“He’s going to let the big banks write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They are going to put ya’ll back in chains,” said Joe Biden in remarks that have stirred controversy. The Obama administration has stuck by and backed Biden’s comment because it wants to believe that Black folks are simple enough to believe that the “they” are simply the Republican Party. Obama is hoping that we will not see the inherent “Freudian slip” in Biden’s remarks.
It’s important to note, that Biden did not say us, but ya’ll; he was not talking about himself, because he is a lackey for the ruling, the propertied, the monied class. Clearly the vice president was talking to everyone in the room, because if Black folks are re-enslaved then Whites will return to peonage and the soul-destroying conditions of the Industrial Revolution, when there were no rules to protect workers and salaries were a pittance. He is right — that class clearly has plans to turn back the clock.
The conservatives and the right wing are leading the charge, but the goal of both factions (Democrats and Republicans) of what is in essence “the” party of U.S. imperialism, the ruling .01 percent, is to take us back, to turn this country into for all practical purposes a Third-World country.
Their aim is to turn the U.S. into a modernized Third-World country where workers have no rights, ethnic divisions are exacerbated, women’s rights are abridged, the “other” is demonized, prisons proliferate, higher education costs become prohibitive, public school education is limited to a select group, privatization reigns and colored folks are downright marginalized.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof touched on this about a year ago in an editorial entitled “Our Fantasy Nation.” He wondered aloud about the conservative vision for the country. “Do [they] we really aspire to take a step in the direction of a low-tax laissez-faire Eden …like Pakistan?” he asked. Yes indeed they do, and the signs are everywhere.
The first thing the Obama administration — the government — did was bailout the big banks to the tune of trillions of dollars. That’s right, trillions.
On the other hand, when homeowners began losing their homes beginning in 2007 through skullduggery, thievery and thuggish behavior by the banks, otherwise known as subprime and adjustable rate rip offs, there was silence from the government. There were no calls from the halls of government to throw the bums in jail or to launch a war against Wall Street thievery, though more than enough crimes were committed.
They know that one day, a generation will use the vote as a mechanism to throw them out and create a society in which everyone can thrive.
And when the foreclosure crisis hit full swing over the last few years as a result of lost wages and lost jobs caused by the recession, the government was fairly quiet and gave a mere pittance in relief and that through an eyedropper.
While we are led to believe that we live in a democracy, voter ID laws are attempting to limit our voting rights. The Democrats are trying to convince us that it is the conservatives that want to limit these rights, but that’s trickery as well. The ruling class doesn’t want you to vote. They realize its one of the weaknesses in their game. They know that one day, a generation will use the vote as a mechanism to throw them out and create a society in which everyone can thrive.
The effort to privatize presently public institutions like schools and the post office is also a part of this effort. If you can’t pay, you won’t be able to enjoy the services.
Look at the disparity in salaries of CEO’s. The average CEO listed in the S&P 500 averaged nearly $13 million in salary and compensation last year. Workers salaries on the other hand are not keeping up with inflation. In fact, the manufacturing output in the U.S. increased last year by 13 percent, but manufacturing workers haven’t seen any significant increase in their wages since 2000.
The attack on unions, especially public sector unions, isn’t about the fact that many of them make decent wages because many of them don’t, especially teachers. The attack is about union busting and destroying the power that these organized workers have to influence their workplace and society as well as their working conditions.
The Obama administration, rather than fight for a single-payer healthcare system, pushed us into the arms of the greedy healthcare providers, which incidentally make money by not providing care for those paid in. Moreover, his administration tested the waters on the issue of privatizing Social Security and Medicare and found that the people aren’t complete suckers — well, at least not yet.
And both parties hold the enlarged military budget up as if it is the “holy grail” and can’t be touched while domestic problems simmer. And war and military intervention along with drone killings are yet another indication of where we are headed.
In fact, a return to chains is the logical conclusion of all the backward goings-on in the U.S. (think deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, welfare reform, union busting, enlarged military budget, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, skyrocketing CEO salaries) particularly since the days of the Reagan administration. U.S. imperialism is competing with the Chinese capitalists and India and even Russia for hegemony in the world.
The nature of capitalism is that it has to always compete for new markets. It has to have new territories, new horizons, new people to exploit. The only way hegemony is achieved is through measures of austerity.
In other words, more for us (the rich) and less for you (the workers). And to do that they have to drive down our wages and our living standards and limit our ability to organize. They have to divide us. They must create disharmony among the races, ethnicity, religion and even sex. They must create wedge issues and exacerbate tensions among us.
While Biden may have misspoke, there is no mistaking the plans of the rulers: If there is no struggle on our part, chains and worse await us.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to [email protected]