“If This Happened in Germany, Cars Would Be Burning”: American Passivity in the Class War

“If This Happened in Germany, Cars Would Be Burning”: American Passivity in the Class War

by Robert Archambeau

Assaults on collective bargaining, a proposal to eliminate child labor laws, a tax structure that favors the wealthiest of the wealthy, no financial gain for workers despite huge increases in per-worker productivity, a tax-funded bailout for the financial speculators who all-but-destroyed the American economy, a law allowing corporations to anonymously give unlimited amounts of money to politicians, increasing employment insecurity, a jobless “recovery,” and a billionaire-funded scheme to pit the public-sector middle class against the private-sector middle class so as to reduce both sectors to a lowest-common-denominator of economic insecurity. Looking at all this from across the Atlantic, a German acquaintance of mine recently noted “if this happened in Germany, cars would be burning in the streets.” Why, he wondered, were working and middle class Americans so docile in the face of this aggression by Wall Street and its paid-for politicians in both major parties? Why were the protests in Wisconsin an anomaly, rather than part of a nation-wide outcry against the persistent assaults on the vast majority of the population by the plutocratic few? READ MORE

Incomplete Thoughts on Wisconsin and Political Enthusiasm

Incomplete Thoughts on Wisconsin and Political Enthusiasm

by Okla Elliott (with photos by Jenna Bowen)

“In Kant’s philosophy of history, crisis or tension is necessary for human progress. He is pessimistic about individual success[es] but confident about mankind.” —Sidney Axinn, “Kant, Authority, and the French Revolution”

Much was made in leftist circles of the fact that an Egyptian protestor purchased a pizza online to help feed the protestors in Wisconsin—and rightly so; it was a touching and telling moment. The international solidarity and the shared humanity this gesture showed are truly inspiring. But aside from the feel-good aspect, not much else has been discussed about it, which is in fact indicative of a larger gap in our discussion of recent world events. There have been some minor gestures at connecting the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Greece, France, and Wisconsin, but no serious theoretical investigation has yet been undertaken. This is not entirely a bad thing, since there are moments when action is called for, not theorizing. That said, however, mass movements that do not have a (self-)critical or theoretical component have a habit of either failing or turning into things almost as bad as what they sought to depose. READ MORE