June 30th 2017 Dispatch #26
Day 236 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
Day 161 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
Dominating the US media and pundit coverage in June – how many millions will lose their health insurance if the Republicans can enact some version of the aptly and ironically named American Health Care Act. Hey pay attention!! The seminal driving issue for these vicious Republicans is to dismantle Medicaid.
And yeah, seminal here denotes “of or relating to seed or semen” as per www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seminal. Toxic testosterone and the poisonous patriarchy at work and at play.
But, I digress….Paul Krugman summarizes succinctly:
“The basics of Republican health legislation, which haven’t changed much in different iterations of Trumpcare, are easy to describe: Take health insurance away from tens of millions, make it much worse and far more expensive for millions more, and use the money thus saved to cut taxes on the wealthy. So it’s vast suffering — including, according to the best estimates, around 200,000 preventable deaths — imposed on many of our fellow citizens in order to give a handful of wealthy people what amounts to some extra pocket change.
Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe. In this sense there’s nothing new about their health plan. What it does — punish the poor and working class, cut taxes on the rich — is what every major G.O.P. policy proposal does. The only difference is that this time it’s all out in the open. So what will happen to this monstrous bill? I have no idea. Whether it passes or not, however, remember this moment. For this is what modern Republicans do; this is who they are.” www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/opinion/understanding-republican-cruelty.html
Throwing or threatening to throw millions off of health insurance illustrates how the brutality of poverty and the violence of this oppression reveal themselves in the US. Every politician wants to appeal to and save the middle class, but no one is concerned with poor people. Their mandatory never-ending struggles remain invisible, the deserved result of personal failures in the mythological US meritocracy. Poor people inhabit the public conscience only to ensure that the specter of marginalization frightens dissenters and encourages an attitude of disdain and self-righteousness among the rest.
The very right to be human is denied every day to hundreds of millions of people as a result of poverty. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is not an accident. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Nelson Mandela www.azquotes.com/quote/378707
“Mahatma Gandhi said that “Poverty is the worst form of violence,” and quite frankly, I agree. Poverty is society’s way of perpetually dehumanizing people and subjecting them to unlivable conditions while calling it “just.” Those within society believe (or pretend to believe) that the system creating poverty is equitable and therefore fair. It is hard to deny the strong correlation between wealth and race, but ironically, that’s exactly what we do. The effects of poverty include mental and physical illness, inadequate nutrition, food insecurity, adverse effects on academic outcomes . . . the list goes on. The effects of poverty are most felt by women.” www.pacificcitizen.org/why-poverty-is-the-worst-form-of-oppression-and-why-we-should-start-giving-a-$hit/
The Violence of Austerity (aka imposed poverty), a recently published compilation of essays by leading academics and activists, documents how the most vulnerable individuals and communities in the UK have been relentlessly targeted through ideological scapegoating, persecution, and cuts to vital services during the years following the 2008 global financial crises.
“As editors Vickie Cooper and David Whyte argue in their excellent introduction, ‘the age in which we live is one in which the political violence of the state is becoming normalised.’ The extraordinary pressure people face is an inevitable outcome when political strategies to target vulnerable individuals have been legitimised and normalised by the administrative ‘assemblage of bureaucracies and institutions through which austerity policies are made real.’
The dominant political narrative of ‘hard choices’ and ‘living within our means’ – endlessly recycled by a compliant media, and the position of Theresa May and leading Conservatives in the election campaign – is no longer palatable to the public after years of cuts to education, health, and care services, especially when it is washed down with ample evidence of economic failure. The policies of the government since 2010 have added £700 billion to the national debt while they have systematically dismantled and underfunded social programmes, welfare provision, the NHS, and vital services for the elderly.
The research in this book makes abundantly clear that ‘austerity policies have been designed in such a way that target the most vulnerable and marginal groups in society, hitting them harder than any other income group.’ The masterful deception was to shift focus from the banking sector – away from discussion of new regulation necessary to prevent catastrophic collapse in a future crisis – to the argument that we must all play a part in resolving this mess: ‘we must all live within our means’, claimed the government.
Cooper and Whyte argue that the real politics of austerity is a project to disassemble permanently the ‘protection state’: 631,000 jobs in the public sector have been axed since 2010, with an additional million predicted to be lost by 2020; cuts to police spending since 2011 amount to 14-20% of the total budget; severe cutbacks to local authorities are leaving them without environmental health inspectors; and the Environment Agency is ‘facing paralysing cuts.’
