|A Few Observations on Some Socio-Psychological
Effects of the Crisis
In the German city of Rostock, two
young men not yet in their twenties and a guy who was a little older than
forty took off on a boozing spree, recently, to celebrate “Father’s
had a handcart with them, probably in order to transport a keg of beer.
Something that is not unusual, especially among the working class in Germany.
People do it to celebrate the First of May, too. A custom that must have
evolved around 1900, before May Day was a holiday, at a time when workers
were glad to leave the black industrial towns on Sunday, turning to the
parks (if there were any) and nearby forests. They had no cars, of
course; any outing meant that they walked. Today, the down and out, the
long-term unemployed, young adults without a job also don’t have a car.(2)
What is ecologically sensible is usually an effect of poverty, not insight.
If you are a rich kid, having rich parents I mean, of course you have a
car. Regardless of whether you have a job or not. And if you are twenty
and already successfully selling illegal drugs or smuggled cigarettes,
you also have a car. If you’re in the extortion business, working for the
mafia, they even give you a fast sports car.
These three men walked. And returning,
tired and drunk, from their outing, there was a squabble about the handcart.
Perhaps because one of them was too tired and drunk and wanted to sit in
the car, as a passenger, pulled along by the other two – who knows? At
any rate, the two kids or young adults beat down the older fellow. And
when he lay on the pavement, their heavy boots were kicking against his
head until he was silent. Dead.(3)
I remember that fifty years ago
there were quarrels, too. Also bloody noses and black eyes. But working
people, kids as well as adults, on the whole had a rule. You don’t beat
somebody anymore who is defeated. Who lies on the pavement. You don’t stamp
on the head of a man who’s been knocked out.
Where is this senseless fury, this
deep aggression in our society coming from?
What happened in Rostock is not
as exceptional as it sounds to somebody not familiar with the situation
in many depressed parts of Europe.
The increased competition in business,
the increased power of MNCs, deregulation, not only the scrapping or modification
of laws that protected labor but even more so the accompanying attitude
of bosses and public authorities has produced a socio-psychological climate
that is more tense than a few decades ago, among workers. The number of
those who have been expelled from the ranks of those considered “useful”
by business and who have been made redundant in one way or another and
pushed into extreme poverty and anxiety, is enormous: about 5 million
according to the more conservative critics of official statistics. And
about 6 or 6.5 million people in “blooming” Germany, according
to other estimates.(4)
Without dependents. At 8 million it would be 10 per cent of the entire
population (rather than 10 % the labor force). Do we approach or have we
already reached a situation where more than 20 per cent of the working
population are affected in one way or another – pushed out of normal
jobs, idle at home or swelling the ranks of part-time workers, “leased”
workers, the abominally badly paid “working poor” who need wage subsidies
from the government in order to survive? Then it would be on par
with the level of real unemployment in the U.S. Not bad, ehh?(5)
And the percentage of those who are thus defeated by society is probably
higher in Italy, in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece. How about Poland, Hungary,
and so on? I don’t know. I suspect that the picture is bleak.
While the material situation of
millions has sharply deteriorating, contributing to increased anxiety by
those not yet as extremely affected because they still hold normal jobs,
and while the pychological climate at work has deteriorated in many cases,
the media have also an effect. The yellow press fans jealousies, hate against
foreigners, against so-called illegal immigrants, and of course against
those they call welfare cheaters.
Then, there is the increasing wave
of violence in the media.
It is clear that the consumption
of movies including videos who show levels and types of violence inconceivable
a few decades ago has become almost standard, especially among young kids.
50 years ago, I heard my father say, They (and he meant the self-proclaimed
“elite”, the ruling class, and especially the generals in their service)
young people to be ready for war. Want to lower the inhibition that keeps
people from killing another human being.(6)
Was he wrong?
There are other factors that affect
the socio-psychological situation of young people.
One factor is that they are being
deserted. Left alone, very often, to cope with the world they face.
