Ruling Class Treason

"We don’t grasp internally what an oligarchic class is finally about, or how venal and morally bankrupt they are. We need to recover the language of class warfare to grasp what is happening to us. And we need to shatter this self-delusion that somehow if, as Obama says, we work hard enough and study hard enough, we can be one of them."
- Chris Hedges

One of the most powerful points that Chris Hedges makes is how The Left, or what remains of it, has lost/forgotten the language and vocabulary of working class revolt. It reminds me of 1984's Newspeak. As Orwell put it: "the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought. In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."
It turns out that creating another language isn't necessary, because people will forget the words if someone isn't there to remind them. Because the words have been forgotten, the ability to properly articulate class grievances have been forgotten too. What should be calls for fairness and decency for the sake of society's health end up sounding petty and envious.

Which brings me to this Counterpunch article about what socialism stands for.
#3 caught my attention.

(3) In defense of the nation. The successful socialist revolutions in other lands presented themselves as defenders of the dignity of the nation, as representing the best tendencies of the national political culture. They painted the established ruling class as unpatriotic traitors of the nation. A socialist movement cannot permit right-wing currents to define patriotism. It must draw upon historic popular movements in the United States to formulate an alternative narrative on the meaning and destiny of America.

Who here doesn't feel in their bones that they've been betrayed?
No one. Unless you aren't part of the working class, you already know for a fact that the ruling class has betrayed you. Just look around. This is especially true in Trump Country.
Over 80 percent of people are either angry or dissatisfied with the government. That's fertile ground for working class dissent and protest.

All that is required is for someone on The Left to articulate it.
Normally people on The Left are cautious about using the word "traitor", but I believe that the charge of treason against the ruling class is sound and proper.

I've been thinking about it, and there are several ways to measure this treason.
Let's start with two side-by-side articles on Bloomberg this morning.

What's happening to the working class.

U.S. life expectancy has fallen again, according to the Centers for Disease Control report on 2017 deaths. The decline is driven by an increase in deaths from drug overdoses, suicides, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia.

death.PNG
Contrast that with this article.

It makes sense that President Donald Trump would change tax law to favor inherited wealth....It increases the amount of money a married couple can pass to their heirs free of tax, to $22.36 million. It also raises the amount that rich people can leave directly to later family generations without paying the generation-skipping tax. Though the higher limits are set to expire in 2025, it leaves a window for rich people to avoid taxes permanently by placing their assets in dynasty trusts.
More than one-ninth of the entire country’s wealth is now controlled by just 1 in 10,000 Americans.
Numbers like these would be less disturbing if the set of people occupying these top spots changed more often.

wealth.PNG

The whole merit-based economy is hogwash. The ruling elite are a hereditary class, and the cost of its existence can be measured in the lives of working class victims.

Anywhere from 35 percent to 55 percent of U.S. household wealth is inherited. It’s going to get worse. A Boston College study estimated that $59 trillion will be transferred from American estates by 2061. The study calls it “the greatest wealth transfer in U.S. history.” That’s almost as much as the total financial wealth in the U.S. today.

Of this enormous mountain of inter-generational wealth, an estimated $3.3 trillion is being held in offshore tax havens.

Is that too complicated for some people to wrap their minds around?
How about the fact that the ruling elite are global now, and owe no allegiance to any one nation.
At the very least that should create doubts in some people's minds.
You can also approach this from the angle that politicians are accepting enormous, unlimited amounts of money from foreign governments (thanks Citizens United).
No need to wonder why our government bends over backwards for Israel and Saudi Arabia. It's safe to say that our entire foreign policy is compromised.
How compromised? Treasonous.

despite mounting evidence that the U.S.-backed, supplied, and fueled air campaign in Yemen was targeting civilians, the Saudi government turned out to have just the weapon needed to keep those bombs and other kinds of aid coming their way: an army of lobbyists.
...Any foreign power hoping to line the pockets of American politicians just has to hire a local lobbyist to do it for them.
As Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist, wrote: “Today, most lobbyists are engaged in a system of bribery, but it’s the legal kind.”

A case can be made that foreign government buying our politicians in order to use our troops as cannon fodder is treason.

Keeping it simple, consider our two-tiered justice system and how we've essentially stopped prosecuting white-collar crime, while the criminal justice system is absolutely merciless to the poor.
The unequal legal system extends to tax laws.

Through explicit policies, as well as tax laws never reported in the news, Congress now literally takes money from those making $30,000 to $500,000 per year and funnels it in subtle ways to the super rich -- the top 1/100th of 1 percent of Americans.

We are not a nation of laws, and that delegitimizes the existing power structure.

I'm sure that there are other obvious examples of ruling class treason that I haven't thought of, and I welcome suggestions (environmental destruction comes to mind).
But let's not limit ourselves to just the word "treason". I'm sure that other words of class war can be rescued from the memory hole.

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Bisbonian's picture

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Bisbonian

I, for one, have no desire to become one of them.

One of whom, Bisbonian?

