America Approaching Class Warfare

Pete Sabo

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” is the most appropriate maxim to apply to what’s been happening in the past weeks across the U.S. in the battle for labor unions against the greed of Wall Street and its corporate cronies running our states. Governor John Kasich, for instance, worked for Lehman Brothers and made millions selling toxic loans to Ohio.

We’re reaching a breaking point at which we will see the dissolution of American society as we’ve known it since 1945, and fall deeper into a corporatist state of Democratic Fascism. Otherwise, we will empower ourselves, the working and middle class, and bring America to a more free and equal society: democratic socialism. Students need to comprehend the dire consequences of inaction against this Republican class warfare.

If you don’t think the recent efforts by the Republicans are class warfare, then let’s break down the incomes of the U.S., focusing on wealth concentration, and then examine our democratically elected representatives and their income and voting patterns.

Mother Jones recently published an article, “Plutocracy Now,” which featured a brilliant infographic depicting wealth inequality. The median income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans is $31,244; the top 1–10 percent is $164,647; the top 1 percent is $1,137,684; the top 0.01 percent to 0.1 percent is $3,238, 386; and the uber-rich 0.01 percent median income is $27,343,212.

What American wealth consolidation looks like: 1. The richest 10 percent own two-thirds of our country’s total net assets; the top 20 percent own over 80 percent of the wealth in the U.S. 2. Income inequality is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. 3. From 2007-2009, Wall Street profits have risen 720 percent, while home equity dropped 35 percent as unemployment grew 102 percent. 4. Bush-era tax cuts for the rich demonstrate the lowest tax rates since 1945, when the rate was 66 percent under Eisenhower, a Republican.

It’s evident now that the economic policies of neo-liberalism reached their apex during the 2008 recession. Therefore, we need to evolve our economic thinking to prevent further ruin.

We need to fight for collective bargaining, tax the richest — a 5–percent surtax on the top 1 percent of earners — eliminate subsidies to giant corporations, eliminate subsidies and loopholes for oil and gas exploration, cut back on military spending and invest in a clean energy and green jobs economy. Ohio is particularly set up for green jobs because it was ranked as the number two state with potential for developing advanced manufacturing for wind and solar power.

But what do Americans want? A recent poll by The Wall Street Journal and NBC reported that 81 percent approve taxing the top 1 percent, 76 percent approve cutting back on defense, 74 percent approve eliminating subsidies for oil and gas exploration and 68 percent approve eliminating Bush-era tax cuts. This means that the people support progressive and Democratic policies, which have been thrown to the side of the road as the “hopeful” Obama era has fizzled out.

The Republicans are taking away collective bargaining, cutting education, health care, transportation, foreign aid, public media and environmental regulations, while privatizing prisons and roads, selling public land for drilling and taking unbelievable campaign contributions: This is corporate cronyism at its worse.

We are facing real class warfare, folks, and it’s time for students to take to real democratic action and assert our power in solidarity with the unions. On March 15, 5 p.m. at Tappan Square, there will be a rally in support of Labor unions with speakers from unions in the area. Also, consider coming down to Columbus to rally among thousands as Kasich’s bill will be voted on next week. Which side are you on?