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.
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.
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.