When, in Germany, after the demise
of the pseudo-socialist dictatorship, five new states joined the federal
union, the once West German and now German government almost immediately
closed all the youth clubs in former East Germany. They fired the social
workers that had worked there. Probably didn’t trust them, “ideologically.”
And the expense of running the young clubs was deemed unnecessary.
But in the new states, or
as they say in Germany, factories were also closed at a rapid rate,
“as outmoded,” soon after unification.
Critics say it happened BECAUSE
WEST GERMAN INDUSTRY HAD THE CAPACITIES AND OVERCAPACITIES TO FILL EXISTING
Unemployment, heretofore entirely
unknown under etatist “socialism”, shot up.
The older ones among those made
“redundant” in the early 1990s in the Eastern part of the country went
into early retirement, and this by and large with low pensions.
Then there were those in their bloom
who often looked for new jobs in vain – or got miserly paid jobs in the
Western part of Germany, increasing thereby competition inside the working
class over there. And helping, by way of their added presence and willingness
to accept low pay, the bosses who were more than ready to drive down
wage levels which had already been under attack all over Western Europe.
It was the young, and especially
those who were less well educated and less well trained vocationally, who
were hit even harder. Among the age group of those between 17 and 25,
unemployment is reaching the highest levels. This is a general trend in
every country of Europe.(7) And
unemployment among the young is nowhere worse than in de-industrialized
and by-passed regions.(8) They
either flee abroad, or to what so-called boom regions may exist in their
own country – when they are well-qualified and still full of hope. Or they
stay behind, some in places comparable to Buffalo and Detroit, some in
locations comparable to small villages in Appalachia or North Dakota.
When, before the fall of the old
etatist “socialist” regime, even the villages had their youth club where
the young could go, now there was nothing. Jobs were gone. Places where
they could meet and dance and listen to music without having to spend money
were gone. They were idled. And there was really nothing now. It was boredom,
hopelessness, desolation that followed. So some fell for the Neo-fascists
who came from the Western part of the country to recruit followers. In
some rural parts and in some urban working class quarters, the percentage
of neo-nazis and of skinheads may be considerable today. The increase of
their numbers is often accompanied by xenophobic and autoritarian attitudes
among their parents and grandparents. Some of the latter still imbued perhaps
with the tenets and attitudes forced upon them by school teachers and SA
neighbors during the short reign of the Nazis.
But let’s not mistake what I talk
about for an entirely post-“socialist”, East German phenomenon. The
deterioration of the social situation of young people, since the early
1990s, was especially sharp in former East Germany where a lot of protection
and care for the young generation had been in place, though certainly in
a Prussian, somehow petit-bourgeois, authoritarian context. But the trend
is more widespread.
What happened in Rostock, a city
in former East Germany that has been hit hard by unemployment, also happened
– in a slightly different context, in Munich (a so-called boom town) some
There, the kids who beat an elderly subway passenger to death, finishing
him off by kicking his head with their boots when he lay on the ground,
apparently were bored kids of well-to-do middle class families of
achievers. Or so it seems. Perhaps the parents were so chained up in the
rat race that they had neither time nor patience to care for their kids.
Perhaps they gave them money, instead of affection. Who knows.(10)
When the going gets tough, people
get tough. When life is hard, people are hardened, experience tell us.
Experience – or the way selective perception lets us interprete it. No,
there is no automatic connection, no simple and evident causal determinism
in the sense that such sayings suggest. There are more factors of influence,
more causes than we perceive. And there is the freely blooming or the stifled
“creative potental” of all human beings that lets them deal or cope with
situations that are hard to bear.
That, in part, has a lot to do with
defeat or evading defeat. But to evade defeat, we need others. Especially
as kids. We need the adults who give us warmth, and confidence and strength.
And yes, a lot of kids don’t get that. When their parents were deafened
and defeated by circumstance. Perhaps already as kids. And then, later
on, were never able to give their kids the warmth they needed.
In Europe, neo-fascism isn’t rampant.
