Friday, March 11, 2011

Winsconsin Fascism - the corn pone nazis have arrived.

James Kunstler is a blunt-spoken critic of urban sprawl and has written several books on the unsustainability of modern development and its uber-reliance on private automobiles, heavily subsidized by the Federal Government in the way of road maintenance and construction and tax breaks to oil companies. Peak Oil is an issue that caught his attention some years back - and the devastating economic effects that are building as the rest of the world starts insisting that the US, with 5% of the world's population, stop using 40% of the world's resources every year and be content with our fair share of oil and other resources.

That fair share represents a terrible economic disruption - what some, especially the teapartiers, imagine is a huge fall in living standards. It doesn't have to be that way, of course. Private automobiles are probably goners, yes, and sprawl will have to retract - but this can be an opportunity to turn existing cities into better, more livable places. Yes, a more European way with abundant mass transit and human scaled neighborhoods and local food markets. How terrible!

But Americans want to imagine they still have power and superiority over "other" ways of life instead of admitting that this "way" was a product of cheap oil and can't be sustained when oil is not cheap. We have used cheap oil as the basis for our food production, transportation, and industry and without it our economy is suffering and will continue to suffer as long as the particularly American style of "capitalism" - which insists on an impossible standard of perpetual growth - is held up as the ideal. In fact, it's a ponzi scheme that couldn't last and isn't going to. The solution is to remake our economy so it is relocalized and sustainable and fair to all workers, here and abroad.

Americans have turned a blind eye to peak oil and growing third world development, however, instead insisting on the myth that the "American way of life is non-negotiable." It is a ridiculous form of nationalism that simply isn't true. We don't deserve 40% of the world's resources every year and since we have destroyed our middle class by wage stagnation and union-bashing, we can't even compete with high-growth countries like China and India with far larger populations - who all want THEIR fair share of oil and of other natural resources.

But Americans, especially the GOP and teapartiers, have bought heavily into the myth that Americans somehow have some God-given right to just take what they want and who the hell cares about the other 95% of the world's people? They aren't Americans. "Capitalism" as it is defined in America has every right to force everyone else in the world to supply America's wants and needs with defacto slave labour and grossly undervalued wages and commodity prices, because we said so. And that was fine with the American public as long as they didn't realize those rules also must apply to them. It was inevitable, by the way. What goes around comes around. Now the Robber Barons are looking around and saying to themselves, who cares about the 95% of middle class Americans? They aren't us. We're special. They're not.

Morality or ethics plays no part in this drama created by Robber Barons. It is pure greed and selfishness on their part and an unwillingness on the part of average Americans to face the fact that the American economy has gone a long way down a dead-end path.

Kunstler, a well-educated secular Jew, saw this fact and predicted some years back the rise of what he calls "corn pone nazis." He frequently refers to them in his blog, worrying about what will happen when they begin to try and assert themselves.

And now they are here.

A little history lesson for you [hat tip: Investment Watch]:

On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police...

This is what the GOP and their teapartier allies intend to do, and they have, for the time being, won their first battle in Wisconsin (and hope to win another soon in Ohio), using lies and propaganda to implicate unions in the state's budget shortfall, which was 100% caused by the GOP and their sweetheart deals with their Robber Baron CEO cronies and has nothing whatsoever to do with living wages.

The Christian Science Monitor, amoung others, exposes the GOP's lies about the budget in Wisconsin:

The capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, is the scene of a standoff both deeply scary and profoundly inspiring. Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans are trying take away the right of most government workers to collectively bargain. This basic right – to negotiate with your employer on an even footing – has nothing to do with Wisconsin’s budget crisis. The crisis is largely the result of Governor Walker’s massive tax giveaways, a huge cost that he’s now trying to cover by targeting state workers...

...These citizens understand that Republicans are using budget shortfalls as a pretext for attacking an already weakened union movement in hopes of crippling their political opponent.

...Gov. Walker’s justification for restricting the rights of workers in the name of fiscal rectitude would be much more convincing if the governor had not signed three bills that cut taxes and increase the deficit by $117 million. According to a memo from the Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau, the governor did not inherit a budget deficit in need of repair. Wisconsin would have been in a far better fiscal situation without those tax cuts. But those cuts gave him a convenient excuse to go after public-sector unions.

The real goal of the Robber Barons, of course, is to reduce American working conditions to those of third world countries. Investment Watch continues:

Decimating unions has long been an objective of the rich and powerful...Every little gain for the rights of workers was hard fought and bitterly resisted by the rich and powerful...

...Over time, organized labor managed to abolish child labor all together, as well as institute an 8 hour work day, 40 hour work week, mandatory breaks, safety guidelines, grievance procedures, a minimum wage, the concept of a work free weekend, workers comp, pensions, health safeguards, and paid sick days, vacation days, and holidays. If you enjoy any of these things, thank a union member...

These worker rights increase the cost of doing business - they mean the Robber Barons can only make multi-millions in profit instead of billions (boo-hoo).

But more importantly, these laws created the strongest middle class and highest standard of living the world has ever known - and if the unions are broken, so will middle class wages and benefits be broken. Even Henry Ford knew that if workers aren't paid enough to afford a middle-class lifestyle, the economy can't work. And if the economy can't work, then there is no way for the middle class to smoothly transition to a peak-oil lifestyle and relocalized economic system.

And the Robber Barons and their GOP allies know this, too. The fact is, they don't want a thriving middle class anymore. They "get" peak oil and peak everything else. This is a finite world with finite resources, and if they have to share the wealth, then there's less for them. It's greed and selfishness, pure and simple. They want to be an elite class of Masters over the masses. (And oh, how they're laughting at the teapartiers for playing along!)

And in the case of the right wing GOP and teapartiers, their strategy is indeed corn-pone naziism straight out of Hitler's playbook laced with an American twist: racist, hateful, greedy and completely ignorant about how the social contract has to work for society to function, mixed with a largely non-existent mythos of the American West where supposedly it was every person for themselves with no help from anyone else ever. None of that is actually true, of course. Pioneers and small towns out west throughout the time of "manifest destiny" worked together and shared their resources - or else packed up and left for greener pastures when some early Robber Baron exploited them and made their life miserable. They called in the Sheriff to break the gangs of wealthy hoodlums - mostly by shooting them. Back then you could do that.

Now you can't. There is no place left to flee. That means the Robber Barons and their exploitation has to be stopped, not just fobbed off on the next hapless settler - not by force but with laws, strong laws protecting workers and making sure resources such as water and electricity (and yes, healthcare) are fairly distributed for the public good, not for profit.

The way to ensure the American Middle Class isn't forced out of existence is to not only strengthen unions here, but to spread them abroad to third world countries. We should be FOR them getting their fair share of everything, including corporate profits. That is both the Jewish and the Democratic ideal, and it is under siege by corn-pone nazis who intend to be Masters of all the the workers and resources everywhere.

The corn-pone nazis - corporate Fascists in disguise - are using a divide and conquer strategy. Don't just sit there and let it happen. Support the unions. Support the Democratic party. Support your brothers and sisters in the beleaguered trenches who are fighting to allow all of us and our children the right to not be chattle in sweatshops. If you do nothing, your wages and benefits will continue to fall. It's that simple.

Right now you have 1970s income and 2011 expenses - how much more can you take? They think you can stand a lot less wages and benefits, and they intend to make it happen. And you're letting them.

1 comment:

SJ said...

>> corn-pone naziism straight out of Hitler's playbook

comeon Ahavah, lefties don't like it when right wingers call Obama a nazi.