Response to the Alantic’s piece

This one

Hey Atlantic, can you show me a graphic like that of San Francisco’s corporate elite and how much public money they get, how much in tax breaks?

It’s amazing to me that people haven’t seen through the false argument governments are constantly making (because it’s so effective): do you want us to give these workers more money, or do you want better services – or more often, keep the same level of service? If we give teachers a raise, we are going to have to cut special ed. funding. It’s your choice, you have a vote, etc…

One thing is always missing from these contrived choices: taxing the people who actually have money. The people who make money off the backs of workers. The people who have benefited from tax break upon tax break for decades. Let’s be honest, the people who have perpetrated class war on working people since 1980.

The way the debate is framed, the way workers are pitted against each other, is entirely determined by the rich. Working people – and you can see it in the comment section – are encouraged to be jealous of people with decent jobs. They are told it isn’t fair. What isn’t fair is that we don’t all have good jobs.

With the war on unions since around, oh, let’s just go with 1980 again (anyone remember that year?), somehow the idea of solidarity has been wiped from people’s minds. Listen, when we support good wages and benefits for others it sets a standard for everyone else. When we help poor people and striking fast food workers, it raises the floor and increases our collective worth. Yes, the unions have plenty to answer for and much to change (democratic union anyone? real rank and file participation? Money for boots on the ground organizing instead of campaign contributions to people who end up screwing us?), but the data is clear when it comes to wages with and without unions. Unions are still “worth it” in oh so many ways. Workers just have to fight to make them democratic – just like they have to fight to make our country democratic.

Instead of petulantly repeating right wing talking points that are from the same ideological swamp as “welfare queens,” why not support working people? While you’re at it, why don’t you start organizing your workplace or get people together to demand the rich pay their fair share? Why not call the politicians out who are telling us we have to choose between good salaries and taking money from services or already struggling people while they take money from corporations? These are false choices that leave the rich to go on their merry way, while we wait on them and give them money out of the state coffers we fill. They are laughing at us. They are manipulating us like puppets. There is massive corruption at all levels and corporations are getting huge tax breaks, or not paying taxes at all – or getting money back! From us. Again.

What it comes down to is that the banksters and transnational corporations who crashed “the economy” are not in jail. They are keeping the money they stole from us, our taxes, our pensions, our houses – and making more money from that money, and getting free money – while we fight over scraps. Divide and Conquer.

Are we going to figure this out soon? I’m going to hold my tongue now, because I want to keep this civil. I will just say this: at this rate (the rate of change leading to people becoming conscious of what’s going on), after the corporate rapaciousness and venality of the last five years seeming to have zero effect on people’s ability to think and act, I have next to no hope for this country.

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