It is marginal. But the hardness and lack of compassion and readiness to
fight just for yourself, trampling on the rights and if necessary, on the
bodies of Others, is far more widespread. It is akin to the neo-fascist
phenomenon. Immigrants, for instance, are no longer loathed by the majority
because “this is the superior white race” but because public coffers are
believed to be empty. To decently care for refugees costs money. And “we
don’t even have money to care for our poor.” Similarly, the small shop
owner who hardly makes ends meet tells me that the unemployed should not
get unemployment benefits. They should go hungry. Whoever does not work,
shall not eat, he quotes what he thinks the bible teaches him. He selects
the message from the bible that suits his world view and experience. An
experience of life as a battle for survival.
On such beliefs, conservative and
reactionary politicians and their parties depend. Set the people against
each other! Okay, fine, you fan this spirit in the media. But the spark
that ignites it is already there, in the form of loveless childhoods. Which
are in turn a result of the hardness of working life, the lack of love
in society at large that parents experience. A vicious circle that produces,
among the underdogs and among the profiteers of the system, a mentality
that you might call “social darwinist.”
It was the ideology at the root
of the kind of U.S. imperialism we observed in the 1890s, holding on to
the dogma of manifest destiny. It was at the root of European colonialism
and imperialism before WWI. It lead straight on to the big war, a logical
clash of interest, fanned by the ideology of the time. And it was all proto-fascist.
An announcement of the brutality of the civil war in Russia and the Gulag.
An announcement of the death camps in Europe, of fascist six-million-fold
genocide. Of the genocidal campaigns of the Japanese in China. O yes, it
was preceded of course for 500 years by slavery and exploitation and genocide
in the colonies. Yes, genocide. Which still goes on now that the colonies
have become “independent” territories targeted by globalized robbery. Didn’t
it produce between about six million (or more?) casualties in the D.R.
Congo quite recently? And the pillage, and the killing, the intervention
by outside forces, the raping of Congolese women and the devastation caused
by rapacious mining of coltan and gold and other rare minerals still goes
The mentality that looks away and
condones all that is there. As is the protest against it. We live in a
hard, in a hardened, and a divided society. Where a lot of social-darwinism
We have not transcended that. The
violence. The effects and attitudes inscribed in a context that tells all
of us: You are on your own. Fight for your own survival. Don’t care for
the rest. – But of course without caring for the rest, and without being
cared for, as babies, as sick people and as the aged, we don’t make
it. Without cooperation of a work team, no car, no place is produced. And
still, the divisiveness of the media, of the wrong ethos of the competition
they preach, continues. The antagonisms among ourselves that exploded in
a hellish way, in wars, in fascist dictatorships. We have just lowered
the flame. The intensity.
In Athens, Greece, vivid and awake
human beings meet on Constitution Square and demand a more humane society,
participative democracy. Hundreds of thousands take to the streets, protesting
against the robbery. Against austerity measures (as the media call this
attack) that are suggested and enforced by the IMF and the European Commission.
By the banks, the lenders who lend money at outrageously high rates. And
the people in the street know what everybody knows: The “elite” of
the country is largely abroad and their billions – stashed away in Swiss
bank accounts. They don’t pay taxes THOUGH THEY OWN SHIPPING LINES AND
BANKS THAT BLOOMED THANKS TO THE LABOR OF THEIR COMPATRIOTS: so the coffers
of the country are empty.
In the run-down quarters of the
Greek capital, the native-born poor survive next door to even poorer “illegal”
immigrants, some in the country for more than two decades already. And
right-wing racism blooms in Athens in just the way it does in Rome, Paris,
Berlin, Antwerp, Rotterdam or Madrid.
Frantz Fanon, a physician faced
with the internal violence that bloomed in Algeria before the uprising,
was surprised how these senseless acts of violence among a poor and frustrated
population evaporated when there was suddenly a common goal: to drive out
the French colonialists and achieve indepedence.
No, I’m not advocating violence
as a solution, as Sorel would have done in his time.
O no, I’m just saying, the pent-up
anger, the frustration, lets some of us turn against irrational targets.
