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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 03:52 PM
Original message
Working Class Heroes


As soon as your born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion, sex and T.V.
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasents as far as I can see
Working Class Hero is something to be
Working Class Hero is something to be

There's room at the top I'm telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
Working Class Hero is something to be
John Lennon; Plastic Ono Band

I watched a bit of CNN this morning. A journalist named Candy Crowley interviewed two of the republican candidates for the republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann. In large part, it was a waste of time .simply something to do while waiting for a cup of coffee to kick in. Though neither are at risk of securing their party's nomination, and should not be taken seriously, I did find something that Mr. Cain said highly offensive.

Crowley had asked him about economic and cultural issues, as they relate to race. He noted that race no longer holds people back in any meaningful way in our country. She mentioned the high levels of unemployment among black citizens, including the extraordinarily high rates among black teens and youth, and mentioned the astounding rates of incarceration among this same population. Cain blamed President Obama. Yet, even after knocking the bar to the ground, Mr. Cain would bring it lower.

Crowley asked him if he had an opinion on the Occupy Wall Street movement? Yes, of course Herman did. He said that those people who were mad at Wall Street and the banks were simply wrong: they should blame themselves for being unemployed.

Now, if he had said, in regard to young people of any race or ethnic background being incarcerated, that while the American justice system is imperfect and indeed, often unfair in prosecuting and sentencing that teenagers and youth should recognize not only the rules of the game, but to take responsibility for their own behaviors, I suspect that the majority of Americans would agree with him. But when he says that these same young people, many of whom are involved in the OWS movement, should blame themselves because they don't have a job, he's pitching for that 1% that the OWS protesters have identified as the real problem.

I've been thinking about some of my family and friends who are among the recently out-of-work. These are people, many in their 50s and early 60s, who earned advanced degrees long ago, and who were faithful employees for corporations that benefited from their work. They were laid-off not because these corporations were losing a penny because of them; but rather, because the corporations that they had invested decades of their lives for believe they can make even higher profits by cutting US positions and moving overseas.

Sad to say, it is not only the Herman Cains and Michelle Bachmaniacs who are opposing the OWS movement. Nor is it just some of the corporate media puppets attempting to discredit this growing democratic action. Even here, on the Democratic Underground, I've read a few attempts to discredit OWS while making shallow efforts to pretend to support OWS in theory.

In my own opinion, this is because OWS is an organic democratic effort, rather than an astro-turf production. As a member of the Democratic Party, I recognize that this has been a longstanding problem for us, rather than simply a Republican or Tea Party phenomenon. Speaking of in theory, there was a time when presidential primaries and national conventions were supposed to reflect the will of those at the grass roots level. But primaries are corporate-sponsored contests, and one need look back only to 1964 to see how the Democratic Party elite attempted to slam the door on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation despite the fact that the MFDP followed the laws, rules, and regulations.

The Cainites and Bachmaniacs attempt to point to the 1968 Chicago Convention to frighten people into rejecting the OWS movement. In fact, that was a police riot, directed by machine political boss Mayor Daley. It's important to remember that Daley was one of the first machine democrats to openly oppose the Vietnam War; still, being a rigid authoritarian, his desire to crush dissent over-rode his respect for Amendment 1 protection of peaceful protests. And the Democratic Convention itself was the craftsmanship of LBJ a potentially great US President who allowed his Great Society plans to be undermined by the war machine, and who former top aides such as Bill Moyers described as paranoid to the point of being unhinged from reality.

Some of my associates who are involved in the OWS movement are older folks who came of age in the 1960s. Some are liberals, who believe that The System can be fine-tuned in order to make it run properly. Others are progressives, who are convinced The System needs a major overhaul. Some have been involved in activities on the Democratic Left from the '60s to today. Others had become more moderate with age, doing little more than voting every couple of years.

More, one fellow who I've been good friends with since the mid-1980s, through work, used to be a semi-moderate Democrat. Before we met, he had been employed by Charlie Rangel. By the time we met, he was a conservative Democrat, very suspicious of me, because he viewed me in terms of a youthful radical reputation. It took him a year to admit to himself what a wonderful guy I really am. And it took me even longer to recognize that although he suffered from conservative flaws, he was okay. Most of the time, anyhow. In recent years, he joined the Tea Party.

Last week, he called me on his birthday. We discussed the passing of another person we used to work with, who had since taken a position in government. The guy literally drank himself to death. Although he and I never enjoyed a close relationship he was an Ayn Rand worshipper, which prevented our having much of anything in common except an interest in archaeology I feel sad about his death. While I understand the biological processes involved with addiction, I believe his desire for what he mistakenly believed was power left him empty, in a manner that increased the risks of his dying the lonely and meaningless death he did.

On a more chipper note, my friend had visited family in NYC. There, he encountered some of the OWS demonstrators. He told me that he made a real ass of himself, by getting into a heated argument with them. Again, he had been convinced they were dangerous radicals. After he calmed down (at his gentle wife's urging), he found that he was in near total agreement with the basic points that these people were making. He came away convinced that OWS is the most hopeful events of 2011.

