Lately I’ve been info-tabling at a local farmer’s market. Always there are Republicans tabling on one side of me, and Democrats on the other. They don’t really raise their voices, but still I feel like I’m surrounded by a bunch of shrieking politicos. On one side are the Democrats carrying on about the Tea Party. On the other side are the Republicans, screaming that the poor should pay more taxes than the rich, because the rich can just leave anytime they want, and the poor can’t, and so the poor have to pay more. It’s all so surreal and crazy.
One would think that by now everyone would get it that the two parties are in on the same game. No matter what party you elect you get war, Empire, police state, bankster-driven oligarchic economics, etc.. Now, I think I can almost understand why Republican loyalists stick to their party. I think that most of them associate economically with the military and sentimentally with fascisto-zionism. For them, the GOP is a sure thing. Democratic Party loyalists are harder to understand. Unless they actually have a job in government, or in the burgeoning (corporate owned) NGO industry, they are being screwed over by their party in every possible way, yet they cling to ‘their’ party like it is a cycle of abuse they cannot tear themselves away from.
Here’s Shamus Cooke discussing just a few examples of this, drawn from the savage attack on unions by DEMOCRATS going on coast to coast:
The Democrats in Massachusetts are even more brazenly anti-union, where Democratic Governor Deval Patrick assisted the Democrat-dominated legislature to pass bills restricting benefit bargaining by municipal employees.
In New Jersey, the Democrat-controlled legislature gave critical assistance to the anti-union Republican Governor, Chris Christie, in taking away bargaining rights for public workers over their medical and pension benefits. Massive cuts can now be imposed unilaterally. The New Jersey Spotlight reported that the legislation would “…save the state $132 billion over the next 30 years [in health and pension costs].” (June 29th, 2011). However, New Jersey unions are currently bargaining, and no cuts have yet been imposed.
In California, an all cuts budget was passed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, in which public education faces massive cuts. The two state university systems were each cut by half a billion dollars, which means faculty salaries will be reduced and the cost of what was public higher education is being shifted to the students in the form of higher tuition, meaning that these university systems are being increasingly privatized. Jerry Brown has also repeatedly stated that he will introduce pension “reform” for state workers. “Reform” is the common euphemism employed by politicians to refer to cuts.
In Oregon, Governor Kitzhaber, a Democrat, is attempting to force unprecedented cuts in health care to state workers, months after state workers campaigned to elect him. In return, the 51,000-member SEIU 503 is discussing the possibility of a statewide strike.
Wow. Isn’t it something to remember that once upon a time Jerry Brown was a progressive icon? He probably didn’t deserve it even then, but what is he now? We are looking at a situation where the establishment types are clearly united against We the People, as a predatory force. Yes. They are the lions and we are the sheep. Only, we are sheep that want to be pals with the lions. We have pictures of lions over our mantelpieces, and on buttons we wear. We campaign for them and argue over them; some of the lions wear red hats and some wear blue hats, and we argue about whether the red hat lions or the blue hat lions are the good lions, and which are the bad lions. We all find certain, narrowly defined and carefully hedged, issues to cite.
Cooke seems to fall for this, to some extent. He calls for unions to fight back, and he recognizes that they cannot fight alone; he says that unions have to mobilize their communities, but he doesn’t seem to see the wider picture. As communities we must recognize a common enemy and fight back together, for a shared future. But to do that we have to overcome the many divisions that we seem so inured to. It’s not enough to say that we need to mobilize the community to fight for unions. We also need to mobilize the unions to fight for communities, and we need to see the multiple ways that our different concerns and issues intersect. For example, if unions in california want to fight back against Jerry Brown, shouldn’t they make common cause with the prisoners of California, who are engaged in an EPIC struggle right now for their rights and dignity? They are fighting for all of us and we need to see that. In fact, their struggle has a fairly direct bearing on unions; prison labor is being used to bust what’s left of union power in America.
One way or another, we are all really fighting the same fight. Folks on the Right who are fighting against Big Government, because they see the Imperial and fascistic/police state aspects of what is going on – they too are really fighting the same fight we are. We need to start actively attacking the divisions that keep us from building a unified people’s movement in America. Such a movement is our only hope, and time is running out so very fast.
“something that should concern all U.S. citizens, is the increasing use of behavioral control, i.e. Torture units and human experimental techniques against prisoners, not only in California but across the nation. … The purpose of this ‘treatment’ is to stop prisoners from standing in opposition to inhumane prison conditions and prevent them from exercising their basic human rights.”
Statement of Solidarity with the Pelican Bay Collective Hunger Strike on July 1st and announcement of participation by Corcoran SHU prisoners (from California Prison Watch, californiaprisonwatch.blogspot.com)
On Friday, July 1, prisoners in California’s infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison began a courageous and determined hunger strike. This then, very quickly, turned into a display of collective outrage and solidarity among prisoners throughout the state and beyond.
This is an extremely significant and extraordinary development, something that challenges people on “the outside” to sit up and take notice. …
A prisoner from Ohio writing in solidarity with the hunger strike said: “We are all a part of the same fabric of oppression within these walls; we all experience the same or similar conditions in some form or fashion. That’s why I believe it’s very necessary for us to come together, put down the knives for a moment & demand the kind of meaningful change needed to produce better conditions & to combat abusive ‘power holders’ in ways that foster collective resistance. Case in point—the brothas in Georgia (work stoppage demonstration) & the brothas out in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU).” (Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity, prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com)
A statement from prisoners in the SHU at Corcoran Prison said:
“It is important for all to know Pelican Bay is not alone in this struggle and the broader the participation and support for this hunger strike and other such efforts, the greater the potential that our sacrifice now will mean a more humane world for us in the future.” (From commondreams.org/newswire/2011/07/05-6)
Increasingly we are ALL prisoners in an America, now a land where we are all guilty, until proven wealthy, connected and part of the plan. That’s why these prisoners, by joining forces against oppression, seem to have a message for all of us.