The call of “It can’t happen here” was a refrain heard during the years building up to WWII in the United States. This was answered by – of all people – Dr. Seuss who said time and again that “It Can Happen Here” and managed to use many cute animals to depict this event of Nazi or Axis beasties eating our women and children. Yes, sorry Japanese about the Togo as a monkey racist drawings of Mr. Dr. Sir Seuss…. But those were different times. We still had wars, we still had class wars going on at home and about the world. Here at home, we had working class people. Middle class. And the rich. As a matter of fact, after the German immigration of the end of the 1800s we had … gasp… socialism, unions, trade papers, entire systems that were pushing back the powers of the industrial age in old Europe coming to our shores…. The Great Depression (not to be confused with the “Great Recession” which is a term as stupid as it is misleading) was full of political alternatives in our own country and with the economic problems mounting (the “crash” was followed by years of ups and downs not all Dorothea Lange black and white n’shit) the issues of class conflict was boiling over – captured in time by massive public programs. The structure of which we are today fighting against.
When Sean Hannity says “class warfare” he attempts to conjure up an image of a socialist monster, the Togo of Dr. Seuss perhaps. Evil monkey with slant eyes, grinning and looking to rape our personal holes. The Old Left, the reenactors of the old 1960s, call “class war” and use stock images of “fat cats” wearing top hats and actually carrying money bags as if more damage isn’t done with computers these days. These Fat Cats actually carry money bags with the “$” on it as if Tammany Hall is an immortal and current issue, and Nast the only copyright free images out there critical of capitalism or the corporate state. In our popular minds, the cartoon Fat Cats take on the Togo Monkeys and each side delves further and further into archives for images and prop up arguments as historic as they are histrionic. “Power to the People.” “It Can Happen Here.”
The problem is that the times, they have been a changed. Done been changed. And Bob Dylan and the Beatles are on iTunes so they ain’t going to save us. The socialism that the right uses as a bugbear is not socialism. There are more socialists in nursing homes than the entire government. There are no more “people.” The people have been liberated. They want 50% off. They want Snookie and smush smush, not to sit about reading Der Tag and discussing policies of the Wobblies. The “people” want methamsomethingorother and bundled services. Those caught in the middle…. a class of people in the middle (COPITM). Or, the middle class (TMC). Educated. Moderate income. Aware that they are being squeezed by two forces of equal power – the rich, and the …. non rich….
The intellectuals of our age are in a bind since the enemy cannot be explained by adding “gate” “papers” “Kent State” nor singing the International, using really great high-speed black and white photography to capture the People Of Walmart (POW) or red paint and talk of subversive lone wolves. The enemy is on two fronts. The rich, who mean to push down from above. The poor, who want plastic and SUVs. The poor are not looking for empowerment, but united in force with the rich. The poor benefit from Walmartization with cheep products as the rich benefit from their relationship by owning the corporations that make the squeaking plastic dog shit that’s sold. The Rich-Poor alliance is set to adjust the world to fit a new order, one that is not set in president by history but sets a Dollar Tree in every hamlet and turns as much farmland into parking lots in search of an endless growth as deregulated as cancer is disorganized. The class war, then, is not that suggested by Hanity nor The Militant (“Hey man, want a paper? Good. Hey man! Where are you going? It’s a dollar!”). The class war an alliance between two hostile forces – the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of America where the corporate fascist rich and the American Neo-Kulak – a collection of Tea Baggers, Thug Life devotees, Batistaites, Cheat-to-Win H-2B imigrants, and Sheeple conspire. Those in the middle are a split collection of interests too (do we have a common culture anymore?). This Middle Class is not that of the suburban empire, nor make exactly the median income. It too is “Neo” in that it is a collection of attitudes and spans political thought. Our middle class actually agree on principles and ideals that depending on the colour are “left” and “right” in that the middle class values personal freedom, community liberty, and civic values even if they disagree on how to achieve these goals or the ultimate definition of terms. The Neo Middle Class may live in the woods in a hand-made cabin making not enough money to be taxed, or be a Friend’s School attending Montessori curious brownstone dweller and make a professional wage. This Neo Middle Class is in a very precarious position. It is hard to rally around a middling definition. In a family of five, who is the “middle child”? Do all not the first or last have “Middle Child Syndrome“? What we don’t know, may kill us.
With more people aware of the failure of Reaganomics and Miltonian economic models and the continuation of Clinton-Reaganomics by Obama, those Neo Middle can watch passively as their wages crumble, privatization goes postal, and laugh every night to Jon Stewart before going to bed. Or, we can all pick a side in the “class war.” Should the middle class allow the institutions that benefit the poor to fall, let them scrounge for the crumbs and hire really cheep domestic help, and allow the rich to toss what crumbs they can down? Should the middle class ally with the rich, let the institutions protecting the poor fail, live as free agents in a growing pool of temporary help and unattached to community and career and be fetching and stepping for our Chinese Employment Overlords (CEOs) the same way the British employed East Indians in Africa as managers of the native populations? Should the Middle Class side with the poor, join the Tea Party, raise walls on our borders, and work hard to become the police force keeping a fat and frightened public at bay by checking their pee holes for bombs? Should the Middle Class decamp en mass and bug out or dig in – powerdown and live in teepees in rural America? Or, is the only choice to take on both forces? Resist the rich and their agenda, while battling the poor? Not a good idea if the supply lines are drawn thin. Which, as long as Walmart is chugging along, perhaps we need not worry.
The next year is upon us. Doomsters say that this will be it. Pundits will predict gas will hit blah blah blah because of blah blah blah, the next hurricane will break the country into such and such, the nation will face inflation, not inflation, devaluation, revaluation, stagflation, the Great Recession will end, the Great Recession won’t end, total collapse, partial, not at all… Others will say your data is stupid and your predictions are idiotic, your comments are dumb, and your trackbacks don’t work. They will log onto your sites with fake user names and comment the same shit. They will reply that DEARONE345 is an asshole. They will say the EOTWAWKI is to only sell tee shirts, SHTF is for racists, Peak Oil (or PO if you find typing five characters and one space too vexing) is to sell desiccated ice cream left over from the beginning of the Korean War (yeah, it never officially ended), and oil is actually not 500 billion dinosaurs who croaked at once during a Mongolian Clusterfuck where present day Mecca is but bubbles up from Hell endlessly. Someone will come up with data saying “yes,” another person will have equal data saying “no.” Another BP may happen, followed by another slow death of the environment that doesn’t fit into our 24 hour infotainment cycle. People will claim we’ll fail this year – people will say we have green shoots and that our New… New…. New… New Post Service Economy will be powered by harnessing the power of our orgasms. Where terrorists are not found, they will be invented. Where repo men cluster, we’ll be told it’s “adjustment to market forces.” When budgets are strained by defence contracts, we’ll cut social services. We can fight our little battles, war on models, try to make our clever little essays site better sources, but one thing is certain…. We are not repeating the 1930s nor the 1960s but entering the new teens of the new millennium. We are reaching many peaks – oil, rare earth, the number two Al Quida advisor, and excuses. Perhaps we may run out of them too. The future may not look as we think either going green or blowing up, but it is neither made of the remnants of the past no matter what our news entertainers or our academic mystics tell us. We can wait again for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2011, or we can do something about it.
It is time for us to choose sides or open a battle on two fronts against the powers of corporate money and wilful and tubby ignorance of “The People” (Sheeple). If we choose to do nothing, Walmart siegt an allen Fronten… Walmart will be victorious on all fronts.