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Black Friday (4)

C-list round up: Ellen of the Tenth on Thanksgiving history I didn't know; White Collar Crime has round-ups I really should follow more often; and "Um, unemployment?" As Joe Bageant remarks:

When World War Two started 45% of Americans lived on farms or in farming based communities. Ten years after the war only 12% remained on farms, and not much later it dropped to six percent. And believe me, they did not all leave willingly.

The result is that we are into our third generation of underclass whites -- around 60 million of them. At one point in the 1950s when unions were at their peak, a large portion of these people briefly constituted a legitimate working class. Since then they have been ground back down into a malleable disposable work force with no real contours, no vision, no philosophy or principles of labor, zero negotiation regarding the price of their labor, and no avenues for self determination as individuals or as a class.

They are that great white unwashed that educated liberals just cannot get their heads around. Liberal audiences ask me, "Why are so many working class Americans non-union or anti-union?" Sometimes I reply that if you kick a dog hard enough and often enough, the dog will do any goddamned thing you want, whether it is "in his interests" or not. If the dog doesn't bite that union organizer, the poor fucking beast doesn't get fed at all.

Educated urban liberals never seem to grasp that most Americans no longer have access to the levers of self-determination. But then, I never expect the bourgeoisie to understand the legions of industrial serfs outside the gates. Nor do they much bother to try. After all, they've "got theirs." Education, safe working conditions, negotiable wages, access to real culture if they choose, progeny who will more or less continue their class patterns, even if on a somewhat lesser scale. When they look around their affinity groups and communities, they see only people like themselves. "Naw, we're not elites," they conclude.

But the sheer gravitational pull of 60 million people circling the drain is starting to draw these elites who do not know they are elites toward the drainpipe. So now we are seeing academic papers with titles such as "Does a white American underclass really exist?" Lemme see now, are there any clues? Well, about 49.1 million people, most of them white, went without food at various times in 2008 (USDA). This is called "food insecurity" in government and academic circles. I suppose the 3.1 million folks sleeping under bridges, in cars, in shelters and cardboard boxes are experiencing "housing insecurity." This includes the 1.4 million homeless children attending our public schools. I suggest they start by asking these people if there is a white underclass in America. You know, get it straight from the horse's mouth. You don't know if you don't ask. I mean, hell, these people might all be just hobo-ing for a lark!

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A. Citizen's picture
Submitted by A. Citizen on

......The Society of the Spectacle by Guy deBord and stuff some stockings with it! Goober in 'Bama does know how to read, mostly, the biggest 'mistake' the Owners ever made.

Well, the first real Progressive movement in this nation, circa 1870, did have something to do with the imposition universal public education, as unpopular then as now, fighting 'The Owners' every step of the way. This is now something that Corporate Slave State America is being very successful in destroying right before our eyes.

Public education is the difference between debt slavery and freedom.