Lets the people, or some of them, turn against the people. As if
we had to hit those we love. Out of mere helplessness and frustration.
Look at the Tea Party movement. All the frustrated, angry Americans, underdogs
who take it out on underdogs.(12)
And in Europe, isn’t it pretty much
the same picture? Yesterday, my brother came to see me and mentioned that
at the bus station he had overheard a middle-aged man. From all he could
tell by his looks probably someone with a very badly paid job. The guy
was cussing at the bums, the unemployed idling around in the bus station
neighborhood. We all know they have no chance to find a job. And still
this guy in his wretched clothes who was returning from work, and who probably
earns a lot less than the U.S. minimum wage, was angry. “They should be
working their ass off, like me.” That’s probably what was on his mind.
Yes, the bosses and the politicians
can sleep securely if this mentality persists among a lot of us. And if
those who are active and awake will not find a way to give an impulse to
all of us. Also to the discouraged and disillusioned. And those eaten up
by hatred of themselves and their fellow beings because they never encountered
human warmth themselves.
Strange that something of the sort,
for a short period, happened, now and then. Sisterhood. Brotherly
feelings. In France, in Italy, when people experienced liberation at the
end of WWII. In Algeria, when there was hope to build a free country, briefly.
In Portugal, in the context of their April revolution. In Chile, under
Allende. In Nicaragua when Somoza was toppled. In Vietnam, they had an
interesting slogan during the war. “Hatred into energy.” It’s all about
transforming a negative emotion into a positive effort to achieve change.
Can we do it here? And are we prepared
to see that the real tasks loom ahead of us afterwards? When the mere goal
of building a good society – a goal that we may finally embrace –
will not be enough to avoid mistakes…
(1) “Today Germany's Vatertag [father's
day] is supposed to be closer to a "boys' day out" and a pub tour with
the guys (Männerrunde) than the more family-oriented Father's Day
in the U.S. […]
In some regions groups of men (few of them fathers) […] go off into
the country to have a "Joe Six-Pack" party on Vatertag […]” - Hyde
Flippo, “Father's Day and Vatertag. Different holidays on different dates”
in: About.com ( http://german.about.com/od/holidaysfolkcustoms/a/vatertag.htm
(2) Since about 1973, the appearance
and continuing persistence of prolonged mass unemployment in Western Europe
has led to the pauperization of millions of families who were pushed out
of “normal” jobs for good and who either lived continually on welfare
or relied on odd jobs, including so-called “schwarzarbeit [black labor]”
(i.e. informal work that produces marginal incomes as well as tax evasion
combatted, usually unsuccessfully, by the IRS ).
The “welfare reforms” initated since the 1990s were determined to “activate”
adults that were permanently squeezed out of the labor market. These long-term
unemployed had often remained jobless for many years in a row, some on
an "on and off" basis. The main effect of these "reforms" (that
are referred to as HartzIV reform in Germany, after their proponent,
Mr. Hartz, a top manager of Volkwagen Inc. at the time who was later on
charged with a key role in corruption, i.e. the bribing of top union officials
representing Volkswagen workers) was the added rapid pauperization of those
who were unlucky enough to be unemployed for a day more than 365 days in
a row, because they were subjected to all the denigration HartzIV recipients
are routinely subjected to. And this even though they had not yet
joined the ranks of those permanently excluded, and stood a chance of being
absorbed by the labor market in the next upturn.
A recent study confirmed what we knew all along: in the German context,
youngsters “between the ages of 20-24 years in East Germany are extremely
affected by unemployment.” - Thomas Kieselbach et al, “Youth Unemployment
and Social Exclusion: Objective Dimensions, Subjective Experiences, and
Institutional Respondes in Six European Countries (YUSERDER). Final Report.”