Austerity is a class project that disproportionately targets and affects working-class households and communities and, in doing so, protects concentrations of elite wealth and power.” www.counterfire.org/articles/book-reviews/19023-the-violence-of-austerity; See also: http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19128:Vickie-Cooper%2C-The-Violence-of-Austerity-%26-GE2017
If you don’t recognize that these same austerity dynamics are now operating unrestrained under 21st Century Fascism in America, then you are not paying attention. If you are not paying attention, then you will be despising the people being oppressed and endorsing the oppressors
There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in sickly air. People can be slave-ships in shoes. Zora Neale Hurston www.azquotes.com/quote/573916
Because I began my legal career 40 years ago as a legal services attorney and was deeply affected by working for poor people, I was struck by the obituary of Lynne Stewart. www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/nyregion/lynne-stewart-dead-radical-leftist-lawyer.html
Lynne F. Stewart, a radical-leftist lawyer who gained wide notice for representing violent, self-described revolutionaries and who spent four years in prison herself, convicted of aiding terrorism, died on Tuesday at her home in Brooklyn. She was 77.
A former librarian and teacher, she had taken up the law in the cause of social justice after seeing the squalor in the area around the public school in Harlem where she taught. She built a reputation for representing the poor and the reviled, usually for modest, court-paid fees. Believing that the American political and capitalist system needed “radical surgery,” as Ms. Stewart put it, she sympathized with clients who sought to fight that system, even with violence, although she did not always endorse their tactics, she said.
Ms. Stewart’s critics and supporters did agree on one point about her 30-year career, which ended in disbarment with her conviction. Like William M. Kunstler and other lawyers who were proud to be called radical leftists, Ms. Stewart sympathized with the causes of violent clients who deemed themselves revolutionaries in America.
“I think that to rid ourselves of the entrenched voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don’t think that can come nonviolently,” she testified at her trial.
Recalling the development of her radical views, Ms. Stewart said she had led a sheltered early life in an all-white, middle-class neighborhood and had become aware of economic and racial injustices only when she began working at the Harlem public school. Seeing the poverty around her, she said, she decided to switch to the law. “I wanted to change things,” she said.
Yes, I do remember my clients and the brutality of their poverty, the despair and struggle of discarded lives, the power of a heartless structure wherein a few lives are important and the remaining are marginalized in service to those few. A young woman told by a hospital that she couldn’t take her newborn home until she paid the bill…a hospital already in violation of their charity care responsibilities. A Viet Nam vet about to lose his home to a bank because he couldn’t keep up the payments on his TV; the federal law I used to protect his home was repealed under Reagan Administration. A young mother of three whose injured husband was receiving workman’s compensation but she and the children no longer had health insurance; she couldn’t get the hospital with charity care obligations to take care of her small son’s ear infections; the last time I saw her, they were living in their car and she couldn’t get healthcare for what might be breast cancer. A middle-aged woman abused by her police officer husband, dragged naked by her hair down her street while his fellow officers laughed. Middle-aged and broken-down from hard work and hard life, dying in the hospital’s parking lot due to lack of health insurance. A young woman facing removal of her children by family services largely because the agency had failed to support her. A reserved and proud woman who had worked hard her entire life and was now disabled faced demeaning rejections by Medicaid workers when she requested transportation assistance for her doctor appointments; she helped me sue the state to stop this behavior that violated Medicaid regulations.
While my personal experiences go back 30 to 40 years, right now every day in America, millions of poor people, disproportionately women, children, and people of color experience comparable degrading and debilitating circumstances and much worse in the richest country in the world. Too many people are willfully ignorant. Too often, people who fight against these brutalities are labelled radical….you know, way too extreme, dangerously crazy, a threat to agreed-upon oppressions.
So fighting 21st Century Fascism demands the reclamation and celebration of RADICAL.
- Adjective (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough: “a radical overhaul of the existing regulatory framework” synonyms: thoroughgoing, thorough, complete, total, comprehensive; antonyms: superficial, shallow.
- Adj. advocating or based on thorough or complete political or social change; representing or supporting an extreme or progressive section of a political party: “a radical American activist” synonyms: revolutionary, progressive, reformist, revisionist, progressivist; antonyms: reactionary, moderate, conservative.
- Noun a person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform; a member of a political party or part of a party pursuing such aims. synonyms: revolutionary, progressive, reformer, revisionist, militant.
“The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a ‘circle of certainty’ within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.” www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/41108.Paulo_Freire
Post Script: Although I approvingly quote Krugman’s 6/30/2017 column, I must object that his column does make reference to the Trump-supporting white working class. Democrats and their allies/pundits constantly use this trope to justify ignoring the pivotal roles of White Supremacy, Misogyny and Voter Suppression. HOW MANY ANALYSES ARE NEEDED TO DISLODGE THIS IGNORANCE?! Wealthy and upperclass white men and white women along with Christian supremacists represent his base. Sigh…OK, dear reader, let’s review the evidence AGAIN:
www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/05/its-time-to-bust-the-myth-most-trump-voters-were-not-working-class/? Among white people without college degrees who voted for Trump, nearly 60 percent were in the top half of the income distribution earning more than $50,000 annually…one in five white Trump voters without a college degree had a household income over $100,000….the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a “coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters” just doesn’t square with 2016 election data…white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters…a far cry from the working-class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined. Lack of college degree does NOT equal working class…. www.theroot.com/the-gop-keeps-quietly-purging-black-voters-and-democrat-1795474628