and inherently biased and discriminatory federal tax code must be replaced by any and all means necessary, even if it means calling for an income tax boycott or a general strike. The right to a livelihood and to earn a living wage, to better economic opportunities through free higher education, to low-cost universal health insurance and to home ownership, and to have a life free from hunger, homelessness, violence and crime, and the right to Internet access, are no longer privileges reserved for the most affluent neighborhoods and families, they are basic human rights that can be denied to no one. In fact the entire governmental system, especially at the federal level, has become so decrepit due to crushing debt from without and from deep-seated corruption from within that trying to get anything done within the existing system is a waste of the American people's time. So considerable civil disobedience, organized protesting, sit-ins and demonstrating, with a tasty touch of peaceful revolution conducted primarily online and in the streets is indeed our responsibility as patriotic Americans.

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