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Someone Else’s Government

Not since the Hoover administration, have the suffering of so many Americans been so ignored by their government. If you’re over 50 and looking for a job, you know this. You won’t see it on your local TV news and you won’t read about it in your local paper. Some people think that it’s something new, but its not. During the nineteen twenties and thirties, there were many owners of newspapers, but they were all owned by people with enough money to own a newspaper. Ask a billionaire how much he thinks about unemployment and they’ll say, “Not much.” Ask them what they think of higher taxes and watch them become animated.

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song? –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Herbert Hoover wasn’t really a bad fellow, a devout Quaker who couldn’t see the events in flight. They had shot an arrow and failed to understand the carelessly placed missile had caused serious injury. If they act so casually irresponsible, how will they behave in a crisis? They march with muddy boots across the white carpet of our lives asking, “Why’s everyone looking at me?” They point to the Dow Jones average and say, “See, it’s all better now.”

But it’s not better, new home sales have been revised at the top of the home buying season. New home sales are down 100,000 units, from a year ago. Existing home sales are at the same level as January of 2011. Maybe the big city editors of Hoover’s day really believed it was “Red” agitators and not hunger motivating the food rioters. Hadn’t Herbert Hoover arranged for $2 billion in loans to big business? Now, you can’t expect these things to work overnight, oh but there you go again with “My children are hungry and I can’t pay my rent” line. Be patient, Mr. Hoover’s working on it.

Food riots across the country were reported in the newspapers as whipped up by “Red” agitators. Telling a lie inside of the truth, many demonstrations were organized by the Communist Party of America. The more important factor was that thousands of Americans were turning up. Nothing sours you on Capitalism as much as being thrown to the wolves. When the arrow lands on you, archery isn’t fun anymore.

On March 7, 1932 five thousand marchers left Detroit, headed for Henry Ford’s River Rouge plant. Their demands were fanciful, winter fuel for the poor and the rehiring of laid off workers, the end of company spies and the right to form labor unions. Ford couldn’t hire anyone, he couldn’t sell the cars he’d made and why is fuel for the freezing Ford’s responsibility? To Henry Ford the world had gone mad; he whistled a happy tune, giving his son Edsel a million dollars in gold for his birthday. Henry Ford was the richest man in the world and when the marchers reached his gate, Ford did what any responsible businessman would do. The Dearborn Police and Ford’s private police force opened fire, killing five and wounding sixty.

Three days later, public funerals were held and the crowds swelled to twenty thousand. A Grand Jury report later found no police wrong doing, but the killings had changed the perception of millions. They began to understand that government really didn’t care if they were unemployed, hungry or freezing. They also understood that if they complained, they would be jailed, beaten or worse. They didn’t see the government as theirs; they saw it as someone else’s.

3.8 million Long term unemployed Americans, two million of them over 50 years old ask, whose government? A government which can come up with a $100 million for the Ukraine in less than an hour, remains dead locked by partisan politics on assistance to unemployed Americans. They also serve who do nothing, because doing nothing is still doing something. Either, it is ignoring the people in a representative democracy or there is no representative democracy. The President carefully differentiates, asking for mortgage assistance only for responsible consumers, without prosecuting irresponsible banks. The President who once campaigned for green energy is proud of our rising oil production.

The official unemployment rate stands at 6.1% but only because they say so. The U-3 unemployment rate is 6.1% the U-6 figure, which formerly was the official number is 12.4%. But if we pretend it’s so and repeat it often enough, it becomes the truth. It allows government to cut food assistance, because they claim the crisis is over. Rather than assistance, the long-term unemployed receive purposeful neglect and scorn. I suppose I could vote for the Republicans and Mr. Hoover’s giveaways to big business or I could vote for the Democrats and Mr. Hoover’s giveaways to big business.

We don’t ask you to believe in our ability to bring change, rather, we ask you to believe in yours. –Barack Obama

Do you understand? If you’re waiting for Barack Obama to do anything for the growing numbers of poor, working poor and long-term unemployed, you gotta long wait ahead of you.

President Hoover predicted today that the worst effect of the crash upon unemployment will have been passed during the next sixty days. –Washington Dispatch (March 8, 1930)

So I will ask again; whose government?

Of course, Socialism is violently denounced by the capitalist press and by all the brood of subsidized contributors to magazine literature, but this only confirms the view that the advance of Socialism is very properly recognized by the capitalist class as the one cloud upon the horizon which portends an end to the system in which they have waxed fat, insolent and despotic through the exploitation of their countless wage-working slaves. –Eugene Debs 1900


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David Cox

David Cox