This nation once fought a terrible civil war over the concept of human chattel slavery in which poor, working class white males from the North and the South gathered into armies and killed 850,000 of each other on behalf of wealthy, slave-holding plantation owners, who enjoyed a very low, low bottom line on their labor costs and depended on the economics of this production system to allow them not to work, to profit, and to dominate early American life.
After that war, many things happened, including the contrived resurgence of confederate monuments and civil war-era ideologies across many areas in the early 1900s, including those on either side of the conflict, intentionally stirred up by Jim Crow segregationists, anti-unionists, and racists seeking political power and economic advantages over workers.
In this country, we’ve had major, variously successful and unsuccessful fights over even basic civil rights for groups including women, children, immigrants and native non-whites, indigenous groups, freed slaves, LGBTQ folks, sex workers, and all workers, and these fights continue to this day, often backsliding and causing more dysfunction and suffering.
The basic elements of these fights look like exploited, alienated workers, renters, and community members on one side, and more entitled, established, or wealthy, typically mostly white people on the other, who don’t want to deal with the problems they themselves haven’t experienced or might not even believe in. Some of these white people, thanks to Christian Dominionism and various unscientific totalitarian concepts handed to them by their “god”, even believe that black/dark skinned People belong at the bottom of a divinely mandated hierarchy, with whites governing blacks for all time.
Today, this is of course no different, with minimum wage and overall wages stagnating for 40 years, women still earning less than men but displacing men in the workforce en masse, a horrifying upward wealth redistribution system called ‘Trickle Down’ that has destroyed the workers, the worst, most expensive healthcare system in the world that is currently literally letting people die, a globe-spanning military empire with over 900 forward military bases, Christian activists infiltrating all levels of our constitutionally secular government, and rampant, high-level fascism and imperialism, including all the associated racism, sexism, classism, and all the abject, in-your-face propaganda narratives you can expect with something like this.
What will we do? Will we sit down calmly and take this? Will we wait and see just how bad this previously pro-slavery regime can get if we do nothing to help the workers?
Or will we see the essential dialectical relationship between what and who came before, what our – The People’s – tumultuous US history shows us about the parasites on top of this economy, and then will we perhaps begin to see the struggles of all those who precede us as our own struggle, and tap into that fierce spirit to empower us against what lies ahead?
Will we #GeneralAction and #GeneralStrike, at least, against an empire that always angles back around toward violating human rights, starting global conflicts, performing coups, reducing the value of your labor, and attempting to profit 1% of the population while 99% of us fight one another for crumbs and against the paralyzing ideological issues the Divide and Conquer doctrine brings us?
What will we do?