The American union movement may be headed for its Waterloo, a final debacle that could occur in Republican-ruled Wisconsin, but might just as easily happen at some later date in Democrat-governed New York. The social compact that unionists must forge in order to survive the desperate struggle with capital has always been skin-thin, ever vulnerable to shredding by issues of race, or issues that can be made to appear to be racial. This fatal U.S. labor weakness is capital’s great American asset – the source of the GOP’s popular base – second only to money, itself. In 2011, the union movement has been successfully niggerized, the ultimate American form of demonization.
Racism is the salvation of late-stage American capitalism. For hundreds of years, real facts of human existence have been routinely turned on their heads, and non-facts accepted as ultimate truths, all to justify white supremacy. A society so afflicted can believe literally anything. Thus, the Republicans achieve wondrous success by planting the words “We’re broke” in the mouths of men and women who are transparently rich, and who in turn serve the interests of the super-rich.
“We’re broke” seems to be the universal Republican talking point, spoken everywhere the rich and their minions gather. It’s how House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) justifies his party’s draconian cuts that could lead to a federal shutdown before spring. This governmental brokenness coexists with December’s Obama-GOP two-year, $850 billion tax giveaway, 40 percent of which goes to the top five percent of income earners, while 25 percent will go to the top one percent, according to the United for a Fair Economy.
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker won’t negotiate with Democrats over his bill to bust public employee unions because, “We’re broke and we need the money.” But just last month Walker shepherded through the legislature $140 million in new corporate tax breaks. So, if Wisconsin is broke, it is because the GOP has chosen that it be so in order that multinational corporations can remain rich. Such bald facts must be masked through the process of niggerizing the opposition who, says Walker, “think, somehow, a handful of the minority can hold people hostage.” With the flick of a few clumsy metaphors, Democratic Wisconsin senators, hiding out of state to avoid a quorum that would pass Walker’s anti-union bill, become inner city body snatchers while corporate executives walk away with $140 million of the people’s money.
Scott Walker’s campaign chest has never been broke. The billionaire Koch brothers see to that with generous contributions. The sinister energy industry siblings, bankrollers of the New Austerity, are anything but broke, with net worths of $21.5 billion apiece, according to Forbes Magazine.
None of the rightwing political funding outfits are broke, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has held that spending money is constitutionally protected speech, against which those who are really broke have no protections.
Certainly, Wall Street bankers aren’t broke; they’re doing better than ever, on the strength of derivative paper and near interest-free cash from the Federal Reserve – which, as printers and conjurers of U.S. currency, can never go broke.
The truly broke – as in “truly needy” – are the truly niggerized: African Americans, who ought to look those we-broke-talking rich people in the eye and say, like Tonto: “What you mean WE, White Man?”
United for a Fair Economy’s 2011 “State of the Dream” report, titled, “Austerity for Whom?” documents who has actually gone broke – or has always been broke – in America. “Blacks earn 57 cents and Latinos earn 59 cents on each dollar of White median family income…. Blacks hold only 10 cents of net worth and Latinos hold 12 cents for every dollar that Whites hold.”
We also know that today’s long-term unemployed, who are disproportionately Black, are broker for longer than at any time since the Great Depression.
We know school systems are starved for monies all across the country. Detroit’s system is so broke, the state has ordered that public school students double up, with classes at 60 kids, each. That will surely result in broken lives.
We know the Democratic Party has been politically broken, and is no effective defense against the GOP onslaught, because its leaders bow down to the same Wall Street gods as the Republicans. New York, a prime place of residence for the world-class rich (who don’t actually “live” anywhere in particular), is governed by a reputed “liberal” who wages relentless warfare on public sector unions. Democrat Andrew Cuomo demands a one-year wage freeze on public employees, whom he blames for all the state’s woes. At the same time, he would eliminate the highest tax brackets for the rich.
Barack Obama is twice as bad, having frozen federal employee wages (and torn up their contracts) for the next two years. As I wrote in BAR on December 1, 2010 (“Obama Moves Effortlessly to the Right”), Obama, Cuomo and the rest of Wall Street’s Democratic servants endorse “two central corporate axioms: that too-high worker pay and benefits is what’s wrong with the American economy, and that federal [or any public] spending is a drain on economic growth.” That is precisely Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s position. Obama also claims to think “we’re broke,” which is why he’s put Social Security and every other entitlement program on the chopping block – to throw into absolute poverty those who are now merely broke.
In failing to recognize that Gov. Walker and President Obama are essentially the same political animals – both eager to devour working people and the poor – the AFL-CIO, self-styled “progressives” and drunk-on-ObamaL’aide Black folks have set themselves up for catastrophic defeat. What has purported to comprise the Left in the United States is on the verge of being politically shattered, broken.
The only good news is, capitalism is broken, too.