Originally written on April 23, 2010
I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare. Eldridge Cleaver
When Eldridge Cleaver spoke those words, the belief was that he, and all of black America, were indeed in a revolutionary struggle against the tyranny of the white ruling class. Some forty-odd years later, the tyranny still exists, yet the revolutionary fervor of; not only Black America, but of everyone–white, Black, Hispanic–is non-existent. There is most certainly anti-establishment fervor on the rise, but this movement–such as the tea party–is one of the white lower and middle-class alienated by a current administration headed by a black man. This white middle-class uproar is spearheaded, dictated and manipulated by the very forces that are alienating not just these white protesters, but every single person who lacks a voice. In essence: a corporate-sponsored revolution devised to further the divide between white and black, rich and poor: the haves and have nots.
For the sake of continuity and historical perception, I will use the term “class” as an umbrella to include all struggles of race, workers and any other movement seeking true equality. I find it counter-intellectual to perpetually beat the drum of a widening race divide when race is simply a social construct. The widening divide is that of class, and for most of us, we are all subjected to the will of those who possess power; economic and political. This of course does not discount or negate the unique historical realities of Black America–but it is my hope that we all accept the reality that we are all indeed equal and are subjects to the same power monopoly. Race is used and manipulated to further antagonize every one of us.
So I ask: what has happened to the notion of class warfare? Unions are on a sharp decline due in part to poor leadership and a perpetual effort by the mainstream media to marginalize any relevant and meaningful modern workers movement. There was such sharp criticism and outrage of the recent trillion dollar bailouts of the banking industry by both the Bush and Obama administrations. Rather than using this outrage to engage in a rational dialog about some of the failings of capitalism and ways in which we can improve the functioning of this system, the outrage is ultimately turned on us, the people. Healthcare for all individuals is the enemy. Illegal immigrants are the enemy. Taxing the rich is the enemy. Perhaps the true enemies are the institutions that control wealth. When those institutions fail, it is the American people who suffer, and yet, we continue to allow these institutions to plunder our democracy unabated; or shall I say, we continue to elect officials who fail to stand up to these forces and enact laws that perpetuate a static state of this power structure.
Just because the idea of class warfare has diminished and been replaced, semantically anyway, by corporate-sponsored “tea parties;” class warfare is still alive and well. Perhaps it just needs a bit of re-branding and an understanding that our focus as americans needs to be that of a vigilant defiance toward the powerful corporations and institutions that have hi-jacked our democracy and dictate the agendas of the men and women who were elected by us, the people. Be it in the form of “tea parties,” or anti-war demonstrations (which, for all of you so-called liberals and “peace activists,” has stopped since Obama was elected despite the escalation of the same wars you protested during the Bush administration), we all have a stake in self-determination. The labels we tag on modern movements are nothing more than an obstruction to what these movements truly are: class warfare.