IPG Universität Bremen ( http://www.ipg.uni-bremen.de/research/yuseder/YUSEDER_Final_Report.pdf
(3) Cf. Nicole Goebel (apn/dpa),
“Teenagers sentenced for murder that shocked Germany”, in: DW-World.de
Deutsche Welle, Sept. 6, 2010
Cf. also Sarah Harman (epd, dpa), “Memorial ceremony held on first
anniversary of Munich subway hero's death”, in: DW-World.de Deutsche Welle,
Sept. 12, 2010
(4)The official seasonally adjusted
German unemployment rate given by the German Federal Labor Office (a government
agency) was somewhat above 12% in January 2006 and somewhat above 8 % in
July 2009. ( Edward Hugh, “What is the level of real unemployment in Germany
in: A Fistful of Euros. European Opinion
Edward Hugh notes that “Analysts at Societe Generale […] have examined
the case of the German employment protection programme, and point out that
while official unemployment in Germany has in fact only risen moderately
in the current recession the underlying real effective rate is much higher.
[…]The Societe Generale interpretation is broadly supported by survey evidence
[…] [T]he numbers [of workers] resorting to the [protection] programme
have indeed exploded and by March of this year (the latest available data),
there were 1.3 million workers with shortened hours [Kurzarbeit], and this
number has probably now risen to around 1.4 million. These are clearly
big numbers, amounting to about 3% of the labour force. If they were added
to unemployment figures, total unemployment would rise to the previous
historic peaks of around 5 million.”
It is necessary to add, however, that the 5 million figure does not
reflect the large number of unemployed shoved into job qualification and
training programs who are not included in the unemployment statistics.
Or those in precarious (low-wage part-time and one-euro) jobs who don’t
count as unemployed because they have accepted ridiculously insufficient
work proposals, knowing that otherwise they would be 100 per cent unemployed
rather than 90 per cent, 80 per cent or 75 per cent short of the fulltime
job they covet. And of course, the official statistics exclude
the number of those who continue to be 100 per cent unemployed but don’t
apply for unemployment benefits anymore after one year of unemployment
because they are not entitled to receive further (HartzIV) benefits (for
instance because the income of their spouse is above the limit that allows
you to apply for HartzIV). The official statistics also do not include
youngsters willing to enter the job market who see no chance to do so and
opt for further education instead.
(5) Grant Lawrence, “Real Unemployment
Rate Over 21%” , in: Economy in Crisis. America’s Economic Report
Daily, March 8, 2010
This report gives the real unemployment rate in the US as 21 per cent
while other critical economist arrive at a figure slightly higher (23 pecent).
- The German unemployment rate given by the author is not the real unemployment
rate (as is suggested) but the official rate.
(6) In the early 1960s, my father
was talking about films released at the time that probably were brutal
enough, but far less brutal and far less accessible than videos and video
games today that in practice, in one way or another, at home or at the
homes of friends, are even accessible to young kids.
In other words, the tendency then identified has increased.
Today, serious social critics, including child psychologists, contradict
the often heard opinion that consumption of such videos has absolutely
no effect on the level of violence that comes into play among ordinary
citizens in a given society, including violence of youngsters – of
the type seen in Rostock or in Munich. And let’s not ignore violence by
youth gangs, or shooting sprays following the pattern witnessed in Colombine,
for that matter.
On the other hand, other factors contribute to such violence, as well.
Notably the increasing level of stress brought to bear today on people,
even on school-age kids. The rough, competitive social “climate.” Then,
of course, in a ghetto context, the experience of poverty and the hopelessness
of kids who are seeing generation after generation jobless and wasted.
The thought that petty crime pays, and that it offers a way to participate
in the American consumerist dream. Petty crime can evolve into big crime,
It is true that Hollywood continues to offer role models, the type
of the “cool” gangster, for instance. But at the root, side by side with
the films and videos and further “outside factors” such as stress
and living under conditions of extreme deprivation and denigration, an
“interior” factor that people like Erich Fromm, Alice Miller and Arno Gruen
have reflected on, is identifiable in many cases as a cause of ordinary
violence between civilians: It is the lack of human warmth experienced
in childhood and an authoritarian upbringing that results in an authoritarian
character structure in turn, conditioning people in a way that is not conducive
to a creative development and that limits their ability to empathize.
