It only becomes class warfare when we fight back.
Seen all over Facebook.
Occupy Wall Street is spreading.
It is spreading to cities as far apart as Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Minneapolis. Chicago. Hilo. That would be Hilo, Hawaii, as far away from Wall Street as you can get in these 50 states.
You have heard of Occupy Wall Street, haven’t you? Not everyone has, it seems. On September 24, one week after the protests started, The New York Times ran an opinion piece by Michael Kazin, which discussed how disorganized and unfocused the left was as a historical artifact. Kazin did pause long enough in his scholarly look at the rise of political movements to ask “Why the relative silence from the left?”
The left is not silent. We are screaming in blogs and alternative news sources, mainly because the traditional ones are not doing an adequate job covering us. (God bless Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, even though he has now been banished from MSNBC to the backwaters of the cable channel Current.) To ask why we are silent is akin to asking black artists in the early days of MTV why they are not being aired: because the decision as to who gets the best soapbox rests in someone’s else hands.
So, Mr. Kazin, still think we’re silent?
In the 1980s, Jerry Falwell spearheaded a movement called “the Silent Majority.” It turned out in the minds of many of us to be neither. I do not know if the protesters represent a majority of Americans, yet. They certainly speak for many of us who decry the way programs for the poor are under attack and tax breaks for corporations are being defended, even as the disparity between the richest 1% and the rest of the populace continues to grow, where the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans are one third of those under Ronald Regan, and half those of 1945? When worker compensation since the 1970s has stagnated, while CEO compensation has skyrocketed?
Interestingly enough, some Tea Partiers have joined the protest. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. This demonstrates what some of us have believed all along: that the mass of Tea Party followers fall into the groups most affected by the income disparity, that many of them are among those struggling to get by.
But, now, finally, the people hurt by the current system are making their voices heard. They are asking to be treated by the government and corporate America as though their lives were worth a damn beyond consuming whatever we are offered, be it goods or unregulated mortgage-backed securities.
When some people in the the 99% call for tax increases for millionaires and corporations, or question bonuses and bailouts, we stand accused of “inciting class warfare.” Bring it on: those who defend the status quo started it first.