|Image from The Whisperer's, by Orlando Figes|
You of organized labor and those who have gone before you in the union movement have helped make a unique contribution to the general welfare of the Republic–the development of the American philosophy of labor. This philosophy, if adopted globally, could bring about a world, prosperous, at peace, sharing the fruits of the earth with justice to all men.
President Dwight Eisenhower, December 5, 1955
The only good Union is a dead union.
Comment on RSRedState
Months from now, when this is enacted and people realize it’s not the end of the world. Not all, but I think the vast majority, including the vast majority of the public employees, will realize this was not nearly as bad as they thought it was going to be.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
In these tough times, I think people are going to feel that this is not that much to ask. Everyone is going to have to pitch in.
Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Naturally) Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly
There's pitching in and then there's Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's undisguised plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights -- only the most publicized latest Republican assault on the democratic process. Governor John Kasich of Ohio has readied similar legislation, and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey openly boasts of the hatred that New Jersey firefighters have for him. Ten years ago, in the wake of 9/11, publicly disdaining firefighters would have been unthinkable. Times have certainly changed.
As Rachel Maddow points out, things have fallen into place for conservatives. With the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision having allowed unlimited campaign contributions to overflow the coffers of Republican candidates, the Republicans can now unleash an offensive against public employee unions, the prime institutional source of Democratic party money. Meanwhile, flush with their success in destroying ACORN, Republicans continue the suppression tactics designed to prevent Democratic constituencies from voting. Combined, the Republicans hope these three tactics will provide near-permanent electoral success even as the demographics of the country shift against them.
The Republican Jobs Agenda has become all too clear: An underpaid, disenfranchised workforce too discouraged and too exhausted for political activism but all too useful in serving the dwindling privieged tier of affluent white collar workers and financiers. The working class victims of the RJA will be uneducated by design, will lack technical and financial skills, and will find themselves in a constant scramble to stay fed by the non-nutritional food choices available to them. Continually squeezed funding for education and public safety and the deregulation of the environment will ensure that they exist with daily stresses of low income, inadequate learning, the threat of violence, and air unfit to breath. In short, their vision for most Americans is a combination of Blade Runner and Soviet bread lines.
Add 1984 to the mix as well: As consumers of unrelenting propaganda, the groups that comprise this "thrifty working class" will each resent the existence of the other and blame the other for their plight, much as today's middle class whites -- what is left of them -- are encouraged to fear minority groups. As always, they will find psychological safety by supporting the Great Lies they absorb as revealed truth.
The end of collective bargaining would be a catastrophe for every person who has a boss and who ever will have a boss. It would devastate an already tottering democratic process. The question, of course, is why anyone -- even Republicans -- would want that. For the answer, look no further than the frozen steppes of ideology. In this respect, Republicanism has become indistinguishable from Stalinism: The party and the country (and, if they have their way, the state) are one, and what is good for one is and should be good for the other. Opposition to Republicanism is opposition to Americanism and therefore unworthy of good faith treatment. Lies and half-truths are not only justified, they're a necessity in dealing with people who attack your way of life.
And the biggest threat to this is the Great Satan of redistribution. Essentially, Republicanists see government as agent created by liberals through which the hard-earned money of white conservatives is redistributed to underserving minorities (often euphemized as the "poor," complete with quotation marks). That's why conservatives claim without shame that the tax rates should be adjusted to collect more from the poor and middle class -- after all, they've been stealing from their betters for years.
Fixation on the supposed redistribution values of liberals illuminates Republicanism's commitment to the distribution of scarce resources to winners and losers, with the losers seen as their political opposition. Thus, politics is no longer a means to attain a greater societal good (however defined) but a strategy for marginalizing opponents economically, psychologically, and politically. Under this perspective, it is desirable to transfer wealth from and to neutralize the power of one's perceived enemies because it prevents them from doing the same to you. There is no concept that the opposition is any more capable or desirous of acting in the general interest than conservatives are. In fact, a critical component of rationalizing the drive toward a divided society of winners and losers is the conviction that "they" will do it if "we" do not, except that then "we" will be the losers. And since "we" equals America, our policies mean a victory for America against the enemy within, whereas consigning "them" to servitude is just desserts.
This explains why the right constantly whines about being victims of its own tactics, except that it doesn't identify them as such. Hence, whites are victims of racism and hate speech and Barack Obama is the one who perpetrates violent rhetoric (because out of the total sum of his public utterances, there is apparently one in which he quotes a line from the 1987 movie The Untouchables. Apparently, this easily overshadows every sick remark from Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, not to mention the vile signs and speeches of the teabaggers.)
You may well wonder how someone with $5,000,000,000 under Republicans can be a loser with $4,995,000,000 billion under Democrats. In this case, the interests of society suddenly become convenient: The wealthy man's economic freedom has been diminished by the forced transfer of his money to people who don't deserve it because their poverty is their own fault. Thus, the act of taxing wealth strikes a body blow against personal liberty and encourages indolence like this man's:
|(photograph by Dorothea Lange)|
I have seen the future: It is murder.