Some of my best friends have been assholes. I have known they were assholes, and they were still my friends. I have voted for politicians who were a lot worse than assholes: they were monsters. I knew they were monsters and I voted for them because I considered the alternative worse. One of the most […]
I haven’t been paying attention to politics for the past two days because, frankly, there’s nothing much I can do about the coming catastrophe no matter who is in office.
We’ve got to focus our attention on two years from now and this time, we need to get serious.
I’ve already floated a proposition on another blog where it was promptly shot down because people didn’t like the model on which it was based, even though that model was extremely successful. There is such a thing as being too persnickety. If you’re going to argue about names and models right off the bat without even trying anything, then, you know, just give up and get used to generations of penury and debt to the wealthiest elite for as far as the eye can see. I can’t take you seriously.
One thing I think we can all agree on is the 12 Word Platform that originated at Corrente. Here it is:
1. Medicare for All
2. End the Wars
3. Tax the Rich
4. A Jobs Guarantee
I like medicare for all but for it to work, there have to be cost controls on providers and they’re not going to like it. Gird your loins for all kinds of misinformation from Harry and Louise type ads.
End the wars, well that goes without saying. It’s time to stop wasting money when it could be used here at home.
Tax the rich, absolutely necessary. I love successful people but if they have more money than 120 people could spend in a lifetime, they need to be taxed. Heavily. The accumulation of wealth means they aren’t compensating their workers enough and that is a drag on the economy.
A jobs guarantee means that putting people back to work will take precedence over protecting the accumulated wealth of the privileged. There are more of us and when many of us aren’t working, society in general becomes more unstable. Is that what the rich want? Kinda makes it hard to sell stuff if everyone is ripping everyone off and violence escalates.
This has got to be a moral movement.
Think about what kind of country you want to live in. I envision a country where you can safely bike to work and where we all have the ability to live off the grid if we choose, where you get rewarded for the work you do and where everyone has a birthright to good schools, affordable healthcare, higher education, a justice system that treats everyone fairly regardless of wealth, an honest voting system and a comfortable retirement.
Update: Please note that this is my proposal and does not necessarily reflect the ideas of other writers at The Confluence. No other writer at The Confluence was consulted in the preparation of this post. I am speaking for me only.
Endorphins can do funny things to your thought processes. I began running last year and I am still not very good at it. Just to give you an idea of my running condition, my present limit is about 2.7 miles on a treadmill. It takes me about 35 minutes with warm up and cool down. Running is *hard* for me like other exercise routines are not. But one thing that I have noticed is that when I’m in the midst of a run, with my power songs blaring in my ears, I start to get visions of things that might be. Sort of like Galadriel’s mirror but with a lot more sweat and heavy breathing.
Usually, the vision is prompted by the question, “How do we motivate the working class to fight for itself?” I’d like to quote from Hell’s Kitchen from yesterday’s survey results thread because she summarized all that is wrong with America:
I am a 70 year old female. My parents were the swing generation from working class to middle class. I have a masters degree in computer science and am retired. I am married to a Keynesian economist, but one who is not on to POTUS and thinks I am uncharitable. My sister and I are supposedly middle class but in 1991, I consciously abandoned the middle class for my working class roots.
The corporation I worked for dumped an entire department of 75 people. However, it was not the loss of the job itself that turned me back, it was the gratuitous cruelty involved in the matter. I thought if it’s simply an economic matter for the firm, why not make it as easy as possible for every one involved?
Instead, we were told repeatedly how awful we were and how glad they would be to get rid of us, but they couldn’t fire us until we finished our projects. And that’s just the general atmosphere. That doesn’t include the individual acts of cruelty by corporate leaders against vulnerable employees.
I decided at that point that the middle class – especially the white collar middle class – was an illusion. I don’t care how professional your job is, what kind of degree you have – if you depend on a paycheck for your living and someone else has the say-so about whether you get that paycheck or not, you are not middle class, you are working class. The sooner people wake up to that reality, the quicker we’ll find political solutions to our problems.
Having been asleep during Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I, and then the 2000 election, I woke up. With the shock of the 2000 election, I thought surely the Democratic Party would wake up. In 2004, I began to realize that there were problems with my party.
Do you hear that, Chris Bowers, “Creative Class” wannabe extraordinaire? There is no Creative Class. If you rely on someone to pay you for your work, and not on your investments for a living, you are working class. Your fate is no different than a auto worker or teacher or chemist or retail sales manager. You can be replaced by the Japanese, Chinese or a call center operator in Hyderabad. We are all in this together. Jettisoning the ‘old coalition’ from the Democratic party was quite possibly the stupidest thing that A-listers bought into last year. They reduced their ability to fight the erosion of their way of life. They just don’t know it yet, but they’re about to find out.
The problem remains though, how do you motivate people to fight for themselves? How do you get people together and bring critical mass to their voices? How do you effectively reconstitute the voices that were squelched in the past several decades? The media is not our friend. We know that none of the cable news channels are going to report on any serious challengers to the status quo. And in this modern media age, there is further atomization of possible collective action. Each person has the option to get their own sources of information, follow their own interests, find their own entertainment. While that can be an enriching experience, it can also be isolating from common principles. How do we herd millions of cats?
It was on one of my runs that I thought about how we can get around the media filter and increase our visibility while at the same time spread a message. I propose The Confluence Run for the Working Class on July 4, 2010. The run can be a 5K run or walk, nationwide. There are online tools at Nikerunning that can help groups organize such events and challenges. The participants can organize the runs locally and in the lead up to the run, do practice runs together through the streets of their towns, parks, neighborhoods. We can wear T-Shirts that say The Confluence Run for the Working Class. The goal is to attract attention and to get as many people as possible to run on July 4, 2010. Maybe there can be a rally at the end of the run in a prominent public place. We have to plan and organize what message we want to deliver at those rallies. For practice runs, we can put together iMixes for iPods with motivating music.
Now, for the message, we need to get serious about organizing. Jangles has suggested that we form a PAC and register as a non-profit. I know we tried this before but it’s time guys. Before we start brainstorming on this, please hold your creative energies on the your personal beliefs. I guarantee you that a comment thread is not the best place for such a thing. Those statements of beliefs get way too flowery, idealistic and out of touch with average everyday people. We need to focus our attentions up front on organizational discipline.
So, I want to open the floor to consideration of the proposal for The Confluence Run for the Working Class. Please don’t whine about how you can’t run or haven’t exercised in forever. See your doctor before you start any exercise program. If you can’t run it (yet), walk it. Or, if you’re disabled, wheel it. Besides, if you want to change the country, you have to look like you have the energy to do it.
Please take the poll below to indicate your support of an investigation into the feasibility of the inkling of having a run of the type described in the post above, recognizing that no other writer of The Confluence was consulted before this PROPOSAL was posted.
Body: Last week I went down to Washington, D.C. to deliver a paper at a conference in the technical field where I worked, ten years or so and two or three careers ago, before the dot.com trash. The trip was solely an exercise in merit-making, since I doubt very much I'll get work in the field, but reconnecting with old friends was really great -- even […]
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