Friday, February 25, 2011

And then they woke up.

Obviously the U.S. government was quite successful in importing state capitalism into Iraq, as evidenced by the outbursts of grieved protesters and their now-archetypal counterweights, the riot police. Nothing says quote-unquote-democracy like citizens confronting men in burly black armor.

How many homes go without electricity so these dudes can hide behind big plastic shields?

Ahh, the bourgeois democracy. That is, democracy for the rich, a lifetime of squalor and servitude for most everybody else.

Thank the maker we don't have anything like that here. Oh shit, wrong link. Ahh, nevermind ... what's much more interesting to note is that since Obama got elected, class struggle has been relatively low. Riot cops haven't been quite so necessary, not even at the immigration rights marches I've been to. Those waiters seem to be reserved for parties of 10,000 or more....

And they're curiously absent from the current protests in Madison, Wisconsin, which have occupied the state capitol and seen thousands of people come and go from all over the state and indeed all over the nation.

Solidarity is a curiously effective component of democracy, contrary to how absolute democracy is usually portrayed.

And no riot police (knock on wood). Police officers have been encouraged to sleep among the protesters. They guard doors but for the most part leave the crowds alone. There's been a few arrests, I hear, but despite Walker's swagger and bluster, no crackdown yet.

Today thousands of people are again rallying to Madison. As in Egypt and Tunisia and Iraq, Libya and Bahrain and Yemen, Jordan and Morocco and Algiers (apologies if I've left any of my cuzes out), "the people have lost their fear." There are still divisions and bitter feelings, as the disenfranchised public sector workers feel public unions should be dragged down to their level, rather than restored to the elevation they once enjoyed. (Why you would side with the rhetoric of the people who cheated and defiled you, I'll never understand....)

It's quite affirming to finally see the workers of the United States standing up for themselves. They've done their "patriotic duty" for years - bought products, taken pay cuts, let politicians handle politics. We've just kept our head down and done our job. "Git er done" was the slogan of the American worker and we were proud to do it for the red-white-and-blue. But the politicians kept pushing our buttons, kept looking for the line, kept on pushing down our standard of living while raising the expectations. They picked this fight, not us. It's just the unions who got fed up first this time around ...

... but there are a lot more of us with a bone to pick. March is just around the corner, and when the snow begins to melt (and the rivers begin to flood) the whole upper half of the country will rouse itself, crabby from hibernation. We will pack sand bags and hoist signs and on March 19th we will hold nation-wide anti-war marches against the continued occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. May 1st is May Day, a day for workers and new-agers (a solidarity I approve of). There are always immigrant rights marches then too. May 22nd is Harvey Milk Day, for LGBT rights and there's a lot yet to be done.

The left has been anything but sluggish these last 10 years - the media just hasn't been watching. Now that workers are really moving into action however we are beginning to hit the establishment where it hurts - the wallet. In closing I'm reminded of a few lines of lyrics and prose I feel really speak to this sudden worker's empowerment.

The first is a song, by Suicidal Tendencies:
"And I go 'wait, what are you talking about, WE decided? MY best interests? How do you know what MY best interest is? How can you say what MY best interest is? What are you trying to say? I'M crazy? When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities? So how can you say I'M crazy?'"
- "Institutionalized"

And the second is a bit of a quote from one of the best movies of all time: Fight Club.

"We cook your meals. We haul your trash. We connect your calls. We drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us."

Workers of the world, unite :)

1 comment:

comrade x said...

Maybe working people in the U.S.A. are starting to remember there is a class war here.
Also, notice how in the 100, 000+ crowd, not one person felt the need to carry a rifle slung on their shoulder or open carry a handgun.
Pro- labor protestors use persuasion. The Teabaggers use intimidation.