It is likely that consumption of certain video games that have been
dubbed “killer games” may have a reenforcing effect on soldiers
sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Such video games may be seen as initiations
into military violence, as “preparatory.” Shooting peaceful civilians like
lame ducks from a chopper may be like aiming at “live targets” in a “killer”
game. Are these games (that test and enhance the players ability to react
very quickly) also produced by companies with connections to the Pentagon?
This suspicion is confirmed in an article by N.Frei who states:
“[…] violence and war is promoted by killer games. As early as in the last
decades of the past century killer-games, so called killing simulators,
were made use of in the US Army and police for man-to-man combat. Later
theses games were allowed to be sold on the free market by the Pentagon,
the war ministry of the USA, to be used privately. The sales of PC-killer-games
boomed as a consequence. The games industry today still co-operates closely
with the Pentagon, as well as the film industry, whenever Hollywood produces
films glorifying violence.” H. Frei, “Ban of Killer Games”
Those close to the video game industry of course contest the findings
that violent video games have a negative socio-pychological effect. Cf.
[N.N.], “Banning video games will not halt youth violence”, in: Live
Leak. Redefining the media, 7 Mar 2009
( http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e91_1237791908 )
In view of the big turnover and high profit margins, this “industry”
has the political muscle to lobby successfully against the prohibition
of “killer video games.” The same of course is true in the case of the
producers of guns, including makers of semi-automatic weapons who rely
on the NRA to defend their business interests.
(7) “Spain has the highest youth-unemployment
rate, at 42%, more than twice the unemployment rate of adults aged 25-54,”
the Economist wrote in 2010. Cf. N.N., “Youth unemployment.Young
and jobless”, in: The Economist (Online) Dec 16th 2010.
The Economist also stated that “Germany has the lowest
ratio (1.3), largely thanks to its successful apprenticeship system.”
But first of all, it has to be pointed out that many apprentices are
made redundant - and then remain unemployed, often for much more
than a year - immediately after finishing their miserly paid apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship which, as such, often amounts to mere exploitation. In
many cases, the young are just cheap helps asked to work hard without being
taught the expected vocational skills.
In addition, is is unclear where the Economist gets a figure
like 1.3 per cent. According to the United Nations Statistics Division
which relies on data from the German Federal Labor Office, the official
unemployment rate for males age 15-24 in Germany was 15.4 per cent in 2004,
16.8 per cent in 2005, 14.8 per cent in 2006, 12.6 per cent in 2007 and
11 per cent in 2008.
The corresponding figures for East German males age 15-24 are higher
than the averages given here.
The official youth unemployment rate for the entire age group is kept
below the real unemployment rate of youngsters because the age bracket
considered for the calculation quite fictitiously includes 15 and 16 year
olds and mistakenly encompasses their number in the total of those “who
might enter the job market”. But none of these 15 and 16 year old kids
will register as job seekers “who can’t get a job”. After all, kids under
17 are compelled to attend school and thus 15 and 16 year olds cannot even
enter the regular job market at all.
In addition, a large percentage of the 17, 18 and even 19 year-old
kids are still in high school. They are included in the total of “potential
job seekers” as well, although by definition they will not look for jobs
(other than part-time jobs during their summer vacation).
To include them in the total of the juvenile labor force amounts
to a falsification of the statistics. Factually and legally they are students
and not part of the labor force. They cannot join the ranks of the unemployed
and they can't apply for unemployment benefits as “people looking for a
job in vain.”
Finally, many youngsters aged 18 to 24 years are in college. They too
are included in the total of the “youth labor force” which forms the basis
for the calculation of the percentage of unemployed youths.
The calculation of the unemployment rate should be based on the
total of those 17 to 24 year-olds who actually try to enter the job market
and who can’t find a job. We would probably get averages between 25
and 35 per cent, and higher rates in East Germany.
Male unemployment among youngsters is slighty higher than that of young
The officially given unemployment rate for women, age 15-24 was 13.9
per cent in 2005, 12.5 per cent in 2006 and 9.9 in 2008.
