Class warfare: what goes around comes around


As if on cue, spokespeople of the Republican Party are excoriating everyone from the president to the occupiers of cities around the country for fanning the flames of "class warfare." It has no place, these Republicans say, in our political culture.

Really? This from the party that for the past 30 years has been all about class warfare.

What was the destruction of PATCO, if not class warfare?

What was the Volcker/Reagan engineered recession of the early 1980s, if not class warfare?

What the "Contract for (against) America" authored by Newt Gingrich, if not class warfare?

What was George W. Bush's mammoth tax break for the top 1 percent, if not class warfare?

What was the Republicans' relentless chopping away at our social safety net, if not class warfare?

And if you think the current batch of Republicans, including its presidential aspirants, is any different, you must have been asleep for the past three years. They live, breathe, and practice class (and racialized) warfare. In fact, in some ways, they are worse than the Reaganites of yesteryear!

If they have their way, we can forget about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, voting rights, civil rights, women's rights, Roe v. Wade, collective bargaining rights, same sex marriage and so forth.

As one commentator said, "They want to roll back the 20th century."

But it ain't gonna happen.

Indeed, this moment is defined by a marked upswing, if not a qualitative turn, for our side - the people's side - of the class struggle. The most dramatic expression of this is the occupation of Wall Street. It is the newest wrinkle in a broadening, quickening, and to a degree spontaneous upsurge against the 1 percent that don't create, but control the wealth.

Far more than weekend football, this phenomenon is capturing the imagination of tens of millions who are fed up with Wall Street's greed and worried sick about their own diminishing economic prospects.

What is interesting is that this movement is spreading to other cities - several dozen are now "occupied."  It is also winning the support and solidarity of labor.

But this isn't surprising. After all, the "occupy" and labor movements are of similar, if not identical, minds as far as the causes and solutions to the economic crisis: it's the fat cats intent on holding on to their unseemly riches.

If there is any divergence in their views it may lie in the attitude toward defeating the right in the 2012 elections.

Labor sees the defeat of the Republican Party - the party of right-wing extremism - as the critical terrain on which the class struggle will be fought out. Meanwhile many of the occupiers are suspicious of the political process.

This difference of opinion, however, is small compared to what unites them at this moment - a readiness to take action against the narrow circle of finance capitalists that first caused and then shamelessly benefited from the economic crisis.

For Republicans, the nationwide occupations are distressing to say the least. It explains why they never miss an opportunity to tell the American people that the occupations are "un-American," designed to incite "American against American," and the work of a "mob." But their refrain is falling on increasingly deaf ears.

No longer can they have it both ways: insisting on class peace while waging class warfare. The jig is up. The 99 percent are at the gates. What goes around comes around.

Photo: ItzaFineDay // CC 2.0

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  • Sam, I'm glad you think you've got it all figured out, if the GOP has been taken over by the right-wing of the party as you say, the Democratic party has been taken over by the Euro-trash French Socialist party. I wonder who will be the worst, only history will tell, not you and your wisdom. The people will rise and destroy what is imperfect, which will be proven to be both sides, one against the other, and there will be no victor or loser, only dispair because this is the way of the world, so be it. I have seen the septor and you have been deposed, Elton John 11/17/70.

    Posted by whosebone, 11/16/2011 11:15pm (4 years ago)

  • Glad to see them publicly recognizing the class warfare they've waged all along.
    --jim lane in Dallas

    Posted by jim lane, 10/18/2011 4:42pm (4 years ago)

  • We agree on the irresistible, indefatigable-even dialectical class struggle or warfare.
    But, what side of the struggle will control the next link in the chain of events that make this class warfare?
    Will it be the expanding "occupiers", the sons, daughters, grands and greats of just lately passed and revered Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth?
    Will it be the sons of Billionaires-Koch-Schott--ers-Devolutiomons?
    Will it be the organized, unified working people, as groups and individuals, for peace, jobs and freedom-as Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois and Frederick Douglas before him taught us class warfare?
    If we control, how shall we do it-make it-what is our plan-what is our goal(s): why? how? when? where?what? After all, this business of peace, jobs and revolution is not, and will not be a spontaneous process-but organized, planned, deliberate, democratic and transparent.
    Where are our logistics, our details?
    Let's talk to one another-let's communicate in these windows-Marvin Gaye might ask-What's Going On?

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 10/14/2011 12:07pm (4 years ago)

  • The revolution has started. The elimination of Wall Street should be the foremost aim of the working class. Wall Street is parasite feeding on the labor of the workers.

    What wealthy owner of millions in stock has done anything for the good of the country. What they have done is bought Congress and had passed laws that favor the wealthy.

    We, the poor and lower classes must take this country back from the upper 1 % .

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 10/14/2011 8:32am (4 years ago)

  • And what was the passage of three more job-killing "free trade agreements" but class warfare? Oh, wait a tick...that was Obama's doing with the (for once) help of Republicans in Congress. But we're not supposed to say anything bad about Obama. We're supposed to be out there stomping the hustings for his reelection. Well,not this boy. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. Four more years of Obama means four more years of sell-outs. At least with a Republican president, "progressives" won't be neutered by thinking that they have a president on their side, as has been the case for the past more than two and one half years.

    Posted by John Whiskey, 10/13/2011 11:21pm (4 years ago)

  • Well said!

    Posted by Gabriel Falsetta, 10/13/2011 6:20pm (4 years ago)

  • A fine article and impressive followup letters. I just read this over at the Daily Kos site:

    "Americans like Occupy Wall Street. Two new polls, one from PPP for Daily Kos /SEIU and the other from Reuters/Ipsos, both show that almost all Americans have heard of Occupy Wall Street and that a plurality view it in a favorable light. "

    It's good to know people are paying attention.This is potentially a very powerful movement to drive radical change in this country.

    Posted by Dave Cunningham, 10/13/2011 6:10pm (4 years ago)

  • I totally agree!....sadly, there are too many Americans who are rich-guy wannabes, who'll never be one. These types have no idea that they are - and will always remain - members of the working class. These folks can be easily persueded to be useful gofers for right wing causes, labeling progressives as "unAmerican". I've lived through the McCarthy Fifties when unAmericanism was government policy and at least HUAC is gone...with hard work we can squelch it's civilian legacy.

    Posted by Frank M. Phelan, 10/13/2011 5:38pm (4 years ago)

  • There's been a lot of talk about "class warfare," but I think the ubiquitous class structure labels (lower, middle, upper) are losing their usefulness (especially considering the incredible shrinking middle class) for helping us understand our economic differences and conflicts. I suggest we try these class categories: Dependent, Working, Rich, Crazy Rich. Right now the Crazy Rich are causing a lot of damage to our economy. I explain further at

    Posted by WiseFather, 10/13/2011 2:11pm (4 years ago)

  • The Repubs especially are old hands at instigating class warfare. Their fervent prioritization of private monopoly w/in the imbalanced relationship of capital & labor accentuates this. But the Dems aren't innocent either going along w/ this relationship, but, yes at least they've shown some degree concern over the years for the interests/rights of the working class & poor. I would say that now there's a sliver of difference between them & thus, among other reasons, the Repubs are still the bigger danger. Still, we have a vicious circle w/ two parties, both ideologically the same (capitalist) that have ruled the U.S. for over the last 100 years. But the signs have been evident for the need for eventual ideological change.

    Posted by revolution123, 10/13/2011 1:19pm (4 years ago)

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