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

there should be laws to prevent families from becoming 'prominent' in politics - something that would prevent the bushes, udalls, kennedy's, Nikki Haley's, Clintons/Obamas (those kids are sure to run for something) and other families from taking over multiple offices, something that bars several generations from elective offices, etc.

Our tax laws need to change back to the Kennedy year rates to prevent so much wealth concentration. Right now, we're stuck with the amazons, facebooks, etc, trying to run the government.

But this would only be a tiny start.

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dfarrah

snoopydawg's picture

the government's job is to protect the constitution which includes our rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' but that's hard to do when they are passing legislation that nullifies our rights given to us by the country. The founders were against a standing army for the exact reason that is happening with it now. Not just what it's doing across the pond, but because what's happening in this country with the militarization of the police which are basically an occupying military. And people thank them for their service! The PTB have to be laughing their asses off at our subservience and stupidity while they strip the country of jobs, let's our infrastructure crumble and become dangerous for us, etc ad nauseam .... and now they are planning on gutting our social security and Medicare after we've spent our lives financing because they say that there isn't enough money for them after their massive tax cuts and military budget and people voted to put them back in office to do just that.

I haven't heard one word from the democrats about how the country's regulations for our protection are being revoked by the regulatory agencies whose jobs are to uphold them has anyone? The EPA dude is rolling back regulations to the 60's era, the FDA is allowing the pharmaceutical and medical devices companies kill thousands of us each year because they don't require them to do testing on their products to make sure they are safe. Medical devices are rarely even tested before they are given the okay to put in our bodies. Pace makers, insulin pumps, spinal cord stimulators are harming and killing people and yet they are not only not recalled the producers aren't even warning doctors about them. Good luck suing them because congress has given their companies the upper hand when it comes to lawsuits.

I'm done now. I didn't tell y'all anything you didn't know I'm sure. And they should not only be charged with treason, but war crimes starting with the Empty Suit president.

Bottom line, We are not a nation of laws, and that delegitimizes the existing power structure. Amen! Great essay, gjohnsit.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Who here doesn't feel in their bones that they've been betrayed?
No one. Unless you aren't part of the working class, you already know for a fact that the ruling class has betrayed you. Just look around. This is especially true in Trump Country.
Over 80 percent of people are either angry or dissatisfied with the government. That's fertile ground for working class dissent and protest.

All that is required is for someone on The Left to articulate it.
Normally people on The Left are cautious about using the word "traitor", but I believe that the charge of treason against the ruling class is sound and proper.

My last essay at TOP before the Ides was about this very topic. It is clear now as it was then that Democratic Party leadership is paid not to articulate class warfare. It's the fundraising, Stupid. You cannot speak in the terms of the class struggle while you are begging for money from your oppressors.

There is virtually no alternative to Corporate Careerism if you want to have a financially fruitful existence and it gets worse every year. Politicians, Media Personalities, Academics are all subject to self censorship in order to live the life. Heck, I'd be a hypocrite to say I would turn down Rachel Maddow's deal if it was offered to me, especially if I knew as she probably does that she will be replaced in a heartbeat. $30K an episode or get blackballed. With that in mind, I understand her sellout. She knows the line is out the door for the next hysterical Russia-gate propagandist should she not do it.

The difference between being up there on the cocktail circuit, playing golf at the best clubs and front row tickets, ect ect, and being down there constantly on the edge of survival must be mind numbing for those confronted by that possibility. They certainly know about it but can't speak about it. They know if they do they will be out and that terrifies them.

They look around and say, I like being in. I've earned it. Fuck those dirty hippies for constantly needling what's left of my conscience.

The only one who has walked that walk as far as I know is Hedges. He knowingly gave up all the goodies that come with going along and censoring. His courage and conviction is an example but he had a place to land whereas most do not and that is very dis-empowering. Hence the Anomie he so brilliantly elucidates.

Hedges is stark in what is going to be required. I am not sure we are even remotely up to the task. Even within my small community it is hard to see how one can break the stranglehold of the Centrists. No one has the time. We're all too busy trying to stay afloat. That is where they have us and they know it.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@jobu

Heck, I'd be a hypocrite to say I would turn down Rachel Maddow's deal if it was offered to me, especially if I knew as she probably does that she will be replaced in a heartbeat. $30K an episode or get blackballed. With that in mind, I understand her sellout. She knows the line is out the door for the next hysterical Russia-gate propagandist should she not do it.

Ah yes, argento o piombo, "silver or lead". "The offer you can't refuse."

Rachel Maddow's mentor Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz wrestled with this selfsame reality and lost.

Bad

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

@thanatokephaloides
they gave up the whole world and saved their souls.

This sort of altruistic behavior is not common, but I think it's more widespread than people are suggesting. I lost a great opthamologist because my health care group wouldn't let him spend 3 months a year doing pro bono work in Central and South America helping people with serious problems who would never see a person with his skill. I'm sure he took a pay cut when he found a provider that would let him do it. There are a fair number of lawyers who work as public defenders well after they could have moved to a law firm. I could go on and if you think about it so could you.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

you aren't going anywhere. Get all the degrees, skills, experience etc. you want, but that's how it really works.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.