(8) D. Soyez notes that “in
eastern Germany especially Thuringia and Saxony experienced strong de-industrialization.”
Cf. Dietrich Soyez, “De-industrialization and its spatial consequences”
, in: Virtuelle geographische Texte ( http://www.v-g-t.de/english/brd/module/m2/u8.htm
But deindustrialization has also struck the iron and steel sector around
Berlin and in Eisenhuettenstadt. And a harbor city like Rostock (situated
in the state of Mecklenburg - Western Pomerania), the former center of
GDR shipbuilding, has been hit hard by the crisis that hit this sector
(9) [DPA/DAPD/hc], “Drinks
Wagon Fight Led to Fatal Rostock Beating“, in: The Local. Germany’s News
in English, June 3, 2011 ( http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110603-35425.html
(10) ‘Successful’ parents
who either hope or feel compelled to invest all their energies in
their so-called careers are increasingly prone to replace emotional care
for their children by ‘material incentives.’ – The negative psychological
effects have been discussed by Arno Gruen and others. On the other hands,
the management of most companies tends to intensify work as well
as competition inside the company, leaving employees little leeway.
(11) Cf. Keith Harmon Snow, “The
War that did not make the Headlines: Over Five Million Dead in Congo? Behind
the Numbers Redux: How Truth is Hidden, Even When it Seems to Be Told”,
in: Global Research (Canada)
(12) Of course the Tea Party movement
is a complex phenomenon that cannot be adequately “summed up” in a single
sentence. It claims to be directed primarily against “politicians in Washington.”
Still, in addition to “producing” mavericks, it also relies on quite a
few established right-wing politician, both in Washington and in diverse
state capitals. It is directed primarily against welfare for the poor,
health care for the presently uninsured, free abortion, classrooms and
teachers for school-age kids of “illegal” immigrants. It targets those
perceived to be weaker and less fortunate, just like many among yesteryear’s
“poor whites” targeted “blacks” who were poor.
The Tea Party movement is not exclusively a movement of conservative
“white” workers who see real wages diminishing, and their jobs endangered
by NAFTA, and who may fear competing “Third World” labor not only outside
but even more inside the U.S.A.
It is also a movement of certain professionals, of self-employed “middle
class” people, of small entrepreneurs and owners of mid-sized firms who
see their incomes eroded, theirs property devalued, their business hurt
by the crisis and who denounce the vestiges of a “welfare state” in the
U.S. as too costly and even as “socialist.”
The strange thing is: While they all take it out on “those below them”
in terms of income, property, and “status,” they don’t attack tax-cuts
for the very wealthy or the power of MNCs that have pushed for NAFTA.
author of this article recommends the following interview with Prof. Noam
ohne Parteien? Eine ganz reale Utopie- Ein Gespräch
mit der Schriftstellerin Juli Zeh
on the global crisis
Al Ahram Weekly
Arab Spring and the crisis of the elite"
Azouz, Egypt govt mulls raising workers' incentives in bid to thwart
Fouad Najem, "Forbidden"
Democracy real YA!
Manifesto of Democracia
Suite 101. net
"Spanish Revolution" y los movimientos sociales en la red
Romero Gil, Movimientos ciudadanos, la red se mueve
Romero Gil, "Una semana de España
acampada, por la democracia real"
Dieterich, "Transición al Socialismo
del Siglo XXI: avances en Europa y Asia"
Sargent,"Wisconsin Dems 6. Wisconsin Republicans
(On upcoming recall-elections)
BBC on Wisconsin (Feb. 18, 2011)
flee Wisconsin Senate to slow anti-union bill
and Old, US Groups Forge Broad Alliances"
Local to global.org
Hayden, "The Defunding of the Peace Movement"
Not in our name
US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists"
Justice with Peace
(United for Justice with Peace
Luecke, "Saul Alinsky: Homo Ludens for Urban
E. Jacobsen, "Wall Street Already Finding
Loopholes in Financial Reform Legislation"
Story, "A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives"
tax cut for the rich
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