Now, although he is a member of the Tea Party, I can talk with him. He is well-educated, compassionate, and distinct from the image of TP members that I see in the media. Or too often in real life. He does not, for example, think that Michelle Bachmann is competent to hold any public office. Likewise, although he views me as a liberal, he thinks that most of the TP members he is associated with would respect me.

I suspect that this is among the dynamics that the 1% fears the most. Not him or I as individuals, for we are simply grumpy old men. But the very real potential that an organic democratic movement will create common ground among not only the Progressive Left and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party .. but also with the minority of Tea Partiers who are capable of rational thought. There may be more of the initial emotional and ignorant responses, but there is a possibility that they will come to see that the OWS represents democracy. That doesn't mean that the majority of the Tea Party will think outside of the plastic box that their corporate masters have provided them. But the more insightful few might convince them that as different as our value systems may seem, our common enemy is that 1% that is attempting and almost accomplishing the total destruction of Constitutional democracy in America.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. K & R
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. I love that song!
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Great essay. I think the OWS movement and its use of social (direct) media
has the opportunity to greatly shift the dialogue and thus the public psyche (what the public holds as "commonly understood") around very key economic/political issues. The shifting dialogue will very unlikely adopt Faux talking points or Heritage Foundation bogus studies.

It is possible, that this is the beginning of a public awakening. A *large* public awakening. Doubtful the whole 99% will participate in the conversation but even those that don't will find a shifted landscape.

In the face of a shifted public psyche - the policies of tax cuts on the rich that one the one hand "Deficits Don't Matter" (Dick Cheney) and on the other hand "Deficits and Debt" are the first priority in this economy, while we cut services but still grant new tax cuts to the rich - now become a hard sell. The 30 year grip of "supply side economics" as a truism, will likely relax.

The 1% really doesn't want a widespread - cross the lines - public conversation.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. Well, it would be nice if some of them could recognize our common enemy.
And we could find some common ground.

Translating that into agreement as to how to subdue our common enemy might be difficult, due to the essential differences in our basic ideologies.

The misdirected focus of the ideology of the Tea Party has always brought to mind for me this line from the Jethro Tull song "Living in the Past":

"Now there's revolution, but they don't know what they're fighting".

Maybe if some of them figure it out, we could be allies of a sort, but decades of struggling against the irrationality of conservatives just to maintain some semblance of liberty in this country leaves me skeptical.

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

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wovenpaint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. Excellent post
:applause:
During conversations over the past week or so, when people call it just a protest by fringe types, I tend to point out that it's an "occupation" represented by many types/ages of people... quickly turning into a movement. Because-we are all the 99%, (inhaling deeply here) even Tea Party members. There may be lots to disagree with, but there can be common ground as well. Strength in numbers!

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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. The 1% are probably in bemused dismay
to discover the 99% aren't fighting among ourselves and probably beginning to wonder how they could have been so wrong in their arrogant belief that stupid and easily maleable.

The 99% are making inroads even into Republican consciousness. At least they're waking up to the facts now, although I'm sure they'll fight like hell against us.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
7. ..
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
8. The last paragraph is most especially...
a thing of beauty.

Very well said, as always.

K&R

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PETRUS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. Full of truth. K&R nt
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
10. ^
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
11. Occupy Wall Street has thrown a wrench in the continued process
Edited on Sun Oct-09-11 11:25 PM by mmonk
that the 1% have been able to implement successfully otherwise. Yes, they are afraid the 99% might start to figure it out enough that they find common ground. I recently tried to find the Citigroup plutonomy files featured in Capitalism, A Love Story but Citigroup seems to have been successful in erasing them from internet access. This movement must not be allowed to fade away. BTW, you called Candy Crowley a journalist. That's the first mistake I believe I have found in anything you have written. ;-)
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 05:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Ha!
Sentence two was the only one that caused me to pause ..... "what to call her? what to call her?" .... and "journalist" seemed the least offensive option. Hilarious that you picked up on that!
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. There's "News-reader" which is fairly inoffensive
of course, there are other terms that come to mind.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 05:56 AM
Response to Original message
13. Great song, great OP
Rec
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mother earth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
14. Absolutely, the 99% are from all walks of like, all political
Edited on Mon Oct-10-11 08:31 AM by mother earth
persuasions...we've all had enough of the corruption and the hijacking of a gov't that's supposed to represent its people...you bet it'll grow until we finally dissolve what has become the biggest heist of all...it's not just Wall St. robbing us blind, it's the damned corrupt politician enablers that are stuffing their pockets and using Orwellian double-speak while they continue the rape and pillaging of this nation. This is the tipping point, and it's just the beginning stage.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
16. k&r...
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-10-11 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
17. too late to recommend but I love what you are saying here
There are some TP folks who can be reasoned with and they may come to realize that they have more in common with us tree hugging socialists than those looking down on us from their Wall Street offices.
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