Sunday, February 20, 2011

The approaching storm

I'm recently recalling the curse "May you live in interesting times"; I think we're all being "cursed" right now, because to call these times "interesting" is somewhat of an understatement. What with the pro-democracy protests in the Arab world, the demonstrations in Madison, Wis. and now with a possible Federal government shutdown thanks to an upcoming impasse over the budget, we've to a lot to look forward to.

What I think we're seeing is a repudiation of class politics -- and let's call it by its name -- by groups that simply will not be mollified by the tactics of the past, and the "conservatives" in each of these situations are running scared. And should be because they realized that their ambition -- to stay in power by any means necessary -- is being threatened like never before. The old ways of "divide-and-conquer" have been exposed as fraudulent.

Right now the two Arab hotspots are Algeria and Libya, the former of which I understand has cut off the Internet to keep the flow of information from reaching the masses, and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has used the military to try to quell that uprising. Somehow, I don't think these will work; keep in mind that a majority of the population in much of the Arab world is under 30 and thus has the passion and the will to outlast any efforts to co-opt it and the change it wants.

And don't think that theses "domestic disturbances" are truly about money, as you may have been told. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker of course submitted a bill that, in essence, strips collective bargaining from public-sector unions, leaving them practically toothless; in response, 14 members of the state Senate beat it out of town to keep the bill from being voted on. It turns out that Walker received money from the Koch PAC, which was founded by the billionaire Koch brothers that represent the financial backbone of the misnamed "tea-party" movement, so the idea that "finances" are to blame comes across as so much hooey. In the case of the Federal budget, GOP congresspeople have proposed cuts in social services but an $8 billion increase in defense spending. You do the math.

Although it's admittedly somewhat reactionary, all this might mean that progressivism may be making a comeback and there's nothing that the rich right, Fox News, talk-radio and media "ministries" can do about the genie that's been let out of the bottle.

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