Monday, February 09, 2009

How long before "populist rage" boils over?

Something is afoot.
  • On June 27, 2008, a family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, facing foreclosure on their home, marched with sympathizers to the National City Bank and demanded to see the bank manager to insist that something be done to halt foreclosures. As they marched the crowd chanted "Criminal Offenders, Predatory Lenders!" The protest broke up when police arrived and asked the crowd to disperse. (Read about it here.)

  • In October 2008, Sheriff Tom Dart in Cook County, Illinois, ordered his deputies not to enforce court-ordered evictions, saying "We will no longer be a party to something that's so unjust." (Read about it here.)

  • On December 3, 2008, employees of Republic Windows and Doors occupied the manufacturing plant in Chicago, demanding that Bank of America, which had recently received hundreds of billions of federal bailout dollars, extend credit to the workers' employer so that Republic could meet payroll. After an occupation of 6 days, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America conceded to worker demands and agreed to pay a settlement of $1.75 million. (The corporate media were largely silent about the protest, but you can read about it here.)

  • In rural Alaska this winter, villagers are resorting to harvesting nuts and berries and hunting game in order to avoid starvation. In remote areas of the state, milk costs $10 per gallon, a dozen eggs costs $22, and the cost to heat homes is running $1500 per month. (Read about it here.)

  • On February 9, 2009, a group of protesters, angry about home foreclosures climbed on board a bus in Connecticut and drove to the homes of various big bank CEOs to protest lending practices. Here's the video from CNN:

The term being thrown around in the big newspaper editorials is "populist rage." Well, here's a clue for the wise punditry: fear does that to people. When times are good and everybody feels fat, the plebs don't mind so much when the financial pirates skim the cream off the milk bucket. But when people are losing their homes, when the price of food starts to disrupt their daily routines, when every day brings news of thousands of jobs disappearing and fear starts gnawing at their minds, people get a little cranky when the pigs gobble up the last of the lettuce in the federal treasury.

Somehow, in the twisted mindset of the Ayn Rand schoolboys that sit atop the financial ponzi scheme that has been bilking this country for at least the last 8 years, billions of dollars of executive bonuses are reasonable, fair, and just. But federal spending for health care or education or infrastructure maintenance are omens of looming socialism.

How far from here...
History is replete with bloody predictors of where this is all leading. Shall we go through the list? October Revolution? Bastille Day? Things have regressed to the point that these kinds of comparisons can't be scoffed away. Just this week, reactionary elements in the United States Congress fought tooth-and-nail against any significant measures to address the crisis. here?
As I said in my post entitled "Best of times, worst of times," one has to imagine that the greedy capitalists, freshly gorged on the public treasury, must, at the very least, be experiencing some indigestion at these stirrings among the commoners. If the rabble is starting to coalesce into more-or-less organized entities, if they are truly desperate for food, if they are actually gathering at the homes of fat cat bankers and corporate titans to protest... how long until peaceful protest morphs into something else entirely? How long until the crowd becomes a mob? How long before they cobble up the scaffolding in the public square?

President Obama may be too little, too late.


Shus li said...

It's been decades since this many Americans have been hungry, and it's only the beginning, in my opinion.

Not a day goes by that I don't play out scenarios of what could happen when even larger mobs are even hungrier. Nothing makes me believe we will escape days of people killing each other just to get food.

Ridwan said...

Troubled times indeed brother ... all over.