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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Neil D BS: The Slippery Slope (42) RE: BS: The Slippery Slope 22 Oct 10

(oops, bumped the enter key in mid-thought)
Look at the anti-Irish sentiments held by working people during the mass immigration caused by the potato famine and the ban on African-American membership in most labor unions, UMW and IWW being exceptions. In the case of UMW it wasn't pure altruism, it was a recognition by John L. Lewis, one of the smarter labor leaders, that if Blacks were kept out they would be used as strike breakers. Other unions didn't even let this pragmatic knowledge temper their innate racism. The IWW on the other hand were such true believers that there were only two groups, workers and bosses, and recognized no distinction within the ranks of workers.
   Now we are seeing this technique being used again and this time it's as Machiavellian and insidious as it has ever been. The teapeople that show up at rallies are for the most part not wealthy people, BUT they are being funded and their candidates are being funded by the wealthy elite. People like the Koch brothers, multi-billionaires whose father was an early member and important financial enabler of the John Birch Society (and an admirer of Mussolini). I'm sure I'll hear cries of "who, us?" style indignation from conservatives, but I do think that the racial mistrust by working and middle class people is being used by these behind the scenes manipulators in a very cynical manner to once again play one group against another to keep them from noticing their common enemy, the power elite, grabbing for even more power.
    But the rich and powerful are walking a thin line in one regard. If they overstep in their agenda (ending social security, the minimum wage, unemployment insurance, affordable medical insurance, etc.) and take too much away from the people they risk a cataclysmic backlash. Remember that the disappearance of a middle class was a major cause of the French Revolution. Howard Zinn continues in his theory by stating that part of the divide and oppress technique is to give just enough more to just enough people to maintain that buffer between the power elite and the most morbidly oppressed. After all if you are going to perpetuate class conflict you want to be careful where you set the bar or you will be vastly outnumbered. I think they are forgetting that lesson at their own peril by trying to strip away the just enough more that's been rationed out over the last century. They may win in the short term, this year's midterms for example, but in the long term they risk bringing down their whole house of cards. Eventually "The People" will wake up, look around and see the elderly impoverished, children hungry and poorly educated, and most pathways of upward mobility completely shut off and there will be hell to pay.
They won't blame themselves for electing the tools of the rich and powerful to high office and scapegoating each other just won't work anymore. Then who are they going to be coming after.

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