Tuesday, August 15, 2017

● Demonizing The Left

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● Demonizing The Left : destroys democracy 

Decades of demonizing the left has had an effect. The effects for the most part have been devastating to communities and the economy as a whole. Cutting programs and regulations that help the poor, middle-class, workers, and consumers, while simultaneously cutting taxes for the rich and giving government handouts to the wealthiest 0.1%, has decimated the public sphere. Giant multinational corporations lease the public airwaves for free. They dominate the discussion with the bias of the corporate elite. And, this devastation did not come about by accident. It has been a well thought out plan and very successful campaign by the extreme right.

After the great depression, parties on the left organized. It was a time when practically everyone had joined a workers’ union. Two socialist parties, the communist party, and the workers’ unions got together to pressure Franklin Delano Roosevelt to implement the New Deal. There was talk of revolution across the country. In 1944, FDR proposed a tax increase of 100% on the top marginal tax bracket of the time, which was income over $25,000 per year ($400,000 in today’s terms). He went to the wealthiest people (the people who had benefited the most from the system) and told them, if they don’t give something back, they could stand to lose it all. They settled on a tax of 94% on the top marginal tax bracket. And, that paid for the programs that gave us the Golden Years of Capitalism. The New Deal was a half measure. It was not socialism. It merely saved capitalism. One of the conditions, was for the organized left to stop talking about revolution. And they did, but the enraged right began to plot their revenge.

Equality feels like oppression to the privileged. They couldn’t accept the fact that everyone was doing better and that they themselves were still benefiting the most from society. The generation that elected FDR understood the lessons their children never learned. The top marginal tax rate stayed in the ninety percentile throughout the 1950’s and into the 60’s. By the 1970’s, it was in the seventy percentile. The wealthiest are generally able to subtract 40 to 50% off the percent they owe, so when they were supposed to pay 90%, they ended up paying 40% on income above the top rate. So, now that they’re supposed to pay 39%, they actually pay nothing, while still receiving huge subsidies to their businesses and districts, not to mention the bailouts when they fail. Over the longterm, Republicans cut taxes for the rich, and increase taxes on the lower 90 percent, while Democrats tax the rich a little more and the majority a little less. The Corporate Democrats have damaged the economy in a similar way as Republicans, but to a lesser degree. If an establishment news anchor attempts to relay this information to the public, they’re quickly removed, as we have seen with Dylan Ratigan, Ed Shultz, and others.

Some think that war is good for the economy, but World War II did not save the economy after the depression. Our longest war is the Afghan War, and it’s obviously not helping anyone but the rich. Only war profiteers benefit from war. Even if war helped society (which it doesn’t), it would be the most immoral solution ever devised. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the growing military-industrial complex, but the Traditionalists and Baby Boomers didn’t listen. Although, the Baby Boomers did make great contributions to society with the civil rights and women’s rights movements, which came out of the more stable more equal New Deal economy. Practically, everything good that we have today can be traced back to the progress of the left, and likewise, most setbacks can be traced to the achievements of the right and the decimation of the New Deal. As we take from the poor and give to the rich, inequality increases. It’s very predictable and easy to understand, unless you’re being informed by those who benefit from your misunderstanding. If you’re angry at the poor, it’s because you’re being informed (actually manipulated) by the rich.

In 1976 and 1978, the conservatives in the Supreme Court passed laws declaring that corporations are people and money is speech, making bribery legal through campaign donations. Since, we’ve shifted from a Keynesian economy to a Friedmanist economy (or Reaganomics), CEO pay has gone through the roof, while working conditions and wages have gone down for the majority. Worker productivity has gone up, but due to the rollbacks in regulations, workers receive no benefits from their increased productivity. Now, the wealth of the world sits stagnant in the Cayman Islands or other offshore accounts. Giving to the rich has done nothing the right had claimed it would, and yet has done everything the left predicted. The Millennials who grew up with the internet, have not been so easily indoctrinated, and hence the left can be demonized no more.

The decades’ attacks on unions, socialists, and the left altogether, has been disastrous to democracy, civic engagement, and collective action as a whole. In other words, community interests have been forgotten in our political system, while private profits for the rich have taken center-stage in national and international decision making in the United States. Although, there may be one small, yet not completely insignificant, side benefit to all of this demonization and marginalization. And that is, for the past several decades the left has had to continually rethink and reevaluate its principles and positions. But now, there is practically no extreme left. Bernie Sanders is less of a Socialist than Eisenhower. Eisenhower taxed the rich more than Bernie has ever suggested. That's how far to the right we have gone. That which is generally considered to be the extreme left, are merely basic new deal economic policies, the lessons the Traditionalists forgot. Although hopefully, what we are left with, are more well thought out ideas. Yet, there's still much to figure out as we navigate through and, with any luck, out of this corporatists neoliberal era. Conceivably, the decades of reevaluation could help in some way, but if nothing else, it has certainly made the criticism from the right, laughable.
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Post by: Kurt Riebel: artist, activist  

 #ThinkLove #ThinkLoveIdeas #PeacefulProtest #LoveTrumpsHate #Resist @uResist
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